About Pete

Vegan since 2000, elected board member of NARN since 2007. I currently serve as the board's Vice President. I believe that the drive that encourages animal exploitation is the same that allows people to exploit other people and the earth. Animal rights is the final frontier of social justice issues; it is all the same fight for fairness and liberty. Animal rights is the principle, veganism is the practice. "Until lions have their own historians, the hunters will always be the heroes" (African proverb)

Vote NO for the Zoo Levy

If you live in King County, you should have received your ballots and voter’s guide for the upcoming primary and special election on August 6. Among the city council, mayor, and other public official positions up for your vote, there are a few measures on the ballot. One that deserves some special consideration is King County Proposition No. 1, which we at the NARN board encourage you to vote NO.

vote-cartoon1

Proposition 1 is a levy meant to provide funding for King County-operated parks  and recreational facilities. It also provides 7% of the levy collection to be earmarked for the Woodland Park Zoological Society. According to the figures provided by King County, they estimate that $4.2 million per year would support the Woodland Park Zoo. Using the last budget figures provided by the Zoo – a projected operating cost of $32.9 million — the levy would contribute roughly 1/8 of its budget.

Now, anyone familiar with our Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants campaign, or have seen the critical Seattle Times expose of the Zoo, knows that the zoo has stubbornly refused to release their elephants to a sanctuary when all evidence has pointed to the fact that the Zoo is incapable of providing the basic necessities for elephants.

While any visit to any zoo will feature a vast array of bored, lonely, listless animals cooped up for the entertainment of people, elephants like Bamboo, Chai, and Watoto at the WPZ pose particular problems that zoos aren’t able to address. Elephants are very social creatures, forming life-time bonds with parents, offspring, friends, relatives in the wild, but are separated when they are captured in the wild or taken from their families as babies when born in captivity; they require the space that only freedom provides, sometimes walking as many as 50 miles a day, with home ranges in the hundreds of square miles. Zoos are cramped and lonely places for them, with indoor facilities measured in feet, not miles, and an outdoor range of one half to three acres. And owing to the cold and wet climates of much of the US (including here in the Pacific Northwest), compared to the hot and dry climates of their habitat in Asia and Africa, this means that elephants like the ones in Woodland Park spend a majority of their time indoors.

Zoos will do just about anything to avoid having to admit that they may not be able to adequately care for an animal, and Woodland Park Zoo is no exception. Despite the increased public concern that the WPZ is not the right place for elephants, they steadfastly refuse to budge on the issue. They, like any other zoo, do not want to admit that any information that comes out about the conditions can actually force a zoo to release an animal to a sanctuary. That is why they continually whitewash the obvious concerns, and why the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the governing body of the zoo industry, refuses to acknowledge the existence of a natural-habitat refuge like the Elephant Sanctuary of Hohenwald, Tennesee. To do so would be a fatal admission that an animal would be healthier and happier while living elsewhere.

While zoos insist their main focus is education and conservation, animals on display merely serve as profit-making attractions; their “conservation” programs arguably serves to actually diminish the population of animals in the wild, as fertile females are taken from their natural habitat to provide baby animals for zoos which attract more paying visitors. And even their captive breeding programs are largely unsuccessful; Chai of the Woodland Park Zoo, for example, has undergone 112 attempts to forcibly impregnate her, even against recommendations to not do so since she has the elephant herpes virus. She has had numerous miscarriages, and her last birth, a female elephant named Hansa, died at the age of 6 in 2007 of the herpes virus that was passed onto her.

While claims are made by zoos like Woodland Park of the value of their education and conservation programs, a study funded by the AZA  “Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium,” reports that there was no statistically significant change in “overall knowledge”. Instead, social scientists found that zoo visits actually “reinforced” and “supported” the pre-existing attitude and values of guests. (1) Their claims of “conservation” is meaningless as animals bred in zoos are never released, and will never be released, to replenish the ones lost in the wild, and animals in captivity have up to half the life expectancy of those in their natural habitats.

Zoos like the Woodland Park Zoo are poor investments of public money, so you can show your disapproval by voting NO for King County Proposition 1. Obviously a concern about this levy is its primary funding for the county-operated parks and other outdoor areas, and it is hard to vote against the continued maintenance of our valuable green space–particularly since such levies are now the primary source of funding for the King County parks and recreation division; the King County general fund support for that division was eliminated as of 2011. This levy is meant to continue funding after the expiration of the 2008-2013 voter-approved operations and maintenance levy, of which approximately 70% of the operating budget of the parks was provided.

Parks levies enjoy popular support–each one regarding park operations and maintenance (from both King County and Seattle) brought to the voters have passed. The last levy proposed by King County in 2007, Proposition No. 2 – Open Space, Regional Trails, and Woodland Park Zoo levy, passed 59-41%. With such popular support, this levy stands a very high probability of passing, but through your vote of NO, the margin of support will diminish, and we can then demonstrate the public concern about using our money to fund failed education and conservation programs of the Woodland Park Zoo. In the unlikely event of this levy failing to pass, we can as citizens of King County then provide that as proof of our unwillingness of using public funds for the Zoo, and we can demand instead a levy for the parks that does not provide allocations to the Zoo.

Don’t forget to mail in your ballet by August 6, and to vote NO on King County Proposition No. 1. Thank you.

(1) “Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium,” (Falk, Rienhard, Vernon, Bronnenkant, et al., 2007, p. 10).

Share

Watchdog Group Files Complaint Against UW for Primate Abuse and Deaths, Calls for Fine for Federal Law Violations

A national research watchdog organization has completed a major investigation of the University of Washington, Seattle, and has filed an Official Complaint with the USDA noting numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) noted that federal law violations include multiple primate escapes, severe animal debilitation, severe limb contracture with skin ulcers, and deaths.

