Category Archives: Animal Welfare

Issues concerning the treatment of animals, and efforts via reforms and legislation to improve it.

A New Low in the War on Elephants

The government of Zimbabwe allowed  THIRTY-SIX  baby elephants to be stolen from their families last month, so they could be exported and sold to zoos.  Helicopters swarmed their herds and as elephants scattered, the infants who couldn’t keep up were captured.  Plans are in the works for HUNDREDS more to be stolen this way, leaving entire herds distraught and mothers frantic and grief-stricken.  It’s really hard to imagine which is worse, the prolonged suffering of poaching, or this double trauma inflicted on mothers and children, with the children condemned to reduced (in every way) lives in zoos.  If they survive: baby elephants are notoriously delicate physically end emotionally and often refuse all sustenance when traumatized. One of the 36 is already dead.

I refuse to call it good news, since everything about this is terrible, but there IS still time to halt the export of these babies and to stop further kidnappings. PLEASE write a quick letter ….and email….and fax…and while you are at it, make a 20-second call, too…to the Zimbabwean Embassy, asking them to stop this immediately. A sample letter is below (thank you, PETA), but please edit it to make it personal.

 I am writing with a heavy heart after learning of the capture and kidnapping of 36 baby elephants from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Please do everything in your power to stop the sale and exportation of these elephants. Young elephants like these are heavily reliant on their mothers. Being torn away from them is not only traumatic but also life-threatening. Indeed, one of the captured elephants has already died. Elephants are highly social and emotionally complex animals who live in herds. Female elephants stay with their mothers for their entire lives, while males stay with their matriarchal herds well past 10 years of age before joining a juvenile male herd. Disruptions to these relationships are detrimental to the species as a whole. The species’ existence is already in peril, and the kidnapping of 36 young elephants only further endangers the declining population. With rumors of planned captures in the works that would orphan hundreds more baby elephants, there is no time to waste.Zimbabwe officials have not taken action despite an international outcry. You are in a unique position of influence to express to your compatriots in Zimbabwe that their refusal to act is marring the image of their country as compassionate people across the world are outraged. Please do what is right for animal welfare and for conservation by doing everything in your power to stop the additional capture of innocent elephants and to ensure that the 35 who are currently slated to be exported are quickly rehabilitated and released. Thank you for your time.

Please address it to
Ambassador H.E Ammon M. Mutembwa
1608 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 332-7100
Fax: 202-483-9326.
E-Mail: info33@zimbabwe-embassy.us.
Thank you.  it’s little enough to do, when you think of what it feels like to lose a child. What a sorry, sorry, species we humans are.

Dozens of crows drop dead in Portland

Someone in Portland poisoned dozens of crows a couple of weeks ago. On Wednesday, November 26, crows fell to the ground, suffering and in pain, and died in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Crow

Necropsies confirmed that the crows were all poisoned–all had poisoned corn in their stomachs.

The crows deserve justice–not only because they are beautiful, social, intelligent creatures, but because the poisoning is a Federal crime. It violates the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they would investigation the crime if indeed poisoning was confirmed. The evidence needs to be presented to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The trouble is, it’s not often that crimes against wildlife are prosecuted.

Please help by asking U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall to catch and prosecute the criminal(s) responsible for this horrible crime.

U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall
1000 SW Third Ave Suite 600
Portland, Oregon 97204
(503)727-1000

Update On the Angora Action Alert

Remember this when you feel as if nothing ever changes, and nothing you do makes any difference: after receiving more than ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND emails from people demanding that they ditch angora, huge upscale French clothing company Lacoste has just confirmed that it is removing all angora wool products from its shelves and has requested to be added to the list of retailers that do not sell angora.  The list now includes Gap (which owns Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta), Express, Lands’ End, QVC, French Connection, Forever 21, New Look, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H & M, Marks & Spencer, Limited Brands, IZOD, and Eddie Bauer.

How much does it cost you to write a few lines? Five minutes, maybe. If all of those one hundred thousand people had decided a five-minute letter/email was just too much to ask of them,  if all of them had thought, “It’s OK, someone else will do it” — nothing would have changed.  And let’s not forget the phenomenal courage of the undercover investigator who visited almost a dozen rabbit farms in China and documented the horrors. China supplies 90% of the world’s angora, yet has neither humane standards for the treatment of the rabbits nor penalties for abuse.

It’s not the war, true, but it’s a battle.

 

Caroling at City Hall

Are you ready to sing for the elephants?

caroler

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants will be caroling throughout City Hall to Christmas songs reworded to promote Bamboo and Chai’s retirement to a sanctuary.

As you may have heard, Woodland Park Zoo is closing their elephant exhibit and relocating the elephants. However, they are planning to send the girls to another zoo. They need to go to a sanctuary. The Mayor has the power to make that happen!

When: Monday, December 15th, 2014 from 10:45am to noon.
Where: Main lobby of Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, 98104.

