Tell Your Senator to Oppose The Sportsmen’s Act 2013 (S. 1335)
|Cantwell, Maria - (D – WA)|
|311 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510|
|Murray, Patty - (D – WA)|
|154 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510|
US company Herakles Farms plans to convert vast swaths of chimpanzee habitat in Cameroon into a colossal palm oil plantation. This is crucial habitat not only for chimpanzees, but for forest elephants and other endangered animals like the drill – Cameroon constitutes 80% of drill habitat – the rare Preuss’s red colobus monkey, the red-capped mangabey, and a whole host of rare fish species – some of which can only be found in this part of Africa.
Illustrating once again that people capable of DOING bad things won’t hesitate to LIE about them, Herakles Farms claimed the area in question consisted of land that was already farmland, and forest that was already heavily degraded, and therefore had no conservation value. However, Greenpeace aerial surveys, field research and analysis of satellite images, as well as a new study by Dschang University in Cameroon and Goetttingen University in Germany, all prove this is not true: most of the land is perfectly intact and and provides habitat for thousand of animals as well as vital corridors for wildlife between protected areas.
Another good reason for all of us to treat palm oil like meat and vow not to buy anything containing it.
The Obama administration has just done an unreservedly good thing: turned down Georgia Aquarium’s application to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for public display at its own facility in Atlanta and at partner facilities, including SeaWorld of Florida, SeaWorld of Texas, SeaWorld of California and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that importing these animals would contravene the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and that beluga populations had to be protected from the continued depletion of live captures. The rejection gave the following reasons:
- NOAA Fisheries is unable to determine whether or not the proposed importation, by itself or in combination with other activities, would have a significant adverse impact on the Sakhalin-Amur beluga whale stock, the population that these whales are taken from;
- NOAA Fisheries determined that the requested import will likely result in the taking of marine mammals beyond those authorized by the permit [i.e. it would encourage further live capture hunts];
- NOAA Fisheries determined that five of the beluga whales proposed for import, estimated to be approximately 1½ years old at the time of capture, were potentially still nursing and not yet independent.
Beluga whales are highly social, playful animals that live and migrate in groups of ten to several hundred in the arctic and subarctic waters of Russia, Greenland and North America. Beluga whales face a number of threats including ship strikes, pollution, noise, habitat destruction and entanglement in fishing gear — in addition to live capture. Beluga hunts, like orca hunts, drive the whales into nets and rely on mother-child bonds to capture entire pods. In captivity belugas, like orcas, have greatly reduced lifespans.
Had this importation permit been issued, it would have been seen as a U.S endorsement of the cruel and unsustainable live capture industry. This decision effectively discourages the industry by closing off the U.S. as a market.
Btw…NOAA received close to TEN THOUSAND letters and emails during its 60-day public hearing period on this proposed beluga whale importation last year. If you were one of those who wrote in…see what you did. If you were not…see what you can do next time
The distinct population group of orcas who spend their summers in Puget Sound are to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced last week. California farmers had petitioned to delist the orcas because of the water restrictions to protect Sacramento River salmon, eaten by the orcas. NOAA spent a year reviewing the petition and finally rejected it, saying the Puget Sound orcas — who have their own food source, customs and language and do not interbreed with others — were most definitely a threatened subgroup.
About 80 orcas in three pods spend most of the year in the area, down from over 100 in the 1990s. They are enormously popular with tourists, and already suffer from shipping, pollution, noise and declining food.
And now also from the lawyers who plan to continue their fight to strip them of protection.
India has become the first country on earth to officially recognize that dolphins are “non-human persons”. As you know, the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forests banned dolphin captivity earlier this year, calling it “morally unacceptable” due to their high intelligence and sensitivity.
“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations..” — Henry Beston
This week (Monday 22 July) marked the first lawsuit against ag-gag laws. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, environmental journalist Will Potter and animal rights activist Amy Meyer filed a civil lawsuit on Monday contesting the constitutionality of a Utah law that bans recording at an agricultural facility without the owner’s consent. In February of this year, Meyer became the first person charged under an ag-gag law, after she filmed a downed cow at a slaughterhouse while standing on a public sidewalk. Charges were later dropped.
The lawsuit alleges that the Utah law violates the Constitution, as it singles out certain types of speech for less protection under the First Amendment. It would also single out certain types of investigative reporting as illegal. Although its primary purpose is to put a lid on political debate over factory farming by preventing the public from finding out about the inherent animal cruelty, it could also impact food safety measures and apply to the filming of unsafe working conditions or bad employment practices.
A total of 8 states now have ag-gag laws. Proponents argue that this is a private property issue. They are right, of course. At issue is their private property: money.
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