The SAEN investigation uncovered nine primate escapes including one where two escaping primates fought and injured each other requiring euthanasia for one of the monkeys. Nine primates were listed as emaciated or severely debilitated, three primates suffered from severe limb contracture and skin ulcers. Another primate had “linear crush” injuries, requiring amputations.

Overall, the SAEN complaint involves potentially dozens of federal violations connected to at least 22 primates in a period of roughly one year.

“The staff and researchers at the UW appear to be drastically unqualified, substantially inept, and unable to follow even the most basic requirements of animal husbandry,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN. “Not only is the UW unable to keep the monkeys in the cages, they are unable to prevent serious injuries during the escapes, some of which required euthanasia.”

View the official complaint as well as the UW records which were uncovered detailing their abuses in this PDF file.

Share

Letters Opposing the “Rotten Egg Bill” Delivered to WA State Delegates of US Congress

Today letters were hand-delivered to the Washington State offices of U.S. Senators Ed Murray and Maria Cantwell (both D-WA), as well as U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), urging them to oppose The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 (H.R. 1731/S. 820). Green Vegans, NARN, Action for Animals, and United Poultry Concerns were signatories to the letters. The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 would condemn egg-laying hens to confinement in battery cages forever, and would prohibit any future challenge by state law or public vote. This bill has provisions that would fare even worse for hens than the similar bill that failed to pass last year.

chickens

So-called “colony” cages, that this bill would codify, allows around 8 hens to be crowded into a cage the size of a file cabinet drawer.

Below is the text of the letter delivered to Congressman Dermott–the letters to Senators Cantwell and Murray are exactly the same except for the substitution of “S. 820″ for any mention of “H.R. 1731.”

————————————————————————————–

Dear Congressman McDermott,

H.R. 1731, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013, is a far worse bill than proposed in 2012. Though the bill amends an Act that addresses itself entirely to the quality of table eggs and concerns about maintaining public health, the H.R. 1731 amendments take on an entirely new subject: changes in the housing of hens who produce table eggs. Though this letter does not cover all the flaws and threats of the bill, these are our major concerns. We oppose this bill in its entirety and ask you to oppose it for the following reasons.

First, no person, organization, or state government may improve the welfare and treatment of egg-laying hens if it differs from the inadequacies of the Act.  There is no sunset language in this bill. According to the proposed bill, no person, agency, or act of Washington State government could implement science-based improvements based on studies of animal behavior before or after 2029 when the bill comes into full implementation: Requirements within the scope of this Act with respect to minimum floor space allotments or enrichments for egg-laying hens housed in commercial egg production which are in addition to or different than those made under this Act may not be imposed by any State or local jurisdiction [Section 4(b)(c) of the bill]. H.R. 1731 will disenfranchise your constituents from this matter—completely. We hope this issue alone, the disenfranchisement of the people of Washington State, will move you to oppose this misleading bill.

Second, H.R. 1731 removed important definitions and deadlines. It currently states: “(a) The term ‘adequate environmental enrichments’ means adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based on the best available science, including the most recent studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the term.” The deadline schedule for the Secretary of Agriculture to define “adequate environmental enrichments” has been deleted from the 2013 version of the bill. The deleted section from 2012 read, “The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.” The number of nesting spaces serves as an example of the need for clearly defined implementation. Research demonstrates that the lack of nesting opportunity is extremely stressful to the hen as it is one of several innate behavioral needs. Yet the Secretary is not required to specify any interior changes to cages excepting square inches per hen, itself a gross denial of the hens’ basic needs.

Third, the 2012 version of the bill used the word “must” consistently as the implementing mandate, as in “must provide environmental enrichment”; the 2013 bill (the “Amendments”) replaces “must” with “shall” throughout. We believe “must” was replaced with “shall” to further weaken the minimal, humane-washing changes it proposes. Going to the U.S. Federal Register Website, “Drafting Legal Documents / Principles of Clear Writing / Section 3” you will see they believe it correct to, “use ‘must’ instead of ‘shall’” because: “shall imposes an obligation to act, but may be confused with prediction of future action” while “must imposes obligation, indicates a necessity to act”. The plain English use of “must” in the 2012 bill is obvious when compared to “shall” in the 2013 bill. That change must be opposed along with the bill.

Fourth, cruel practices will continue under this bill: burning off the sensitive tips of beaks ensures a lifetime of pain and suffering—in addition to disabling the hens’ ability to groom their feathers and pick off lice; the wholesale slaughter of male chicks at birth, often by suffocation or grinding while alive, will continue because they do not lay eggs; female chicks will never experience the enriched experience of bonding with a mother hen; the maximum space allowed in caged confinement when the bill is fully implemented in 2029 is one square foot for the larger brown variety of hens; yet the overwhelming number of hens used in the US egg industry are the smaller white leghorn variety. They will theoretically receive a maximum of only 124 square inches per hen, or fourteen percent less than one square foot. After enduring this bill’s impacts, not a single hen will be spared from a life of deprivation before slaughter.

Fifth, there are no criminal penalties for violating the provisions of this bill. If the Secretary of Agriculture finds noncompliance, he submits reports to various committees. Eggs without carton labels describing how the hens were raised “shall” not be part of commerce. Eggs coming from covered sources that do not provide the “enrichment” and tiny space allocations less than those as scheduled in the Act as amended by H.R. 1731 are prohibited from commerce. But, again, there are no provisions for penalties, confiscations, fines, or any other impediment that would stop that commerce even after a notice, if any, was given.

