Have your say about the Seattle Parks zoo assignment

Woodland Park Zoo Elephant logo

Very soon, a new Seattle City Council Chair of Parks will be selected. The Parks Chair oversees Woodland Park Zoo. Bamboo, Chai and Watoto are the three elephants who have lived 45, 33 and 43 years, respectively, on display at the Zoo. They need a council member who is concerned about their welfare to be the next Parks Chair.

Please ask Sally Clark (City Council President), Ed Murray (the Mayor-elect) and the other City Council members to choose a City Council member who will work with the Zoo to retire the elephants to a sanctuary in a warmer climate with hundreds of acres to roam.

Contacts:
mayoraltransition@seattle.gov
Sally.Clark@seattle.gov
Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov
Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov
Richard.Conlin@seattle.gov
Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov
Nick.Licata@seattle.gov
Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov
Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

What you might want to know:

The Zoo-appointed Task Force’s recommendations should not be used to determine the elephants’ fate. Their bias was clear, with 5 out of the 14 being current or former Zoo Board members and many others having a clear conflict of interest. The Zoo Board will make their decision about Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s future early next year.

Friends of WPZ Elephants commissioned a survey using Research Now, an independent research company. The findings debunk the Zoo’s cherished catchphrase and the Task Force’s justification for keeping the elephants: That seeing an elephant will inspire people “to learn, care and act to help conserve elephants and their habitats in the wild.”

NOT SO—NOT EVEN CLOSE:

  • 97% of survey respondents knew about elephant poaching for their ivory. They learned about this crisis from print and media—not from Woodland Park Zoo.
  • 88% of people who saw the elephants at the Zoo didn’t change to whom they donate or products that they buy.

Our wet and cold climate is wrong for elephants. It forces Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to be locked up in a tiny, barren stall for 16 to 17 hours a day for over half of the year. It’s like you being locked up in a broom closet.
Watoto in a box

Please write a polite email asking for the new Parks Chair to be someone who will work with Woodland Park Zoo to retire Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary so they may have a humane quality of life.

Thanks so much,
Nancy Pennington and Alyne Fortgang
Co-founder, Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants
A NARN Campaign
206-595-7770

Please join us on Facebook

Spaceless in Seattle — heartbreak at Woodland Park Zoo

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Holiday Vegan Outreach

Help spread compassion to animals this holiday season!

So many people come to downtown Seattle on the day after Thanksgiving. That’s why NARN will be there! We’re going to take advantage of the crowds who attend the Holiday Parade and spread the message of compassion for all.

If you can help distribute copies of Why Vegan, Vegan Holiday Recipes or Vegan Starter Kits, please contact rachel@narn.org

When: Friday, November 29th @ 9:00am – 11:30am
Where:
Westlake Park (meet at corner of Pine & 4th Ave – near Starbucks)

why vegan

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Speak up against animal testing lab expansions!

You may have heard that the University of Washington wants to expand their animal research facilities. Tomorrow, November 14th, is a chance to speak up for animals and say NO to the expansion!

UW

Every Thursday, the UW Board of Regents meet. The expansion is on this week’s agenda. Action for Animals has a Facebook event that you can join. And a petition you can sign. Here’s more from their action alert:

The agenda for THIS Thursday’s University of Washington Board of Regents meeting includes “Animal Research and Care Facility – Approve Site Selection, Adopt Project Budget, and Approve the Use of the Internal Lending Program.” This agenda item is referring to approving a new animal research facility on the UW campus. This means that we have just TWO days to tell the Board of Regents to NOT approve this animal lab expansion, which will allow the UW to double the number of primates, rabbits, and pigs who are tortured for “research” and subjected to the UW’s history of animal abuse and neglect.

This is the final countdown to the Board’s vote on the new animal research facility. Let’s show the Board that they must listen to opposition to the lab, and that it is time for the University of Washington to stop investing in the use of animals.

What you can do:

1) Visit the online petition to the Board of Regents at http://www.change.org/petitions/university-of-washington-board-of-regents-do-not-approve-new-animal-research-and-care-facility. This petition will be printed out and presented to the Board during their meeting, so sign it, email it to friends, post it on Facebook — promote it in whatever way you can!

2) Call the office of the Board of Regents at 206-543-1633. Help make sure that this last whole day before the vote is filled with phone calls asking the Board to NOT approve the animal research facility. Send an email as well to the Board at regents@uw.edu. Ask your friends and family to join you in contacting the Board!