The main lobby is at the 5th Avenue entrance between Cherry and James streets (or just go upstairs from the 4th Ave entrance).

Please wear ORANGE. Wear the t-shirt from previous actions or your own orange top.

Tell the UW Regents: No new animal labs

Please join the people at “Don’t Expand UW Primate Testing” for a phone and email action.

All week, from November 9th through 13th, people are needed to call the Regents at UW. Here are details from the Don’t Expand US Primate Testing Facebook event:

UW Regents

In what appears to be an attempt to try to get around Don’t Expand UW Primate Testing’s lawsuit against the University of Washington Board of Regents for a secret decision to approve a new Animal Research and Care Facility, the Regents’ agenda for their Regular Meeting this week includes: “Approve Construction of the ARCF Project at the Preferred Site Underneath Portage Bay Vista.”

Leading up to the Regents’ last vote on the animal lab, people called and emailed them at the Regent phone number and email address. But since that time, we have learned that the Regents did not get those messages. Rather than take the time to learn about people’s concerns about the lab, the Regents let their office just pass the messages over to the UW’s animal research department to send their biased replies to people.

So leading up to the Regents’ vote on the new lab this week, we’re going to make sure that they hear from the concerned public. Please call and email them at their direct phone numbers and email addresses to tell them that they need to do their jobs and actually learn about all the reasons to NOT approve construction of a new animal research facility, and ask them to vote NO on building the new facility.

Remember to keep your calls and emails polite and on point! After you call and email, please post about what the response was!

Board Chair, William S. Ayer
Call: 425-641-9976

Board Vice Chair, Patrick M. Shanahan
Email: patrick.m.shanahan@boeing.com

Board President, Kristianne Gates Blake
Email: kristib@ptera.net, kristib@msn.com

Jeremy Jaech
Email: j_jaech@hotmail.com

Rogelio Riojas
Email: rogelioriojas@seamarchc.org

Marnie Brown
Email: stureg@uw.edu
Contact her through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marnie.brown.39

Joanne R. Harrell
Email her husband, Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell: bruce.harrell@seattle.gov

Regent Office Info
Phone: 206-543-1633
Email: regents@uw.edu

Regent Staff Info
Email: joangold@u.washington.edu

UW President Office Info
Phone: 206-543-5010
Email: pres@uw.edu

UW President Staff Info
Email: rolfbj@uw.edu, jcjmail@uw.edu, rachelno@uw.edu

Has Daiya Betrayed Us?

daiya

Daiya (pronounced Day-ah) Foods, Inc. has been our cheesy savior since 2008, when it was founded as a “vegan cheese company”.  Its shreds, slices, wedges, cream cheese and most recently, pizza,  have made the conversion to veganism easier for a lot of people, as well as making the vegan version of conventional foods more familiar. Daiya is probably what most of us are thinking of when someone says, “Oh, I could never do without the cheese!” and we say, “You don’t have to!” Daiya cheese is made from cassava and arrowroot and contains no animal products. It has received multiple awards, including from VegNews and PETA. Its founders, Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake, are vegans, and the company was never been shy about using the word VEGAN.  Ethical and successful…wow.

Trouble is, for some time now non-vegan things have been sneaking in. Not that your Daiya pizza now secretly contains bacon, or that beef fat is being surreptitiously added to your cheddar shreds, but references to meat, and recipes containing meat have begun surfacing on the Daiya website and Facebook page, and a subtle verbal shift away from “vegan” (with its ethical connotations) and towards “dairy-free” (now referring to human health and food allergies) has taken place.

To begin with, this passed largely unnoticed.  However, as the news has become more widely disseminated, a growing number of vegans find this seriously offensive.  A vegan cheese company, founded by vegans, promoting recipes that contain beef, turkey, ham, fish, and eggs?  Four hundred-odd people have ‘liked’ the Boycott Daiya FB page. This does feel like a betrayal. A abolition-vs-welfare kind of betrayal. We had decided Daiya was abolitionist and they turn out to be welfarist. Or worse. Since we all know with gut-wrenching clarity that a ham roll-up or seafood salad is not … NOT… just a “food choice”.  However.

Having reached all the vegan world, was Daiya’s growth as a vegan cheese company, while little short of meteoric, pretty much limited to the growth of the number of vegans?  Would we would prefer them to remain small and ethical, rather than become huge at the expense of any compromise with suffering?  And this is where the abolition-vs-welfare thing comes in. As we know, even though about 2/3 of the human population is lactose intolerant, this does NOT stop them eating cheese.  While we are all abolitionists at heart, would we prefer they eat real cheese and get upset stomachs (yes, I know, we don’t care about that bit) or Daiya and don’t?  Isn’t every bag of Daiya shreds (which, just fyi, do not contain palm oil, although some of the other Daiya products do) bought better than a bag of real shredded cheese? As a very large and successful company, would Daiya have the power to effect more change for the better than a relatively small and insignificant one?  Is Daiya poised to become the next Silk? Just thoughts. And I haven’t finished thinking this one through yet.  For what it’s worth (likely not a whole bunch) company spokespeople profess injured innocence:

“We are sorry for offending you. That was certainly not our intention. Here at Daiya, we simply try to provide resources and recommendations (which include our many user-submitted recipes) that might appeal to the many different people who love our products.”