Sixth, these amendments apply to egg-laying hens, but the Act they are being appended to is about egg handling and grading to maintain public health. We do not see any specific provisions that hen cages can be inspected and reported, only the facilities where eggs are “handled”. In addition, there are no appropriations to pay for the compliance inspections, reporting, and enforcement, if any.

Seventh, H.R. 1731 does not include over 56 million commercial egg-laying hens who are “in production” in any given month. This is multiplied over the course of every year as the egg-laying hens are killed and replaced when productivity declines. “All layers in the United States on April 1, 2013 totaled 348 million…. The 348 million layers consisted of 292 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.11 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs.” (USDA, Cornell, 2013). S.802 only covers table eggs. In addition, all flocks of less than 3,000 hens are excluded from this bill. Why should any hen be denied consideration by the proponents of the ill-conceived H.R. 1731?

Eighth, this bill does not protect human workers or hens from ammonia. The 2012 amendments allowed 25 ppm of ammonia in the air in egg-layer housing but the 2013 version adds an allowance for temporary increases for unusual conditions. At 25ppm, “Marked eye, skin, and respiratory irritation” occurs in humans. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). However, “temporary” is not defined in the proposed legislation regarding permissible ammonia levels over 25ppm and is therefore of unspecified duration. How long is “temporary” and what are “unusual conditions”?

Chickens exposed to 20 parts per million of ammonia for 42 days are susceptible to pulmonary congestion, swelling, and hemorrhage. Studies documenting the destructive effects of atmospheric ammonia on chickens and turkeys are referenced in: Carlile, Fiona S. 1984. Ammonia in Poultry Houses: A Literature Review. World’s Poultry Science Journal 40: 99-113.

Ammonia is not the only toxic gas in the chicken houses, and these other toxic gases are not addressed in the proposed legislation: nitrous oxide, CO2, hydrogen sulfide, methane. Chickens need three times more air volume than humans per kilogram of body weight to meet their oxygen requirements. The toxic gases in the houses added to the airborne debris (feathers, dander, organic dust, insecticides, microbes) are as cruel as cages. This toxic waste environment is also detrimental to ecosystems and contributes to global warming.

Congressman McDermott, we ask you to make certain this bill does not pass out of committee, and should it progress to the House and Senate conference committee for resolution, please oppose it there. Remember those of us who are dedicated to ending the real suffering of the hens NOT covered by these amendments. If H.R. 1731 passes, we will be denied our advocacy and hope for ending animal abuse. We, your constituents, and national organizations who specialize in chickens and farmed animal advocacy, oppose it.

Please oppose and defeat H.R. 1731.

Thank you,

Will Anderson, President
Green Vegans / The New Human Ecology
3518 Fremont Avenue N, #358
Seattle, WA  98103
206.715.6414 / www.greenvegans.org / will@greenvegans.org

Rachel Bjork, Board President
Northwest Animal Rights Network
1037 NE 65th St #174
Seattle, WA 98115
rachel@narn.org

Dave Bemel, President
Action for Animals
P.O. Box 45843
Seattle, WA 98145
206-227-5752
afa@afa-online.org

Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
757-678-7875
karen@upc-online.org / http://www.upc-online.org

Share

Disaster Preparedness for You and Your Companion Animals

EmergencyWeb_500pixels_wide

In light of the recent catastrophic events in Moore Oklahoma, it is a poignant reminder to all of us to prepare for disasters, no matter what form it takes. Here in the Pacific Northwest region, we are at risk for earthquake activity, owing to the many fault lines that run along the Pacific coastline, as well as effects of tsunamis. Many low-lying areas are also prone to flooding, and tornadoes–while rare in this region–are not out of the question. We must take preparations to be able to survive on our own for a period of time, and ensure the survival of those who depend on us, such as our companion animals.

moore

After being lucky enough to survive an initial disaster, the infrastructure we depend on may not be functional; there may no longer be access to food or running water, electricity or shelter, so planning ahead for such contingencies increases your chance of surviving for a period of time in case rescue crews or relief supplies are not able to reach you for a few days. Especially after a substantially destructive event with widespread damage, help may not come for some time (after the Moore tornado, first-responders at first were not able to get into the affected neighborhoods because of the extensive amount of debris blocking roadways), so it is best to plan ahead; imagine taking a camping trip for a week and you’ll get some idea of what you’ll need. Speaking of camping, many of us in this region do so, so there is the added advantage of having those supplies and gear at our disposal. Failing that, you can compile such items now and it will serve the dual purpose of being available for that trip you’ve been wanting to take in the mountains.

It will take some time and money to compile these kits, but it is important to start now and add to it as time and money allows; every little bit you add will greatly improve your situation later should the unthinkable happen. We recommend compiling one go-kit for each member of your household, including special items for your companion animal(s), and stowing camping gear in your available vehicles. There are special items you can compile for the home, but be aware that after a flood, earthquake, or tornado, your residence may be compromised enough to be unsafe for habitation, if it is left standing at all.

Vegans will have to ensure that there is enough food stocked up and packed away. Relief supplies, once they come, may not be all vegan, so having enough food for at least 7 days is recommended. Energy bars are convenient, especially in the Go-Kits, but they are expensive. Better to stock up at home on canned soups, beans and vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, and avoid foods like rice, noodles, and instant mixes as they require heat and a lot of precious water to prepare. There are now available quite a few packaged vacuum-sealed meals (usually Indian or Thai curries) that are vegan.

