All posts by Franziska

The Situation for Lions is Worsening Too

I thought it would be a while before we needed to say this.  Or maybe lessons have been learned (doubtful) from the all-but-disappearance of the rhinos.  The African lion is in danger of extinction. At least half and possibly up to 80% of the African lions have disappeared in the last 30 years.  At that rate everyone reading this is likely to see a lion-less day.  Extinction factors like habitat loss, human-lion conflict, poaching (for the Far East), loss of prey animals, and overutilization for commercial/recreational purposes (including hunting) are only accelerating, all threatening the 35,000 African lions left in the wild. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act — and if even they make such a suggestion, you know things are pretty dire. Such a listing helps threatened species by prohibiting certain trade activities, generating conservation benefits (increased awareness, research, funding for on site efforts), and providing limited financial aid for programs to conserve the species in foreign countries.

This Endangered Species Act ‘threatened’ listing still doesn’t stop the import of so-called “sport”-hunted lions into the US.  A special rule has been proposed (that also applies to other protected species)that would only allow the import of “sport”-hunted lion trophies from countries with a scientifically sound management plan for African lions. The US Fish & Wildlife Department is seeking public comment on listing African lions as threatened. So please, follow the directions below, helpfully provided by PAWS in California:

Click here to go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. In the Search field, enter FWS-R9-ES-2012-0025, which is the docket number for this action. Then click on the Search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!” and typing your comment into the box.
Sample comment (please edit and personalize your comment as much as possible):
I strongly urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the African lion as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. Given the alarming decrease in the lion population and the serious challenges these animals face, it is critical that our nation takes an active part in protecting this iconic species. If we don’t act now, African lions will soon disappear from the planet.
 
By listing the African lion as “endangered,” the U.S. will set a standard for other countries to follow, promote conservation, and provide greater protection for these imperiled animals.

AND While You Are Calling Olympia…

…to ask your representatives to oppose HB 1104, the Ag-Gag bill, please also ask them to SUPPORT HB 1131, which is an important animal protection bill to help curtail trafficking in wildlife and wildlife parts by prohibiting the purchase, sale, or transfer of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns.

If you’ve already called…call back.

THANK YOU!

URGENT PS on Washington’s Ag-Gag Bill

Several states have already introduced Ag-Gag bills since the beginning of the year, but the one that is moving the fastest is, shamefully, Washington’s.   It is set to have a hearing this coming Tuesday, January 20th.                                                                                                         WE CAN ACT BEFORE THEN!  Make sure you call your representative now to ask him or her to oppose HB 1104 (a link to find your legislators is in the previous blog post on the subject). A tip for the shy ones among us: if you call over the weekend, you can just leave a message. (I would still recommend calling during business hours though, as voice mail boxes can be full.)

The Humane League offers the following great suggestions for involvement:

·         Submit a letter to the editor. Getting letters printed in your local newspaper is an easy and effective way to reach thousands of people on the issue. Plus, lawmakers and their staff regularly read the letters section to have a pulse on what the citizens in their district care about. We already have some letters drafted and instructions on how to submit them – and submitting only takes 30 seconds. To do this, please email Sarah Swingle at SSwingle@HumaneSociety.org. Just tell her which city you live in and she’ll get you started!

·         Phonebank: You can help out big time by committing to make phone calls for one hour (or more!) to Humane Society members in Washington, asking them to call their state representatives about the bill. It’s easy, effective and flexible. Calls will start tomorrow and end on Tuesday at 10:30am EST. If you can make some calls, email Kenny Torrella atKTorrella@HumaneSociety.org and he will get you started.

PLEASE MAKE THE TIME.  SO MUCH IS AT STAKE.

 

Ag-Gag Bill Introduced in the Washington State Legislature

ag-gag

Evil never, ever, sleeps.                                                                                                           Two Republican representatives, Joe Schmick of Colfax and J.T. Wilcox of Yelm, have sponsored Washington State’s first  2015 attempt at Ag-Gag legislation: House Bill 1104.  Schmick’s district is adjacent to Idaho, and he openly admits HB 1104 is modeled on Idaho’s new Ag-Gag law.  He says he wants a “strong deterrent” against taking pictures or recording operations of agricultural facilities without permission.  Guilty would be  anyone who “enters an agricultural production facility that is not open to the public and, without the facility owner’s express written consent or pursuant to judicial process or clear statutory authorization, makes audio or video recordings of the assets or conduct of an agricultural production facility’s operations … .” Penalties for conviction could include up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.Fully half the states have introduced such bills, and about half a dozen have passed.  The first such laws were adopted in 1990-91 in Kansas, North Dakota and Montana. Four more states — Idaho, Utah, Iowa and Missouri — have adopted similar measures since 2010.

