November 14, 2012

Urban coyote.     Photo: Dru Bloomfield/Flickr

Coyote Killing Contest to Go Forward

Hunt to take place this weekend

A New Mexico gun shop will go forward with a planned coyote killing contest despite protests from both local residents and out-of-town activists. Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas, a village near Albuquerque, scheduled the event, which rewards the hunter who bags the most coyotes in one weekend. It is scheduled for this weekend, November 17 and 18. An online petition to stop the hunt has gathered more than 28,000 signatures to date. "A contest like this, organized by a business in this town, sends the absolute wrong message about our town," said protester Guy Dicharry of Los Lunas.



An offshore, deepwater drilling platform.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BP Expected to Plead Guilty

Will admit to criminal misconduct in Deepwater Horizon case

BP Plc, the fourth-largest company in the world (2011 revenue was in excess of $300 billion, according to CNN Money), has reportedly reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. In exchange for immunity from future prosecution in this case, the British multinational oil and gas company is expected to plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. "BP has been locked in months-long negotiations with the U.S. government and Gulf Coast states to settle billions of dollars of civil and criminal liability claims resulting from the April 20, 2010, explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and fouled the shorelines of four Gulf Coast states in the worst offshore spill in U.S. history," according to Reuters, which first broke the news of the plea agreement after speaking to two anonymous sources "familiar with discussions." It's still unclear what form of misconduct the company will plead guilty to, but details are expected Thursday.

Via Reuters


    Photo: PoweriPics/Flickr

Livestrong Drops Armstrong From Name

Will now be known as the Livestrong Foundation

For 15 years, since it was founded by celebrity cyclist Lance Armstrong in 1997, the cancer-fighting charity Livestrong has formally been known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF). No more. It was announced today that the charity has formally dropped its founder, the seven-time Tour de France winner, from its name and will be known, simply, as the Livestrong Foundation going forward. The Texas Secretary of State approved the name change on October 30, according to foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane. "The move is the latest of several by the charity to separate itself from its founder, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles," according to the Associated Press. "The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency revealed evidence of performance-enhancing drug use by Armstrong and his teammates." Armstrong stepped down as the chairman of the organization back in mid-October, and formally resigned from the board last week.

Via Associated Press


Swimming horse

Swimming horse.     Photo: cynoclub/Shutterstock

Wild Horse Buyer Under Investigation

May have exported to Mexican slaughter plants

A livestock hauler and proponent of the horse meat industry is under investigation for accusations that he illegally sold protected wild horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Tom Davis, 64, has purchased more than 1,700 wild horses from the Bureau of Land Management, or about 70 percent of all wild horses sold by the government. Under the rules of the sale, designed to protect the animals, the buyers of wild horses are not allowed to sell any for slaughter.

Davis has documentation for about 756 horses, all of which were shipped to towns on the Mexican border in Texas, where Davis insists they found good homes.

Wild horse advocates point out that Davis has repeatedly advocated for opening up the horse meat industry in the U.S., and gives only vague explanations as to what he does with the horses he has bought. "Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt," Davis said in May. "What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?"

Population management for the species has proven difficult for the BLM, with more than 80,000 mustangs ranging over a shrinking habitat in the West. The animals were routinely abused and shipped to dog-food plants before President Nixon passed protective legislation in 1971, and a 2007 law banned commercial horse slaughter.

Via ProPublica


Piper PA-32.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

3 Pilots Killed in Mississippi Plane Crash

Single engine on way to FAA safety conference

Three pilots flying a single-engine plane to a federal aviation safety conference were all killed Tuesday evening when they crashed shortly after takeoff in Jackson, Mississippi. After departing at 5:10 p.m., the pilot requested permission to return to the airport. Minutes later the plane went down. Witnesses described seeing the Piper PA-32 “spitting and sputtering” before crashing into a house and going up in flames. According to fire officials, one person escaped the home with minor injuries while a second is in stable condition at University of Mississippi Medical Center. The plane’s owner, Roger Latham, was supposed to have been on the plane but elected to go on a hunting trip instead. One of the victims on board the plane was John Edward Tilton, Jr., his flight instructor. Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the incident.

Via Associated Press


    Photo: dctim1/Flickr

Scientists Find Hominid Ate Grass

Paleo diet redux

Turns out your aunt who went to Woodstock that one time probably isn’t the world’s first vegetarian. Scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered a hominid species that, some three and a half million years ago, maintained a diet of mostly grass and sedge. Chemical analysis of its teeth discovered that the Central African Australopithecus bahrelghazali, unlike most other hominids, who ate fruit and leaves, may have even evolved to an exclusively grass-and-sedge-based diet. Before this discovery, the two-million-year-old Paranthropus boisei (pictured) was thought to be the oldest grass-eating hominid. 

Via Science News