Another consideration for vegans is the inclusion of first-aid kits. There are many pre-packaged first-aid kits on the market, but many of them have products either with animal ingredients or are manufactured by companies that conduct testing on animals. It is better to make your own, using items from safe manufacturers. A list of recommended items are below.

Discuss an evacuation plan with all members of your household and how to notify each other in case of separation. Note that phone and internet communication networks may either be inoperable or overloaded, but establish an out-of-town/state contact person that each person can check in with, or use the same social networking sites. Discuss alternate meet-up places. If you have children, make sure they know their basic personal information should they get separated, know alternate contacts and meeting sites, and role-play with them on what to do and where to go as well as how to get hold of 911 and other contacts.

Your companion animals need special attention and planning. Make sure any licenses are current, and each animal has an ID tag. Consider micro-chips. Keep an updated list of trusted neighbors who could assist your companion animals in case of an emergency. Make sure they are comfortable being inside carriers. Fasten down aquariums and other cages to their tables to prevent them from tipping over. If you evacuate, locate all your animals and keep them with you. Be aware that shelters will only allow service animals. In a large-scale disaster, animal shelters will be set up when possible.

If there is absolutely no way to take your companion animals with you, inform animal rescue workers of your pets’ status: On your front door or in a highly visible window, use chalk, paint or marker to write the number and types of pets in your residence. Include their location in your home and the date that you evacuated. Leave plenty of water in a large, open container that cannot be tipped over. Leave plenty of food in timed feeders to prevent your pet from overeating. Absolutely do *not* tie up your pet in your home. The first chance you can get communications, find out who among neighbors, friends, or rescue workers can get to your place.

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never as critical to follow as preparing for a disaster. It is worth it to start now, and even if you cannot afford to get everything at this point get what you can, and continue to build upon your kits, because every little bit will prove to be invaluable should the unexpected happen. And especially for those of us who have others who depend on us, like companion animals, and those who are living as vegans, it is important to place extra consideration to ensure that as many living beings survive as possible.

FIRST-AID KIT (in a small plastic container)

+ First-aid manual
+ Sterile gauze pads of different sizes
+ Adhesive tape
+ Adhesive bandages in several sizes
+ Elastic bandage
+ A splint
+ Antiseptic wipes
+ Soap
+ Antibiotic ointment
+ Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
+ Cold packs/Heat packs (wrap in towel prior to use)
+ Tweezers
+ Sharp scissors
+ Safety pins
+ Disposable gloves

GO-KIT (in a backpack)

+ LED-flashlight
+ First-aid kit (as noted above)
+ Bottled water
+ Dried food like soy jerkies, energy bars, dried fruit, granola, etc.
+ Permanent marker, paper, tape to leave behind notes
+ Whistle
+ Flare or warning light to signal planes/helicopters
+ Multi-tool knife
+ Matches in waterproof container or cigarette lighter
+ Rain poncho
+ Warm hat/gloves
+ Sturdy shoes
+ A change of clothes
+ Emergency Mylar blanket (aka thermal blanket, Space Blanket, first-aid blanket)
+ Extra glasses, contact cases, contact solutions, other vital personal items
+ Prescription medication
+ Travel-size toothpaste and toothbrush
+ Photos of family members/companion animals for ID purposes
+ Copy of health insurance and identification cards
+ List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
+ Extra keys
+ Emergency cash in small denominations

COMPANION-ANIMAL GO-KIT (in a shoulder bag)

+ Carrier with blanket (Store with bag)
+ Sturdy leashes and muzzles for dogs.
+ Food, potable water and medicine/supplements for at least one week
+ Non-spill bowls, manual can opener (if using canned food)
+ Plastic bags for sanitation
+ Recent photo of each pet
+ Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency veterinary hospitals and animal shelters
+ Copy of your pet’s vaccination history and any medical problems
+ Favorite toy
+ A pillowcase may be a good emergency transport for cats and other small animals

HOME KIT (in large plastic tub)

+ Water*
+ Food (as noted above)
+ Manual can-opener
+ First-aid kit (as noted above)
+ Crowbar (doors that are shut may be jammed)
+ Dust-masks
+ Non-leather heavy-duty work gloves
+ Hand-powered radio
+ Flashlight/batteries
+ Plastic sheeting/duct-tape to cover up broken windows
+ Bucket/heavy plastic bags for sanitation (toilets may not function)
+ Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
+ Rope/twine
+ Plastic tarps
+ A copy of important documents & phone numbers
+ Tools; hammer, nails, staple gun, hacksaw/pruning saw
+ For children provide comfort food and treats, and games

It would be a good idea to store a crowbar, dust-mask (to filter out drywall, insulation, and other dust shaken loose), sturdy shoes, flashlight, and glasses (if you need corrective vision) next to your bed.

CAR KIT (to supplement Go-Kit)

+ Water*
+ Food (as noted above)
+ Sleeping bag(s)
+ Tent
+ Camping mess kit (forks, spoons, knives, metal pots/cups/plates)
+ Camp stove, or matches/cigarette lighter for building camp-fires
+ Extra blankets
+ Flashlight/batteries
+ First-aid kit (as noted above)
+ Emergency road-side kit (usually includes flares and tools)
+ In-car chargers for cell-phones and other communication devices
+ CB Radio
+ Change of clothes
+ Warm hat/gloves

*A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WATER:

In a disaster, water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. Store enough water for everyone in your family to last for at least 3 days. Store one gallon of water per person, per day. Three gallons per person per day will give you enough to drink and for limited cooking and personal hygiene. Remember to plan for your companion animals.

