Animal Crush Videos = Freedom of Speech

I have to warn you, this made me gasp out loud in DISBELIEF.

In Texas this week, US District Judge Sim Lake threw out charges against the Houston monster couple below, Ashley Richards and Brent Justice. They were arrested (in part due to great work by a local activist) and accused of violating the federal “animal crush video” law by filming and distributing sex fetish videos depicting the torture of puppies, kittens, rabbits and other animals. In one of the videos, Richards tortured a pit bull puppy. She duct-taped its mouth, cut its back leg with a meat cleaver, slit its throat and finally cut off its head. She also stomped on a kitten and ground her shoe heel into its eye socket.Ashley Nicole Richards and Brent Justice allegedly created and distributed violent sex fetish videos — animal snuff films - that depicted the torture of puppies, kittens, rabbits, and other animals.

The 2010 statute outlaws “any photograph, motion picture, film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that: (1) depicts actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury; and (2) is obscene.”

This case was the first prosecution under that statute. But Judge Lake said that the law is unconstitutional and “abridges the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.” (PETA spokesperson Stephanie Bell said “The new crush law was drafted specifically to protect animals from this type of heinous cruelty without violating free speech rights.”)

Lake’s ruling is being appealed.

Criminalize Ag-Gag Laws – petition needs 93,000 more signatures by May 1st!

Criminalize Ag-Gag Laws

Pigs, chickens, cows and turkeys are being stomped, electroshocked, kicked, pitchforked, punched, skinned, burned…and a lot more….as you are reading this. It happens while you sleep, eat, drive to work, watch movies, relax. It happens unceasingly. Not everyone thinks it’s OK, and the videos/photos/proof brought out of those factory farms have won some significant victories. Ag-gag laws criminalize undercover work. Let’s be really clear: these laws, that are now in place in FIVE STATES and pending in many others, do nothing to improve conditions for the animals — on the contrary. They free farmers to commit the most atrocious acts of cruelty on a regular basis because no one will ever see them. This is also a food safety issue, not that I care ONE DUST MOTE about that. Under these Ag-gag laws, it is not the crime that is illegal, but bringing the crime to light.
This petition goes to the White House and must be answered.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/criminalize-ag-gag-laws/KQWSvsKr

Signing takes less than 10 seconds. Even if your house is on fire you have 10 seconds.

Help get chimps OUT of the entertainment industry!

From allcreatures.org, Originally Posted: April 10, 2013

“Urban Tarzan” premiere episode features chimp

FROM Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest

ACTION

Let the producers of Urban Tarzan know that brutal training practices in the entertainment industry are well documented. Remind them that in addition to welfare concerns, using chimpanzees in the media seriously hinders conservation efforts of free-living chimpanzees.

You may send your letter to the creators and executive producer, Mark Basile at:
mark@axiusinc.com

You may also submit your comments to Spike TV’s Facebook page, or post Tweets that express your concern, such as @1UrbanTarzan very disappointed to see a chimp in your show. Please remove the episode!

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

There is a growing public awareness about the ethical problems with using chimpanzees in entertainment. Please remind the producers of the show about these issues by sending them a polite letter. Ask them to remove the episode from the air and pledge to never use primates in their productions again. Your letters can make a difference! In the last couple months both Great Clips and CR Fashion Book have removed content with chimpanzee actors after receiving educational letters from advocates like you!

California ag-gag bill pulled

Ag-gag bills have been popping up around the country. The bills would criminalize whistle-blowers who capture video in factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The California bill would have required anyone who records an incident of animal cruelty to turn the evidence over to the authorities within 48 hours. That would make it impossible to build a case, or show a pattern of continued abuse, which is what’s usually needed to prosecute animal cruelty.

Fortunately for now, the California bill is dead. Its author pulled the bill because it faced strong opposition from animal rights groups, food safety organizations, environmental organizations, labor unions and people fighting to protect the first amendment.

If ag-gag bills are passed, even journalists who end up in possession of undercover factory farm footage are at risk of being prosecuted. The bill isn’t good for anyone except the people who make cruelty their business and want a free pass to do whatever they want behind closed doors.

The failure of this bill is another excellent example of how we need to speak up and let lawmakers know when we don’t agree with what’s happening around us. A strong, unified voice does make a difference for animals, the environment, and people.

British government to ban wild animals in circuses

December 1, 2015 will be a great day for wild animals. That’s the day British circuses will no longer be allowed to use wild animals in their shows.

