All posts by Jean

The truth about Watoto

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article yesterday that attributed Watoto’s death to chronic, age-related arthritis.

“We don’t know if Watoto fell or laid down. My clinical assessment is that she was unable to stand back up, due to the joint disease,” Dr. Darin Collins, the zoo’s director of Animal Health, said in a report.

Watoto, the lone Asian elephant in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, died because she couldn’t stand up. And she couldn’t stand because of her ailing joints, caused by the environment in which she was forced to live: hard substrate in the barn and unyielding compacted ground outside. She didn’t suffer from any diseases or heart problems. And she wasn’t old–despite what the zoo is trying to tell people.

The zoo said the median life expectancy of an African elephant is 41 years. Watoto was 45. But the key word in the zoos statement is median. If you exclude baby elephants, who die more often than adults, and you exclude poaching, which takes the lives of elephants in their prime, you’ll see that elephants in the wild live longer than their captive counterparts. Wild elephants can live into their 60s and 70s. In fact, females are most fertile between 35 and 45, meaning in the wild, Watoto would be still giving birth to calves.

Wild elephants don’t suffer the degenerative joint diseases and foot problems like the majority of captive elephants face.

Confined elephants can’t travel like they should. In the wild, elephants can travel twenty miles a day. Elephants who aren’t free develop psychological problems and physical health problems.

Woodland Park Zoo said Watoto was geriatric. They want people to think Watoto was old. In reality, she suffered because she was isolated and confined. Captivity killed her.

watoto-300x199

The two surviving elephants, Chai and Bamboo, urgently need to be released to a sanctuary. Please keep up the pressure on Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray.

You can sign this petition, and you can write to the council and mayor at the addresses below.

Seattle Mayor and City Council addresses:

Ed.murray@seattle.gov, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov, Sally.Bagshaw@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

King Council addresses:

larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov, kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, Dave.Upthegrove@kingcounty.gov, jane.hague@kingcounty.gov, pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov, joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov, rod.dembowski@kingcounty.gov, reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov, dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov

Zoo management and Board of Directors: Deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, nancy.hawkes@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org

Sanctuary is the humane choice that is a win for all stakeholders:

  • The Zoo–and taxpayers–will save money and the zoo can be a leader in compassion.
  • Children will learn a valuable lesson in science
  • The Seattle Mayor, City Council, and citizens can be proud of their humane leadership
  • Most of all, Bamboo and Chai will have the best quality of life available.

Further reading:

Necropsy Reveals Disturbing Death of Seattle Zoo Elephant
Did Neglect Kill Woodland Park’s African Elephant Matriarch?
Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants
Community Coalition for Elephant Retirement

 

Seal Beach is Sending Coyotes to Gas Chambers

(The following information is from In Defense of Animals)

The city council in Seal Beach, California approved a plan to kill coyotes in the area by gassing them in a mobile CO2 chamber.

Coyote

According to the “pest” control company Critter Busters, the coyotes will be caught in live traps and then transferred into mobile gas chambers with carbon dioxide (CO2). California has outlawed CO2 chambers for dogs and cats, so why are wild animals allowed to suffer?

This decision is a reaction to several dogs who have been killed by coyotes. City council’s misguided plan to brutally gas coyotes doesn’t address the real reasons why coyotes are coming into contact with people. It fails to take into account human behavior, including people leaving food sources outside, and even worse—residents apparently actually feeding the coyotes.

Losing an animal companion, whether to a disease, a car accident, or to coyotes is always a tragedy.

The coyotes are just trying to survive. It’s up to people to protect their companion animals without having coyotes killed by the tens of thousands nationwide every year without any true prospect of reducing their populations.

Killing coyotes does not work – not on the prairies, and not within city limits.

Killing coyotes won’t stop them from coming into town. It’s just one of those things that we cannot, should not, and do not need to control, because we have better ways to deal with situations like the one Seal Beach is experiencing: respectful and compassionate co-existence. Get rid of the reasons the coyotes are coming into town and the coyotes won’t be an issue.

Please click the link to IDAs site and fill out the form to send the letter to the Seal Beach mayor and City Council members. Follow up with a polite call to tell them to put an immediate halt to the senseless trapping and gassing of coyotes.

 

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed.

Every 9 to 11 hours, a rhino is killed.

These beautiful creatures are often poached for their ivory and horns. Whether for trinkets or so-called medicine, there is no justification for their deaths.

That’s why, this Saturday, thousands of people from over 125 cities around the world are participating in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. The event will bring awareness to the plight of elephants and rhinos–two species whose very existence is in peril (poaching kills 35,000 elephants and over 1,000 rhinos every year).

