WORLD NEWS: Cloning, Dog Shows & Children at Bullfights (3/3/18)


In this episode of Animal People World News, find out…

  • How dog shows like Westminster can be harmful for dogs
  • What Canada’s new bill means for cetaceans in captivity
  • Why Chile and Seychelles’ new parks are good news for wildlife
  • What the first cloning of primates could mean for animal research
  • How England plans to prevent cruelty in slaughterhouses
  • Why the United Nations is taking a stand against bullfighting


Research by Kim Rogers Bartlett
Writing & editing by Wolf Gordon Clifton
Presentation by Aubrie Rose Keegan & Wolf Gordon Clifton
Theme music: “Praetor,” courtesy Ross Bugden


Greetings! I’m Wolf…

…And I’m Aubrie…

…reporting for Animal People World News!


The 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, one of the world’s most prestigious dog shows, was held on February twelfth and thirteenth. A Bichon Frise named Flynn was awarded Best in Show, with other awards being granted in specific breed groups such as Hound, Working, and Terrier.

Dog shows such as Westminster involve a range of animal protection concerns. Breeds, unlike species, do not exist in nature, and selective breeding of animals to produce specific features can result in harmful genetic consequences. For example, Bichons, this year’s Best in Show, are vulnerable to skin allergies and cataracts. Pugs, one of whom won top place in the Toy Group, often suffer breathing problems due to their flattened noses. One out of five Sussex Spaniels, the winning breed in the Sporting Group, have a metabolic disorder called PDH deficiency that can cause death from mild exercise.

By glamorizing pedigree dogs, dog shows also spur public demand for specialty breeds, creating business for private breeders. This includes puppy mills, mass breeding operations with little if any regard for the welfare of the dogs. U.S. federal law allows puppy mills to keep animals in wire cages only six inches larger than their bodies, without exercise or regular human interaction, and permits the killing of “spent” females and unwanted puppies. Only twenty-nine out of fifty states have any additional laws regulating commercial breeding. Meanwhile, approximately one and a half million dogs and cats in need of homes are put to sleep in shelters every year.

However, it bears mention that the Westminster Dog Show itself has been a major supporter of animal shelters and dog rescue projects over the years, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In 2011, Westminster opened up its agility competition to mixed breed dogs, although the main show still only accepts purebred dogs, who are judged according to standards for their breed.

On February nineteenth, the first ever American Rescue Dog Show aired on the Hallmark Channel, establishing an alternative to Westminster supporting rescues instead of breeders. The top prize went to a senior Labrador mix named Jackie, with $25,000 going to her sponsoring organization A Purposeful Rescue. Jackie also won Best in Senior Dog. Other prizes were awarded to pure and mixed-breed dogs alike, in categories including Best in Special Needs, Best in Fetching, Best in Underbite, and Best in Wiggle Butt.


Canada will permanently ban the capture of wild whales, dolphins, or porpoises to be kept in captivity, as part of a bill overhauling the country’s fisheries. The bill would allow exceptions for the rescue and rehabilitation of wild cetaceans in need of medical care. Another bill, currently under consideration by the Senate, would ban all breeding or display of cetaceans for commercial purposes, imposing penalties of up to two hundred thousand Canadian dollars.

Although no wild cetaceans have been captured from Canadian waters since 1992, Canadian aquariums and marine parks have in more recent years imported wild-caught animals from other countries. Marineland in Niagara Falls currently holds twenty-nine wild-caught cetaceans, the youngest of whom, a beluga named Acadia, was born in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk in 2008. In January, the Vancouver Aquarium announced that it would no longer keep cetaceans in captivity, making Marineland the last remaining facility in Canada to display the animals for entertainment.


The nations of Chile and Seychelles both recently announced the creation of huge new protected wilderness areas. More than forty thousand square kilometers of South American forest and grassland, and two hundred thousand square kilometers of marine habitat in the Indian Ocean, will now be set aside for the protection of wildlife.

Chile’s new Patagonia National Park system consists largely of land bought and donated by the charity Tompkins Conservation, much of which had previously been used for livestock farming. It encompasses mountain, forest, grassland, and wetland habitat, and is home to numerous unique species of wild animal. These include vizcachas, a chinchilla-like rodent, guanacos or wild llamas, armadillos, burrowing owls, flamingos, and the endangered huemul deer, puma, Andean condor, the ostrich-like Lesser Rhea, and fish inanga and perch. Visitors are encouraged, but hunting, fishing, littering, and lighting fires are all prohibited.

