Dog In Cage Found Abandoned on Snowy Road

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Saturday, Dec 28, 2013: Police are looking for the person who abandoned the Yorkie

A caged Yorkshire terrier was found abandoned on the side of a snowy road in an upstate New York town Friday morning.


A passerby near the intersection of White Pond and Farmers Mills roads in Kent contacted police after spotting the pooch.

Officials say the dog, an approximately 4- to 6-year-old male Yorkie, was found huddled in a small black metal crate in a snowy patch of property just off the side of the road.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Putnam County SPCA at 845-520-6915.

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Two arrests as live exports lorry stopped at Ramsgate port

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Two lorry drivers have been arrested in Kent after their vehicle carrying four tiers of more than 500 live sheep was declared unfit to cross the Channel.

The lorry, which was found to have faults, was stopped at the Port of Ramsgate and the animals were moved to a temporary holding pen.

The RSPCA said two sheep were put down, two died in an accident and 30 may have to be destroyed

Two sheep, one with a broken leg, were put down. Another 41 severely lame sheep will be shot, the RSPCA said.

Two drowned after the sheep were loaded into an area where the floor collapsed.

Six sheep fell into water and four were rescued by RSPCA officers.

‘Appalling trade’

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant has called for an immediate suspension of the live animal exports from Ramsgate.

He and Laura Sandys, Thanet South MP, will meet government ministers over the issue on Thursday.

Mr Grant said: “We told the port authorities right from the start that they did not have the facilities to handle live exports safely.

The sheep were unloaded into a holding pen while the hauliers looked for another vehicle

The RSPCA has been warning that a significant welfare incident like this could lead to tragedy for the animals and now it has.”

He said the charity had fought against this trade for well over 100 years.

“If meat needs to go to the continent then it should be on the hook, not on the hoof, and today cruelly illustrates that this appalling trade needs to cease immediately,” he added.

Second incident

Ms Sandys said she was appalled at the “disgusting” treatment of the sheep.

She said: “This is totally unacceptable and I have taken this up with the minister and secured a meeting with him for tomorrow.”

She added: “I will bring up our grave concerns about this trade in general but our great shock at this particular event.

“This is the second time a transportation from Northamptonshire has been investigated.”

In a separate incident, 600 sheep were forced to spend 24 hours on a transporter after its tyre burst and the animals had to be driven back to Northampton because there were no facilities in Kent for them to be removed, fed and watered.

That incident led Thanet council to write to the Environment Secretary with calls to suspend shipments because of a lack of facilities.

Council leader Clive Hart made five requests including establishing formal resting pens as a matter of urgency, allowing RSPCA officers to inspect lorries transporting live animals, and authorising the RSPCA to check ventilation and water systems.

According to the RSPCA, Ramsgate is the only British port currently being used for shipping animals abroad for further fattening and slaughter.

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Why I’m letting the gorillas I love go free: Son of legendary gambler John Aspinall reveals he’s releasing the animals from his family zoo back to the wild

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Damian Aspinall was still a babe in arms when his late father, the colourful zookeeper and society gambling club host Johnny, first left him in the care of the family who live next-door to their imposing Palladian mansion in the Kent countryside.

That was more than 50 years ago, and when he drops in to see them now, as he still does two or three times a week, ‘I feel as though I’m among my own cousins, aunts and uncles,’ he tells me warmly. The neighbours in question, you see, are a group of lowland gorillas and even the smallest infant among them could yank a human arm clean out its socket. Damian is so familiar with them that he enters their paddock with barely a second thought, and the father, a 400lb silverback called Kifu, embraces him with a mighty hug before cheekily slipping a hand into his trouser pocket to pilfer a juicy pea-pod
Since taking over the two Kent wildlife parks founded by his father half a century ago, Damian has developed such a deep-seated loathing for zoos, and all they stand for, that he has embarked on a remarkable mission to return as many animals as possible to the wild.

 The first phase of this laudable and unprecedentedly grand-scale project will see him release around 40 animals, of various species, during the next few months.

Part of the family: Damien Aspinall with Kifu, one of his beloved gorillas

The Noah’s Ark-like operation begins in earnest today when three black rhinos will be loaded into specially-built crates at the Aspinall wildlife park at Port Lympne, winched onto a cargo plane at nearby Manston airport and flown to freedom in the Tanzanian bush.

They will be followed, later in the summer, by a consignment of endangered langur monkeys and a gibbon, which will go home to boost the dwindling population on the Indonesian island of Java.