The march will put pressure on  governments around the globe to publicly destroy their stockpiles of wildlife parts and show zero tolerance for this illegal trading. The main reason these species are in decline is because of the growing trade in tusks and horns. Here are the details for the Seattle event:

What:  Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
When:  Saturday, Oct. 4th at noon – 2 pm
Where: International Children’s Park, 700 S Lane St, Seattle, WA

Global march for elephants and rhinos

The march will be about half a mile long. Signs will be provided, but you can bring your own. For more info or to RSVP to the event, check out the event’s Facebook page and the handy march map.

Before the march, a lineup of speakers will inform, inspire, and entertain. Cathy Sorbo, comedian and former Seattle PI columnist, will emcee the event. Speakers include:

  • Tom Skerritt, acclaimed actor and passionate animal conservationist.
  • Wendie Wendt, Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, one of the leading organizations in the fight to stop poaching.
  • Kathleen Gobush PhD, A research scientist who worked with Save the Elephants, a key player in saving elephants in Kenya. Currently she is a Senior Project Developer with Vulcan.
  • Lisa Kane JD, a retired lawyer and author who has advocated for the welfare of captive and wild elephants locally, nationally and internationally.

Please help bring awareness to this crisis and help stop the demand for elephant tusks and rhino horns.

Join the World Day for Farmed Animals protest

Please join NARN and FARM (Farm Animals Rights Movement) for a two-hour demo this Thursday.

WDFFA

The demo is part of for World Day for Farmed Animals and will be held outside the American Gold Seafood Company to raise awareness of the suffering of fish and the damage caused by commercial fish farming.

When: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 from noon to 2 pm
WhereAmerican Gold Seafood Company
4019 21st Avenue West Seattle, WA 98199

More details are on the event Facebook page

FISH ARE NOT SWIMMING VEGETABLES!

It’s convenient to believe that fish don’t feel fear and pain like mammals do, but this isn’t true. It’s their misfortune that fish merely do not express their pain in a way that is easily recognizable to humans.

Watch this short video for an excellent dramatization of why fish are often misunderstood and undervalued as sentient creatures.

The truth is commercial fish farming conditions are horrific: The fish suffer from gross overcrowding, lice infestations, and feces-polluted water that in turn lead to algae blooms, oxygen depletion, and the death of other marine species.

It’s hard enough to get people to care about cute fluffy animals — that’s why we’re taking time to fight for fish, who die in much, much higher numbers than those of land mammals, and suffer just the same.

For more information, go to the Day for Animals site or click here to take a one-day fast pledge.

Some signs and leaflets will be provided but as always feel free to create your own great posters.

 

 

The NIH still tortures monkeys

When I was an undergraduate, I read about horrific maternal deprivation experiments that Harry Harlow conducted in the 1950s and 60s. It was hard to read about them, but they happened in the past–or so I thought.

Harlow died thirty years ago but his protégé, Stephen Suomi has picked up with Harlow left off. Suomi works at a taxpayer-funded, NIH (National Institutes of Health) lab in Maryland, where he continues to conduct similar experiments.

PETA recently released disturbing proof of psychological experiments on baby monkeys. You can learn more here.

PETA also ran a full-page newspaper ad in Washington, D.C., that condemned the studies. The ad prompted a CSPAN host to confront NIH Director Francis Collins on live TV about the ad and the experiments.

NIH

You can see the ad and TV clip here.

What to do?

Please contact NIH and ask them to stop this cruelty now! Together, we can make a difference.

Help save animals in UW paramedic training

Did you know that live animals are used and then killed in the University of Washington’s paramedic medicine program?

The training is substandard, compared to the  superior human-based training methods used by the rest of paramedic training programs in the Pacific Northwest. Even more frustrating: The UW has its own simulation center and could immediately begin offering paramedics and flight nurses the best education possible.

If you’re a Washington State resident, please join the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and sign a petition asking the president of UW, Michael Young, to stop the live animal lab and to switch to human-based methods.

Thank you!

Help end cruelty to show horses

Have you heard of “soring”? It’s a cruel practice some show horses are forced to endure. It’s meant to give show horses like Tennessee Walkers an unnaturally high gait. It’s done with the use of chains, chemicals, and sharp objects–and it needs to stop.

Check out this page from the Humane Society. It has more details, a petition, and a video that show the practice of soring.

Help end a 50-year-old tradition by making a brief, polite phone call to your two U.S. senators and your U.S. representative to put an end to soring.

You can find their numbers here.

Please tell them you’re a constituent and you urge them to make sure that the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, S. 1406/H.R. 1518, comes to a vote.

PAST is the only bill that would require better USDA enforcement and put an end to soring.

Poll: Should Woodland Park Zoo send its elephants to a sanctuary?

With the passing of Watoto, The Seattle Times wrote a superb Editorial about elephants in captivity.

Please read the article and answer the poll about whether the zoo should send its elephants to a sanctuary. The poll is at the end of the article.