If you store tap water:
Tap water from a municipal water system can be safely stored without additional treatment. Store water in food grade plastic containers, such as clean 2-liter soft drink bottles. Heavy duty, reusable plastic water containers are also available at sporting goods stores. Empty milk bottles are not recommended because their lids do not seal well and bottles may develop leaks. Label and store in a cool, dark place. Replace water at least once every six months.

If you buy commercially bottled “spring” or “drinking” water:
Keep water in its original container, and don’t re-store a bottle once it’s been opened. Store in a cool, dark place. If bottles are not marked with the manufacturer’s expiration date, label with the date and replace bottles at least once per year.

Treating Water after Disaster:
If you run out of stored drinking water, strain and treat water from your water heater or the toilet reservoir tank (except if you use toilet tank cleaners). Swimming pool or spa water should not be consumed but you can use it for flushing toilets or washing.

Treatment Process:
Strain any large particles of dirt by pouring the water through layers of paper towels or clean cloth. Next, purify the water one of two ways:
Boil – bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 3-5 minutes. After the water cools, pour it back and forth between two clean containers to add back oxygen; this will improve its taste.
Disinfect – If the water is clear, add 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water. If it is cloudy, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon. Make sure you are using regular bleach— 5.25% percent sodium hypochlorite— rather than the “ultra” or “color safe” bleaches. Shake or stir, then let stand 30 minutes. A slight chlorine taste and smell is normal.

A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT EARTHQUAKES:
In an earthquake, since it happens suddenly and without warning, it is important to know what to do. It is a myth that the safest place is under a doorway; in modern structures, the doorway is no stronger than the rest of the building–in fact, you’re likely to get injured from doors swinging wildly, and if it’s a public building, people may shove past you to hurry through. Instead, drop, get under cover, and hold on. Many people make the mistake of standing, running, or trying to keep furniture from falling over—all major earthquake no-nos. When an earthquake strikes, don’t run or try to escape. Search for cover as close to you as possible; if you’re in bed, stay curled up and protect your head with a pillow. If you’re driving, pull over to the side when it’s safe, and stay off bridges and going underneath overpasses.

Share

New Bat Discovered, the “Find of a Lifetime,” Promptly Killed for “Research”

PANDABAT

You may have seen the news about the discovery of a new genus of bat, the so-called “panda bat” in South Sudan. Unfortunately, instead of documenting this bat that is obviously rare and releasing him or her back into the wild, the Smithsonian has killed the bat. Additionally, there have been concerns raised about how the bat was handled by the biologists.

panda bat

(From Bat World Sanctuary on Facebook) ”Concerning the (in our opinion) cover-up of how the new genus of bat was handled and killed, here is a statement from DeeAnn Reeder, the biologist involved. (Note that the Smithsonian is the same institution that captured and allowed 40 critically endangered Virginia big-eared bats to slowly die over a period of months because they would not use standard husbandry protocols for bats or listen to advice that could have saved the bats):

‘The specimen was humanly captured, handled and euthanized, and is being preserved and archived at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The collection of specimens this rare is critical to understanding an area’s biodiversity and to pursuing conservation efforts around the world. Museum specimens, including Niumbaha superba are available to all of the world’s scientists for study, thereby increasing their value.All of the work conducted in South Sudan and the import of specimens from South Sudan to the USA was done under strict permitting, including: a MoU between DeeAnn Reeder (as an agent for Bucknell University and the Smithsonian Institution) and the South Sudanese Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism (MWCT; FFI also holds and MoU with the ministry) approving collecting, an export permit from the MWCT), and permission to import (and all appropriate documents filed) from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the methods employed in the field, including trapping and humane euthanasia followed the guidelines of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society of Mammalogists and were explicitly approved for this project by the Internal Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) at Bucknell University. The existence of IACUCs and the procedures they follow is federally mandated for all US institutions and for all US animal researchers (even when their work is performed outside of the US).’

For the full description of how the specimen was handled, we suggest that concerned persons read the paper published in ZooKeys, which can be found here.

Additionally, a recent comment we came across states: ‘The way the bat is being handled does not hurt the bat. Holding back the wings prevents the bat from hurting itself while being held. This is a standard (and temporary) way to hold a bat for things like photos and/or to study certain characteristics of bats.’ Researchers scruff bats to get photographs and to avoid being bitten. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the safety of the bat. Any bat care professional can tell you that when bats are held in a manner that is *comfortable* to them, they rarely attempt to bite and photos are easily obtained.

From Reeder’s paper (linked above): ‘… It seems that much more collecting needs to be done before we can claim a complete knowledge of the mammalian fauna of tropical Africa.” More than 70 years later, this statement still holds, and the biota of many areas of sub-Saharan Africa remains poorly understood, even in vertebrate groups usually considered well studied, such as mammals (Reeder et al. 2007). As an understanding of basic biodiversity is the backbone upon which other studies and conservation programs can be built, we encourage further basic field and museum work in the region; many more surprises no doubt await.’

We will always encourage our fans to speak out against cruelty and unnecessary killing of bats and other wildlife. Please share this post.”

We at NARN encourage the conservation efforts being made by Bat World Sanctuary, Bat Conservation International as well as other groups to save and protect them. Please support their work, share this post, and speak out against cruelty and killing of all wildlife. Obtaining knowledge about the world we are inhabiting should include the knowledge about affording the respect all animals deserve.

