Category Archives: Animal Rights

Issues dealing with animals being viewed as commodities and property, and of the inherent rights of animals to not be used, exploited, and killed by people.

Keep Up the Pressure on Sea World…

…because at SOME POINT, SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE is going to open a last letter, click on a last email, read the results of a last poll, and finally say, OK. We’re done.

Standing at a protest outside Woodland Park Prison Zoo a few days ago, I was nonplussed at the number of people giving us the thumbs-up and waving and nodding….as they went in to visit the zoo.  I wondered about it aloud to a fellow protester: why are these people still going in if they agree with our reason for being here? One of the people marching in turned around and said truculently, BECAUSE IT’S FUN!

I remember being there.  I went to zoos. I went to aquariums. I went to Sea World. I went to Parrot Jungle. It was something you did if you ‘loved animals': you went to look at them.  Even when I was very little, it made me vaguely uncomfortable. My parents always seemed sad there, but they went anyway. It was as if we all knew something fundamental about it was badly wrong, but it was an immutable part of the status quo.  Finding out exactly how bad those places are was never much of a surprise, but finding out how POWERFUL individuals are in creating change, was.

Predictably, Sea World has reacted to calls for liberation by deciding to build bigger prisons, hoping most people won’t realize bigger bathtubs are still bathtubs,  even if they are decorated around the edges with plastic rocks and plants.

orca

I am asking you to let them know a real sea change has occurred, and no amount of window dressing will ever make imprisonment for entertainment alright again.  It’s gone beyond conditions. It is a matter of rights. The ones they have and we don’t.

So please, right now, when you finish reading — not later today, not tomorrow — tell SeaWorld to set in place a firm plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with a more natural environment (like sea pens, pending release).  And tell them to do it now — not in 10 years, not even in five.

Sign an online petition here.

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Jim Atchison (president & CEO of SeaWorld), PO Box 690129, Orlando, FL 32869

The Blackstone Group
Contact information for 29 locations to write, call and/or fax…

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.

Where do Washington State candidates stand on animal issues?

Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation/Save Washington Pets has created a handy guide listing 81 candidates and their views on animal welfare bills. Have a look at the survey results so you can help influence future legislation.

A total of 265 candidates are running for 123 open seats in the state legislature. The August 5th primary election will narrow this field of candidates to the top two contenders in each competitive race. The top two, and all candidates running unopposed, will move on to the November general election.

Before you vote in the August primary election, consider where the candidates running for office in your district stand on animal welfare issues.

Without animal-friendly candidates elected to our state legislature, it can be nearly impossible to pass legislation that supports animal welfare. It can also be very difficult to stop bills detrimental to animal welfare from becoming law.

Please take a few minutes today to review the results of the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation survey of candidates on animal welfare issues.

The report (PDF) is here. (Please be patient when downloading the file–it’s large.) Look for responses from candidates in your legislative district. Click here to find your legislative district.

Candidates state their positions on several issues, such as:

  • Strengthening the laws defining animal cruelty.
  • Providing police and animal control officers the authority to rescue animals confined in extreme temperatures (e.g., hot cars).
  • Limiting the sale of animals in public places by unlicensed sellers (such as roadside animals sales).

Please use caution in judging candidates who did not respond to the survey.

About two-thirds of the candidates running for state legislative offices did not respond to the survey. Many of the non-respondents are incumbents running for re-election who are known to be strong supporters of animal welfare legislation based on their voting records. Similarly, other non-respondents are known to be less supportive of animal welfare legislation based on voting records. Please contact your candidates directly if you need further information on their positions on any animal welfare issues

Do you have questions on the survey? Contact Rick at rick@savewashingtonpets.org.

Thanks to Save Washington Pets for the info in this post!

India is the First Country to Ban the Import of Foie Gras

With little fanfare, a notice appeared on the Indian Directorate of Foreign Trade’s website on July 3rd, simply stating that the import of foie gras, the “fatty liver” of geese, is now prohibited.  Produced mainly in France, in recent years it had found a place in high-end Indian restaurants. AND…contrary to so much legislation here in the US  that only takes effect in 300 years, this takes effect IMMEDIATELY.

It follows a campaign launched by the activist group Animal Equality, that together with PETA India, also managed to have the extremely cruel bullock cart races and all bull events banned throughout India in May of this year.

Their report to the Indian government included an investigation of a Spanish farm that was supplying liver to Indian restaurants.  The Spanish investigation was one of seven shocking foie gras investigations carried out by the group in 2012-2013 in France and Spain.

While countries such as Israel, Germany and England have banned the production of foie gras, and the U.S. state of California banned its production and consumption in 2012, India is the only country to ban imports.

In 2013 India also banned shows involving any cetaceans throughout the country.

 

 

Puget Sound area officials are killing Canada Geese‏

(From the Peace for Geese Project)

For the past 13 years, USDA Wildlife Services has been killing Canada Geese in the Puget Sound area, under an agreement with several cities and areas.

geese

The geese are rounded up in parks around Lake Washington and other areas, and gassed to death or shot.  In 2013, nearly 1200 were killed in King County alone.

Humane solutions, including egg addling, use of OvoControl-G (a proven oral birth control method for geese), and sterilization, exist.

