Spay/neuter bill is a sensible fix

first_img Ed Boks is general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! EVERY year, nearly 1 million cats and dogs pass through the doors of animal-control agencies throughout California. And every year, hundreds of thousands of them – many perfectly healthy and adoptable – are euthanized by overcrowded shelters that are unable to find them good homes. Here in Los Angeles, despite the fact that we have some of the best voluntary spay and neuter programs in the state, more than 19,000 dogs and cats were put down at city shelters over the past 12 months. Perhaps those numbers don’t bother you, but this one might: Collectively, our state and local governments are spending $250 million to house, care for, and ultimately kill about half a million dogs and cats each year. To combat this taxpayer burden and overpopulation crisis, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, has introduced the California Healthy Pets Act, which would require most pets in California older than four months of age to be spayed or neutered. Under Assembly Bill 1634, dog and cat owners who don’t comply would be cited if their pet comes in contact with a local animal control officer. They would then be given time to spay or neuter their pets before a fine would be assessed. A portion of those fines would be used to expand the availability of free or low-cost spay and neuter programs. In absence of this legislation, California will continue to take a piecemeal approach to pet overpopulation, and things will never really improve. But there is already a proven approach to solving this problem just waiting to be implemented – mandatory spay/neuter laws. And with a growing number of free and low-cost spay/neuter services up and down the state, mandatory spay/neuter laws should not pose a financial burden for pet owners. Levine’s legislation contains a number of common-sense exceptions, including for show and sporting dogs, law-enforcement dogs, dogs used in search and rescue, pets that are too old or in poor health, and guide, service and signal animals. The bill is modeled after a highly successful mandatory spay and neuter ordinance that has been in place in Santa Cruz County since 1995. Within two years of the measure’s enactment, the county began to see a noticeable reduction in the number of animals entering its shelters. Within eight years, despite a 15 percent growth in the county’s human population, the number of animals entering its shelters was cut in half. Despite cries from breeders that Levine’s bill is too severe, there are counties that already have more stringent laws in place. And why shouldn’t they? Medical research shows that spayed or neutered cats and dogs live longer and healthier lives. Spaying and neutering protects and improves the health of pets by reducing or eliminating many health problems that are difficult and expensive to treat. Depending on how you choose to look at the pet overpopulation problem in California, there are either 500,000 or 250 million good reasons to try to do something constructive to solve it. Crafted by a comprehensive coalition of animal-welfare experts, AB 1634 would establish California as a national leader in the humane care for animals, and save our state’s taxpayers millions of their hard-earned dollars. last_img read more

Stem Cells Polarize Ethics

first_imgAdult stem cells are continuing to promise revolutionary therapies, while embryonic stem cells remain a political football even after Obama’s loosening of restrictions.  Some stories seem to suppress the word “embryonic” and just talk about “stem cells,” but there is a big difference in the ethics of one over the other.  Embryonic stem cells require harvesting a human embryo.Adult Stem Cell NewsDiabetes:  Sufferers of peripheral artery disease, common among diabetics, may have hope using stem cells from their own bone marrow.  PhysOrg reported that researchers at the University of Western Ontario isolated three types of stem cells from bone marrow that can regrow blood vessels.Bone:  Arthritis?  Hip fracture?  The BBC News reported that stem cells from bone marrow are showing promise to regrow bone.  Researchers at Keele University attach the stem cells to tiny magnets and then guide them to places where they are needed.  “The technique combines the patients [sic] own bone marrow stem cells with donor bone cells to patch-repair damaged bones that would otherwise need treatment with metal plates and pins.” Angina:  Adult stem cells may alleviate the pain of angina and allow patients with the heart condition to walk again.  Autologous (from-the-patient) stem cells from bone marrow helped patients walk longer on a treadmill without pain, reported Science Daily.Embryonic Stem Cell NewsFetal harvesting:  An upbeat article from Science Daily says “New Stem Cell Therapy May Lead To Treatment For Deafness.”  The body of the article describes a scientist from University of Sheffield harvesting cochlear cells from 9- to 11-week old human fetuses.  They got them to differentiate into inner ear cell types, but not to form the hair bundles characteristic of the cochlea.  The research is in the early stages; no actual treatments are being proposed.  It was not clear from the article where they got the fetuses.Brazil nuts:  Science last week reported that Brazil ran roughshod over religious leaders by banking on embryonic stem cell research over their objections.  “Despite vocal opposition from religious groups, the Brazilian government has launched a major initiative in pluripotent stem cell research.  In the past 3 weeks, eight university labs in four states started receiving the first payments of a 3-year, $9.3 million grant intended to reshape them into Cell Technology Centers.”  In this predominantly Catholic country, religious leaders have opposed ES research for years, but “A coalition of scientific groups, including the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science, and patients’ advocacy organizations fought back.”  Last year, after one advocate “helped fill the Supreme Federal Court galleries with people in wheelchairs and their relatives,” Brazil’s Supreme Court upheld a 2005 law allowing the harvesting of stem cells from fertility clinics.  Now the government is supporting it with the taxes of those who oppose it.Harvesting Obama for more:  Constance Holden wrote in Science March 20 that scientists, though thrilled with Obama’s executive order loosening restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, want more: “Many scientists would like to work with lines created through research cloning, or somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).”  Human cloning was considered abhorrent by most ethicists during the Bush administration.  Arguments for stem cells from fertility clinics at the time stressed that those embryos were going to be destroyed anyway.  Many politicians on both sides of the aisle at the time stressed that they did not support human cloning.    Obama’s executive order, however, did not specify the source of the embryos.  It appears that scientists might have the liberty to choose what stem cells to work on – including those of human embryos created solely for research purposes.  What guidelines or restrictions will the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide?The traditional opponents of hES cell research are expecting the worst.  Even with the derivation of new cell lines still banned, some fear the new policy will turn the federal government into an indirect supporter of cloning.  The executive order “turned out to be far more extreme than [the] biggest proponents had hoped,” said the Family Research Council.  “With no clear policy from the White House, you and I could be footing the bill for research that clones embryos just to scavenge their parts.”  Psychiatrist and columnist Charles Krauthammer, a former member of the president’s bioethics commission, said in an op-ed column that he does not oppose hES cell research but accused the president of “moral abdication” in leaving it up to scientists whether to create embryos solely for research.    On the contrary, says Harvard University’s George Daley: “We need legislation that allows [such] decisions … to be left to scientists.”  Daley points out that guidelines hammered out in 2005 by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and regularly updated, as well as recommendations by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, do not specify what biological sources should be used but focus on informed consent procedures for obtaining eggs, sperm, or embryos, and proper scientific procedures.    So far, there’s no available evidence that researchers anywhere are using lines other than from excess IVF embryos….The tone of the article indicates that scientists want to police their own policies but fear running afoul of public concerns over ethics.  Meanwhile, Kurt Gottfried and Harold Varmus, in the same issue of Science (March 20), portrayed the Obama Era (including his support of embryonic stem cell research) as “The Enlightenment Returns.”  This presumably portrays the Bush Era as a kind of scientific Dark Ages.  They commented on Obama’s call for scientific integrity, which they interpreted as science free from political agendas performed by those with good scientific qualifications, but they did not use the words ethics or morals.  Speaking of ethics, two researchers wrote in the same March 20 issue of Science about the growing problem of offshore clinics that lure patients with promises of miracle cures with stem cells. Where to draw the line?  The editorial in Nature March 26 said, “Now that the US federal funding ban on human embryonic stem cells is lifted, scientists must engage the public’s concerns about embryo research.”  What kind of embryos are acceptable for research?  Notice where these strong advocates of embryonic stem cell research drew an ethical line:A key requirement for productive dialogue is a common frame of reference.  Here, the word ‘embryo’ is a stumbling block.  This term refers to everything from a newly fertilized single-celled egg to millions of cells organized into eyelids, ears, genitals and limbs.  Yet the latter form, which is present some eight weeks after fertilization, is not only ethically unacceptable for research but also far too old to yield embryonic stem cells.    