This is a great example of how politicians and animal rights activists can be allies and partners. Both groups have worked tirelessly on this issue for some time and it’s a definite victory for animals.

tiger in circus by Shizhao

Animals that are normally domesticated are excluded from the ban, mainly because supporters of the ban were worried about legal action from circus owners if all animals were excluded.

Strict guidelines for how animals are used in the circus have already gone into effect. The December 2015 timeline might seem a long way off but it’s meant to give operators a chance to make arrangements for their wild animals.

Ideally, they’ll be rehomed in sanctuaries where they will be free from the abuses and stress of the circus.

Here in Washington, Ringling Brothers still bring animals to Everett and Tacoma. We’ll be demonstrating at their events until that changes. Animals do not belong in the circus.

Animal Activism 101 April 21 2013

NARN’s Animal Activism 101 is just around the corner and we are really excited. We hope that we can make the most of the two hours that you’ll spend with us!

First, for those of you who have never done activism before, we will share some ideas on how to pick the right activities for your skills, strengths, and interests and how to actually get started. For those of you who have done some activism, but are new to scene, we’ll share some tips, tricks, and best practices not only from NARN, but from other activists around the world.

Image for Animal Activism 101 April 21, 2013

Get ready to talk about the mechanics of: tabling, leafleting, demonstrations, writing, online activism, corporate campaigning, and using your unique talents and interests in making the world a better place for animals and spreading veganism far and wide.

We’ll also talk about dealing with stress, dabble in the psychology of change, and how to be strategic in planning your activism. We’ll even chat about dealing with people on a personal level.

 

We want to build the community of NW vegan and animal activists to be strong and connected. We can learn from each other, share what we know, support each other, and most importantly be as effective as possible for the animals. The animals can’t wait. They need us now. Their future depends on our work!

Sunday, April 21, 2013
12 – 2 pm
Cascade People’s Center
309 Pontius Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109

Please RSVP on Facebook (or email info@narn.org) so we know how much snacks to bring. If you want to bring something to share, please let us know.

Stand up. Speak out. Get involved.

Criminalize Ag-Gag Laws

Pigs, chickens, cows and turkeys are being stomped, electroshocked, kicked, pitchforked, punched, skinned, burned…and a lot more….as you are reading this. It happens while you sleep, eat, drive to work, watch movies, relax. It happens unceasingly. Not everyone thinks it’s OK, and the videos/photos/proof brought out of those factory farms have won some significant victories. Ag-gag laws criminalize undercover work. Let’s be really clear: these laws, that are now in place in FIVE STATES and pending in many others, do nothing to improve conditions for the animals — on the contrary. They free farmers to commit the most atrocious acts of cruelty on a regular basis because no one will ever see them. This is also a food safety issue, not that I care ONE DUST MOTE about that. Under these Ag-gag laws, it is not the crime that is illegal, but bringing the crime to light.
This petition goes to the White House and must be answered.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/criminalize-ag-gag-laws/KQWSvsKr

Signing takes less than 10 seconds. Even if your house is on fire you have 10 seconds.

New Bat Discovered, the "Find of a Lifetime," Promptly Killed for "Research"

PANDABAT

You may have seen the news about the discovery of a new genus of bat, the so-called “panda bat” in South Sudan. Unfortunately, instead of documenting this bat that is obviously rare and releasing him or her back into the wild, the Smithsonian has killed the bat. Additionally, there have been concerns raised about how the bat was handled by the biologists.

panda bat

(From Bat World Sanctuary on Facebook) “Concerning the (in our opinion) cover-up of how the new genus of bat was handled and killed, here is a statement from DeeAnn Reeder, the biologist involved. (Note that the Smithsonian is the same institution that captured and allowed 40 critically endangered Virginia big-eared bats to slowly die over a period of months because they would not use standard husbandry protocols for bats or listen to advice that could have saved the bats):

‘The specimen was humanly captured, handled and euthanized, and is being preserved and archived at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The collection of specimens this rare is critical to understanding an area’s biodiversity and to pursuing conservation efforts around the world. Museum specimens, including Niumbaha superba are available to all of the world’s scientists for study, thereby increasing their value.All of the work conducted in South Sudan and the import of specimens from South Sudan to the USA was done under strict permitting, including: a MoU between DeeAnn Reeder (as an agent for Bucknell University and the Smithsonian Institution) and the South Sudanese Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism (MWCT; FFI also holds and MoU with the ministry) approving collecting, an export permit from the MWCT), and permission to import (and all appropriate documents filed) from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the methods employed in the field, including trapping and humane euthanasia followed the guidelines of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society of Mammalogists and were explicitly approved for this project by the Internal Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Bucknell University. The existence of IACUCs and the procedures they follow is federally mandated for all US institutions and for all US animal researchers (even when their work is performed outside of the US).’