Alternately, parks can use other measures, such as landscape modification, goose deterrent products and control techniques, automated devices to clean up goose droppings, and education and public outreach on the need to stop feeding waterfowl in our parks.

The members of the 2014 interlocal agreement to kill geese include Bellevue, Kent, Kirkland, Mountlake Terrace, Port of Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Renton, Seattle Parks and Recreation, SeaTac, Tacoma Metro Parks, Tukwila, Woodinville, and the University of Washington.

What to do:

Please sign the Change.org petition.

Also, please share the petition and like Peace for Geese on Facebook so you can get more updates.

Act now to help Watoto

Watoto is an elephant at Woodland Park Zoo. The Zoo is planning to send her to another impoverished zoo exhibit and she needs your help!

Ignoring science, the media and public opinion, the Zoo announced their plan to send Watoto to another zoo.

Watoto the elephant, caged and alone
Watoto suffers at Woodland Park Zoo and needs a sanctuary, not another subpar zoo.

1) Come to the July 14 City Council meeting

What: Seattle City Council meeting.
When: Monday, July 14th, 1:30pm
Where: Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104.

Meet in front of City Hall on 4th Ave.

Free t-shirts will be provided with the message: Seattle Watoto Sanctuary

RSVP: Email Friends of Woodland Park Elephants letting them know if they should order a t-shirt for you.

2) Please email to ask that Watoto be sent to a sanctuary.

Write a polite email to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Ed Murray today. Simply say, “Send Watoto to a Sanctuary” or include these points:

  • A majority of citizens want the elephants retired to a sanctuary.
    Since the zoo is moving Watoto, we’re asking that the Zoo honor our values and send her to a sanctuary.
  • Woodland Park Zoo has received $100 million taxpayer dollars from the City and King County since 2002 making the welfare of Watoto all of our responsibility.
  • Twenty-seven zoos have closed or will close their elephant exhibits; let us join those progressive enlightened Zoos.

Addresses for your mail: 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

Be assured we will never give up on Bamboo and Chai but Watoto needs your help NOW.

Please cross post widely and check out the Free Woodland Park Zoo Elephants site for more information.

DxE action in San Francisco

Visiting Animal Activists – DxE

Animal liberation group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) will be stopping by Seattle on their West Coast tour this July. The first day the organizers from the East Bay Area chapter of DxE will speak about the origins of the network, its organizing principles and its current campaigns. This will also be a place for discussion, where we will trade ideas and hear about the struggles and campaigns that Seattle is involved with.

The second day of their tour will be a day of action, where they will collectively plan and implement actions at different locations across the city with those who want to get involved based on what they learned during the first day.

DxE action in San Francisco
DxE action in San Francisco

The purpose of the tour is to strengthen the network and relationships with activist communities through face-to-face interaction. As part of the “network” in NARN, we are excited to learn from activists doing new things and figure what can be applied in Seattle.

Please join DxE, NARN, and your local animal liberation community for this event before you head out for any giant vegan BBQ potlucks. This will be a great way to really kick off the Seattle summer! If you are unsure about DxE, anti-corporate activism, civil disobedience, humane myth-busting, or any part of their campaign, this is a great time to learn more.  Free of course!

Seattle Stop of the Direct Action Everywhere West Cost Tour
Day 1: July 4, 2014
12:00-2:00 pm
Black Coffee Coop
501 E Pine St, Seattle, Washington 98122
RSVP on Facebook or just show up: https://www.facebook.com/events/294618630711332/

Day 2: July 5, 2014
Time and location to be announced

 

Tony the Tiger STILL Languishing in Louisiana

 Some of you have probably already heard of Tony.  He is a Siberian-Bengal tiger who has spent the last 13 years in a crappy chainlink cage at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana.                                                      Take just a moment to think of what you have done in the last 13 years.  Take another to think of what tigers would normally do in 13 years.                                                                                                                                           He hasn’t done anything.

Tony the tiger

Incredibly, the Louisiana Senate Bill 250 presently pending was specifically designed to allow Michael Sandlin, owner of the truck stop, to continue his miserable exhibition of Tony — this despite the fact that Tony’s captivity was declared illegal by a state court of appeal, AND despite the fact that Sandlin has repeatedly violated federal law by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and safe and sanitary housing and by handling that causes undue stress/ trauma. The Louisiana legislature should be ashamed of itself — but obviously isn’t — for creating a loophole to skirt its own state’s animal-protection laws.

SO…unless Governor Bobby Jindal vetoes the bill, Tony’s fate is sealed. It is URGENT, therefore, that we all contact the governor as quickly as possible, by phone (225-342-7015 or 866-366-1121),  fax (225-342-7099), by letter (P.O. Box 94004, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004), or by email (http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor),  to ask him to VETO SB 250.  I have listed these in order of importance, although of course best of all is to do ALL OF THEM.

It is bad enough that Tony has had to languish in appalling conditions on reeking cement for 13 years; it would be heartbreaking to know that for lack of effort, he would never know anything else.  For however much time he has left, he should know grass, water, running, climbing trees, and being able to make simple decisions about his own life.  Please … do it now: ask Governor Jindal to veto SB250.

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