I don’t need to tell you how important it is that not a single new state pass this legislation.  In addition to being a moral and ethical issue, a matter of educating people on exactly what happens when they pay others to turn animals into food, and in addition to being a freedom of speech issue, remember it is also a food safety issue: undercover investigations have led to the largest recalls of meat in history.                 Karma, you may think.  I did.                                                                                               I find it interesting, however, that the meat industry doesn’t care either.  Retaining profits by keeping what goes on secret is way more important than public safety.                                                                                  Why would you think people who don’t care about the animal suffering would care about your health?

Anyway…we will be hearing more about this, but it is never too soon to begin. Go here to find your legislator:

http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Call, write, email. Monthly. Weekly.

Good article on the subject by Will Potter: http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/ag-gag-american-legislative-exchange-council/5947/

Urge Law Enforcement to Seize Animals in House of Horrors

The Houses of Horror in question are Willard’s Rodent Factory (yes, it’s actually called a factory – how truthful) in Brighton, CO,  and the pet store Jurassic Pets in Thornton, CO.  A recent undercover investigation revealed horrific conditions in both places.  Witnesses found animals languishing and dying in cramped, putrid enclosures filled with feces at Jurassic Pets, and evidence provided by the investigator did allow the Thornton police to raid the store, where they rescued some of the suffering mammals, reptiles and amphibians.  However, the Adams County Colorado Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has thus far refused to help the thousands of animals at Willard’s Rodent Factory, owned by Lynn and Kenneth Kubic.  This in spite of the fact that law enforcement has had more than ample evidence of persistent, widespread neglect, abuse and cruelty for at least two MONTHS.

According to the undercover investigator, “the Kubics and their workers admitted to “whacking” rats and mice—swinging them by the tail and hitting them against surfaces in an effort to kill them. Hundreds of rats and mice drowned at Willards Rodent Factory when the tubs housing them flooded, while those who were ill or injured were thrown outside to be torn apart by cats.

The Kubics failed to provide effective veterinary care or euthanasia to scores of ill and/or injured animals—including a rat whose face was apparently chewed off, a hedgehog whose infected eye was neglected for so long that it shrank and lost all vision, and reptiles with mucus oozing from their mouths. Thousands of fish and hundreds of other animals perished—with many left to rot alongside live animals—and ailing survivors were routinely thrown into the freezer to die.”

crowded horse troughOwners and management were fully aware of the horrifying conditions and systematic neglect of the mammals, reptiles and amphibians there and obviously didn’t care. How is this still continuing??

PLEASE, take 5 minutes and write (and/or, as always, call) to the sheriff’s office, and ask them to seize all the animals at the Willards Rodent Factory, and end their suffering.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office                                                                                          332 North 19th Avenue                                                                                          Brighton, Colorado 80601                                                                                              (303) 654-1850

And the general moral of the story is:  NEVER. EVER.  shop at stores that sell any live animals. Those little beings come from somewhere, somewhere that PROFITS from churning them out, and chances are really good it was a hellhole.

A New Low in the War on Elephants

The government of Zimbabwe allowed  THIRTY-SIX  baby elephants to be stolen from their families last month, so they could be exported and sold to zoos.  Helicopters swarmed their herds and as elephants scattered, the infants who couldn’t keep up were captured.  Plans are in the works for HUNDREDS more to be stolen this way, leaving entire herds distraught and mothers frantic and grief-stricken.  It’s really hard to imagine which is worse, the prolonged suffering of poaching, or this double trauma inflicted on mothers and children, with the children condemned to reduced (in every way) lives in zoos.  If they survive: baby elephants are notoriously delicate physically end emotionally and often refuse all sustenance when traumatized. One of the 36 is already dead.

I refuse to call it good news, since everything about this is terrible, but there IS still time to halt the export of these babies and to stop further kidnappings. PLEASE write a quick letter ….and email….and fax…and while you are at it, make a 20-second call, too…to the Zimbabwean Embassy, asking them to stop this immediately. A sample letter is below (thank you, PETA), but please edit it to make it personal.