For the full description of how the specimen was handled, we suggest that concerned persons read the paper published in ZooKeys, which can be found here.

Additionally, a recent comment we came across states: ‘The way the bat is being handled does not hurt the bat. Holding back the wings prevents the bat from hurting itself while being held. This is a standard (and temporary) way to hold a bat for things like photos and/or to study certain characteristics of bats.’ Researchers scruff bats to get photographs and to avoid being bitten. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the safety of the bat. Any bat care professional can tell you that when bats are held in a manner that is *comfortable* to them, they rarely attempt to bite and photos are easily obtained.

From Reeder’s paper (linked above): ‘… It seems that much more collecting needs to be done before we can claim a complete knowledge of the mammalian fauna of tropical Africa.” More than 70 years later, this statement still holds, and the biota of many areas of sub-Saharan Africa remains poorly understood, even in vertebrate groups usually considered well studied, such as mammals (Reeder et al. 2007). As an understanding of basic biodiversity is the backbone upon which other studies and conservation programs can be built, we encourage further basic field and museum work in the region; many more surprises no doubt await.’

We will always encourage our fans to speak out against cruelty and unnecessary killing of bats and other wildlife. Please share this post.”

We at NARN encourage the conservation efforts being made by Bat World Sanctuary, Bat Conservation International as well as other groups to save and protect them. Please support their work, share this post, and speak out against cruelty and killing of all wildlife. Obtaining knowledge about the world we are inhabiting should include the knowledge about affording the respect all animals deserve.

Oregon's Animal Abuse Prosecution Gets a Boost from the ALDF

Due to severe budget cuts in Oregon’s justice system, animal cruelty cases have no longer been getting to court. A generous grant from the ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) will pay for a full-time prosecutor whose sole responsibility it will be to litigate the state’s animal abuse cases. Oregon’s public policy favors the aggressive prosecution of animal cruelty and paying for the care of the animal victims. Police officers are also required to make arrests in animal abuse cases and veterinarians are required to report abuse. The current director of the ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program, Scott Heiser, who is a former Oregon prosecutor, hopes this new project will be a model for other states.

 

 

We Seldom Promote Petitions…

…as many may be nothing but a way for the signers to feel they did something without, in fact, having done anything. But I think we have a real chance of getting a MILLION people to sign this petition against the Japanese dolphin slaughter, and an equally real chance of having it contribute to the decision on who is to host the 2020 Olympics.

This campaign was begun by Shona Lewendon, who lives near Glasgow, in Scotland. She is not a professional campaigner, a journalist, or a politician. She is a single mother of three, someone who cared so much about the dolphin slaughter that she couldn’t do nothing. As she put it, “I realized that I was a person who had to become a ‘someone’ and try to do something about this.” So, after researching the Olympic Charter and the Sustainability Through Sport Agenda 21, she created an online petition to the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, and its president, Jacques Rogge. She points out that Japan’s actions with regard to the dolphin hunts actually contradict Olympic principles of environmental respect, and in addition clearly make Japan ineligible since it is not compliant with the terms set out in Agenda 21. It has garnered over 300,000 signatures in three months. The IOC’s final decision is on September 7th. We can do this. Allowing Japan to host the 2020 Olympics — as it desperately want to do — would be tacitly condoning the dolphin slaughter. NARN already participated in a demonstration outside the Japanese Consulate in February, and will be doing so again in June. Please take a MOMENT to sign now and a couple of hours to join us then.

For those of you who do not yet know, the Japanese Government grant permits to the Taiji Fishermen’s Union to hunt 2,800 dolphins from September to April for slaughter & to supply the captivity trade. Babies are torn from their mothers, many dolphins witness the slaughter of their entire families before either being taken captive or killed. The manner in which they are killed is horrifically cruel and caused protracted agony. Despite worldwide protests, the hunt continues, in a roped-off cove, hidden under tarpaulins. Those taken captive are held in sea pens, starved and traumatized, while buyers are found. The lucky ones die waiting. Many alternatives that allow the continued employment of the “fishermen” have been suggested, including turning Taiji into a tourist attraction for whale and dolphin watching, but they are repeatedly rejected in the name of “tradition”.

Taiji-Dolphin-Cove4-300x231