Category Archives: Animal Welfare

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

New rules will make life worse for chickens

Chickens killed for meat have short, brutal lives. Unfortunately, the government is considering new rules that would allow the poultry industry to kill even more birds per minute.

When workers lock birds into shackles, the chickens’ leg bones often break. If workers are forced to shackle birds faster, they’ll handle the animals even more roughly, which will cause even more  suffering.

chicks

Of course, not eating chickens or other animals is the best solution, but on behalf of the billions of birds being killed and eaten by people every year, please take action.

Please call your representative and politely say, “As a constituent, I’m calling to express my concern that the USDA’s proposed poultry slaughter rules would result in higher rates of food contamination, animal suffering, and worker injury. Please support Congresswoman DeLauro’s Agriculture Appropriations bill amendment prohibiting the USDA from spending any funds to implement the ‘Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection’ rule.”

Please follow up by contacting your representative using this form from HSUS so he or she can get your concerns in writing.

Thank you!

Help stop a monkey-breeding lab in Florida

You may have heard about the plight of macaques raised for lab research on the island of Mauritius. These monkeys are caged, tormented and abused.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) found out about plans by American company Prelabs (under the pseudonym Primera) to create a similar breeding farm in Florida. The Dodo reported the findings recently.

The farm is meant to hold more than 3,000 macaques, who will be kept in confined cages and forced to breed continuously so they can be shipped around the world for scientific research.

Besides being extremely cruel to the primates, this plan is a risk to public health and compromises an ecosystem that already has problems with non-indigenous wildlife. ADI previously stated:

“Primera has not addressed the question of potential interaction between the different primate species or the potential for cross-species spread of disease. Florida has previously allowed, and documented regret regarding, the introduction of two different species of monkeys into the wild.”

You can read more in ADI president Jan Creamer’s statement.

How to help

Please write the County Commissioners and ask them politely to say “no” to the new primate lab.

Additionally, you can contact:

Urgent Action Alert! Submit comments NOW to halt construction of new UW animal lab!

This just in from Action for Animals:

The University of Washington Board of Regents recently approved plans for a new animal lab that will allow the university to greatly increase the number of primates and smaller animals that it subjects to cruel experiments and neglectful care. However, in addition to imprisoning and torturing nonhuman animals, the proposed lab location has been identified as having the “potential to have a significant adverse impact on the environment” and the public is invited to submit their comments to the UW’s Environmental/Land Use Compliant Officer prior to a decision about whether the lab construction will go forward.

Please take advantage of this significant opportunity to tell the UW to halt plans to construct a new animal research facility!

Submit written comments to:
Jan Arntz, Environmental/Land Use Compliant Officer
Capital Projects Office
Box 352205
Seattle, WA 98195
jarntz@u.washington.edu

**All written comments must be received by May 14, 2014. Please keep all comments polite and focused on the adverse impact that the lab will have on the environment and the importance of the UW adopting advanced alternatives to using animals in labs and not building this facility.**

Points to address:

  • The detrimental impact on the environment of constructing a large underground facility.
  • The expense and harmful impact of building a facility that is only expected to accommodate the UW’s animal experimentation plans for the next 10 years.
  • The traffic increase in the area that the construction and operation of the lab will cause.
  • The potential harm to the environment of operating a facility that will produce hazardous waste, including chemicals as well as the bodies of dead animals.
  • Alternatives to building the new facility, including pursuing alternatives to animal experimentation, and the scientific and publicity benefits to the UW that would come from adopting alternatives to using animals in research.
  • The negative public view of the UW for building a new facility that harms the environment, facilitates the UW’s continued use of animals even after several citations by the USDA, and demonstrates a lack of commitment to exploring innovative non-animal research methods.

Thank you for caring about the animals and environment that would be harmed by the construction of this lab. Please write and encourage your friends and family to do so as well; and pass on this message to others via email and social media. The UW needs to know that this lab should not be built!

If you have any questions about writing or the approval process, contact Action for Animals at info@afa-online.org.

Take action against puppy mills

Sick puppies are imported into the USA almost every day from foreign puppy mills. Many come from countries with no laws protecting dogs. These puppies are sold in US pet stores and online–and many are diseased and dying.

puppy mill

In 2008, as part of the Farm Bill, The HSUS urged Congress to pass a law to protect puppies under six months of age from being imported into the US for resale. It’s been six years, and the USDA still has yet to enforce the law.

