Week of Action Against Circus Suffering

Animal Defenders International needs you to help wild animals who are caged, chained, and confined in circuses across the US.

ADI camel

This week, the Week of Action Against Circus Suffering, groups and individuals across the US will be flooding Congress with calls and emails urging their Representatives to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 4525), a landmark federal bill introduced by Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) that aims to protect elephants, tigers, bears, and other wild animals by prohibiting their use in traveling circuses.

How to help

  • Send an email message to your Representative in Congress (you can look up their contact info here). Keep your message brief and polite, and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, H.R. 4525.
  • Follow up with a quick call to Congress. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative’s office. (Please do not call your Senator at this time as a companion bill in the Senate has not yet been introduced.)
  • We want to hear from you! Please contact ADI and let us know the response you get from your Representative so that we can effectively advance this important legislation.

Tips for calling your Representative:

  • Identify yourself and ask to speak with the staff/aide assigned to issues regarding wildlife and the humane care of animals.
  • Take note of their name and ask the aide to please pass along a message to your Representative that you are encouraging them to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 4525).

You may want to share some examples of why this bill is needed:

  • H.R. 4525 is necessary because no amount of expensive regulation will protect a wild animal in a traveling circus from a life of ongoing physical and social deprivation, nor will regulation protect the public from animal escapes and diseases like TB that can be transmitted from animals to people.
  • Wild animals in traveling circuses endure confinement; long, arduous journeys; brutal control methods and physical violence.
  • Traveling circuses pose a serious threat to public safety. Circus workers and members of the public, including children, have been killed and maimed by circus animals, and lions, tigers and elephants have all escaped.
  • Investigations have revealed circus animals are trained through domination using weapons including bullhooks, whips and electric shocking devices.
  • H.R. 4525 is an important animal protection measure that will relieve an enormous amount of suffering, will save resources and protect people.

ADI elephant

Together, we can work to end the confinement; the long, arduous journeys; the brutal control methods; and the physical violence that wild animals in traveling circuses are forced to endure. No amount of regulation can protect them; only a ban can safeguard their welfare.

ADI will be posting to Facebook all week. Feel free to share the images create your own using ours as a template.

Where do Washington State candidates stand on animal issues?

Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation/Save Washington Pets has created a handy guide listing 81 candidates and their views on animal welfare bills. Have a look at the survey results so you can help influence future legislation.

A total of 265 candidates are running for 123 open seats in the state legislature. The August 5th primary election will narrow this field of candidates to the top two contenders in each competitive race. The top two, and all candidates running unopposed, will move on to the November general election.

Before you vote in the August primary election, consider where the candidates running for office in your district stand on animal welfare issues.

Without animal-friendly candidates elected to our state legislature, it can be nearly impossible to pass legislation that supports animal welfare. It can also be very difficult to stop bills detrimental to animal welfare from becoming law.

Please take a few minutes today to review the results of the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation survey of candidates on animal welfare issues.

The report (PDF) is here. (Please be patient when downloading the file–it’s large.) Look for responses from candidates in your legislative district. Click here to find your legislative district.

Candidates state their positions on several issues, such as:

  • Strengthening the laws defining animal cruelty.
  • Providing police and animal control officers the authority to rescue animals confined in extreme temperatures (e.g., hot cars).
  • Limiting the sale of animals in public places by unlicensed sellers (such as roadside animals sales).

Please use caution in judging candidates who did not respond to the survey.

About two-thirds of the candidates running for state legislative offices did not respond to the survey. Many of the non-respondents are incumbents running for re-election who are known to be strong supporters of animal welfare legislation based on their voting records. Similarly, other non-respondents are known to be less supportive of animal welfare legislation based on voting records. Please contact your candidates directly if you need further information on their positions on any animal welfare issues

Do you have questions on the survey? Contact Rick at rick@savewashingtonpets.org.

Thanks to Save Washington Pets for the info in this post!