3) Attend the meeting of the Board of Regents tomorrow. When the Regents are considering their votes, let’s make sure that they are in a room that is filled with people who they know want them to vote AGAINST the lab expansion! If you can attend the meeting, please meet outside the UW Tower at the corner of NE 45th St. and Brooklyn Ave. NE at 12:45pm SHARP. We’ll talk briefly and then walk together into the meeting, which is on the 22nd floor of the UW Tower. Please also help to encourage other people to attend the meeting so that we can fill up the room! You can use the Facebook page about the meeting to invite people: https://www.facebook.com/events/207612259423856/

We don’t often have the chance to oppose labs before they’re even built, so please be a part of making a strong statement of opposition on behalf of the animals. You are welcome (and encouraged!) to forward this email as widely as you like. Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope to see you on Thursday!

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World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day!

World Vegan Day was started in 1994 to celebrate The Vegan Society’s 50th anniversary. The Vegan Society formed in the UK in 1944. That was the year that the term “vegan” was coined and defined.

Vegans come in all shapes and sizes and walks of life. It’s hard to generalize who a vegan is. Here is a bit of information about what vegans strive for:

Vegans abstain from animal products. Food wise, that means meat (including fish), eggs, and dairy. Veganism extends to other areas as well. Vegans don’t wear animal products (fur, leather, wool, silk, feathers, or any other item from an animal), or use household products containing animal ingredient or products tested on animals. Vegans don’t support captive animals acts like those in the circus or SeaWorld.

Vegans view animals as the sentient beings that they are, and not commodities to be exploited and used by humans. You can read our Vegan FAQs for answers to many questions about being vegan.

vegan starterNovember is World Vegan Month. A perfect time to go vegan. One way to start your journey is by ordering a vegan starter pack. Several organizations have packs to help you get started. The packs include things like recipes, nutritional info, and compelling reasons to go vegan.

 

 

vegan mentor programIf you’re already vegan, and need a bit of support, you can join the vegan mentor program, which matches new vegans with established vegans so you can make a smooth and lasting transition to veganism. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your quest for a cruelty-free life.

 

So whether you’re just thinking about veganism or you’re well on your way, World Vegan Day is a great time to make a commitment to the animals, the earth, and your health.

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L.A. BANS BULLHOOKS!

TODAY, Wednesday 23rd, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the use of bullhooks on circus elephants.

“(Elephants) are trained and guided with bullhooks, which are used to inflict pain upon them and sometimes cut them when they’re hit,” said Councilman Paul Koretz. “We really want to change that. We think it’s a very cruel practice.” Of course, the ban on bullhooks means that circuses, traveling shows and other events that feature elephants would not be able to perform anywhere in the city, because the bullhook is how the handlers maintain control. A spokesman for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, says the ban was being driven by animal rights activists who want to force the circus out of the city.

UNFORTUNATELY, the ban allows for a three-year phase-in period — some of which will no doubt be used by the circuses trying to find a replacement for the bullhook. Presciently, the ban already includes baseball bats, axe handles and pitchforks. No mention of electric cattle prods, though.

Congratulations, L.A.!

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Primate Liberation Week

October 12-20th is Primate Liberation Week, a time when we raise awareness and put extra efforts into helping primates in labs.

Over 70,000 primates (including rhesus monkeys, baboons, squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys, chimpanzees, marmosets and tamarins) are experimented on every year in the United States.

Action alerts:

1) The UW is considering expanding their animal labs, which would mean more animals (primates included) would be experimented on. Read NARN’s previous post about UWs plans and how you can contact them and ask them not to waste time, money, and precious lives on outdated research methods.

2) Join The Bunny Alliance’s campaign against Delta Air Lines. As a part of Primate Liberation week, on Wednesday, October 16, make a polite phone call to the headquarters of Delta Air Lines during office hours (9am-5pm EST) and tell Delta to use its partnership with Air France to convince Air France to stop transporting primates and other animals to labs.

Contact: Delta Headquarters Corporate Communications at 404-715-2554, fax them at 404-715-5876 or go to delta.com and click comment/complaint to voice your concerns.

Tell Delta: ”I’m asking that Delta Air Lines use its partnership with Air France to convince Air France to stop transporting animals to laboratories and to enact a permanent policy against doing so.”

See additional talking points and info at the Bunny Alliance’s Facebook page or on their website.

Learn more about primates in labs and what you can do at Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

Victories:

Thank you for all that you do for the animals!

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UW Considering Animal Lab Expansion

A recent Seattle Times article describes the University of Washington’s plans to build a new underground animal research facility. The UW already tortures thousands of animals and the article states, “The new building would allow the UW to increase the number of rodents it uses in research by 10 to 20 percent, and the number of rabbits, pigs and primates by 30 to 50 percent.”