For more info about the boycott, visit: https://www.facebook.com/daiyahurtsanimals?fref=nf

and to tell Daiya what you think, https://www.facebook.com/daiyafoods

 

Woodland Park Zoo in Violation over Elephant Care

FWPZlogo

According to a September 9, 2014 USDA inspection report, the Woodland Park Zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by failing to ensure that elephants have “access to shelter during inclement weather to afford them protection and to prevent their discomfort.”

Woodland Park Zoo has demonstrated once again that they don’t put the elephants’ well-being first. It’s taken the USDA to discover a violation of the AWA to force the zoo to protect the elephants from our unsuitable climate.  What’s even more astonishing is that the zoo needs to take another year—2 years total to put up a rain shelter. (A year ago the Task Force said to put up a rain shelter.)

If this enrages you, PLEASE write to the Zoo and others! Will you help Chai and Bamboo by emailing?

The Mayor and Sally Bagshaw are on this list and will monitor how many emails the Zoo gets. PLEASE, write – even one line.

PLEASE be thoughtful and respectful in order to make an impact. All of our reputations are on the line.

Just copy and paste the email list below. It includes the Zoo’s administration, curators, sales and donor staff, elephant and other keepers, and as many Zoo Board and Task Force members’ addresses we could find, and City and some County council members. (Some email addresses may bounce back and some people are away at a conference. They can think about your comments in their hotel room!)

L-ExecutiveLeadershipTeam@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org, deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org, Nancy.Hawkes@zoo.org, Bruce.Upchurch@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, Kelly.Helmick@zoo.org, Lisa.Dabek@zoo.org, Steve.Cremer@zoo.org, Russ.roach@zoo.org,  group.registration@zoo.org,  zoocorps@zoo.org, groupsales@zoo.org, membership@zoo.org, Jim.Bennett@zoo.org,  woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org, Gigi.Allianic@zoo.org, Laura.Lockard@zoo.org, Anne.Knapp@zoo.org, Kim.Haas@zoo.org, Rebecca.Whitham@zoo.org, npell57@gmail.com, alaico@paws.org,  DeggingerG@LanePowell.com, jason.hamlin@ubs.com,gduvernoy@forterra.org, jmanning@cascadialaw.com, fen@cofen.com, jan@dennyhillcapital.com, stuart@dennyhillcapital.com, bryce.seidl@outlook.com, larry.phillips@kingcounty.gov, laurie.stewart@soundcb.com, peter.c.wang@ampf.com, Glennkawasaki@hotmail.com, Pattisavoy@hotmail.com, Ddevita@hotmail.com, Elizabeth.A.Sicktich@wellsfargo.com, marianne@bichselpublicaffairs.com, LSCaputo@aol.com, jwleppo@stoel.com, slinker@vetmed.wsu.edu, robliddell@comcast.net, Kirsten.Pisto@zoo.org, donations@zoo.org, Fred.Koontz@zoo.org, Jamie.Creola@zoo.org, Kathryn.owen@zoo.org, martin.ramirez@zoo.org, jean.godden@seattle.gov, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov, ed.murray@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, dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov

Here are some talking points or just send an email you already wrote.  Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants’ web site is a huge resource:

  • Elephants are intelligent, far ranging animals that suffer physically and psychologically when confined in a tiny, impoverished environment.
  • The Mayor and City Council can act to retire the elephants. This violation of the AWA shows that the Zoo doesn’t put the elephants’ well-being first.
  • The Zoo’s revenues are down 6% in a booming local economy.  Nationwide, animal organizations’ revenues are at an all-time high.  Keeping elephants is bad for the Zoo’s reputation.
  • A sanctuary is the best we can do for Bamboo and Chai.  We owe this to them after giving up their entire lives to entertain us.
  • Two elephants, Watoto and Hansa, have died prematurely.  No more dead elephants!

FYI:  This is what the Mayor said on Oct. 22, 2014: “When I was a legislator I supported the removal of elephants from the zoo. My position has not changed…I hope we can reach an agreement with the zoo…I realize there are levers we could pull, but I think it’s too soon to have those discussions.”  (21:40 and 51:17 time code) http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=3011410

Thanks for helping get Chai and Bamboo to a sanctuary.

Save the Date:  Dec. 2nd Zoo Board Meeting at 4pm.  Get to Zoo by 3:40.  Details when we get closer.

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.