This week is Puppy Mill Action Week, and we need your help to protect dogs and puppies.

Go to this HSUS page and use the form to personalize and submit a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and urge him to finalize the Puppy Import Rule.

Palm Oil Isn't Vegan

I thought about a title for this post for quite a while. I wanted something that would make you stop and decide to read more. Maybe if the title were “The Best Cheese in the World”, you would stop and look, and by the time you found out it wasn’t about cheese, you would understand why I told you it was.

If you are reading this, chances are you are vegan. You have fought your cheese battle and won, fought your cute-leather-shoe battle and made do, fought your chocolate battle and either decided you like dark chocolate because it is way healthier, or — like me — decided to just do without. Your supermarkets are smaller than other peoples’: they have no meat, no fish, and no dairy aisles. Hopefully, I am about to give you one more battle to win, and am about to make your grocery store smaller still. Because palm oil isn’t vegan.

When you think of the meaning of ‘vegan’, it doesn’t ONLY mean ‘no animal ingredients’; for most of us, there is a very strong element of ‘no animal suffering‘ and that is why palm oil fails. Palm oil sneaks into almost as many things as dairy does, and causes terrible suffering as more and more forest is destroyed to make way for palm plantations. Critically endangered orangutans, whose last holdout is the Indonesian rainforest of Sumatra and Borneo, are the most visible victims. I am not including the photo that made me a believer in the split second it took to absorb the sight of a burned-but-alive orangutan, covering her face with her hands. These only-everso-slightly-different non-humans, whose name means ‘people of the forest’, are chased, shot, poisoned, burned and beaten, and their homeland destroyed and bulldozered at such a rate that according to this short slide show –

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/audioslideshow/2014/apr/24/indonesia-deforestation-wildlife-paul-hilton-audio-slideshow

– it may be gone in ten years. Gone. Along with the orangutans, the elephants, the tigers, the rhinos — and an incredibly long list of others, because the Indonesian rainforest contains 12% of the world’s mammal species, and 17% of all known bird species. And it is estimated that more than half of Indonesia’s species have never even been recorded. At this rate they will disappear unrecorded.

A French documentarist named Patrick Rouxel made a short documentary about the palm oil/rainforest crisis, simply called “Green”. Watch it:

Not all palm oil comes from burning out orangutans and poisoning elephants in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Some of it comes from Malaysia. Some is termed “sustainable”. The Earth Balance margarine so beloved of vegans contains palm oil, and Earth Balance is proud to say 30% of it is “sustainable”.  I freely admit that where animals are concerned, I tend to be a glass-bone-dry person. But if 30% is “sustainable”, what is the other 70%? And where colossal amounts of money are to be made, the word “sustainable” can become as flexible as those standing to profit from it wish. And those palm plantations in It’s-OK-Malaysia? They are being created in someone‘s ex-habitat. Maybe the someone isn’t as heartrending as an orangutan infant, as photogenic as a Sumatran tiger, or as big as an elephant, but their home is being destroyed and burned and bulldozed nevertheless.

Let me tell you why.

For crap. The popular mass movement away from trans fats caused a gap that palm oil has filled. It is mainly in processed foods, crackers, chips, cookies, boxed cereals, candy, cake, pastries, bread spreads (check your peanut butter!),and margarine. It is in about half of all boxed foods. Many of those foods got tossed out in battles you have already won. And luckily none of them are crucial to your survival.

Face it: margarine is a cultural habit. You know how many millions of people around the world would look at you blankly if you told them you only eat bread with grease wiped on it? If you don’t want to give up wiping grease on your bread, I can give you a good, easy, much-healthier margarine recipe, and you can make your own from now on. You can also skip that step and use straight coconut oil for everything you used margarine for. Unrefined for a slight coconut taste, refined for no taste at all. And you wouldn’t believe all the health benefits coconut oil is meant to have. Palm oil is also in all kinds of utterly unnecessary beauty products, toiletries, laundry and kitchen products, even ones claiming ‘bio’, ‘enviro’ or ‘green’ status. (Btw, PETA has a great list of excellent DIY, completely cruelty-free beauty and cleaning agents.)  The following list of foods and other products containing palm oil comes from BOS (Borneo Orangutan Survival) Australia. Many of the things listed are non-vegan and so you would not be eating them anyway, and many are specifically Australian, but the list will give you a very good idea what foods to suspect in the US, too.