Then, in January, a family of 11 gorillas led by a silverback named Djala will be freed to roam a vast natural reserve patrolled and managed by the John Aspinall Foundation in Gabon. It will be the first time a male has been reintroduced to the wild together with his females and offspring, and this story in particular brings a lump to the throat.

Lifelong bond: Damian Aspinall, pictured here in 1992, has had a close relationship to gorillas for most of his life

For 30 years ago, when he was a baby, Djala watched as his parents, brothers and sisters were slaughtered by poachers in the Congo, and he was about to be boiled alive and eaten by villagers when a French uranium prospector witnessed the appalling scene from his helicopter and swooped to his rescue. After bartering for the gorilla’s release, the pilot persuaded a friend in Brazzaville to look after him. Then in 1986, when the gorilla was three, he was given to the Aspinall Foundation and has since lived at their 600-acre wildlife park, Howletts

Aspinall has become so disgusted by the perceived iniquities of keeping captive animals for the amusement of humans that he will feel uplifted when he says goodbye to Djala and his family.

‘If I had my way, I’d close down 90  per cent of all zoos tomorrow,’ he tells me, as we chat in a study adorned with wonderful old photographs of him and his family cavorting with the menagerie amidst which the eccentric Johnny raised them.

‘They are nothing more than jails. People argue they are educational — well, stuff education! You can learn far more from a David Attenborough film than going around a city-centre zoo.

‘Just walk around any of these city zoos and be appalled! They shouldn’t be allowed to exist.

‘They are a necessary evil, and if we are going to have them, there should be a law that they have programmes to protect the wilderness and re-introduce animals to the wild. Otherwise you just have a collection of animals being kept for the enjoyment of man — and I don’t think animals should be kept for our enjoyment.’

Damian tells me zealously, he regards his ‘back to the wild’ project as the realisation of a dream Johnny harboured after rescuing his first animal — a forlorn monkey that he bought, on his wife’s pleading, from Harrods, which then sold all manner of exotic ‘pets’ (he took it home to Eaton Square and named it Dead Loss because he didn’t expect it to survive for more than a few days — but it thrived under his care).

Soon afterwards, Aspinall senior bought a 90-acre plot near Canterbury with his £5,000 winnings on a horse racing bet and turned it into a different type of zoo, where the animals came first and keepers were encouraged to interact closely with them. So closely, in fact, that during a dark period in the Eighties and Nineties five keepers were killed, and Johnny was forced to shoot one of his man-eating Siberian tigers.

He is far more concerned about the harm being done to captive animals. Smouldering with fury, he says they are invariably housed in expensively designed cages designed to maximise viewing rather than mimic their natural habitat; fed on convenient, cheaply-produced pellets rather than the fresh fruit and vegetation they would eat in the wild; and bred sparingly to keep down costs.

While he regards even his own foundation’s wildlife parks as ‘prisons’, he says, they are at least ‘very nice prisons’ where the inmates are not there simply to be gawped at, but to reproduce in sufficient numbers that they can be returned to their homelands, and where, in the meantime, no expense is spared to improve the quality of their lives.

‘My ultimate goal is to close this place down because it’s a reminder of what a failure we humans are as a species. We arrogantly take from the planet and give nothing back.’

Read the full story: In the African jungle, conservationist Damian Aspinall searches for Kwibi, a lowland gorilla he hasn’t seen for 5 years. Kwibi grew up with Damian at his Howletts Wild Animal Park in England. When he was five, he was released into the forests of Gabon, West Africa as part of conservation programme to re-introduce gorillas back into the wild. Now Kwibi’s 10 years old, much bigger and stronger. Will Damian find him? Will Kwibi attack him? 


Cat swing trial: Animal cruelty case thrown out due to lack of evidence

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Riain Richards, 20, was alleged to have swung the black cat around by its tail about 17 times in 30 seconds in front of friends who cheered him on.

Shocking: A man was caught on CCTV swinging a cat around by its tail

The case against a man accused of swinging a cat by its tail in the street was thrown out of court today because of a lack of evidence.

After hearing the prosecution‘s case against 20-year-old Riain Richards, magistrates decided there was not enough evidence for a conviction and no case to answer.

Richards, of Clements Road, Ramsgate, Kent, was alleged to have swung two-year-old Mowgli around about 17 times in 30 seconds in front of friends who cheered him on, Dover Magistrates’ Court was told.