Off the east coast of Africa, Seychelles’ two new Marine Protected Areas were created through a deal with The Nature Conservancy, which bought a portion of the country’s national debt in exchange for protecting ocean habitat. Within the protected area around Mahe island, fishing and oil extraction will be restricted, while around the Aldabra archipelago they will be banned entirely. Seychellois waters are home to dolphins, manta rays, and endangered dugongs, sea turtles, and sharks. The protected areas also include islands home to giant tortoises and seabird nesting colonies.


The world’s first cloned monkeys have been born at a laboratory in China. Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, both female crab-eating macaques, were born nine days apart in November and December. A third clone, Meng Meng, is due this month.

Not counting twins, Zhong and Hua are the first true primate clones born alive. All previous attempts had resulted in miscarriages, leading some to conclude that cloning primates was impossible. Carrying the monkeys to term required chemically altering the cell nuclei used to create them. In theory, this same technique could be used to clone human beings in the future.

There are currently no legal welfare standards for animal research in China. However, the Shanghai-based Institute of Neuroscience, where the monkeys were cloned, claims to follow the same ethical guidelines as U.S. laboratories. The scientists argue that cloning will reduce the number of primates used in research, since large numbers of test subjects will no longer be needed to control for genetic variance. On the other hand, the very process of cloning usually involves numerous animal deaths. The same experiments that produced Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua also produced twenty-four miscarriages, and two unhealthy infants who died shortly after birth.

Macaques are among humans’ closest relatives outside the ape family. Wild crab-eating macaques have complex matriarchal societies, and are known to use stone tools. Macaques possess empathy and altruism, choosing in experiments to starve rather than inflict electric shocks on others. They can also learn to recognize themselves in a mirror, a sign that they are self-aware.

Crab-eating and Rhesus macaques are the primate species most often used in research. More than fifty thousand are born in Chinese farms every year, many of whom are exported to laboratories in the United States and Europe. Despite the purported ethical benefits of cloning primates instead of breeding them, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua will themselves be sent to a breeding farm as adults.


The United Kingdom’s House of Lords is considering draft legislation to require cameras in slaughterhouses. The bill was laid on February twenty-third by Environmental Secretary Michael Gove, and if passed will take effect this May. All slaughterhouses in England will have six months to install closed circuit television cameras, which will document the handling and killing of animals. Government veterinarians will have ninety days to inspect all footage for welfare violations. Practices considered cruel under U.K. law include subjecting animals to extreme heat or cold, causing them to slip or fall, stunning without first restraining them, or butchering an animal who is still conscious.

A government survey conducted last August found that ninety-nine percent of respondents favored cameras in slaughterhouses, including animal protection groups, veterinarians, farmers, and the general public alike. Industry bodies and slaughterhouse operators were the only groups that did not overwhelmingly support the measure. If passed, the new requirement will apply only within England, and will not protect animals slaughtered in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.


The United Nations has taken a stand against bullfighting, urging Spain to protect its children from exposure to the bloodsport. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recently determined that the violence of bullfighting could be psychologically damaging for children to witness, and advised the Spanish government to prohibit anyone under eighteen from attending or participating in bullfights. Spain is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has stated that it will consider the committee’s recommendations, although it has yet to pass specific legislation.

Banning minors from bullfighting would strike a major blow against the practice, which relies on the early indoctrination of youth. Bullfighters traditionally begin at a young age, with Spanish academies currently accepting students fourteen and up. In parts of Latin America, children as young as five are sometimes recruited, getting their start as matadors in organized calf killing competitions.

The Mexican state of Baja California recently banned minors from participating in either bullfighting or cockfighting. In France, a government proposal to ban children under fourteen from bullfights is currently under review.

These are just a few of countless issues affecting animals worldwide. To learn more, and to share your own perspective, visit the Animal People Forum. Also check out our Patreon page to learn how you can help support the production of future episodes.

Thank you for your support, and for helping to create a kinder world for all living creatures!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Author

ANIMAL PEOPLE is an animal rights charitable organization dedicated to the principle that animals’ lives have intrinsic value apart from human interests. We believe there is an urgent need to cultivate human compassion for the other creatures with whom we share the earth. To that end, ANIMAL PEOPLE seeks to further animal advocacy by providing a global forum in which people who care about animals can speak and be heard. Click to see author's profile.

Leave A Reply