 I am writing with a heavy heart after learning of the capture and kidnapping of 36 baby elephants from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Please do everything in your power to stop the sale and exportation of these elephants. Young elephants like these are heavily reliant on their mothers. Being torn away from them is not only traumatic but also life-threatening. Indeed, one of the captured elephants has already died. Elephants are highly social and emotionally complex animals who live in herds. Female elephants stay with their mothers for their entire lives, while males stay with their matriarchal herds well past 10 years of age before joining a juvenile male herd. Disruptions to these relationships are detrimental to the species as a whole. The species’ existence is already in peril, and the kidnapping of 36 young elephants only further endangers the declining population. With rumors of planned captures in the works that would orphan hundreds more baby elephants, there is no time to waste.Zimbabwe officials have not taken action despite an international outcry. You are in a unique position of influence to express to your compatriots in Zimbabwe that their refusal to act is marring the image of their country as compassionate people across the world are outraged. Please do what is right for animal welfare and for conservation by doing everything in your power to stop the additional capture of innocent elephants and to ensure that the 35 who are currently slated to be exported are quickly rehabilitated and released. Thank you for your time.

Please address it to
Ambassador H.E Ammon M. Mutembwa
1608 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 332-7100
Fax: 202-483-9326.
E-Mail: info33@zimbabwe-embassy.us.
Thank you.  it’s little enough to do, when you think of what it feels like to lose a child. What a sorry, sorry, species we humans are.

Update On the Angora Action Alert

Remember this when you feel as if nothing ever changes, and nothing you do makes any difference: after receiving more than ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND emails from people demanding that they ditch angora, huge upscale French clothing company Lacoste has just confirmed that it is removing all angora wool products from its shelves and has requested to be added to the list of retailers that do not sell angora.  The list now includes Gap (which owns Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta), Express, Lands’ End, QVC, French Connection, Forever 21, New Look, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H & M, Marks & Spencer, Limited Brands, IZOD, and Eddie Bauer.

How much does it cost you to write a few lines? Five minutes, maybe. If all of those one hundred thousand people had decided a five-minute letter/email was just too much to ask of them,  if all of them had thought, “It’s OK, someone else will do it” — nothing would have changed.  And let’s not forget the phenomenal courage of the undercover investigator who visited almost a dozen rabbit farms in China and documented the horrors. China supplies 90% of the world’s angora, yet has neither humane standards for the treatment of the rabbits nor penalties for abuse.

It’s not the war, true, but it’s a battle.

 

Food Giant Scared of Eggless Mayo

 

Look familiar? You have probably seen this and already tried it, wondering if it gets better than Vegenaise. (Does it? My vote is no, but that’s beside the point here.) You may also have heard that the food giant Unilever is suing the start-up company Hampton Creek, maker of this spread that tastes like mayonnaise but contains yellow peas instead of eggs (Whirled Peas! Literally!)  — hence the logo that depicts an egg with a pea shoot growing through it.  For us, the most important aspect of Just Mayo is that no one got hurt to make it.  The lawsuit contends that Hampton Creek is guilty of false advertising and fraud (because Unilever, which sells $60 BILLION worth of stuff worldwide under 1,000 different brand names, is SO concerned about false advertising) — and, the crux of the matter, is denting sales of its own mayonnaise products, marketed under the brand names Hellmann’s and Best Foods. (Wait, isn’t that how capitalism works?!)

By FDA regulations, mayonnaise contains egg yolks.  Just Mayo does not, it is true, but then it doesn’t call itself mayonnaise either. Also, considering Hampton Creek specifically markets the eggless-ness of Just Mayo, it can hardly be said to be creating false impressions.  Nevertheless, Unilever’s suit alleges it will suffer “irreparable harm” from Just Mayo, feigns concern that “consumers are being misled”, and demands damages of three times Hampton Creek’s profits, plus legal fees, plus the recall of all Just Mayo products and marketing materials, and a change in logo.

In the first 24 hours of the story going public, Hampton Creek received 18,000 messages of support.  Unilever and Hellmann’s were deluged by negative comments. And the media visibility for Just Mayo has been estimated at the equivalent of advertising worth $20+ million in just the first week after the lawsuit was filed. HA!

During that time Unilever was busy quietly cleaning a bunch of it’s own websites and product descriptions, which were found LIKEWISE not to conform to the rules it was trying to set for Just Mayo.