Multiple sets of widely accepted guidelines from, for example, the US National Academies, the International Society for Stem Cell Research and Britain’s Warnock Report agree that the first sign that cells for the future body are starting to specialize – the glimmer of a structure known as the primitive streak at about 14 days after an egg begins to divide – marks the end of when any laboratory research on human embryos should be considered.  To discuss this responsibly, scientists should insist on precision, specifying an embryo’s developmental state in terms of its age, for example, or the number of cells.But is this stage of the embryo such a clear dividing line?  Could it not be pushed to 15 days, then 16, then three weeks or more by a future consortium of scientists and politicians, especially when money or fame are at stake?  The Germans learned in a grim way that scientific consensus is no bedrock on which to anchor a standard of what is “acceptable” (04/07/2005).Leading science journals have been attacking the Bush era and praising the Obama administration for its support of embryonic stem cell research.  Nature said last week, “President Barack Obama’s appointment of academic scientists and economists to positions of high authority in his administration has created the sort of excitement in universities and among researchers that has not been seen for eight years.  Certainly, after George W. Bush’s grudging agreement to a constricted programme of stem-cell research and his politicization of scientific findings about the environment, Obama’s choice of prominent scholars is a breath of fresh air.”    Likewise, Science interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, giving her high marks for her support of “science.”  Reporter Jeffrey Mervis called her a “big hit” and said she “lights up a crowd” with her support of scientific institutions.  “Donning her mantle as party leader, she used the events to take a swipe at the Bush Administration,” he said, quoting her: “For a long time, science had not been in the forefront.  It was faith or science, take your pick.  Now we’re saying that science is the answer to our prayers.”  She also told a group of “assembled biomedical bigwigs” that “we need your help again to make President Obama’s executive order on stem cell research the law of the land.”The scientific societies, wedded to liberal politics as they are, don’t know ethics from a black hole.  “We don’t see anyone cloning humans… yet” they say, softening the public, like a frog in the pot, to accept what is coming.    To understand what is going on, read Ann Coulter’s book Godless about the secular liberal love fest with abortions and embryonic stem cells, in spite of the scientific evidence.  Read how liberals use victims and emotional propaganda, like celebrity pleas and courtrooms filled with wheelchairs, to spin their desire to kill as “compassion.”  See intentional folly turn into moral evil in the name of science by people who hate real science.  It will break your heart.    From the people who deny God as the Author of life, and who see humans as evolved slime, what would you expect?  Life is cheap.  Life is trash.  Scientists can play with it and do whatever they want.  Morals, shmorals.  If a cure for some disease emerges, fine, but it’s not a requirement.  Just get me a Nobel Prize.  In a perverted revolutionary cry, the out-of-control scientists shout: give me liberty, and give me death.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Scientific Institutions Engage in Leftist Advocacy

first_imgFor an enterprise supposedly as unpolitical and bias-free as science classically is supposed to be, conservatism is surprisingly rare.Since we last reported the leftist bias in scientific institutions (Jan 19, 2012), has there been any shift to the right?  any penitence for embracing and promoting one political party?  No; it has gotten worse.   Here are just a few of the most egregious examples in recent days.  These not only state leftist positions, but openly advocate them.Anti-Israel:  The only redeeming feature of this example is that at least Science magazine published a protest letter by John R. Cohn of Thomas Jefferson University.  The Science May 18 cover story was a special feature on “Human Conflict.”  Out of all the possible pictures of human conflict imaginable, what did the editors of Science choose?  It was a photo of a bombed-out building attributed to the Israeli Defense forces.  Cohn’s letter, published two months later, accused the editors of politicizing science:I am writing in reaction to the cover photo and accompanying caption selected for the 18 May special issue on Human Conflict. It seems disingenuous to claim that of all the world’s conflicts, a building identified as destroyed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was “not [chosen] for any political message or endorsement.” Nobody eschews war more than Israelis, who, unfortunately, also know the consequences.If the editors wanted striking visual impact and gruesome evidence of inhumanity, there were better choices: the killing fields of Cambodia, the destruction of the World Trade Center, Rwanda, Dresden, Hiroshima, Bataan, Darfur, Armenia, Normandy, Auschwitz… unfortunately, the list of greater carnage is nearly endless.By identifying the IDF as perpetrators, the caption undermined the photo’s role as a generic illustration of the consequences of conflict. Indeed, there was no need to identify the details. They were a distraction. The photo no longer represented abstract human violence, but rather one more illustration of Israel, taken out of context. Portraying Israel as the aggressor obscures the fact that the country is trying to defend itself against decades of assaults provoked by ethnic hostility—attacks still taking place. That is politicized science, which serves to encourage—not discourage—conflict.Scientists advising Obama:  What should a science news site have to do with presidential politics?  