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"Brutality to an animal is cruelty to mankind". China bans all 300 animal circuses; zoos "stop abusing animals or be shut down"

lion confined in a cage

Ringling circus: a baby elephant is tied up, prodded and electro-shocked

China bans animal circuses

tigers get burned jumping through flaming hoops

a baby elephant is being trained to perform a lie-down / sit-up

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"Brutality to an animal is cruelty to mankind - it is only the difference in the victim." ~ Alphonse de Lamartine

China Bans Animal Circuses; How About the Rest of the World? A huge step for animals in China. How about animals in circuses and zoos in other countries?

China announced a ban on animal circuses this week—all 300 state-owned ones of them. It's a huge step for animals, considering how they're treated at circuses—and in zoos—not only in China but around the world.

"In many circuses, wild and exotic animals are trained through the use of intimidation and physical abuse. Former circus employees have reported seeing animals beaten, whipped, poked with sharp objects and even burned to force them to learn their routines. Elephants who perform in circuses are often kept in chains for as long as 23 hours a day from the time they are babies." - DoSomething.org  read more »

On NYr's Eve 5000 birds dropped dead fr sky, 100000 fish found dead; Clinton takes vegan pledge; "You need to get off facebook"?

Thousands of red-winged blackbirds fell dead from the sky in Beebe, Ark., on New Year’s Eve. They may have been startled by fireworks, officials say

Dead fish are seen along the Arkansas River


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For Arkansas Blackbirds, the New Year Never Came

Times Square had the ball drop, and Brasstown, N.C., had its descending possum. But no place had a New Year’s Eve as unusual, or freakishly disturbing, as Beebe, Ark.

A worker with U.S. Environmental Services, a private contractor, picked up a dead bird on Saturday.

Around 11 that night, thousands of red-winged blackbirds began falling out of the sky over this small city about 35 miles northeast of Little Rock. They landed on roofs, roads, front lawns and backyards, turning the ground nearly black and terrifying anyone who happened to be outside.

"One of them almost hit my best friend in the head," said Christy Stephens, who was standing outside among the smoking crowd at a party. "We went inside after that."  read more »

Crisis & solution: Japan cuts interest rates to zero; Italy & Greece receive stimulus package from China

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, shakes the hand of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, right, as they arrive for a joint news conference at Villa Madama in Rome

after nearly two weeks of demonstrations, Greek farmers used their tractors to block border crossings and highways across the country for days, demanding financial help from the government. A farmer hits a riot police officer with his crook at the main port of Piraeus, near Athens, Feb. 2, 2009

Greek Prime Minister Papandreou spoke on Greece's economic plight at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Low rates in Japan and US have yet to boost economies.

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Bank of Japan surprised the world by cutting it's already low-interest rates to effectively zero.

The Japanese central bank is trying to boost its weak economy by making it cheaper for its businesses and citizens to borrow. It also hopes that the low-interest rates will cause the value of its currency, the yen, which has been rising recently, up 12% in the past six months alone, to fall. A weaker yen could boost exports by making Japanese goods cheaper to foreigners.  read more »

Ocean guardians: father-son team Ric & Lincoln O'Barry reveal the truth behind dolphin trade in "The Cove" & "Blood Dolphins"

Mammal specialist Richard O'Barry, left, and son Lincoln watch dolphins at an aquarium during his tour to Taiji, Japan.

Taiji, Japan - blood from annual mass dolphin massacre stains the cove red.

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Interview: “Blood Dolphins” Star Lincoln O’Barry

Ric O'Barry has been a leader against the cruelty inflicted upon dolphins since his days working with them during the 1960s television series "Flipper." One of the areas of the world that O'Barry, along with his son Lincoln, have targeted over the past few years is Taiji, Japan where a spot called "The Cove" became the basis of an Academy Award-winning 2009 documentary about their efforts to stop the slaughtering of dolphins. With their new three-part Animal Planet mini-series, "Blood Dolphins," the O'Barrys pick up where "The Cove" left off with the team again trying to save the lives of innocent dolphins from senseless slaughter. Besides Taiji, the men travel to the Solomon Islands, which has been labeled one of the worst areas in the world for killing dolphins for profit. Our Jim Halterman talked with Lincoln O'Barry earlier this week about the dangers of bringing cameras to further document the dolphin trade as well as how one part of the dolphin - its teeth - is viewed in some regions as more valuable than actual currency.

Jim Halterman: Your dad has been involved with saving dolphins for decades and now you're involved with his activism. Was this never a question that this was your path in life?  read more »

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