Please vote and share the poll with everyone you know!

Chai and Bamboo NEED your help to get a strong vote. We need to show the Mayor and City Council that people want the elephants to go to a sanctuary.

elephants in zoos or sanctuaries

Please VOTE and share!

RIP Watoto – Vigil at noon on Saturday, August 23rd‏

Today is a very sad day.  Watoto was euthanized.
She died without ever having had a good day.

You may have heard that Watoto, the African elephant that so many people were fighting for, lost her life today. Watoto was discovered lying down unable to right herself when the keepers arrived this morning.  The Zoo’s staff decided to euthanize her after being unable to raise her.

Please join in a vigil/peaceful demonstration at the street entrance to Woodland Park Zoo’s south entrance tomorrow, Saturday at noon.

What:  Vigil for beautiful Watoto
When: Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at noon
Where: Street entrance to the Zoo’s south entrance at N. 50th and Fremont Ave. N.

     

Watoto was only 45 years. In the wild, she would have been in the prime of her life; still bearing calves. Confinement in a zoo takes a devastating physical and psychological toll on these far-ranging and intelligent animals. The zoo industry’s own statistics show that elephants die young.

Woodland Park Zoo denied Watoto of one her greatest needs–companionship of her own kind. After being ripped from her mother in Africa as a baby, Watoto never set eyes on another African elephant. The zoo also denied Watoto the opportunity to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary.

Watoto suffered from a host of chronic captivity related diseases as a result of living her entire life in the cramped quarters of Woodland Park.

Woodland Park Zoo is an exceptionally poor environment. The elephants are locked outdoors in less than 1 acre.  Indoors, the elephants are locked in barren cages, standing on hard substrate and only able to walk a few steps in any direction. This lockup, due to our climate, lasts 16-17 hours a day, every day, for over half of the year. Scientific American describes this as: “tortuous conditions [which] inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”

We hope that Watoto’s suffering and death will not be in vain. We are very grateful for Seattle’s Mayor Murray’s statement. We need him to go farther: Bamboo and Chai need to retire to a sanctuary. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.

Please write to ask the Mayor and the City Council to order the zoo to release Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. They have the authority.

Email: Ed.murray@seattle.gov,
Jean.Godden@seattle.gov,
Sally.Bagshaw@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,
Deborah.jensen@zoo.org,
Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org,
Darin.Collins@zoo.org,
nancy.hawkes@zoo.org,
zooinfo@zoo.org

Please call the Mayor anytime on Wednesday, the 27th.  Ask the Mayor to withhold funds from Woodland Park Zoo until the elephants are released to a sanctuary. 206-684-4000

Rest in peace, Watoto.

Week of Action Against Circus Suffering

Animal Defenders International needs you to help wild animals who are caged, chained, and confined in circuses across the US.

ADI camel

This week, the Week of Action Against Circus Suffering, groups and individuals across the US will be flooding Congress with calls and emails urging their Representatives to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 4525), a landmark federal bill introduced by Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) that aims to protect elephants, tigers, bears, and other wild animals by prohibiting their use in traveling circuses.

How to help

  • Send an email message to your Representative in Congress (you can look up their contact info here). Keep your message brief and polite, and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, H.R. 4525.
  • Follow up with a quick call to Congress. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative’s office. (Please do not call your Senator at this time as a companion bill in the Senate has not yet been introduced.)
  • We want to hear from you! Please contact ADI and let us know the response you get from your Representative so that we can effectively advance this important legislation.

Tips for calling your Representative:

  • Identify yourself and ask to speak with the staff/aide assigned to issues regarding wildlife and the humane care of animals.
  • Take note of their name and ask the aide to please pass along a message to your Representative that you are encouraging them to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 4525).

You may want to share some examples of why this bill is needed:

  • H.R. 4525 is necessary because no amount of expensive regulation will protect a wild animal in a traveling circus from a life of ongoing physical and social deprivation, nor will regulation protect the public from animal escapes and diseases like TB that can be transmitted from animals to people.
  • Wild animals in traveling circuses endure confinement; long, arduous journeys; brutal control methods and physical violence.
  • Traveling circuses pose a serious threat to public safety. Circus workers and members of the public, including children, have been killed and maimed by circus animals, and lions, tigers and elephants have all escaped.
  • Investigations have revealed circus animals are trained through domination using weapons including bullhooks, whips and electric shocking devices.
  • H.R. 4525 is an important animal protection measure that will relieve an enormous amount of suffering, will save resources and protect people.

ADI elephant

Together, we can work to end the confinement; the long, arduous journeys; the brutal control methods; and the physical violence that wild animals in traveling circuses are forced to endure. No amount of regulation can protect them; only a ban can safeguard their welfare.

ADI will be posting to Facebook all week. Feel free to share the images create your own using ours as a template.