But the facility plans have not yet been approved!

Because the cost of the facility rose from $83 million to $123 million, the UW Board of Regents pulled the approval of the facility. The UW is working on proposal revisions to reduce the cost and gain the Board’s approval.

We must use this delay to convince the UW Board of Regents to NOT approve the new animal research facility.

Speak Out NOW!

  1. Contact the Board of Regents by emailing regents@uw.edu. Politely write about why you do not want the board to approve the new animal research facility and your email will be shared with the Regents. Encourage your friends and family to also email.
  2. Make a public comment at the UW Board of Regents’ meeting THIS Thursday, October 10th, at 1:00 pm.
    If you are able to attend the meeting:
    ~
    Sign up to make a public comment at the meeting using this online form.
    ~ Each speaker will be allowed two minutes, so prepare your comment before the meeting.
    *Please email amanda@afa-online.org when you’ve signed up so that we know how many people will be speaking.*

Talking Points:

1) The new animal research facility will cost more than just the price of the facility. Other expenses will include:

  • Paying for fines: The UW has already been cited by the USDA multiple times for neglect and improper care of animals; such violations would increase if the UW uses more animals in research. You can see additional info about UW’s treatment of animals here.
  • Combating the negative press that both local and national animal rights groups and other concerned citizens will create in response to a new animal research facility.
  • Dealing with the loss of alumni support and potential students who don’t want to be involved with a university whose record of animal neglect and torture is refreshed in the public eye.

2) Since the UW is considered a leader in scientific research, the UW should be dedicated to pushing advancements in research technology rather than expanding its reliance on outdated and unethical animal research methods that produce inaccurate results.

If you are or have been a student at the UW (or have some other relationship to the UW), make that relationship clear in our email or public comment. Also keep in mind that the Board cares about the expense of the facility and its impact on the UW’s future.

** Special thanks to Action for Animals for leading this action alert and getting this message distributed (the content in this post is from AFA). You can find out more about the lab expansion on AFA’s Facebook page.

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World Day for Farmed Animals

October 2nd is World Day for Farmed Animals, a global event organized by FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement). This year is the 30th annual WDFA and I bet there’s an event near you.

world day for farmed animals

Here in Seattle, at American Gold Seafoods, we’ll be holding an event too.

  • Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
  • Time: 4:30 – 7:00
  • Where: American Gold Seafoods, 4019 21st Ave W  Seattle, WA

Find out more on the NARN event page for WDFA.

Don’t let it surprise you that the Seattle event is at a seafood processor. American Gold is basically a “slaughterhouse at sea.” They hold 3,000,000 salmon in pens (with about 1 bathtub worth of space per fish) for couple years, before they’re scooped up and killed by their “Harvestor” ship. Factory farms extend far beyond traditional land animals. Fish suffer and oceans are polluted because of farmed fishing.

World Day for Farmed Animals will continue until animals are no longer seen as commodities, raised for their flesh and by-products.

Won’t you join us?

 

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Helping a Vegan Activist

You may have heard of Vegan Outreach, an organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals. The people working with Vegan Outreach can often be found leafleting in campuses across the country, promoting informed eating.

Rachel Shippee from Vegan Outreach will be leafleting in the Seattle area in October and November, as part of Vegan Outreach’s Adopt a College program.

adopt a college

If you have time to join Rachel for leafleting or a meal, please contact Anne at anne@veganoutreach.org so she can send Rachel your contact info.

Rachel needs housing in or near the cities along her route. If you have a spare couch or bed for this polite young activist, please let Anne know that as well. You can be part
of the ‘Hotel Vegan Outreach’ chain!

Thank you for your support of this important work!

Rachel’s schedule

10/22/2013      Bellevue College, Bellevue
10/22/2013      Seattle University, Seattle
10/23/2013      Seattle Central Community College, Seattle
10/23/2013      Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle
10/24/2013      South Seattle Community College, Seattle
10/24/2013      Seattle Pacific University, Seattle
10/25/2013      University of Washington, Seattle

10/28/2013      Shoreline Community College, Shoreline
10/28/2013      Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood
10/29/2013      Everett Community College, Everett
10/29/2013      Whatcom Community College, Bellingham
10/30/2013      Western Washington University, Bellingham

11/13/2013      Highline Community College, Des Moines
11/13/2013      University of Puget Sound, Tacoma
11/13/2013      Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma

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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).

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