United Animal Nations announces its first-ever list of "Top Ten Animal Abusers
of the Year. The following are the individuals, companies, government officials namely the people who were responsible for
some of the worst examples of the worst types of animal cruelty during the year 2001.
Our immediate goal in publishing this list is to heighten public awareness of the
magnitude of the animal abuse problem in our nation. Our long-term goal is to encourage compassionate people to get involved
to help end animal abuse. Read our "Top 10 All-Time Types of Animal Abuse" for more on the cruelest forms of animal abuse in the United States and simple suggestions on how you can help the animals
who are suffering at the hands of the abusers.
- Smithfield Foods for
operating one of the largest and most lethal FACTORY FARMS in the United States.
Smithfield is the countrys biggest corporate hog producer, slaughtering
12 million hogs per year from its massive production facilities in North Carolina and other states. In addition to the sheer
volume of animals the company kills, Smithfields hogs have to endure miserable, factory-farm living conditions. Factory farmers
keep pregnant sows confined to metal gestation crates too small to turn around in, and baby piglets are jammed into pens where
theyre fattened until they head to slaughter. What makes Smithfields operation even worse is that the company is growing.
The company is opening new plants in the U.S. and abroad, meaning millions more hogs will likely be born and die in this inhumane
- The Coulston Foundation
for representing all that is ugly about ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION.
The foundation, run by Frederick Coulston, still has
about 300 chimpanzees, including some of the discarded Air Force space chimpanzees, locked up at its research lab in Almagordo,
New Mexico. And thats despite the fact that the federal government has cited the lab ten times -- within the last four years
alone -- for veterinary care and research oversight violations involving the deaths of at least 14 chimpanzees. One of those
chimpanzees was Donna, who died because her keepers failed to notice she was carrying a dead fetus in her womb for weeks.
Coulstons chimpanzees have been used for everything from HIV research to toxicology tests. Animal welfare violations havent
shut him down, but the good news from 2001 is that impending financial difficulties just might.
- BACKYARD BREEDERS AND
IRRESPONSIBLE CAREGIVERS in Valencia County, New Mexico, who have failed to spay or neuter their animals.
Valencia County has one of the highest euthanasia rates
in the country. According to data compiled by the publication Animal People, the community kills about 97 animals for
every 1,000 people residing in the county. That translates into 6,300 dogs and cats per year. The nationwide average is about
17 animals euthanized for every 1,000 residents. People who dont spay or neuter their animals, and who allow them to produce
litter after litter of unwanted puppies and kittens, are the main cause of the burgeoning pet overpopulation problem in the
United States. Valencia County got a new animal control director in late 2001 and she says she plans to promote spay/neuter
programs. Lets hope so for the sake of all the dogs and cats in that community.
- The Utah state officials
for sponsoring coyote contest hunts as part of its PREDATOR CONTROL program.
Utah offers cash and prizes to hunters who bring in
the most coyote tails or ears, the idea being that the slaughter of the coyotes will protect livestock and reduce competition
for hunted game species such as mule deer and elk. However, scientific research has shown that bounties and contests hunts
are ineffective for these purposes and do not result in an overall decrease in coyote populations. (Meanwhile, Utah is ironically
celebrating the coyote and its charisma by including it among the mascots for the upcoming 2002 Winter Games.)
- Mike Gochnauer of Lapalta,
Missouri, for operating a PUPPYMILL where nearly 200 dogs were found stacked in cages and living in deplorable conditions
in June 2001.
Gochnauer was shut down by Missouri officials and charged with animal abuse
and neglect. A local rescue group stepped in to pick up the pieces, which included some dogs who were so sick from mange,
heartworms and other ailments that they were close to death. Missouri, Kansas, Pennsylvania are notorious breeding grounds
for puppymills but the good news is an effort is underway to increase enforcement and inspections under the Animal Welfare
Act, and federal legislation, known as the Puppy Protection Act, is awaiting a vote.
- 777 Ranch in Hondo,
Texas, for running one of the largest and most deadly CANNED HUNT operations
in the United States.
Canned hunt facilities keep animals in a fenced-in environment
so hunters are guaranteed a sure thing when they show up to hunt often for a hefty price tag. 777 Ranch markets itself as
Africa in Texas, and hunters are charged as much as $40,000 to gun down an exotic species such as the Central African bongo,
a rare striped antelope with spiraled horns. Canned hunts are so brutal and cowardly some hunters even find them reprehensible.
Forty states have already banned canned hunts from their borders but unfortunately it will likely be a long time before Texas,
the canned hunt capital of the U.S., heads down that route.
- Ringling Bros. for its
continued use and abuse of CIRCUS animals.
Despite their protestations that theyre the conservation saviors of various
endangered species, Ringling has a miserable record when it comes to actually caring for animals. The company has been cited
by the USDA for failing to provide animals with sufficient space and exercise and for endangering tigers who were nearly baked
alive in a boxcar. In less than two years, two baby elephants in Ringlings care have died, a caged tiger was shot to death,
a horse died during Ringlings traditional animal march and a wild-caught sea lion was found dead in her transport container.
A Ringling trainer was recently on trial for charges he abused an elephant with a metal hook. The trainer was acquitted, but
the case thankfully focused public attention on whats happening behind and not just under -- the big top.
- Bobby Jones of Texas
for breeding gamecocks, or roosters, for COCKFIGHTING matches and for leading the charge against efforts to restrict this
Jones breeds roosters to sell and use in cockfight matches
which he has conceded are brutal, the roosters dicing each other to death with razor-shape blades attached to their claws.
Yet he argues cockfighting is a legitimate hobby and one that he wants to keep legal. Jones spent the last few months of 2001
lobbying against a proposed federal law that would limit interstate transport of gamecocks. Meanwhile, most states have already
banned cockfighting, recognizing it as an outdated and heinous form of animal cruelty. New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana
are the only states that have resisted such legislation due to strong advocacy efforts by breeders.
- Baylor University students
Derek Brehm and Clint Bowers for allegedly committing one of the most violent ANIMAL CRUELTY acts of the year.
Brehm and Bowers were arrested on animal cruelty charges
early in 2001 for allegedly shooting and skinning a stray cat they picked up outside a local restaurant. The cat, named Queso
by restaurant workers because of his propensity to hang around the Mexican eatery, was also beheaded, and its head was found
in the back of Brehms vehicle. Brehm and Bowers are scheduled to be back in court early this year, and there are rumors of
a plea agreement. However, given the known link between violence against animals and violence against humans -- and in memory
of Queso -- animal advocates are pressing for maximum punishment.
- Wyeth-Ayerst for its
continued abuse of tens of thousands of pregnant mares and their baby foals in the production of the menopausal drug PREMARIN.
Premarin, the most commonly prescribed drug in the United
States, is made with estrogens extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. In order to collect the urine, an estimated 35,000
pregnant mares are forced to stand in small stalls, for months on end, with little or no exercise. The fate of the foals born
to these mares is even worse. Most are sold at auctions and then fattened up for slaughter, their meat shipped overseas for
human consumption. Wyeth-Ayerst launched a huge promotional campaign in 2001 in honor of the 60th anniversary of
Premarin. Theyre targeting the millions of baby boomers entering menopause but animal advocates are working hard to spread
the word so women can make the compassionate choice for a cruelty-free alternative.