Share

Leaked Internal Email Uncovers Monkey Death at Woodland Park Zoo Due to Improper Handling

A male patas monkey. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

We at the Northwest Animal Rights Network are shocked to learn of a recent incident at the Woodland Park Zoo that involved the death of a monkey due to apparent improper handling by zoo staff. An internal email was leaked by a zoo employee to In Defense of Animals — an international organization we have worked with in previous campaigns — who then reported the information. According to the zoo employee, a male patas monkey suffered grave injuries several weeks ago when zoo staff, reportedly operating against the advice of keepers, captured the monkey with a net. An internal email dated March 2, 2013, obtained by IDA, confirms the monkey suffered a severe compound leg fracture, a traumatic brain injury, and extensive bruising. Zoo staff reportedly placed the injured monkey in a kennel following capture, yet despite his serious injuries, the monkey languished in the kennel alone for an estimated two hours without medical attention or medication to alleviate his pain. A veterinarian eventually euthanized the monkey.

Obviously any case of animal abuse is disturbing, but this has far more serious implications as the zoo employee stated that the monkey would be alive today if proper procedures had been followed. Due to apparent negligence and the failure to adhere to policies concerning the welfare of animals, he suffered painful and life-threatening injuries and was left alone to languish without medical attention for a substantial amount of time.

The IDA has subsequently submitted a complaint to the USDA, stating that this reported incident may violate multiple provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including improper handling of an animal and failure to provide adequate veterinary care.

“The last hours of this monkey’s life were full of terror and pain, as evidenced by information received from the zoo employee and the internal email detailing the monkey’s injuries. This reported case demonstrates a disturbing lack of respect, empathy, and compassion for a vulnerable animal and raises the question of whether other similar cases at the Woodland Park Zoo never see the light of day,” said IDA spokesperson Nicole Meyer. “IDA is asking the USDA to conduct a thorough investigation and to hold zoo staff accountable for this alleged incident.”

We at NARN also urge the USDA to investigate this report and to hold the zoo accountable as well, and we will provide updates about the complaint from the USDA as to what actions, if any, occur as a result. We will also work with IDA for any further actions concerning this incident.

Share

Spay/Neuter Assistance Bills Hearings: How You Can Help

The spay/neuter assistance bills were recently introduced as SB 5202 and HB 1229 in the Washington legislature and have hearings scheduled on February 5 and 6.

Here we’ll guide you in attending the hearings, submitting a letter or email of support, and offer talking points. If something’s not clear, email us at info@savewashingtonpets.org for guidance.  Thanks for speaking up on behalf of the animals!

Attending the Hearings

Your attendance at either or both hearings will be very helpful. You can testify or just sign in indicating your support for the bills, and you can bring copies of written testimony to provide the committee members (bring about 20 copies for committee members and staff).

Special notice for residents of District 19 (Pacific, Wahkiakum, and parts of Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties): Please contact us atinfo@savewashingtonpets.org. Your attendance at the hearings is very important, since the committee chairmen represent your district.

If you Cannot Attend the Hearings

1.  Identify your district and your senator/representatives, then call and/or email them to let them know you support these bills (mention both bills by number as SB 5202/HB 1229). Helpful Hint: to avoid forms, use the legislator email directory.

2.  If your senator or representatives are on the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee or the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee it is especially important that you submit a letter/email or come to the hearing (where that legislator is a member) to testify.

The Hearings

SB 5202: The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 10 am, before the Senate Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in Senate Hearing Room 3 in the John A. Cherberg Building at the Capitol.

HB 1229: The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, 8 am, before the House Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O’Brien Building at the Capitol.

Please note that hearing schedules are subject to change. Please confirm the senate hearing schedule here and the house hearing schedule here before you travel to Olympia. Need directions to Olympia? Please see this page on the Legislature’s website.

Talking Points for Your Email or Testimony

The bills would provide financial assistance to support the costs of companion animal spay/neuter surgery. Expected impacts include significant cost reductions for animal care and control of homeless animals and a significant reduction in the numbers of dogs and cats euthanized in Washington shelters. For possible talking points, please see our flyer that explains the bill, and our flyer that summarizes the financial benefits of passing this bill.  Remember to be brief and polite in any communications with legislators.

Questions? Contact us at info@savewashingtonpets.org!

Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation has taken a lead role in preparing and advocating for passage of the Spay/Neuter Assistance Bill (SB 5202/HB 1229) and the two bills addressing animal cruelty (SB 5204/HB 1202 and SB 5203/HB 1201). Please join us in supporting the passage of these bills, and all bills that advance and preserve the humane treatment of animals.

Share

When Charitable Giving Isn’t Charitable

During the holiday season, it is popular to give charitable gifts in someone else’s name, particularly if the recipient has made it clear they don’t want material presents. This is also the time when charities solicit year-end tax-deductible donations. Heifer International, MercyCorps, Oxfam, World Vision and similar charities are popular because they pitch that you can combat hunger in desperate areas, such as Afghanistan or Sudan, by donating money which they will use to ship live animals such as cows, goats, donkeys, or chickens to families living in those regions for them to raise for milk and meat.

But such programs aren’t charitable for the animals, and in many cases, for the families either; if a family is struggling to provide for themselves, how can they ensure adequate nutrition, conditions, and care for their animals? It is a near-sighted attempt to solve the vastly complex problem of global hunger that poses substantial risk for the animals, the environment, and the people for which these programs advertise that they help; the World Land Trust calls animal-donation programs “environmentally unsound and economically disastrous.”

First, the animals have to survive the initial transport. Animals are bred and raised in large-scale farms throughout the world operated by the charities, and then shipped out. Baby chicks and other young animals are shipped overseas as airmail or cargo. In addition to the long hours or days of flight, these animals may be in planes at various terminals for hours without food or water. Countless animals arrive sick and dead. Northwest Airlines reports that up to 30% of chicks arrive dead in just in domestic flights; one can only surmise the number is much higher after international flights. Chicks are characterized as “easy to transport,” because they are small, inhumanely packed in boxes, airmailed at the cheapest rate, and shipped in huge numbers.


