Category Archives: Issues

The truth about Watoto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

watoto-300x199

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

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

Seattle Mayor and City Council addresses:

Ed.murray@seattle.gov, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov, Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov, Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov

King Council addresses:

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

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

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

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

Further reading:

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

 

Seal Beach is Sending Coyotes to Gas Chambers

(The following information is from In Defense of Animals)

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

Coyote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Actual monkey in a UW laboratory

Primate Liberation 2014 Seattle

Did you know that the Puget Sound area is a bastion of primate captivity, torture, poison, and death. Seattle is home to three University of Washington primate laboratories, including the nations only infant primate laboratory,  there is a primate testing breeding, importing, and consulting firm in Edmonds, and Everett is home to a third-party animal clinical trial facility that tests on primates and other non-human animals.

Primate Liberation Week is a time for us all to take pause in our lives and think about the “someones not somethings” that currently suffer scared and sick behind bars, in dark cages, experiencing heart breaking horrors in the name of science.  Please join us to speak out for our cousins, help educate the public on why animal experimentation is not good for people or animals, and hold animal abusers accountable. [N = NARN hosted event]

pics-uws-photos-03
Someone, not something. These are primates in a UW laboratory.
  • Saturday October 11, 2014: Kick-off event and Letter Writing Party with special guest speaker. 3:30-5:30 pm at the Capitol Hill branch Library. RSVP on Facebook.  [N]
  • Monday October 13, 2014: University of Washington Protest  5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at 3010 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (between Space Needle and Sculpture Park).
  • Wednesday October 15, 2014 Demonstration at UW Health Science Center at NE Pacific St and NE Pacific Place. RSVP on Facebook. [N]
  • Thursday October 16, 2014: NARN Social and Letter Writing Party, 7:00-9:00 PM. Come meet other veg-friendly people while working to help primates. [N]
  • Saturday October 18, 2014  Bunny Alliance ABX/DHL Protest 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm at DHL Home Office, 2606 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121. RSVP on Facebook.

If these events don’t fit in your schedule, there are other opportunities to volunteer. We need help with volunteers to hold banners for a few mornings during the week and to help table at the UW if you are a student or have expertise in primates. Please get in touch with us.

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed.

Every 9 to 11 hours, a rhino is killed.

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

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

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

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

Global march for elephants and rhinos

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

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

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

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

Join the World Day for Farmed Animals protest

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

WDFFA

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

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

More details are on the event Facebook page

FISH ARE NOT SWIMMING VEGETABLES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The NIH still tortures monkeys

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

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

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

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

NIH

You can see the ad and TV clip here.

What to do?

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

Help save animals in UW paramedic training

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

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

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

Thank you!

Help end cruelty to show horses

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

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

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

You can find their numbers here.

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

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

Cowboy Hats Get Papers

Last year, at the Tacoma Rodeo, a friend explained to his 4-year-old son, who kept mistakenly leafleting protesters,  how to be more successful: target the people in cowboy hats, not the ones holding signs. Thereafter Danny handed anti-rodeo literature to people in Western attire, telling each one “Cowboy hats get papers!”  When we are engaged in activism, we all make split-second assumptions based on appearance: Camo Cap won’t sign my petition but Birkenstock Sandals will; Fake Eyelashes won’t give a damn about my leaflet but Pierced Hoodie will take one. Business Suit is going to say something rude but Fleece Vest will be nice. And I know from my own experience that we are very often wrong. Business Suit turns out to be a PETA member, Pierced Hoodie is a rude little shit, but Camo Cap brings his wife back to sign, too.

I was reminded of that when I read an article another friend sent me about Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa Co, in Arizona.  He is known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”. He also has a reputation as a racist and a redneck, and has been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations, amongst others. He has been found guilty of the “worst pattern of racial profiling in US history”, and his jails have been twice ruled unconstitutional. He is also known for his investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate, and his unending claim that it is a forgery.

HOWEVER… I found it fascinating that the following is ALSO true of Sheriff Arpaio, and I trust you will too.

Animal Crimes Investigations Unit (ACIU)
Hotline Number: (602) 876-1681
Email: animal_cruelty@mcso.maricopa.gov

Sheriff Arpaio created the Animal Crimes Investigations Unit over a decade ago and to this day, it remains one of the only units of its kind in existence inside a law enforcement agency.The unit currently leads the way in enforcing animal cruelty laws, some of which are still in their infancy stages, and in doing so, is helping to create case law. The unit’s work also provides an example for other law enforcement agencies in this groundbreaking area. Sheriff Arpaio feels the work done by this unit is critical for a number of reasons not the least of which is this fact: there is a significant correlation between those individuals who perpetrate violent crimes against animals and those who eventually commit crimes against people.

Every year, the unit receives thousands of animal cruelty reports to the hotline Sheriff Arpaio established.

Specially trained detectives investigate every call. These investigations have resulted in the seizure of thousands of animals and produced hundreds of arrests since the unit’s inception.

The detectives are assisted by Sheriff’s posse personnel trained in animal cruelty investigations. Utilizing these posse members reduces response time and saves taxpayers money.

When an animal is seized from an abusive or neglectful owner, it is turned over to and cared for at our MASH (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Safe Haven) unit. MASH utilizes an innovative program of supervised inmates to care for the animals, thus providing the inmates with animal care training and therapy.

During the history of this unit many notable investigations have resulted in arrest. These cases have received local, state, national, and even international attention. Some such investigations have included:

  • The successful felony prosecution of a celebrity who, until his run in with this Sheriff’s office, had eluded felony conviction for decades
  • Record single animal seizures in the hundreds (animals ranging from dogs, cats, and horses to reptiles and monkeys)
  • Mass arrest of 69 people for blood sport/animal fighting (cockfight)
  • Investigations resulting in long jail sentences for animal cruelty
  • Arrests for bestiality, dog fighting, cockfighting
  • Charges for associated crimes discovered during cruelty investigations included drug possession, child abuse, fraud, Booking single suspects for in excess of 100 felony animal cruelty counts
  • Many of these cases set precedence for being the first of their kind arrests

When probable cause is established in an animal cruelty investigation, the suspect is booked into Sheriff Arpaio’s Jail. Exceptions to this are only made in extenuating circumstances when the booking is not in the best interest of the community.

Sheriff Arpaio’s Animal Crimes Investigations Unit is constantly asked to consult with other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation which are seeking advice on how to properly conduct successful animal cruelty investigations. Arpaio’s unit is also asked to provide training to other agencies. The Animal Crimes Investigations Unit is proud to lead the way in this field and as such, has been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards.

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…