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Oregon Horse Sues Former Owner for $100K

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A horse named Justice may well get his sweet revenge. The 8-year-old American Quarter Horse and Appaloosa cross is suing his former owner for $100,000 with help from a legal advocacy group for animals, the Oregonian reports. Justice is seeking damages from Gwendolyn Vercher, 51, who was sentenced in July to three years’ probation for first-degree animal neglect. According to court documents, Vercher “denied Justice adequate food and shelter for months, abandoning him to starve and freeze. As a result of this neglect, Justice was left debilitated and emaciated. He continues to suffer from this neglect, including a prolapsed ##### from frostbite.“ Justice’s injuries will apparently require extensive care for the rest of his life, which makes it difficult to find him a home.

Although a horse plaintiff is rare, animals have legally protected rights, according to Sarah Hanneken, one of the attorneys representing Justice for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Victims of crimes can sue their abusers and animals are sentient beings that are recognized as victims under Oregon law,“ she says. “So with that premise, we’ve come to the conclusion that animals can sue their abusers and we’re confident of our stance in this case.“ If Justice prevails, the damages awarded will be deposited into a trust and used to pay for his medical care. Justice now lives at a non-profit horse rescue in Oregon, People reports. If he wins, he might just kick up his heels.

Lion Mauls Man Who Bottle-Fed Him as a Cub

The Free Press WV

The owner of a wildlife park in South Africa is recovering from several lacerations and a broken jaw after a lion attack on Saturday, reports Newsweek. Michael Hodge was investigating a strange smell in the lion’s enclosure at the Marakele Animal Sanctuary, near Thabazimbi; it seemed to be disturbing the animal, reports the Guardian. As Hodge was leaving the enclosure, the lion raced toward him and dragged him to some nearby bushes as visitors screamed and Hodge yelled for help. Hodge was eventually rescued and airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg. The attack was captured in a graphic video that can be viewed HERE.

A spokesperson for the family said in a news release that the lion attacked as Hodge was showing tourists around the sanctuary and that the lion, a large male called Shamba, was killed during the attempt to save Hodge. The family said in a statement that Hodge “is only too aware of the dangers of working with wildlife but they remain his passion,“ and that the family is devastated by the loss of the 10-year-old lion, which they raised from a cub; CBS News notes Hodge bottle-fed a young Shamba. Hodge and his wife, Chrissy, came to South Africa from the UK in 1999, opened a lion project in 2003 and the sanctuary seven years later.

West Virginia’s whitetail hunting season extended to 2019

The Free Press WV

West Virginia wildlife officials have stretched the state’s 2018 whitetail hunting season by creating a new season and extending an existing one.

The new season proposed by Division of Natural Resources officials is called the “Mountaineer Heritage Season.“

It will span from January 10 to January 13, 2019.

It is open to people willing to use primitive weapons including muzzle-loading flintlock rifles or recurve bows.

The officials also proposed splitting the state’s existing archery-and-crossbow season for urban deer into two parts, with one starting in mid-January 2019.

The Natural Resources Commission approved both proposals at a meeting in late April.

Some other changes include splitting wild boar hunting season into two segments and consolidating archery-and-crossbow season for black bears.

Most Fish We Eat Die in a Surprising Way

The Free Press WV

If you’ve recently eaten fish, a story at Topic provides what might be a revelation about how that fish almost certainly died: It asphyxiated, slowly. The story, however, is not a plea for people to stop eating fish. Rather, it explains that advocates are pushing to switch to an old-school Japanese method of killing fish called ike jime that has a one-two punch: The method is not only more humane—the fish are killed in a faster, if “gorier,“ way—but it results in better-tasting fish. That’s because a fish allowed to slowly die over several minutes undergoes physical stressors (a surge in lactic acid, for one) that take a toll on taste. As for ike jime, it involves inserting a spike into the fish’s brain to bring about quick death—and better quality meat. “Last season, a group of fishers in Washington state tried it out, to rave reviews from local chefs,“ writes Cat Ferguson.

The story notes that the general principle is well-known and already applied to bluefin tuna as well as other animals, but the logistics of making it a widespread practice in the fishing industry are daunting. One researcher quoted in the story suggests it could raise the price of fish tenfold. But, he adds, “I can envision a future, maybe 10 or 20 years down the track, where wild fish are so rare maybe it will become a premium product, and people will be willing to pay for a fish that’s wild and killed humanely.“ The story focuses on one advocate hoping to make ike jime tools standard fare in tackle boxes and working with the Ike Jime Federation to make the practice more widespread in regard to Atlantic salmon, for starters. Click for the full piece, which delves into the tricky subject of whether fish feel pain in the same way that humans do.

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