Friday wag: Animal news roundup 4/22

Sometimes we wonder, if we are living in 2011 in Pennsylvania or 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. A Sunday incident provided yet another example of the latter. Once again a small group apparently peacefully protesting a live pigeon shoot, was attacked by pigeon shoot supporters - all of it captured on video.

What started as name calling and verbal  threats has escalated to armed confrontations and now, assault. "The people who are supposed to be protecting us do not," said Stuart Chaifetz , spokesman for the animal rights group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHark). "It's as if it's ok to harass and attack activists." 

Activist Steve Hindi, founder of the group, and an associate were filming on a public right of way outside of Wing Pointe hunting preserve in Hamburg when two men confronted them. One reached inside a vehicle to hit a woman in a vehicle. In the other incident, Hindi -  reports a man hit him with the metal snap leaving him with a bloody wound on his head. We do not yet know if any charges have been filed against the attackers.

Hindi's efforts to end pigeon hunting in Pennsylvania are supported by a $1 million gift from TV game show host Bob Barker.

Is an end in sight? The state Senate is slated to take a historic vote on legislation banning pigeon shoots on Tuesday following the bill's approval in a Senate committee last week. The National Rifle Association has fired up its opposition campaign, claiming banning pigeon shoots is the first step toward ending hunting in the state. Right.

In other legislative news, Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Phila.) has introduced a bill that would create an animal abuse registry in Pennsylvania. He said he was prompted by the recent major dog fighting raid in Philadelphia. Farnese says with evidence showing animal abusers are repeat offenders and often engage in other crimes, a registry would help law enforcement track these criminals. Suffolk County, NY recently set up a registry after a particularly bad animal abuse case. But no other state currently has such a registry. More from Newsworks here.

What was a camel doing in the middle of a frat partyat the University of Pennsylvania? That's what animal welfare advocates want to know. The camel, Kahn, was among a menagerie brought in from a Bucks County petting zoo as part of an annual "Spring Fling." Witnesses say the camel was surrounded by noisy, drunken students. The university says it is looking into it. More from the Inquirer here.

In other exotic animal news, police shoot a stray (rampaging?) emu in Lancaster County. Why does it seem the only answer authorities can come up with when a wild animal is running at large, injured or orphaned is to pull out a gun and kill it?

Has "the Missouri compromise" cracked? The nation's two largest animal welfare groups, the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA, say they do not support a deal aimed at saving a law to improve conditions in the state's 1,000 puppy mills.

The agreement between Missouri animal welfare groups and groups representing dog breeders and farmers, and Missouri Gov Jay Nixon would preserve many elements of Prop B, the referendum approved by voters in November, including larger cage sizes and mandatory veterinary care. (The state legislature approved a bill gutting the referendum earlier this month.)

But ASPCA attorney Cori Menkin said a number of important provisions are gone, including limiting the number of breeding dogs (the referendum established that limit at 50), banning cage stacking and access to outdoor exercise. She also said the language on flooring was "ambiguous" and could allow wire flooring to continue to be used. Menkin said the ASPCA wants to see the issue decided by voters in a referendum on the Nov. 2012 ballot. More from the St. Louis Post Dispatch here.