Baby chicks being shipped by mail

Non-native animals introduced to fragile habitats, where the animals have larger or different appetites from indigenous species, will overtax the vegetation or simply starve. Grazing animals cause topsoil runoff and land degradation, which can contribute to drought conditions. Arid conditions cannot support animals like cows, descended from forest-dwelling species, who require large amounts of water. Increasing the reliance on animals raised as livestock for sustenance can have disastrous results, as the recent famine in the Horn of Africa has shown.

People living in impoverished communities hardly have enough food, water, and land for themselves, let alone for animals. Having another mouth to feed adds to a family’s burden, and the animals often suffer from horrible neglect, malnutrition, dehydration, and lack of shelter from the burning midday sun or night-time freezing temperatures. Animals already in impoverished areas are sick and dying for lack of veterinary care and treatment. There is a desperate need for more veterinary services, not for more animals to tend, feed and care for. Some recipients of animals never asked for one and complain about the economic and environmental havoc such an animal creates. Much of the grain intended for families end up having to support the animals. After a couple years on such a program, some families report back having been even poorer than when they started.


Goats, a popular animal for donation, tend to overgraze and destroy fragile native vegetation (Heifer International promo photo)

Animal-based agriculture taxes and misuses land and resources already stretched thin, promotes high-fat Western diets over indigenous diets heavy in grains and vegetables, and jeopardizes human and animal health by inviting diseases like Avian flu. Delivering animals used for dairy enterprises into rural areas that have no refrigeration, electricity, or passable roads to get milk to markets, to serve populations that are lactose-intolerant are misguided at best. Taking animals from their mothers, shipping them thousands of miles into inhospitable regions with no animal-welfare standards, restricting and exploiting them for dairy products, forcing extended suffering due to illness and injury, and ultimately slaughtering them (often times with rusty or dull knives) does not fit in the spirit of compassion and charity of the holiday season.


Dairy cow in a region where up to 90% of the population are lactose intolerant (Heifer International promo photo)

Global hunger is a problem that cannot be solved by well-intentioned donations of animals which often end up doing more harm than good. This holiday season, if you truly want to help the people in countries suffering from drought, natural disasters, poverty, and war, please instead consider supporting sustainable, animal-friendly relief organizations that work to end hunger, help communities set up local sustainable food projects, re-establish arable land, and provide direct aid. Food For Life Global provides food distribution of plant-based meals all across the world, The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation strategically plants orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, VEGFAM funds self-supporting, sustainable food projects and the provision of safe drinking water as well as emergency relief, Sustainable Harvest International addresses the tropical deforestation crisis in Central America by providing farmers with sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, and Feed My Starving Children ships out hand-packed meals developed specifically for malnourished children. Also Kiva creates entrepreneurial opportunities through micro-lending to help people world-wide work their way out of poverty.

This year, make the gift of giving charitable for people, the environment, and the animals.

This post was originally published in I ♥ AR on December 21, 2011 and is reproduced with permission.

Share

Protest Against the Abuse and Slaughter of Chickens for Kaporos Ritual

In coordination with The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, Green Vegans, NARN, and others will protest the needless use of chickens in Kaporos rituals and urge that money be used instead. The demonstration is to raise awareness and opposition eliminate the “swinging” and slaughtering of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies the week before Yom Kippur – the Jewish Day of Atonement – in which chickens are ritually sacrificed by many (but not by most) Orthodox Jews by being waved over practitioners’ heads and butchered in public ceremonies.

WHY:The use of chickens as kaporos is cruel. They suffer in being held with their wings pinned backward, in being swung over the heads of practitioners, and in being packed in crates, often for days without food or water leading up to the ritual, which violates tsa’ar ba’alei chaim, the mandate prohibiting cruelty to animals.The use of chickens is not required by Jewish law. It is not a mitzvah but a custom that originated in the middle ages.There is an acceptable substitute that not only avoids cruelty but can help reduce hunger and show compassion. Money can be used as a non-animal alternative, and funds raised can be given directly to charities that provide food for the poor and hungry throughout the year.

We assert that these abuses of chickens violate Seattle Municipal Code 9.25.081—Offenses Relating to Animal Cruelty in addition to Washington State RCW’s 16.52.207 and 16.52.205 relating to animal cruelty in the second and first degrees respectively. They require that chickens in a domestic setting be humanely handled and given access to adequate food, water, and shelter. The Kaporos chickens are left tightly packed in crates from beginning of transport, to delivery and storage, and until they are pulled out and swung overhead three times while held by their wings. The pain and distress of the birds is obvious to anyone watching the filmed rituals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDVSwU1QObM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrKys_0gdjk

http://www.youtube.com/user/EndChickensAsKaporos

Because they are no longer on a farm and exempted from anti-cruelty statutes, these are domestic animals that deserve active protection under state and Seattle law. Kaporos practitioners violate this law so flagrantly and mercilessly that their actions violate their own prayers for mercy and peace. And while they may claim to distribute the butchered birds to the poor, this distribution is, according to rabbis and other critics, meaningless because the mistreatment of the chickens used in Kaporos renders them non-kosher – a point Rabbi Avi Zarki in North Tel Aviv made this year in “Israel: Kaporos Under Fire Earlier Than Usual” in The Yeshiva World, September 4, 2012. Moreover, chickens dead and alive have been reported in Los Angeles and New York being thrown into garbage bags without any charitable goal.

