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Why Chimps Don’t Belong in Circuses

Some of the best fun you can have is reading blog posts from the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, where the chimpanzees and humans together create heartwarming, inspirational — and often educational — photos and stories. Thank you to sanctuary co-director Diana Goodrich, who recently wrote this post about chimpanzees and circuses, and generously gave her permission for us to republish it here:

An eight-year-old chimpanzee named Chance has been in the news lately. Chance is owned by the Rosaire family and has been used in entertainment for his entire life. He has appeared in commercials, television shows and movies, including The Wolf of Wall Street.

The reason Chance and the Rosaires have been in the news recently is due to this footage that PETA obtained of Chance performing with a leash around his neck.

Jody and Burrito

Jody and Burrito

Thirty years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for chimpanzees to appear in circuses and roadside zoo performances. In fact, Jamie, Burrito, and possibly Jody were all used as performers before their years as biomedical research subjects. They lived with trainers and were made to perform in order to entertain people.

Thankfully, we have learned a lot about the nature of chimpanzees over the years and, as a society, we’ve begun to question the appropriateness of using intelligent, social animals in this way. More and more people agree that whales belong in the ocean, not in small aquariums, that elephants shouldn’t be used as props for people to sit on, and that chimpanzees should not be raised by humans and taught to perform tricks just to amuse us.

The Rosaire family has been in the circus business for multiple generations, so it’s understandable that they are stubbornly holding on to their way of life and their views of exotic animals that many, if not most, people have reconsidered.

They argue that they are providing sanctuary for the animals in their care, and they even have legal nonprofit status and the word “sanctuary” in their name Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary.

Certainly, anyone who is familiar with true sanctuaries would immediately realize that putting a chimpanzee on a leash and having people pay to view him perform an act is a circus, not a charitable sanctuary, and that those entities have very different missions. But for those not as familiar, I’m not surprised that the Rosaires have their defenders.

Jamie and Burrito

Jamie and Burrito

It may be true that the Rosaires feel love for the animals in their care, but that doesn’t mean the animals are being afforded the life that they should or could have in an accredited sanctuary.

For more information on the Rosaires, see this page, and for how to distinguish between roadside zoos and sanctuaries, read this from CSNW and this from the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance and share with others.

When you see chimpanzees on television, in movies, or pictured on greeting cards, stop to consider what kind of a life that chimpanzee has. Exotic animal circuses survive only because people continue to pay to see animal performances. There are fewer and fewer chimpanzees being used in entertainment because fewer and fewer people think that they should be used in this way.

We hope the chimpanzees who remain in the entertainment business in the U.S. will be able to experience a different way of life someday, like Jamie, Burrito, and Jody, where the focus is on providing them with hundreds of choices that allow them to be who they are as chimpanzees and where their best interests are the top priority.

Jody, Jamie, Annie and Foxie

Jody, Jamie, Annie and Foxie

Action Alert: Ask USPO to Ban Shipment of Live Animals

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Millions of newborn chicks and ducklings are being sent through the mail as if they were inanimate objects. Barely a day old, they are packed in dark boxes without food or water and sent across the country on harrowing trips that can last up to 72 hours.

Farm Sanctuary has rescued a number of animals, including a beautiful chicken called Tofu, who were shipped this way. It recently rescued three ducklings at a post office, because the man who ordered them was too sick to pick them up. The ducklings had traveled from Iowa to California — across a desert by truck — sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur wrote in an email to supporters. They would have stayed in the box without food, water or care if Farm Sanctuary had not stepped in to help. The sanctuary, which named those sweethearts Dominga, Carrera, and Pavarotti, is now asking people to sign its petition for the U.S. Postal Service to ban shipments of live animals.

You can also contact Postmaster General Megan Brennan via her media contact, Toni Delancey, at toni.g.delancey@usps.gov and 202-268-3118. Here’s a sample message:

Dear Postmaster General Brennan,

Day-old chicks and ducklings are shipped around the country without food or water for up to 72 hours. As you know, many arrive dead.

You have the power to ban the shipment of live animals by mail. Please do everything you can to stop this abuse.

Thank you,

Your name

Here’s Tofu’s story:

Bamboo Attacked, Bitten: Time for a Sanctuary

We join the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants in calling on the Oklahoma City Zoo to have compassion for Bamboo, our beloved elephant, and retire her to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

This call follows a new report in The Seattle Times saying Bamboo has been attacked in her new home in Oklahoma City and her tail bitten so severely that it was called an “amputation.” (Thank you to the paper and to reporter Sandi Doughton for the continued coverage.)