Nothing, really.  But PhysOrg published the views of two UK scientists taking it upon themselves to act as his campaign advisors: “Obama needs to show Americans he’s still ‘one of them’,” the headline reads, followed by PhysOrg’s summary, “To win a second term in office, President Obama needs to persuade voters that he is still one of them – and recapture some of the charisma that help [sic] propel him to the top four years ago.”  No such advice was found anywhere on PhysOrg advising Romney how to win.Scientists advocating for leftist NGO’s:  It is common knowledge that environmental groups, particularly non-governmental agencies (NGOs) such as the Sierra Club, are predominantly (though not exclusively) leftist in ideology – particularly those lobbying for government intervention in private property rights and action against global warming.  Another PhysOrg article advocated this in its headline: “Environmental groups should pool efforts to reach the public.”  One would think a science news site would stick to the facts about the environment, not provide advice on how to sway public opinion.Unhealthy theists:  Another prominent science news site promulgated a highly questionable psychological study that materialists are healthier – questionable because such studies are loaded with untestable variables.  In “Mind Vs. Body? Dualist Beliefs Linked With Less Concern for Healthy Behaviors,” Science Daily uncritically promoted the idea that those who believe the mind is separate from the brain are likely to engage in unhealthy behavior, calling the research “findings” instead of suggestions or opinions.  Without doubt, hard-core secular Darwinists are likely to be materialists, not attributing the mind to a soul or spirit.Same-sex marriage and the church:  A particularly egregious example of leftist ideology masquerading as “science” is found in a PhysOrg story entitled, “College students likely to disagree with religious teachings that homosexuality is a sin.”  Saturating this report about University of Michigan Michael Woodford’s views on how to overcome student’s parental and church teachings about marriage are biased words intended to show conservatives as backward and liberal churches as open-minded.  PhysOrg joined left foot in to the leftist professor’s advocacy of same-sex marriage: “College students’ beliefs about same-sex relationships can be shaped by their church’s teachings, but some are willing to oppose their religion’s position on the issue, a new University of Michigan study indicated.  And this can influence students’ views about same-sex marriage.”  Topics like sin and marriage have no place in a science news site, but PhysOrg’s complicity in Woodford’s anti-conservative advocacy that seeks to undo what parents and churches have taught their children echoes intolerant rhetoric this week from certain politicians attacking the Chick Fil-A food chain for its president’s vocal stand for traditional marriage (see Family Research Council article).Burn the heretics:  What happens when a scientist goes rogue and steps outside the leftist consensus?  He or she had better wear armor and combat boots, if not a flame-proof fireman’s suit.  Look at the case of Mark Regnerus (U of Texas), whose politically-incorrect research (reported here 6/10/2012) indicated that traditional families are better for children than same-sex parent homes.  All fury broke loose against him from the sociological science community, according to Christian Smith at the Chronicle of Higher Education, who likened their response to an “academic auto-da-fé” (a reference to Spanish Inquisition celebrations of burning heretics at the stake).  Regnerus’ attempt to state his findings in the gentlest, fairest, most tolerant manner possible were no protection.  See also “Science Lies Bleeding: A Ballad for Honesty” by Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review.Wait a minute, the reader hesitates … I’m confused.  Aren’t liberals supposed to be the champions of tolerance?  Aren’t these the ones promoting diversity?  Isn’t their favorite word inclusion?Now you understand the mindset of the Darwin Party.  With few exceptions, they are cut of the same cloth.  Leftists whimper for academic freedom when in the minority.  But once they get power, they become  intellectual bigots and bullies, with no tolerance for the inclusion of diverse views outside of those that are progressive, leftist, liberal, and even radical.If you find any politically conservative Darwinists who support traditional marriage, the US Constitution, private property rights, the free market, individual liberty, limited government, free speech and scientific integrity, send him to the embassy for protection from the next academic auto-da-fé. 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R450m World Cup legacy trust launched

