Down on the Deer Farm
The billion-dollar deer-farming industry in America produces generations of bucks growing progressively larger racks of antlers mainly for eventual bragging rights by the so-called “hunters” who will pay large fees to kill them in fenced-in fields just so they can hang the grotesque antlers in their dens. Even before the farm-raised deer are stalked (reported The Indianapolis Star in March in its multipart investigation), bucks’ necks habitually slump from the weight of the freakish antlers. Most states allow such “hunting,” and in some, the activity is lightly regulated, lacking the safety rules and more-humane conditions required by open-forest hunting laws and agriculture protocols. The Indianapolis Star also highlighted several captive-deer diseases that doctors still worry might jump species to humans (as “mad cow” disease did).
Stories That Never Get Old: Dayton, Ohio, bus driver Rickey Wagoner, 49, survived a three-bullet shooting in February that, police said, was probably a gang initiation that randomly targeted him as he worked on his bus’s engine. A police sergeant told the Dayton Daily News that Wagoner “should probably not be here” and survived the attack only because two of the bullets were blocked by a copy of “The Message” (a contemporary version of the Bible) in Wagoner’s shirt pocket.
The most recent “monument” offered by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would be its proposed 10-foot tombstone along U.S. 129 in Gainesville, Ga., to honor the “several” chickens that were killed when a truck overturned in January. No humans were hurt in the collision, and had the chickens survived, they would have shortly been slaughtered. (The Georgia Department of Transportation rejected the proposal.)
Allowing dogs as “witnesses” in court cases in France has become “something of a recent trend,” reported the Paris edition of the European news site
The Local in April. A 9-year-old Labrador retriever (Tango) took the witness stand in the city of Tours so the judge could observe how he reacted to the defendant, on trial for killing the dog’s owner. (For due process of law, a second dog, Norman, took the stand later, as a “control group.”) Ultimately, the judge said he learned nothing from the dogs and dismissed them.
Not an Urban Legend: (1) A county official in Portland, Ore., said his office gets “20 to 30 calls” about rats in toilets every year, like the one Daniel Powers reported in March when he spotted the “little guy with beady eyes” looking up at him. (2) The problem is more severe in India, where an emergency crew rushed to the Mumbai-area home of Vipul Desai in February to remove a 6-foot-long cobra from the toilet (but not before it “repeatedly” popped its head out of the commode, terrorizing Desai’s wife and daughter). A team from a wildlife rescue association flooded the toilet, grabbed the snake and released it in the forest.