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Weekly News Roundup 10/11 to 10/17

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Almost 700 scientists criticize the EPA’s plans to stop animal testing

Almost 700 US scientists have signed an open letter criticizing what it calls the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “appalling” decision to eliminate all mammal study funding by 2035. The letter, signed by 695 US-based scientists at the time of publication, calls on the agency’s administrator Andrew Wheeler to withdraw a directive to prioritize efforts to reduce animal testing. It is published by an international advocacy group called Speaking of Research, which it says aims to provide “accurate information” about the importance of animal research. In text calling for scientists to sign its letter, the group says: “We must hold our public officials accountable in fulfilling their charges to protect human and environmental (including animal) health.” . . . more

Trio of studies raise alarm on rabbit welfare

Teeth grow up through jaws, puncturing eye sockets. Maggots form in body cavities, killing their host. A fungus-like invader infects blood, damaging the central nervous system. These are not freak or unfortunate occurrences suffered by rabbits only in the wild. They are conditions faced by pet rabbits that three new studies published in the UK suggest are occurring on a large scale. One of the papers indicates, for the first time, a predilection among the general public for brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, which are more prone to excruciating dental conditions. Another study finds that rabbits with floppy ears are more at risk of serious illness, including deafness and dental problems. . . . more

Cat litter rivals pounce on new shipping strategies

Litter companies worked to make their products fresher, less dusty, and easier to clean. Now they are chasing a new goal: moving those products more cheaply. The more-than-$2-billion market for litter is a lucrative piece of the fast-growing pet industry because it is essential to owning an indoor cat, and owners are willing to pay more for advances that cut down on the smell and hassle involved in keeping feline-friendly homes clean. Leading brands promise to contain the smell of multiple cats, slide easily from the box during cleaning, and prevent litter from being tracked through the home, among other claims. But the high cost of producing, shipping, and delivering the heavy product has vexed both manufacturers and retailers, particularly as consumers increasingly prefer online shopping and home delivery. . . . more

Dog missing for 12 years reunited with owner after being found 1,130 miles away

If dogs could talk, Dutchess would have quite the story to tell. The 14-year-old toy fox terrier was reunited with her Florida-based owner on Friday after disappearing 12 years ago. The pup was found more than 1,000 miles away from home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to Humane Animal Rescue, Dutchess was found under a shed on Monday. She was hungry, shivering, and needed a nail trim. The rescue center used Dutchess’ microchip to locate her owner, Katheryn Strang, who drove roughly 1,130 miles from Boca Raton to Pittsburgh to reunite with her long-lost pet. . . . more

California governor blocks overhaul of state’s dog blood donor rules, saying it doesn’t go far enough

California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill Sunday that would have brought new oversight of California’s dog blood industry, which supplies veterinary hospitals with lifesaving products for pets in the state, saying the proposal approved by lawmakers didn’t go far enough. Instead, Newsom said he wants legislators to send him a bill that would phase out the use of “closed colonies,” in which dogs are “kept in cages for months and years to harvest their blood for sale.” Under Senate Bill 202, California would have joined the rest of the country in allowing dog owners to volunteer their pets to donate blood while continuing to allow closed colonies to operate. With the veto, the state will continue to require that veterinarians purchase blood products solely from companies that house donor animals for the purpose of drawing their blood every 10 to 14 days. . . . more