first_img19 April 2012 The R450-million 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust, aimed at ensuring that South Africans continue reaping the benefits of hosting Africa’s first Fifa World Cup, is now fully operational. This was announceed by the world football governing body’s secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, following the inaugural meeting of the Trust’s board at South African Football Association (Safa) headquarters in Johannesburg on Wednesday. “We are very pleased that the Trust is now fully operational,” Valcke said. “It is the first time in the history of the Fifa World Cup that such a trust has been established and it required a complex administrative process, which is why it took us some time to set it up. “I’m glad that we are now entering a phase that will focus on implementing the vision to ensure that the legacy can benefit the host country.”Range of public initiatives The 2010 Legacy Trust will support a wide range of public initiatives that harness football for sport development, education, health and humanitarian activities in South Africa. Fifa has transferred R450-million into the Legacy Trust accounts. This will be administered by international auditors Ernst and Young. This is in addition to the R700-million already allocated by Fifa a legacy of the World Cup and given to Safa in the build-up to the event for preparation purposes (R450-million) and for the construction of Safa House (R150-million). Safa was also given R40-million for football development projects, and a further R70-million for investment in a fleet of buses and cars to enable the 52 regional structures of the association to transport their teams.Grassroots level “From today, we can look forward to the fruits of 2010 being enjoyed at grassroots level and within communities across South Africa,” Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said on Wednesday. The Trust Board will be chaired by Safa fourth vice-president Danny Jordaan. The other trustees are Nematandani and Eric Mtshatsha, with Alec Moemi and Michael Katz representing business, and Valcke, development director Thierry Regenass and CSR head Federico Addiechi representing Fifa. Other legacy initiatives that have been implemented by Fifa since 2005 include the 20 Football for Hope Centres, the Win in Africa with Africa initiative, the Football for Health project and the 2010 Fifa World Cup Ticket Fund. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Baker Institute forum to examine legal battle behind stem cell research

first_imgAddThis ShareCONTACT: Franz BrotzenPHONE: 713-348-6775E-MAIL: [email protected] Institute forum to examine legal battle behind stem cell researchScientific research using human embryonic stem cells was thrown into turmoil in August when a federal judge ruled it violated a congressional amendment. An Oct. 4 presentation at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, “The Fate of Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Examining the Legal Battle Behind the Science,” will look at the impact of the ruling on scientists and stem cell research, future legal actions and how the Obama administration and Congress can address the issues created by the court’s decision. Speakers the will include Robert Riddle, a patent lawyer with the law firm of Baker Botts, and Richard Behringer, professor of genetics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute and Rice’s Malcolm Gillis University Professor, will deliver the opening remarks.On Aug. 23, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled in the preliminary motions of Sherley v. Sebelius that funding human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research violated the Dickey-Wicker Amendment. The amendment prohibits the creation of hESC lines from destroyed embryos. The court issued an injunction blocking all National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for hESC research, which resulted in the NIH removing all hESC grants from review and blocking funding to newly awarded grants. Research at NIH’s Bethesda, Md., campus was halted as well. On Sept. 8, the Department of Justice appealed; in response, a federal appeals court temporarily suspended the injunction to hear arguments from both the plaintiffs in Sherley v. Sebelius and the Department of Justice. Though hESC research is permitted — pending the appeals court ruling — Lamberth’s decision could ultimately ban funding regardless of whether the appeals court permanently stays the injunction. These tumultuous court rulings have left scientists uncertain of the future of the $140 million in grants currently funded by the NIH. For more on the presentation, go to http://www.bakerinstitute.org/events/esc1010. Support for the Oct. 4 program has been provided by the State of Qatar Endowment for International Stem Cell Policy.The event begins at 4 p.m. in Baker Hall’s Kelly International Conference Center. For directions, go to http://bakerinstitute.org/contact_directions.cfm. Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Franz Brotzen at [email protected] or 713-348-6775.last_img read more