THIS WILL BE A PEACEFUL AND RESPECTFUL PROTEST.

It will be held outside of the Congregation Shaarei Tefilah-Lubavitch of the Chabad House (chosen because it is affiliated with the Brooklyn synagogue where The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is hosting demonstrations in Brooklyn) at 6250 43rd Ave NE.

SUNDAY Sept 23, 5:30pm and MONDAY Sept 24, 6:00pm

You don’t have to be Jewish to attend, but we encourage those who follow the Jewish faith to stand up against the violation of the mandate against tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (causing cruelty to animals). The heart of any religion is compassion and empathy–join us to encourage that traditions and customs reflect those values.

WHAT TO BRING:

Please feel free to make signs with these suggested slogans:

USE MONEY FOR ATONEMENT–STOP CRUELTY TO CHICKENS

“THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON CONSIDERS THE SOUL OF HIS OR HER ANIMAL” ~ BOOK OF PROVERBS

SLAUGHTERING CHICKENS FOR KAPOROS:
TZA’AR BA’ALEI CHAYIM
(causing cruelty to animals)

(Any proverb from the Old Testament about compassion for animals)

(Any other slogan which must be respectful of the aims of the ritual and of the Jewish faith)

IF YOU CAN”T ATTEND:

Please sign this petition:
http://www.change.org/petitions/urge-kaporos-practitioners-to-wave-money-instead-of-chickens

“Since this is not a clear duty but rather a tradition, and in the light of the kashrut problems and cruelty to animals, and in the light of all of what our aforementioned rabbis said, it is recommended that one should prefer to conduct the atonement ceremony with money, thus also fulfilling the great mitzva of helping poor people.”
–Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Head of Jerusalem’s Yeshivat Ateret Cohanim and Rabbi of Beit El, in a letter to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel quoted in The Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2010.

“Beyond the objections of the Ramban, Rashba and the Bet Yosef to the custom of ‘kapparot,’ and beyond the warnings of rabbinic authorities such as the Chayei Adam, Kaf HaChaim, Aruch HaShulchan and the Mishanah Brurah regarding the halachic infringements involved in using live fowl for this custom, the latter also desecrates the prohibition against “tzaar baalei chayim” (causing cruelty to animals). Those who wish to fulfill this custom can do so fully and indeed in a far more halachically acceptable manner by using money as a substitute as proposed by the latter authorities mentioned above.”
–Rabbi David Rosen, CBE, KSG, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, AJC, and Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Honorary Advisor on Interfaith Relations. Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, August 25, 2011

“A custom must operate within the confines of Judaism’s basic fundamental values. The Torah prohibits Jews from causing any unnecessary pain to living creatures, even psychological pain. It says in the Book of Proverbs, ‘The righteous person considers the soul of his or her animal.’ The pain caused to the chickens in the process of performing Kapparot is absolutely unnecessary. Giving money is not only a more humane method of performing the practice of Kapparot but it is also a more efficient way of ensuring that those who are in need will receive the requisite assistance.”
–Rabbi Shlomo Segal, Rabbi of Beth Shalom of Kings Bay in Brooklyn, New York, August 25, 2011

Share

From Pig Farm to Pig Sanctuary: One Farmer’s Story

(originally published in the Taipei Times)

Lo Hung-hsien feeds his pigs at his farm in New Taipei City

A hog farmer from New Taipei City’s Linkou District has transformed his farm into a real-life “piggy paradise” where pigs are not raised for meat, after he was struck by the woeful eyes of a piglet which was going to be slaughtered.

“Animals are our friends, not our food,” said 34-year-old Lo Hung-hsien, the owner of the pig sanctuary, who is also a vegetarianism advocate and a part-time volunteer.

In an effort to cover the huge overhead costs of managing the non-profitable ranch, Lo holds down multiple jobs, including working as a cargo driver, setting up temporary stalls at night markets and running an online business selling dumplings. Aside from his salaried jobs, Lo also squeezes in time for his advocacy work to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet, volunteer at schools and give free speeches at the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Exhausting all his hard-earned money on raising his family and “piggy friends,” Lo said that despite all the criticism he has received for his decision to change how the farm was managed, he will still hold on to his beliefs even if it left him penniless.

Before his change of heart, Lo said that he had been a profit-driven pig farmer who inherited his family’s large-scale, lucrative farming business from his grandfather. Lo said that at the business’ peak, his farm could accommodate 500 pigs and raked in substantial revenue that was far more than he could spend.

Recalling the moment that transformed him from a moneymaking pig farmer to a vegetarian who regarded his farm animals as close companions, Lo said it was a piglet that was about to be butchered that changed his perception of pig farming. Lo said that at the time, a staff member from a slaughterhouse had gone to his farm to single out a few hogs, prompting the terrified animals to start wailing.

“Except for one piglet, which abruptly quieted down when I took it in my hands and then it looked me right in the eyes, as if saying: ‘How could you do this to me?’ That look in its eyes shattered me and kept me awake all night,” Lo said. “It was then that I resolved to convert to vegetarianism and cut off cooperation with any butcheries,” he said.

Over the past few years, only forty out of the hundreds of hogs survive, while the rest have succumbed to old age or disease, but Lo still spares no effort in attending to his pig companions. Lo starts his day at 4am each morning, driving to a number of vegetarian restaurants to collect their leftovers, which are first cooked before being fed to his treasured pets. Afterward, Lo cleans up the pigpens and washes and plays with the hogs attentively, as if they were his children.

He has also sprayed the slogan “animals are our friends, not our food” on his truck because he wants to spread the seeds of his beliefs wherever he goes.

Share