Just Mayo is already on the shelves in chains like Costco, Target and WalMart, and Hampton  Creek has also begun selling Just Cookies, an eggless, dairy-free cookie dough in four varieties. Will Keebler’s elves be lining up at their own lawyer’s office to accuse Hampton Creek of fraud in their use of the word “Cookies”??

Monsters Continue to Sell (and buy) Angora and Fur

Angora Rabbit Recap
It’s been more than a year since PETA released undercover footage of angora rabbits who had their fur violently ripped out by the fistful so that it could be used in sweaters and accessories. While numerous companies have acted ethically and responsibly by discontinuing angora sales after viewing the footage, fashion company BCBG Max Azria continues to profit from this cruel industry. BCBG also sells fur from Asiatic raccoons (also known as raccoon dogs)—animals who are often slammed to the ground and beaten on fur farms.

These animals need you now more than ever! Please call BCBG today at 877-707-2224 and urge it to stop selling angora and fur immediately! (Press 2 and speak to a customer service representative.)

Here’s an example of what to say: “I’m calling to urge you to stop selling angora and fur. As long as BCBG continues to profit from torturing animals, I won’t shop at your stores.”

(Action Alert courtesy of PETA; thanks)

Has Daiya Betrayed Us?

daiya

Daiya (pronounced Day-ah) Foods, Inc. has been our cheesy savior since 2008, when it was founded as a “vegan cheese company”.  Its shreds, slices, wedges, cream cheese and most recently, pizza,  have made the conversion to veganism easier for a lot of people, as well as making the vegan version of conventional foods more familiar. Daiya is probably what most of us are thinking of when someone says, “Oh, I could never do without the cheese!” and we say, “You don’t have to!” Daiya cheese is made from cassava and arrowroot and contains no animal products. It has received multiple awards, including from VegNews and PETA. Its founders, Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake, are vegans, and the company was never been shy about using the word VEGAN.  Ethical and successful…wow.

Trouble is, for some time now non-vegan things have been sneaking in. Not that your Daiya pizza now secretly contains bacon, or that beef fat is being surreptitiously added to your cheddar shreds, but references to meat, and recipes containing meat have begun surfacing on the Daiya website and Facebook page, and a subtle verbal shift away from “vegan” (with its ethical connotations) and towards “dairy-free” (now referring to human health and food allergies) has taken place.

To begin with, this passed largely unnoticed.  However, as the news has become more widely disseminated, a growing number of vegans find this seriously offensive.  A vegan cheese company, founded by vegans, promoting recipes that contain beef, turkey, ham, fish, and eggs?  Four hundred-odd people have ‘liked’ the Boycott Daiya FB page. This does feel like a betrayal. A abolition-vs-welfare kind of betrayal. We had decided Daiya was abolitionist and they turn out to be welfarist. Or worse. Since we all know with gut-wrenching clarity that a ham roll-up or seafood salad is not … NOT… just a “food choice”.  However.

Having reached all the vegan world, was Daiya’s growth as a vegan cheese company, while little short of meteoric, pretty much limited to the growth of the number of vegans?  Would we would prefer them to remain small and ethical, rather than become huge at the expense of any compromise with suffering?  And this is where the abolition-vs-welfare thing comes in. As we know, even though about 2/3 of the human population is lactose intolerant, this does NOT stop them eating cheese.  While we are all abolitionists at heart, would we prefer they eat real cheese and get upset stomachs (yes, I know, we don’t care about that bit) or Daiya and don’t?  Isn’t every bag of Daiya shreds (which, just fyi, do not contain palm oil, although some of the other Daiya products do) bought better than a bag of real shredded cheese? As a very large and successful company, would Daiya have the power to effect more change for the better than a relatively small and insignificant one?  Is Daiya poised to become the next Silk? Just thoughts. And I haven’t finished thinking this one through yet.  For what it’s worth (likely not a whole bunch) company spokespeople profess injured innocence:

“We are sorry for offending you. That was certainly not our intention. Here at Daiya, we simply try to provide resources and recommendations (which include our many user-submitted recipes) that might appeal to the many different people who love our products.”

For more info about the boycott, visit: https://www.facebook.com/daiyahurtsanimals?fref=nf

and to tell Daiya what you think, https://www.facebook.com/daiyafoods

 

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