India is the First Country to Ban the Import of Foie Gras

With little fanfare, a notice appeared on the Indian Directorate of Foreign Trade’s website on July 3rd, simply stating that the import of foie gras, the “fatty liver” of geese, is now prohibited.  Produced mainly in France, in recent years it had found a place in high-end Indian restaurants. AND…contrary to so much legislation here in the US  that only takes effect in 300 years, this takes effect IMMEDIATELY.

It follows a campaign launched by the activist group Animal Equality, that together with PETA India, also managed to have the extremely cruel bullock cart races and all bull events banned throughout India in May of this year.

Their report to the Indian government included an investigation of a Spanish farm that was supplying liver to Indian restaurants.  The Spanish investigation was one of seven shocking foie gras investigations carried out by the group in 2012-2013 in France and Spain.

While countries such as Israel, Germany and England have banned the production of foie gras, and the U.S. state of California banned its production and consumption in 2012, India is the only country to ban imports.

In 2013 India also banned shows involving any cetaceans throughout the country.

 

 

Wildlife and Wildlands in Danger

(From HSUS)

Wildlife and wildlands are in peril!

Please urge Sen. Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441 and Sen. Patty Murray (202) 224-2621 to oppose the dangerous “Sportsmen’s Act.”

The U.S. Senate will soon be voting on the dangerous “Sportsmen’s Act,” a radical handout to extreme trophy hunting groups.

In a single swoop, this legislation would open millions of acres of public lands–including sensitive Wilderness Areas–to hunting and fur trapping, at the expense of other land users and endangered and threatened species.

It would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from even considering the issue of toxic lead ammunition which poisons wildlife and the environment. And it would permit the latest in a series of import allowances for sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada, encouraging trophy hunters to escalate the killing of threatened species around the globe.

Your senators need to hear from you right now. Please make a brief, polite phone call today to Sen. Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441 and Sen. Patty Murray (202) 224-2621 urging them to oppose S. 2363, the “Sportsmen’s Act.”

For more info and to send a follow-up message, please see the HSUS info online.

Puget Sound area officials are killing Canada Geese‏

(From the Peace for Geese Project)

For the past 13 years, USDA Wildlife Services has been killing Canada Geese in the Puget Sound area, under an agreement with several cities and areas.

geese

The geese are rounded up in parks around Lake Washington and other areas, and gassed to death or shot.  In 2013, nearly 1200 were killed in King County alone.

Humane solutions, including egg addling, use of OvoControl-G (a proven oral birth control method for geese), and sterilization, exist.

Alternately, parks can use other measures, such as landscape modification, goose deterrent products and control techniques, automated devices to clean up goose droppings, and education and public outreach on the need to stop feeding waterfowl in our parks.

The members of the 2014 interlocal agreement to kill geese include Bellevue, Kent, Kirkland, Mountlake Terrace, Port of Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Renton, Seattle Parks and Recreation, SeaTac, Tacoma Metro Parks, Tukwila, Woodinville, and the University of Washington.

What to do:

Please sign the Change.org petition.

Also, please share the petition and like Peace for Geese on Facebook so you can get more updates.

Act Against the USDA’s ANTI-Wildlife Services

In June, Wildlife Services released a 655-page report in which it acknowledged killing over four million animals last year. This total includes over 75,000 coyotes, 420 black bears, 3,700 foxes, 12,200 prairie dogs, as well as beavers, wolves, mountain lions, otters, , ferrets, birds, and other animals.  It’s a secretive, wasteful, ineffective and cruel war on wildlife. One they need to not only continue but grow.  One that, fyi, you are largely financing.

Bear in mind that these four million animals are not only shot (and we know how often that is NOT a quick death) from land and from the air, but also trapped, burned and poisoned — methods that cause hours/days of agony before death , and the deaths of countless other non-target (and non-reported) animals.  In addition, I think we have probably all seen appalling news stories and videos about Wildlife Services employees routinely practising extreme cruelty, leaving animals to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes for fun, and even brutalizing domestic dogs.

coyotrap

It is also good to remember that while all of these animals were killed because they were somehow inconveniencing humans, a large number died specifically because they were inconveniencing humans producing meat – so many that Wildlife Services has been termed a subsidy for the livestock industry.

