The US first used dogs in war in the early 1800s. (Pit bulls were used as protection and couriers during the Civil War!) Approximately 5,000 dogs were used by American forces during the Vietnam War, and were credited with saving over 10,000 lives. In spite of this, around 3,000 of them were abandoned to terrible fates when the US pulled out. In 2000, President Clinton signed a law that allowed military dogs to be adopted after their service instead of euthanized. Now…finally… thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed, military dogs are henceforth no longer “military equipment”, to be left behind in foreign lands, but military veterans. Regardless where you stand on the use of dogs (who are not volunteers) in wars (that they didn’t start), this is surely the very least we owe them.
The coalition group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected managed to mobilize more than two thousand volunteers to gather enough signatures to put the issue of a wolf hunting season on the ballot in November. Required were 161,305 signatures, and they only had 67 days instead of the usual 90, but they gathered 253,705. The most common response was “THANK YOU for what you are doing.”
This shows the state’s legislators that they were wrong to approve a wolf-hunting bill last year, and it means all plans for a wolf-hunting season are on hold until Michigan voters — not politicians — make a decision at the ballot box in November of next year.
Collecting signatures is no one’s idea of a good time. But those volunteers knew they were all that stood between Michigan’s wolves and the bloody images we all carry in our minds. And signature by signature, they got over a quarter of a million in two months, and they did it in the subfreezing dead of a Michigan winter.
Where you just point blank refuse to countenance injustice and cruelty, there IS a way.
About 9 months ago, Bobby Joe McConnell, 47, of South Carolina duct-taped the legs and muzzles of three dogs belonging to his daughter and mother-in-law and threw them into a canal. Only one, a lab named Dara, was rescued in time; the two others drowned. McConnell has just been sentenced to TEN YEARS in jail for this — a far cry from the nothing-to-a-few-months sentences animal abusers have often received. His attorney said he was a good guy who was just high on alcohol and drugs that day. (Wow — maybe alcohol/drugs would be more tightly regulated if people knew they turned users into serial killers.) Judge Hyman, however, said McConnell’s actions were “the product of an evil heart” and he handed down the MAXIMUM sentence for the two dogs, which is 5 years each, consecutively, and a $10,000 fine, half of which is to go to the organization caring for the lone survivor, Dara. His sentence is reflective of tightening animal abuse laws nationwide. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s annual report on animal protection laws shows that 75% of all states have improved their laws over the past year — some, like Mississippi, significantly. (At present, the state with the toughest animal abuse laws and penalties is Illinois, and the state with the weakest is Kentucky. Washington comes in 6th-best.)
Personally I think regression to an-eye-for-an-eye justice in the case of animal abuse would deal with the problem a lot more equitably and quickly, but I cannot always have my own way.
Lucky elephant San Antonio ZooFollowing the death of the elephant Queenie, In Defense of Animals (IDA) is calling on the San Antonio Zoo to retire the one surviving elephant at the zoo, and permanently close its elephant exhibit.
The zoo euthanized Queenie on March 10th, reportedly due to a health problem. This leaves Lucky, a 53-year-old female Asian elephant, alone once again. Lucky had lived alone prior to Queenie’s arrival, following the death of another elephant.
Please write brief, polite letters to the zoo’s director, Steve McCusker, and the Mayor of San Antonio.
Ask Mr. McCusker to act in Lucky’s best interests before it’s too late. Urge him to make the compassionate decision to retire Lucky to a spacious, natural-habitat environment where she can live her remaining years in the company of other elephants.
Mr. Steve McCusker, Executive Director
San Antonio Zoo
3903 N. St. Mary’s Street
San Antonio, TX 78212-3199
phone (210) 734-7184
fax (210) 734-7291
If your email directed to Mr. McCusker is returned, please resend to:
Urge Mayor Castro to exert his influence over the San Antonio Zoo to persuade the zoo to take immediate action to ensure that Lucky is sent to a more appropriate environment that can better address her needs. After more than five decades at the zoo, Lucky deserves to be retired to a spacious, natural-habitat environment in the company of other elephants.
Mayor Julián Castro
P.O. Box 839966
San Antonio, TX 78283
phone: 210) 207-7060
fax: (210) 207-4168
Shark Dies During Filming of an Ad for Kmart
Though the American Humane Association (AHA) certified the shoot and had a representative present, the shark showed signs of stress as actors jumped in and out of the pool where the shark was being held. Despite receiving adrenaline injections and oxygen, the shark died after being removed from the outdoor pool.
Kmart reportedly requested another shark after the first one died; the production company refused.
Karen Rosa, Sr. Advisor for AHA’s Film & Television Unit, told Reuters, “We honestly don’t know why the animal died. It was not being mistreated. It was not being harmed.”
This is just one more tragic example of how unsuitable and dangerous a production set is for captive wild animals.
A white-tipped shark has died of apparent stress while being used to film a Kmart advertisement in Southern California. Tell Kmart to stop using wild animals in all future advertisements.