“Our hearts go out to Bamboo who is experiencing attacks from one or more of the elephants at the Oklahoma Zoo. In a tiny zoo yard, there is no space to flee and escape from an attack. Bamboo is also suffering from serious, captivity-related foot problems and colic. Bamboo has frequently been isolated as a result of these attacks,” the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants wrote.

Here is contact information for officials at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Please remember that they did not make the decision to keep Bamboo and Chai out of a sanctuary, but they can make the decision now to send Bamboo to one.

Cindy Batt, Chairperson — She works in the private bank division of Bank of Oklahoma. Its phone number is (405) 936-3900.

Don Kaspereit, Vice Chairperson — 12308 Kingsbrook Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73142

Sample message for phone or mail:

Hello Ms. Batt/Mr. Kaspereit, I’m calling/writing  from Seattle to ask that you send Bamboo to a sanctuary now that it’s clear she is not doing well in Oklahoma City. We know that you’ve done your best to care for her, but the compassionate thing to do at this point is to send her to a sanctuary. Zoo managers have a hard time making that decision themselves, because of the politics within the zoo industry (cite Seattle Times story from a few years ago if necessary), but you as chairperson/vice chairperson of the board can make a difference for this elephant without risking your career. I hope you will consider doing that. Bamboo has suffered enough. Thank you.

 

 

Chai lost 1,050 pounds after Seattle; let’s get Bamboo to a sanctuary

The blood infection that killed Chai in Oklahoma City came after the elephant lost 1,050 pounds in the short time since she’d left Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, The Seattle Times learned from a public records request.

Chai was weighed only twice at the Oklahoma zoo, records show, although she’d dropped from 8,150 pounds when she left Seattle on April 15 to 7,100 pounds when she died in January.

An Oklahoma City zoo veterinarian said they relied on a visual scoring system.  “You couldn’t see her ribs, nothing that would indicate the degree of fat loss that was going on,” Jennifer D’Agostino told Times reporter Sandi Doughton. (Today’s paper also included the supposedly celebratory news that the Woodland Park Zoo has named a baby gorilla it bred in captivity. Her name is Yola.)

If a veterinarian couldn’t see Chai’s deterioration, it would be even harder for a Woodland Park Zoo docent who visited Oklahama City and wrote that Chai’s last days were “happy.”

Now we know they were horrific. Twice in the weeks before she died, Chai was unable to stand up.

We also know from the records Doughton received that Bamboo, the other Seattle elephant who was transferred to Oklahoma instead of to a sanctuary, was distressed enough during one public performance that she knocked Chai off her feet.

It’s not too late to get Bamboo to a sanctuary. On the advice of Nancy Pennington and Alyne Fortgang, co-founders of the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, please do these two things in Chai’s memory:

1. Write an email to Mayor Murray and the Seattle City Council. Addresses to cut and paste are below. Just one line will do!

2. Sign this petition: http://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/oklahoma-city-zoo-close-elephant-exhibit/

bruce.bohmke@zoo.org, Ed.murray@seattle.gov,Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov, lisa.herbold@seattle.gov ,Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov,
Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov,  Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov,  Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov, Rob.johnson@seattle.gov

Hoot! It's Time to Chow Down for Chimpanzees!

PrintThe wonderful Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, which was “founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries,” is holding its annual fundraising shindig — which is a scrumptuous blast! — on Saturday, April 30, at 6 p.m.

Seven chimpanzees live at the sanctuary — all from a private biomedical facility in Pennsylvania. Before being used to test hepatitis vaccines and (the females) as breeders, they were captured in Africa and/or kept as pets and/or used in entertainment.

Now Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jamie, Jody, Missy and Negra live in a safe, peaceful place, making choices about how to spend their time — inside where it’s warm or adventuring outdoors. You can meet them and learn what they’re doing on the sanctuary’s blog.

You can also support them and help the sanctuary expand to be a haven for more chimpanzees by attending Hoot!, an awesome evening of vegan food and camaraderie, with a live auction, dessert dash and raffle.

This year, Hoot! is at The Foundry in SoDo and starts with an indoor bar crawl, followed by a sit-down dinner.

Tickets are $100 through April 1, or $750 for a table of eight. Sign up before they sell out, and we’ll see you there!

Chai Dies in OKC, Another Elephant Lost Too Young

tombstone_elephantsThe zookeeper who found Chai dead in her Oklahoma City cell this weekend thought she looked peaceful.

That might be the first time Chai was at peace since being taken from her mother at the age of one in Thailand. She was beaten at one location, then artificially inseminated 112 times in Seattle, where she also lost her 6-year-old daughter, Hansa, to herpes — a disease that’s ravaged young elephants in zoos for decades.

Chai also suffered from the pacing and swaying (here in Seattle) that’s indictive of the extreme trauma, stress and boredom that so many smart, social animals in captivity endure.

Zoo officials said the average life expectancy for an Asian elephant is 47. That’s in  captivity. In the wild, Chai would be in the prime of her life, as Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants point out.

Malee, a 3-year-old elephant, died of herpes in Oklahoma City last fall.

When zoo CEO Deborah Jensen bucked Seattle residents’ and the mayor’s wishes to send Chai and Bamboo to a sanctuary, and instead sent them to suffer in another zoo, she went against the wisdom of one of her predecessors and Lyn Tangen, from the Woodland Park Zoo Elephant Task Force, who wrote: “No one can seriously doubt that elephants that have 15 or more acres to roam are better off than elephants crammed into a 1 or 2 acre exhibit in a zoo…. In the 21st century, Seattle has better ways to save wild elephants and their habitats than continuing to keep Chai and Bamboo at a zoo.”

Jensen, who was a huge success in the captive-elephant-loving Association of Zoos and Aquariums,  is blessedly no longer in charge of the zoo.

Now Bamboo is alone in Oklahoma City, trying to integrate with a herd after an unsuccessful integration attempt years ago.

Seattle benefit for Help Animals India

Help Animals India is having its first-ever Seattle benefit for India’s animals.

Date: October 17, 2015
Time: 5 pm
Cost: $15 (tickets available here)
Location: Culture Shakti Dance, Seattle

help animals india

Despite some of the best animal protection laws in the world and a renowned heritage of reverence for life, modern India is a country where millions of animals suffer severe neglect or abuse.

Overpopulation, poverty, pollution, superstition, apathy and ignorance all contribute to their plight. In a country where human misery and impoverishment remain high, the welfare of destitute animals is a low priority.

Help Animals India is a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in India by raising money for dedicated Indian animal protection groups and advising them on how to improve their capacity to help the animals.

Join them for a fun evening of Indian Dance Performance by the Dancers of Culture Shakti, Indian and World Vibes Music by Dj Seanuman, Mystic Kombucha on Tap, and a Catered Silent Auction with Items from local businesses.

Delicious Food Provided by Chaco Canyon, The Shop Agora, & Cupcake Royale.

Get your tickets today!

ALL proceeds go the benefit Help Animals India

Can’t make the event? Please consider donating – any amount helps!

You can find out more about Help Animals India on their website  or on their Facebook page.

Cecil the Lion

Cecil the Lion, as he was known, was a lion who lived in Zimbabwe. You’ve probably seen the media storm and public outrage this week about his murder. A wealthy American paid to hunt down Cecil—at night, by luring him out of a preserve—and shoot him with a crossbow.

a lion similar to Cecil

It was nothing but a cowardly act by a small-minded trophy hunter, hell-bent on proving his sense of worth by killing others.

What I learned from the frenzy this week is that it pays to have a name. Cecil was a lion who’d been photographed by tourists for years (he was 12 or 13). He was GPS-collared and was part of an Oxford University study. But he was no different from many other lions that wealthy westerners (usually Americans) pay to kill. Six hundred lions are killed in trophy hunts every year, according to National Geographic.

Cecil sparked public outcry because he was well-known. In the same way we mourn for a celebrity’s death, but not the random people who also die.

For most people, the lion is a majestic creature. King of the jungle. We don’t associate them with food or clothing. That’s another thing Cecil had going for him. People around the world have issued hate mail and death threats to Cecil’s killer, and vigils and protests have sprung up at the man’s business.

Most of the people disgusted with Cecil’s death likely also eat and wear other animals. It’s a disconnect. Melanie Joy addresses this topic in-depth in her book, Why we Love Dogs, Eat pigs, and Wear Cows. This phenomenon (of loving some animals and eating others) she calls carnism. The book explains how people compartmentalize and justify this discrepancy.

It’s okay to mourn for Cecil. His death was a tragedy. His pride is in jeopardy, and his cubs will likely be killed by competing lions. But we need to also mourn for the millions of dogs and cats who are euthanized each year because they have no homes. And for the billions of farmed animals whose lives are brutal and short. They are all as precious as Cecil and as deserving of life.

We can’t stop evil people from hunting (although signing the petition to ask Zimbabwe to stop issuing hunting permits or the petition to include lions on the endangered species list would help). But we can adopt dogs and cats and never buy from breeders. And we can choose to not eat animals.

If you’re not already, please go vegan—for the countless animals just like Cecil, who are worthy of our admiration and who want to live.

Caroling at City Hall

Are you ready to sing for the elephants?

caroler

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants will be caroling throughout City Hall to Christmas songs reworded to promote Bamboo and Chai’s retirement to a sanctuary.

As you may have heard, Woodland Park Zoo is closing their elephant exhibit and relocating the elephants. However, they are planning to send the girls to another zoo. They need to go to a sanctuary. The Mayor has the power to make that happen!

When: Monday, December 15th, 2014 from 10:45am to noon.
Where: Main lobby of Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, 98104.

The main lobby is at the 5th Avenue entrance between Cherry and James streets (or just go upstairs from the 4th Ave entrance).

Please wear ORANGE. Wear the t-shirt from previous actions or your own orange top.

Woodland Park Zoo in Violation over Elephant Care

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According to a September 9, 2014 USDA inspection report, the Woodland Park Zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by failing to ensure that elephants have “access to shelter during inclement weather to afford them protection and to prevent their discomfort.”

Woodland Park Zoo has demonstrated once again that they don’t put the elephants’ well-being first. It’s taken the USDA to discover a violation of the AWA to force the zoo to protect the elephants from our unsuitable climate.  What’s even more astonishing is that the zoo needs to take another year—2 years total to put up a rain shelter. (A year ago the Task Force said to put up a rain shelter.)

If this enrages you, PLEASE write to the Zoo and others! Will you help Chai and Bamboo by emailing?

The Mayor and Sally Bagshaw are on this list and will monitor how many emails the Zoo gets. PLEASE, write – even one line.

PLEASE be thoughtful and respectful in order to make an impact. All of our reputations are on the line.

Just copy and paste the email list below. It includes the Zoo’s administration, curators, sales and donor staff, elephant and other keepers, and as many Zoo Board and Task Force members’ addresses we could find, and City and some County council members. (Some email addresses may bounce back and some people are away at a conference. They can think about your comments in their hotel room!)

L-ExecutiveLeadershipTeam@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org, deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org, Nancy.Hawkes@zoo.org, Bruce.Upchurch@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, Kelly.Helmick@zoo.org, Lisa.Dabek@zoo.org, Steve.Cremer@zoo.org, Russ.roach@zoo.org,  group.registration@zoo.org,  zoocorps@zoo.org, groupsales@zoo.org, membership@zoo.org, Jim.Bennett@zoo.org,  woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org, Gigi.Allianic@zoo.org, Laura.Lockard@zoo.org, Anne.Knapp@zoo.org, Kim.Haas@zoo.org, Rebecca.Whitham@zoo.org, npell57@gmail.com, alaico@paws.org,  DeggingerG@LanePowell.com, jason.hamlin@ubs.com,gduvernoy@forterra.org, jmanning@cascadialaw.com, fen@cofen.com, jan@dennyhillcapital.com, stuart@dennyhillcapital.com, bryce.seidl@outlook.com, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, laurie.stewart@soundcb.com, peter.c.wang@ampf.com, Glennkawasaki@hotmail.com, Pattisavoy@hotmail.com, Ddevita@hotmail.com, Elizabeth.A.Sicktich@wellsfargo.com, marianne@bichselpublicaffairs.com, LSCaputo@aol.com, jwleppo@stoel.com, slinker@vetmed.wsu.edu, robliddell@comcast.net, Kirsten.Pisto@zoo.org, donations@zoo.org, Fred.Koontz@zoo.org, Jamie.Creola@zoo.org, Kathryn.owen@zoo.org, martin.ramirez@zoo.org, jean.godden@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, ed.murray@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, dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov

Here are some talking points or just send an email you already wrote.  Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants’ web site is a huge resource:

  • Elephants are intelligent, far ranging animals that suffer physically and psychologically when confined in a tiny, impoverished environment.
  • The Mayor and City Council can act to retire the elephants. This violation of the AWA shows that the Zoo doesn’t put the elephants’ well-being first.
  • The Zoo’s revenues are down 6% in a booming local economy.  Nationwide, animal organizations’ revenues are at an all-time high.  Keeping elephants is bad for the Zoo’s reputation.
  • A sanctuary is the best we can do for Bamboo and Chai.  We owe this to them after giving up their entire lives to entertain us.
  • Two elephants, Watoto and Hansa, have died prematurely.  No more dead elephants!

FYI:  This is what the Mayor said on Oct. 22, 2014: “When I was a legislator I supported the removal of elephants from the zoo. My position has not changed…I hope we can reach an agreement with the zoo…I realize there are levers we could pull, but I think it’s too soon to have those discussions.”  (21:40 and 51:17 time code) http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3011410

Thanks for helping get Chai and Bamboo to a sanctuary.

Save the Date:  Dec. 2nd Zoo Board Meeting at 4pm.  Get to Zoo by 3:40.  Details when we get closer.