Wildlife Services operates with little public oversight and few rules requiring that it use the best available science, non-lethal methods, or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals — or even the suffering of target animals. There is a growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, to change this. Let’s add to it.

Tom Vilsack                                                                                                                           Secretary of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
AgSec@usda.gov

Act now to help Watoto

Watoto is an elephant at Woodland Park Zoo. The Zoo is planning to send her to another impoverished zoo exhibit and she needs your help!

Ignoring science, the media and public opinion, the Zoo announced their plan to send Watoto to another zoo.

Watoto the elephant, caged and alone
Watoto suffers at Woodland Park Zoo and needs a sanctuary, not another subpar zoo.

1) Come to the July 14 City Council meeting

What: Seattle City Council meeting.
When: Monday, July 14th, 1:30pm
Where: Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104.

Meet in front of City Hall on 4th Ave.

Free t-shirts will be provided with the message: Seattle Watoto Sanctuary

RSVP: Email Friends of Woodland Park Elephants letting them know if they should order a t-shirt for you.

2) Please email to ask that Watoto be sent to a sanctuary.

Write a polite email to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray today. Simply say, “Send Watoto to a Sanctuary” or include these points:

  • A majority of citizens want the elephants retired to a sanctuary.
    Since the zoo is moving Watoto, we’re asking that the Zoo honor our values and send her to a sanctuary.
  • Woodland Park Zoo has received $100 million taxpayer dollars from the City and King County since 2002 making the welfare of Watoto all of our responsibility.
  • Twenty-seven zoos have closed or will close their elephant exhibits; let us join those progressive enlightened Zoos.

Addresses for your mail: Ed.murray@seattle.gov; Jean.Godden@seattle.gov; Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov; Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov; Sally.Clark@seattle.gov; Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov; Nick.Licata@seattle.gov; Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov; Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov; Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov

Be assured we will never give up on Bamboo and Chai but Watoto needs your help NOW.

Please cross post widely and check out the Free Woodland Park Zoo Elephants site for more information.

DxE action in San Francisco

Visiting Animal Activists – DxE

Animal liberation group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) will be stopping by Seattle on their West Coast tour this July. The first day the organizers from the East Bay Area chapter of DxE will speak about the origins of the network, its organizing principles and its current campaigns. This will also be a place for discussion, where we will trade ideas and hear about the struggles and campaigns that Seattle is involved with.

The second day of their tour will be a day of action, where they will collectively plan and implement actions at different locations across the city with those who want to get involved based on what they learned during the first day.

DxE action in San Francisco
DxE action in San Francisco

The purpose of the tour is to strengthen the network and relationships with activist communities through face-to-face interaction. As part of the “network” in NARN, we are excited to learn from activists doing new things and figure what can be applied in Seattle.

Please join DxE, NARN, and your local animal liberation community for this event before you head out for any giant vegan BBQ potlucks. This will be a great way to really kick off the Seattle summer! If you are unsure about DxE, anti-corporate activism, civil disobedience, humane myth-busting, or any part of their campaign, this is a great time to learn more.  Free of course!

Seattle Stop of the Direct Action Everywhere West Cost Tour
Day 1: July 4, 2014
12:00-2:00 pm
Black Coffee Coop
501 E Pine St, Seattle, Washington 98122
RSVP on Facebook or just show up: https://www.facebook.com/events/294618630711332/

Day 2: July 5, 2014
Time and location to be announced

 

Sea Shepherd Targets the Taiji of the North

It seems that the entire world should now be aware of the carnage of dolphins in a bay filled with their own blood in Taiji, Japan. It is less widely known that the Danish Faroe Islands — just 200 miles from Scotland — host their own annual cetacean slaughter.

grindadrap (2)

Much like in Taiji, the hunt starts when fishing boats sight a pod of whales or dolphins, and drive them into a bay.   However, in the Faroe Islands, 23 different bays are used, not just one (which makes sabotaging or even just recording the hunts much more difficult). Every member in the pod is driven or pulled onto the beach with ropes and using a blunt hook in their blowhole. Then they are hacked to death.  Faroese citizens take part and rush into the water to join in the slaughter, sparing no one, not mothers, babies, or pregnant females.

In allowing this to continue, Denmark is in violation of three conventions it has signed vowing to do everything in its capacity to protect pilot whales – the Bern Convention, Bonn Convention and ASCOBANS. Pilot whales are classified as “strictly protected” under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.  Even harassing whales and dolphins is a crime in Europe.

The Faroe Islanders have one of the highest standards of living in the world, so the slaughter of entire pods of small cetaceans is not to provide jobs for ‘starving subsistence fishermen’, nor to satisfy the unconscionable demand for performers at marine parks, nor even to feed hungry mouths.  Faroese health officials have condemned pilot whale meat as unsafe for human consumption (due to mercury, PCBs, dioxins and DDT derivatives); especially as Faroese children already show higher levels of poisonous mercury than anyone else in the world. The annual Faroese ‘hunt’ — called the Grindadrap or Grind — still takes place because it is apparently considered ‘traditional fun’.

unborn pilot whale
Unborn Pilot whale calves are cut out of their mothers’ murdered bodies 
(Undercover images credit: Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd – 2010)

Sea Shepherd has been disrupting the Grind since 1983, in spite of considerable violence against them.  Video footage they obtained has provided the basis for several documentaries. Sea Shepherd’s Operation Grindstop this year will include calling the Danish government to task for providing EU subsidies and loans to the Faroe Islands which openly flaunt European laws protecting cetaceans, and working to gain direct support from members of the European Parliament. Sea Shepherd is also researching the possibility of creating a defensive wall of sound outside the Grind coves to deter migrating cetaceans. Efforts are being made to identify the Faroese fishing vessels used in Grind hunts, as well as their owners, for the purposes of  naming and shaming them as well as having them blacklisted as EU fish suppliers.  Sea Shepherd also intends to further publicize the fact that the Faroe Islanders kill hundreds of dolphins as well as pilot whales. For this reason the logo for Operation Grindstop 2014 features both a pilot whale and a dolphin (see below). It is to be hoped that all this will have a detrimental effect on the Faroese tourist industry.

grindadrap

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if one Faroe Islander stood alone on the beach of a Grind cove and held out his arms and shouted, “NO MORE!”

Tony the Tiger STILL Languishing in Louisiana

 Some of you have probably already heard of Tony.  He is a Siberian-Bengal tiger who has spent the last 13 years in a crappy chainlink cage at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana.                                                      Take just a moment to think of what you have done in the last 13 years.  Take another to think of what tigers would normally do in 13 years.                                                                                                                                           He hasn’t done anything.

Tony the tiger

Incredibly, the Louisiana Senate Bill 250 presently pending was specifically designed to allow Michael Sandlin, owner of the truck stop, to continue his miserable exhibition of Tony — this despite the fact that Tony’s captivity was declared illegal by a state court of appeal, AND despite the fact that Sandlin has repeatedly violated federal law by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and safe and sanitary housing and by handling that causes undue stress/ trauma. The Louisiana legislature should be ashamed of itself — but obviously isn’t — for creating a loophole to skirt its own state’s animal-protection laws.

SO…unless Governor Bobby Jindal vetoes the bill, Tony’s fate is sealed. It is URGENT, therefore, that we all contact the governor as quickly as possible, by phone (225-342-7015 or 866-366-1121),  fax (225-342-7099), by letter (P.O. Box 94004, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004), or by email (http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor),  to ask him to VETO SB 250.  I have listed these in order of importance, although of course best of all is to do ALL OF THEM.

It is bad enough that Tony has had to languish in appalling conditions on reeking cement for 13 years; it would be heartbreaking to know that for lack of effort, he would never know anything else.  For however much time he has left, he should know grass, water, running, climbing trees, and being able to make simple decisions about his own life.  Please … do it now: ask Governor Jindal to veto SB250.

Action alerts, news, tips, stories, and resources for Animal Advocates in the NW