http://www.orangutans.com.au/Orangutans-Survival-Information/Helping-you-buy-responsibly-Palm-oil-free-alternatives.aspx

How will you know? Look for anything with ‘palm’ in it, like palm kernel, palm fruit, palmitate, or palmate, but here is a full list of palm oil’s stealthy aliases:

http://understory.ran.org/2011/09/22/palm-oils-dirty-secret-the-many-ingredient-names-for-palm-oil-or-what-ingredients-contain-palm-oil/

So watch the movie and the slide show, and research for yourself what eating crap you shouldn’t be eating anyway is causing in places not your own back yard. And I think you will sit back with the same feeling you had when you first watched “Meet Your Meat” or whatever it was that made you change your life, and you will see why palm oil isn’t vegan. Because vegan isn’t just the letter of the law, it’s the spirit, too. And we are strong people when it comes to giving up things and not looking back. So much so, I don’t think you will mind that I just bulldozed another aisle or two of your supermarket.

 

 

Sea Lions Need Guardians!

Volunteers for Sea Lions Still Needed at the
Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon
In Defense of AnimalsIn Defense of Animals and the Sea Lion Defense Brigade (SLDB) are seeking passionate, dedicated individuals to be volunteer observers through the end of May at the Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon near Pier 36. The Columbia River sea lions need reliable eyes and ears on the river to assist in ending the lethal removal program.
If you have a still camera, binoculars, and/or video equipment and time to help, please volunteer with SLDB at either the Bonneville Dam or in Astoria.
The sea lion killing program is more about politics than sound science. Sea lions are being trapped, branded, and killed for eating only 1% of the fish, while human predation is at an all time high.
Sea Lions are being scapegoated by the fishing industry. Science shows the importance of protecting keystone species in the ecology and removing these species from an eco-system causes harm to the system as a whole.
For information about how you can help, or to volunteer, please contact Eric at eric@idausa.org.

Ask the New Owner of the Miami Seaquarium to Let Lolita Go

The Miami Seaquarium has recently been purchased by a California-based amusement park company called Palace Entertainment. Among its many captive animals is the orca Lolita. This is a great opportunity to demand that she be released back into the waters of her birth, something Seaquarium’s present owners have always refused to do.

Lolita has lived at the Miami Seaquarium for almost 45 years, in the smallest orca tank on the entire continent (35′ x 80′ x 20′ deep — although she herself is 20′ long). For the first 10 years of her captivity she had a male companion, Hugo, who apparently committed suicide in 1980 by repeatedly bashing his head against the tank walls. Now she lives a solitary life, forced to perform in depressing daily shows for the public.

She was caught in 1970 in Puget Sound, taken from the L pod of the Southern Resident orca community in an 80-whale ….what? roundup? theft? kidnapping? Her mother and extended family still live there. Marine mammal experts have proposed a plan in which Lolita would be transferred to a coastal sea pen, and once she relearns the skills necessary for independent survival, she would rejoin her family in the wild.

Please, contact Palace Entertainment and ask for her release:

Fernando Eiroa, President and CEO
Palace Entertainment
4590 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 400
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Email: feiroa@palaceentertainment.com                      (cc: administrator@palaceentertainment.com,marketing@palaceentertainment.com)

Online comment form.

Sample text (it’s best to use your own words):

“I am writing in response to the recent announcement that Palace Entertainment has signed an agreement to purchase the Miami Seaquarium. I’m sure you are aware of the controversy surrounding Lolita, an orca at the Miami Seaquarium who for decades has lived in a small concrete tank, without the company of another orca. I urge Palace Entertainment to allow Lolita to be rehabilitated and released into her native waters. Such a decision would bring tremendous positive publicity to your company!”

Also contact Miami-Dade County’s Mayor and Commissioners and ask that, as a condition of the sale of the Miami Seaquarium to Palace Entertainment, that Lolita be released back into the waters of her birth. Contact:

Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Commissioners
Stephen P. Clark Government Center
111 NW 1st Street, Suite 220
Miami, FL 33128
Email: mayor@miamidade.gov
Online comment form.