Director, Corporate Public Relations
Sears Holdings (Kmart’s parent company)
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
Media Relations, Sears Holdings
We at the Northwest Animal Rights Network are shocked to learn of a recent incident at the Woodland Park Zoo that involved the death of a monkey due to apparent improper handling by zoo staff. An internal email was leaked by a zoo employee to In Defense of Animals — an international organization we have worked with in previous campaigns — who then reported the information. According to the zoo employee, a male patas monkey suffered grave injuries several weeks ago when zoo staff, reportedly operating against the advice of keepers, captured the monkey with a net. An internal email dated March 2, 2013, obtained by IDA, confirms the monkey suffered a severe compound leg fracture, a traumatic brain injury, and extensive bruising. Zoo staff reportedly placed the injured monkey in a kennel following capture, yet despite his serious injuries, the monkey languished in the kennel alone for an estimated two hours without medical attention or medication to alleviate his pain. A veterinarian eventually euthanized the monkey.
Obviously any case of animal abuse is disturbing, but this has far more serious implications as the zoo employee stated that the monkey would be alive today if proper procedures had been followed. Due to apparent negligence and the failure to adhere to policies concerning the welfare of animals, he suffered painful and life-threatening injuries and was left alone to languish without medical attention for a substantial amount of time.
The IDA has subsequently submitted a complaint to the USDA, stating that this reported incident may violate multiple provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including improper handling of an animal and failure to provide adequate veterinary care.
“The last hours of this monkey’s life were full of terror and pain, as evidenced by information received from the zoo employee and the internal email detailing the monkey’s injuries. This reported case demonstrates a disturbing lack of respect, empathy, and compassion for a vulnerable animal and raises the question of whether other similar cases at the Woodland Park Zoo never see the light of day,” said IDA spokesperson Nicole Meyer. “IDA is asking the USDA to conduct a thorough investigation and to hold zoo staff accountable for this alleged incident.”
We at NARN also urge the USDA to investigate this report and to hold the zoo accountable as well, and we will provide updates about the complaint from the USDA as to what actions, if any, occur as a result. We will also work with IDA for any further actions concerning this incident.
We’ve been planning some great content for the upcoming Animal Activism 101 session April 21, and thought now would be a great time to share some recommended reading. If you are interested in the whys and hows of getting active for animals, or are looking to augment your activism or animal rights knowledge, we recommend three books:
Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism by by Mark Hawthorne (Dec 20, 2007). This book is perfect for getting a handle on exactly WHAT one can do to spread veganism or fight animal exploitation in ways that truly can work. It covers the basics from leafleting, letter writing, tabling, protests, and outreach all the way through corporate campaigning, multimedia, and direct action. Mark also offers a great chapter on legal issues and another on caring for yourself as an activist. Each area he provides a success story of the practice in action and solid “how to” information. Make this your first stop from your couch to world changer.
Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change by Nick Cooney (Dec 1, 2010). This book answers the questions that so many activists and non-profit folks ask: what is the MOST effective action to take or way to behave to make the most impact. Nick synthesizes research from Behavioral Economics and Psychological disciplines to explain how humans act (both rationally and irrationally) to information and other people. If you really want help animals today and into the future and want to make your demonstrations, letters, outreach, leafleting, fundraising, or blogging more effective and meaningful, pick up this book.
The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way by Hillary Rettig (Nov 15, 2006). This book is for those of you who are getting worn down or discouraged AND for those of you just getting started. Be proactive about your own psychological and emotional health and learn about managing your mission, your fears, and your relationships with others. Don’t let burn out end your efforts to change the world. The world needs you. The animals need you. We need you!
And some even better news: if you life in the Seattle area, can you check out the first two books, for free, from the Vegan Haven lending library (call ahead to see if they are available, they are popular titles). All three are available through the Seattle Public Library system, but are often checked out, so reserve a copy soon! If you want to have your very own copy, so you can write notes and keep them handy, have Left Bank Books, Elliot Bay Book Co, or Vegan Haven order you a copy.
Already read these three? Here are some other titles to consider for your bedside table. Tell us what you think of them or recommend some others for us on Facebook!
- The Animal Activist’s Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today’s World (2009)
- For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States (2006)
- Muzzling a Movement: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism Law, Money, and Politics on Animal Activism (2010)
- Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat (2013)
- Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation (2008)
- How to Change the World in 30 Seconds: A Web Warrior’s Guide to Animal Advocacy Online (2013)
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
…than oppose SSB 5187. This is legislation that would allow owners of farm or domestic animals to just go out and kill wolves whenever — no need to try non-lethal methods first, no need to even obtain permission. It has already passed the Senate. PLEASE make a quick, polite call to your state representative (if you don’t know name and number, check here). All you need to say is ‘Please oppose SSB 5187 and protect wolves in Washington’. Many people don’t like making these calls, but make yourself do it; it achieves a lot. You will be talking to a secretary, volunteer, or answering machine, and it will be quick and easy. Then, take 30 more seconds and fill in and submit this form as a follow-up.
I just did these things and it actually took THREE minutes. GO!
Save Washington State’s Wolves
Wolves were once native to Washington and are now making a comeback. With the return of this magnificent species, a “State Wolf Conservation and Management Plan” was developed using an extensive public process that took five years.
Two bills now pending in the Washington legislature would gut the plan and turn over wolf-management and killing authority to county officials and sheriffs who are simply not qualified to make decisions about endangered wolves.
Tell your State Senator to OPPOSE S.B. 5188 and S.B. 5193.
Find your Washington State Senator: