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Circus Cats Need Our Help

Tomorrow is National Animal Rights Day — see you at Westlake! — but today is a day for helping the tigers. After going to Seattle Farmed Animal Save’s Vigil at the Enumclaw Live Animal Auction at 11 a.m., I’m headed to nearby Orting to protest the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus, which uses tigers in its show. Dammit.

Which brings me to today’s online action: The Animal Legal Defense Fund reported that Ringing Brothers applied for a permit through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to export its big cats (eight endangered tigers, six lions and a leopard) to a circus in Germany.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife is taking public comments — here’s the form.

And here’s a sample message:

The life of an animal held captive for entertainment is undeniably cruel. I was relieved to learn that Ringling Brothers would end its animals’ grueling cycle of confinement, chaining and forced performance.

Sadly, it appears that Ringling would rather make money on the transfer of its long-suffering cats — eight endangered tigers, six lions, and a leopard — back to more of the same in Germany.

After years of service in the circus, these cats should be allowed to live out their lives at a reputable sanctuary where they can experience the space, habitats, and peace they need and deserve.

Please make sure these threatened species are treated better than Ringling wants to.

Best Way to Stop the Dolphin Hunt: Don’t Visit Marine Parks

When dolphin hunters in Taiji, Japan, last week captured a pod of hundreds of bottlenose dolphins and separated about 80 young ones from their mothers, one mother fought frantically to stay with her baby in a video that made news around the world.

While some dolphins are caught for meat — the modern-day version of a whale-hunting tradition in Taiji — that is not where the big money is. The non-traditional driver of the hunt is dolphins sold for “entertainment.”

A dolphin sold for meat brings in hundreds of dollars. Untrained dolphins sold to marine parks garner $10,000 each, according to The Dodo. By that math, Taiji made at least $3 million from about 300 dolphins it sold alive in the late 2010 to early 2011 hunting season, and maybe $1 million on the nearly 2,000 dolphins it sold for meat.

Dolphin_slaughter_in_Taiji_Japan

Photo: VanessaNYC07 at Wikimedia Commons

To its huge credit, the Japanese Assocation of Zoos and Aquariums banned the buying and selling of dolphins from the Taiji hunt in 2015. It was a brave move, made under threat of expulsion from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, National Geographic reported.

However, that does not mean the end of suffering for dolphins, even in Japan. The marine parks could breed dolphins, like their counterparts in the United States have bred orcas and other animals. Taiji’s mayor has also said that, if hunting is banned, the city may rope off its infamous cove (site of the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove”) and breed dolphins there.

The only real way to make headway against the dolphin hunt — and captive breeding — is to stop visiting marine parks. If people are forced to look at how their own behavior leads directly to suffering, that will do more to save these beautiful, brilliant, compassionate animals than any amount of shaming of Japan.

Rest in Peace, Tilikum. We Are Sorry. FREE Lolita/Tokitae!

Tilikum, the orca torn from his family near Iceland when he was just two years old, died yesterday at SeaWorld Orlando.

He suffered in captivity for more than 33 years, having food withheld when he did not “perform” correctly. His tank mates scraped his sides with their teeth because they, too, were hungry.

tilikumLike all orcas in captivity, Tilikum had a collapsed dorsal fin — a sign, for decades, that he was in distress. His sperm was used to create more orcas in captivity.

Tilikum was the star of the 2013 documentary, “Blackfish,” which showed the world the horror of his living conditions. SeaWorld’s profits and stock price tanked, and the company subsequently said it would stop its “Shamu” shows and stop breeding orcas in captivity.

Hopefully, the lessons from his tragic life will save orcas from future suffering.

Unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Tokitae, popularly known as Lolita, is an orca captured with four family members near Whidbey Island in 1970. She’s the only one surviving.

A judge ruled earlier this year that she will remain at the Miami Seaquarium, despite expert reports that the dolphins with whom Tokitae shares a small tank have scraped their teeth on her skin more than 50 times in one year. She often needs antibiotics and painkillers.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro decided that did not constitute “grave harm.”

And so Tokitae is not coming home, despite a detailed and feasible plan that’s in place whenever the humans with power over her life choose to free her.

healthy-orcas

Here’s Judge Ungaro’s email (I think): ursula_ungaro@flsd.uscourts.gov

And email for the Spain-based CEO of Palace Entertainment, which owns the Miami Seaquarium: feiroa@palaceentertainment.com

Sample email:

Dear Mr. Eiroa,

Tilikum’s death this week was another reminder of the graveness of Tokitae/Lolita’s incarceration in Miami.

Although Judge Ungaro decided that dolphins scraping Tokitae’s sides more than 50 times in one year did not constitute grave harm, you have the power to show compassion and send her home.

As you know, there’s a viable and detailed plan for doing just that. Just say the word, and the money will come — from Seattle and elsewhere — to free her.

Please do the right thing before it’s too late.

Thank you,

 

Photos from Blackfish

Tell the City Council “NO more money for Zoo”

The Seattle City Council’s final Budget Meeting is tomorrow. Please come to speak out against funding the confinement of suffering animals. Ask the City Council to put the money toward parks programs, off-leash parks and under-served communities rather than more money for the zoo.

Also, please write an email with NO more money for the zoo in the subject line to: Council@seattle.gov

The City has a contract with the Woodland Park Zoo which mandates over $7 million dollars in annual payments. (King County pays the zoo $4.2 million annually). The 2017 budget includes an additional $1.8 million dollars to the Zoo through the Seattle Parks District. The City Council makes the Seattle Parks District’s funding decisions. This $1.8 million dollars is DISCRETIONARY and must be stopped.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and all in-person 2 minute (or less) comments will be heard. Sign-up sheets will be provided outside the entrance of the City Council Chambers.  If you wish to speak, please sign up at 4:15.

What: Seattle City Council BUDGET meeting.
When: Tuesday, October 25 at 5:30pm
Public comment:  Sign up at 4:15pm
Where: Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104. City Hall chambers on the second floor.

Map: http://tinyurl.com/j2yd2ac
Wear:  ORANGE

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.

 

 

Stop Mutton Busting!

You might be thinking, “What the heck is mutton busting?”

At mutton busting events, popular at state fairs, terrified sheep are “ridden” by children in front of a screaming audience.

Sheep are gentle, highly sensitive “prey” animals who desperately try to run away from the kids, whom they see as predators. The sheep have no escape from this highly stressful event.

From September 2 to 25, the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Washington, plans to host this cruel event in addition to traditional rodeo activities. These animals need your voice now!

Please contact the Washington State Fair Foundation and ask officials to cancel “mutton busting.”

Please call and send polite comments to:

Washington State Fair Foundation
110 Ninth Ave. S.W.
Puyallup, WA 98371
foundation@thefair.com
253-841-5105

lambs

Help Tigers on International Tiger Day

Today is International Tiger Day.

Please speak up for baby exotic animals, including tigers, who suffer at roadside zoos. Undercover investigations at roadside zoos has revealed horrible abuse. Roadside zoos are atrocious prisons for wild animals who should be free. Zoos that offer the public to have photo sessions with these dangerous animals are bad for the animals and for people.

The Humane Society of the United States is pushing for new regulations because existing regulations are not effective. We need a complete ban on the commercial use of captive wildlife, many of whom are endangered species.

Follow the link to an HSUS page where you can urge the USDA to adopt regulations completely prohibiting public handling of all big cats, bears, primates and other dangerous wild animals.

email-feature-tiger-cub

Tell REI We See What It’s Doing to Horses & Mules at the Grand Canyon

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The Stop Animal Violence Foundation posted an account on Facebook this week of animal mistreatment at Havasupai in the Grand Canyon by outfitters including REI.

Some quotes from it:

  • “One horse in particular appeared to be limping right away as I saw him reach the Hilltop, and he had trouble walking. This beautiful horse appeared to be favoring his leg or limping on it. I saw a female wrangler throw an cooler on him labeled ‘REI.’ He screamed out, rocked forward like he didn’t have good balance and then lifted his left foot up. She then threw another REI cooler on him.”
  • “One smaller mule did not want to be packed, the wrangler yanked and yanked on him, yelling at him, until he came over and folllowed her. He was loaded with REI gear as well.”
  • “The worst sores I observed were on a mule that was carrying Four Seasons gear, I know this because I watched the wrangler unpack them, and then a Four Seasons guide come and pick the action packers and all of the other gear up. I have pictures of the sores on this mule.”

The photos, including of open sores and saddle sores, are posted on Facebook. The witness called some of the outfitters and was told they don’t use pack animals.

Please visit the Facebook page, which includes links to more information about the horses and mules, and follow up with emails to the Havasupai Tribal Council, REI and other outfitters insisting that wranglers stop running them, tied together or not, up and down the canyon. And, for heavens sake, stop packing them with cooler and propane tanks.

There’s also this petition and a list of other actions that can help.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke: jerrystritzke@rei.com

REI Chief Information Officer Julie Averill: julieaverill@rei.com

REI Head of Communications Alex Thompson: alexthompson@rei.com

Sample email:

Subject: Photos of REI pack animals at the Grand Canyon

Dear REI,

I was dismayed to read an eyewitness account of REI coolers and propane canisters being slung on already hurting pack animals at Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. I understand that some outfitters deny they use such animals — but there are photos with this post. It’s a shock to see REI’s name and services associated with this sort of treatment of horses and mules.

Thank you,

Xyz in Seattle or in Washingon State

Let’s Help Stop a New Aquarium in Mississippi

tursiops_truncatus_leaping

Photo: NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Like so many sea animals, dolphins were tremendously harmed when BP spilled more than 4 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant thinks that — and the fact that his state’s last aquarium was ruined by Hurricane Katrina — makes a new aquarium on the coast a good way to spend $17 million of the damage money the state is getting from BP. “The outdoor water feature includes a dolphin exhibit where visitors could feed and touch the animals,” according to the SunHerald in Biloxi.

Gov. Bryant is wrong.

“I used to work as a dolphin trainer at Marine Life in Gulfport, before it was washed away by Hurricane Katrina. I know first-hand that a new facility for captive dolphins is the last thing Mississippi needs,” according to an online petition to stop the new aquarium.

The public has already made clear that they don’t want to see orcas in captivity. Why would they want to see dolphins?

Please sign the petition above and write to Gov. Bryant letting him know the BP money should go to a more worthy project. Here’s his online contact page.

CANCELED! – "Chicken Chase"

VICTORY!
The event is canceled! Thank you for being a voice for animals.

Please thank pastors Dr. John Paisley and Ken Griffin for doing the right thing (emails below).

~~~~

On Sunday, April 3rd, Riverview Baptist Church in Pasco, Washington, is planning a “Chicken Chase.”

The event is as cruel as it sounds. Chickens will be released into an arena so children can chase them, catch them, and “win” the chickens. canceled Chickens are delicate, and this terrifying event will no doubt cause injury and stress to the poor animals. And when caught, how do kids properly care for them? This event fails to help kids learn to respect animals and reinforces the idea that they are simply toys and here for our entertainment.

Please ask Riverview Baptist Church to do the right thing and host an alternative event instead (an event in which all the participants are there of their own free will).

You can send polite comments to:

Dr. John Paisley, Senior Pastor
Click here to send an email

Ken Griffin, Co-Pastor
Click here to send an email

Riverview Baptist Church
4921 W. Wernett
Pasco, WA 99301
509-547-2021