Sample text:

“I am writing in response to the recent announcement that the Miami Seaquarium has agreed to be bought by a California-based amusement park company. I’m sure you are aware of the controversy surrounding Lolita, an orca at the Miami Seaquarium who for decades has lived in a small concrete tank, without the company of another orca. I urge Miami-Dade County to request, as a condition of the sale of the Miami Seaquarium, that Lolita be rehabilitated and released into her native waters.”

Please take a couple of minutes to write a letter that could change her life..GIVE her a life…what’s left of her life.

lolitaWe sure owe it to her, after what our species has done.

The University of Washington is killing pigs

pigletAll Creatures recently posted an action alert about the killing of pigs by the University of Washington (UW). Here are the details:

This Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) filed a complaint with the USDA because the UW is violating the federal Animal Welfare Act by using live pigs to teach paramedics and flight nurses. For more info, here’s PCRM’s complaint to the USDA: Use of Live Pigs for Paramedic Training at the University of Washington.

Please help this effort by calling and e-mailing the president of the university. Be polite and encouraging.

Talking points

In the training program at UW, paramedics and nurses make an incision in the throat of a pig and insert a breathing tube and wire. This is performed up to five times by multiple trainees on each pig. The pigs are then killed. Nonanimal training methods are widely used by paramedic programs across the Pacific Northwest, making this use of animals not only cruel but unnecessary.

I am calling to ask Mr. Young to please stop the use of pigs in UW’s paramedic training program.

  • UW has a simulation center that can replace the use of animals immediately.
  • UW’s paramedic course is the only program in the Pacific Northwest known to use animals. The remaining programs use non-animal methods such as human-based medical simulation.

Contact info

Michael Young, President
University of Washington
301 Gerberding Hall
Box 351230
Seattle, WA 98195
phone (206) 543-5010
pres@uw.edu

You can also sign  the online petition.

Back to Seal Clubbing — Really?!

HERE WE GO YET AGAIN: The Canadian government has announced a MASSIVE quota of 400,000 harp seals for this year’s seal slaughter, Instead of moving forward with a federal buyout that Canadians — including many sealers — SUPPORT.

sealA federal buyout would mean rather than wasting tax money on a hunt with no market, the Canadian government can actually save money by offering to pay sealers a fair dollar amount to give up their license to kill.

An increasing number of nations are taking action by banning trade in seal products. Yet the Canadian government still authorizes the cruel slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seals each year — even using government funds to finance the purchase of seal pelts.

Each year, unimaginable suffering is inflicted on the seals, all for their pelts to be stockpiled in a warehouse — not that it would make any difference if they sold like crazy. Many Newfoundland sealers themselves support a federal sealing industry buyout.  With this plan, the seal slaughter would end, sealers would receive financial compensation, and economic alternatives would be developed.

Please ask Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end this revolting slaughter once and for all with a federal sealing industry buyout. Here you will find mailing address, fax and email info: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm

Sample letter below — but please personalize as much as possible!

Dear Prime Minister Harper and Honourable Ministers,

I am writing to ask for your help to end the Canadian commercial seal slaughter by implementing a federal buyout of sealing licenses.

Each year, horrible suffering is documented during the slaughter. Conscious, wounded baby seals are left to suffer in agony and impaled on metal hooks, dragged across the ice and cut open. Seal pups that have been shot and injured escape into the water where they die slowly and are never recovered. All of this often takes place before the eyes of their mothers.

Please help move Canada beyond this antiquated commercial sealing by supporting a federal sealing industry buyout. Thank you for your consideration.

THANK YOU!

Screening of the movie Live and Let Live

Live and Let LiveNo, not the James Bond flick (that’s Live and Let Die). This is better!

Next Wednesday, Live and Let Live comes to Seattle and NARN and the University of Washington’s Critical Animal Studies Group is very excited to host.

This feature documentary examines our relationship with animals, the history of veganism and the ethical, environmental and health reasons that move people to go vegan. From butcher to vegan chef, from factory farmer to farm sanctuary owner, Live and Let Live tells the stories of six individuals who decided to stop consuming animal products for different reasons and shows the impact the decision had on their lives.

After the movie, the Director will be on hand for a Q & A session.

This movie screening is FREE and open to the public so bring your friends & family!

Check out the trailer!
Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Place: UW Allen Auditorium (in the Allen Library) near 15th Ave NE & NE 40th St.

For more info, or to RSVP, check out the Facebook event page.