Richards denied causing unnecessary suffering to the cat on October 29 last year. The court heard that the attack would have left the cat physically and mentally traumatised.

Magistrate Gillian Monk said: “Cruelty of any description is abhorrent to civilised society and we are saddened and sickened by the way that the cat was tortured that morning.

Mrs Monk said that, having considered all the evidence present and submissions made by both sides, there was no case to answer.

She said: “The CCTV and photographic evidence presented is of such poor quality that it is hard to identify any distinguishing features.

“No forensic evidence was found at Mr Richards’ home or on his computer. “Nothing we have seen or heard has securely placed his hands on that cat.”

The court was told that the incident, which took place near The Camden Arms in La Belle Alliance Square, Ramsgate, was captured on CCTV which was released by the RSPCA.

It shows the animal’s attacker seemingly dancing down the road with the black cat at arm’s length. The animal is then seen hitting the arm of another man.

Grainy: The court heard that the CCTV footage was too poor quality to identify Riain Richards

RSPCA prosecutor Rowan Jenkins said Lynne Jarvis, a neighbour of the cat’s owner, Michelle Buchanan, looked out of her window when she heard a commotion outside.

Since the incident the cat has been too frightened to go outside and his behaviour has dramatically changed, she said.

CCTV of the attack was seen by a vet who said the cat would have suffered physical and mental trauma from being swung at such force, the court was told.

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Male dairy calves are killed, but why the surprise? People have no right to complain if they don’t inform themselves about food

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I am baffled by the response to the Channel 4 documentary showing the fate of male dairy calves. Why the shock?

What did people think did happen to them? Most of the audience will drink milk. How did they think it was produced?

I agree with one thing: it’s a terrible shame that this massacre of the innocents should take place. In a thrifty society, it wouldn’t.

If you farm animals to eat, you owe it to them – and to your conscience – not to waste the meat they furnish. In my view that includes throwing away food from the fridge which has been allowed to pass its sell-by date: if you buy meat, the least you an do is to make sure you consume it.

We should also make better use of male calves. As I write this, on a train to Kent, I am sipping a cappuccino.

At the outlet in the railway station, I watched the barista carry half a dozen huge plastic containers of milk to the fridge. Milk has become an industrial product.

It bears little relationship to the creamy liquid that froths out of the cow. It’s sold in petrol station and other places that have no obvious connection with food. It’s ubiquitous.

Produce: A female farmer milks a cow. Unfortunately there’s no market for their bobby calves

The retail system has driven down the price to a level where thousands of dairy farmers have had to pack up over recent years. The family farm, as it exists in many people’s imagination, is now a thing of the past. 

Put all these factors together, and it’s hardly surprising that harsh economics and ruthless efficiency have risen above sentiment.

I didn’t see the documentary in question but I bet the farmers on it cared deeply about the welfare of their herds. In a sense, that’s the surprise.

Farmers, despite all the financial pressures that they’re now under, still want to do their best for their animals. They’re as sorry as anyone that there’s no market for their bobby calves. 

In part, this was destroyed by the animal rights brigade. Traditionally, Britain’s male calves were exported to the Continent. Some years ago, campaigners blockaded the ports and put a stop to it.

I wasn’t wholly sorry that they should have done so. The calves often had to travel long distances in dreadful conditions, and were then bred for veal. In order that a wiener schnitzel or Blanquette de veau is the correct order of whiteness, the veal calves are kept in darkness, and fed on milk.

As a consequence, white veal is one of the few things I won’t eat. Where the campaigners were wrong was in failing to establish an alternative destination for the British calves.

Without one, a bolt from a humane killer was the only alternative. Some retailers attempted to establish a taste for pink veal in Britain – veal from young animals which have been allowed to see the outdoors – but it didn’t really take off.

We live in a largely urban society, and unfortunately most town dwellers are too lazy to find out about animals, even when they say they care about them.

Life for many dairy farmers has been made all but impossible by the badger explosion.

We all want to have badgers in the countryside, but when was the last time you saw a hedgehog dead by the side of the road? Squashed hedgehogs were something of a sick joke in the 1970s.

Now, I’m told, hedgehogs are eaten by badgers, along with the eggs of skylarks and other ground nesting birds.

Urbanites hardly think about the consequences of badger preservation on other forms of wildlife, much less the impact on dairy farms. In fact, many of us close our eyes to farming practices altogether.

If consumers choose to exist in a state of wilful ignorance about the production of what they eat, they really don’t have the right to complain at what goes on, when they suddenly find out.

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