Category Archives: Animal Welfare

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

Tell Whole Foods to stop selling rabbit meat

Have you heard that Whole Foods sells rabbit meat? In Defense of Animals recently wrote about the pilot program.

There’s no justification for eating any kind of animals, but it’s especially disturbing that, as more Americans are cutting back or omitting animal products, Whole Foods is promoting rabbits.

Rabbits are the fifth most popular pet, which makes this “food” introduction especially confusing.

And as with any industry that profits from animals, rabbits in the supply chain are treated cruelly and suffer immensely.

You can help!

Please follow the link to IDA’s factsheet. It includes a number you can call as well as a form you can fill out. Here’s info from IDA about what to say when you call:

Whole Foods corporate phone number: 512-477-4455

Here are some talking points to get you started:

  • The demand for rabbit is not strong and is in fact waning. We do not need another “meat” source, especially not from a companion animal, as rabbits are the number 5 companion animal in US households.
  • As a compassionate grocer, there is no reason to add another animal to your menu, especially one that millions of households consider a family pet.
  • I ask you to take rabbit off the shelves, as one of millions of shoppers who appreciate your variety of vegetarian and vegan options in addition to your product offerings that do not test on animals, including rabbits.
  • Sprouts listened to its customers and took rabbit meat off the shelves. Please follow their lead or I will take my business to Sprouts.

Help strengthen WA animal cruelty laws


A dangerous last-minute amendment to Senate Bill SB 5501 threatens to push back years of progress toward ending animal cruelty.

Overall, SB 5501 strengthens animal cruelty laws. But the amendment, known as Section 7, does the opposite and makes it easy for animal cruelty and neglect to go unpunished.

Section 7 will eliminate protections under current law for abused and neglected farmed animals owned by backyard “farmers” and hobbyists – leaving these animals totally vulnerable and unprotected.

Please urge Governor Inslee to VETO Section 7 and pass the remainder of SB 5501 into law.

  1. Email Governor Inslee
  2. Call his office:  360-902-4111

Don’t let them push back our progress to end animal cruelty. Please take 2 minutes to urge Governor Inslee to VETO Section 7 of SB 5501 today!

(Thanks to Pasado’s Safe Haven for this info. For the original alert, click here.)

Speak up for Eli the chimp

News from Eyes on Apes:

eyes on chimps

Comedy Central has a new TV show and they’re airing previews of the show, Big Time in Hollywood, FL,  containing footage of a chimpanzee.

Eyes on Apes knows the chimp in the footage. His name is Eli and he lives at a training facility called Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife.

Eli’s trainer has a history of dumping former nonhuman ape actors at very decrepit facilities, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo. Eli’s trainers also have repeatedly failed to meet minimal animal welfare standards. (

There’s still time to act–the episodes with Eli’s scenes have not aired yet. Please send a polite letter to the producers and to Lenny Jacobson letting them know that chimpanzees should not be used in entertainment.

Siri Garber, Platform PR (Lenny Jacobson’s publicist)

Lee Kernis, Producer (manager to writers Alex Anfanger & Dan Schimpf)

Eyes on Chimps has a customizable sample letter you can use. You can also let the show know how you feel by posting comments on their Facebook page.

Not only are there numerous welfare concerns with using chimps in entertainment, but seeing chimpanzees dressed up in clothing and in physical contact with humans perpetuates the idea that they can be treated as pets.

Thank you for all you do. Remember, Your letters work!

Another alert sent out last month regarding a McDonald’s France commercial with Suzy (who lives with the same trainer as Eli) was pulled after they received feedback from Eyes on Apes supporters and other advocacy groups.

Tell McDonald’s not to exploit chimps

Eyes on Apes has an important action alert about a captive chimp:

A recent advertisement for McDonald’s restaurants in France features Suzy the chimpanzee demonstrating trained behaviors, such as jumping up and down and making “funny” faces. Unfortunately, what Suzy has experienced–and what her future holds–is not funny at all. – See more at Eyes on Apes.

Trainers often take babies away from their mothers at a very young age and use abusive, fear-based tactics to get chimpanzees to perform.

Steve Martin’s Working Wildlife, where Suzy lives, has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards.

As Suzy gets older, her future remains uncertain. Martin has a reputation for dumping his former non-human ape actors at facilities with deplorable conditions, including Walter, who was found kept in a dark, barren, concrete pit filled with garbage at a roadside zoo.

We need your help to put the pressure on McDonald’s! Please write a polite letter asking them to remove the ad, and pledge to never work with non-human ape actors again. You may direct your letters to Deborah Wahl (, a Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at McDonald’s.

You may also leave comments on McDonald’s France’s Facebook page or send a Tweet to @McDonaldsCorp.

Sample Letter:

Dear Ms. Wahl: I was disappointed to hear that McDonald’s France used Suzy the chimpanzee in a recent commercial for Spicy Chicken Wraps.

Suzy lives with a trainer who has repeatedly failed to meet even minimal welfare standards ( Suzy’s trainer has dumped former non-human ape actors at deplorable roadside zoos, and as she is getting older, soon she will be too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. They are an endangered species that should be protected, not used for entertainment.

Suzy, and others like her, deserve to be in a sanctuary. Help put an end to the use of chimpanzees in entertainment by removing the commercial and making a promise to never work with non-human ape actors again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

Sincerely, [Your name here]


If you send an e-mail to McDonald’s, please remember to BCC Eyes on Apes at for tracking purposes. Thank you!

Help stop the resumption of gray whale hunting

Ready to write another letter?

Please write to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) and politely urge them to not allow the Makah tribe to resume hunting Eastern North Pacific gray whales in the Northwest. Send your letters to:

Gray Whale

For more info about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), and how to respond to it, please see this webpage.


  • Mon April 27th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, NOAA Western Regional Center, Building 9 (Kelly C. Sandy III Auditorium), 7600 Sand Point Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98115. [Attendees need to register and review requirements for Access to Government Building].
  • Wed April 29th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, Vern Burton Memorial Community Center, 308 East 4th Street, Port Angeles, WA.

In addition, the DEIS also may be viewed at various libraries identified or at the following NOAA Fisheries offices:

  • NOAA Fisheries, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232 (Contact Steve Stone at 503-231-2317)
  • NOAA Fisheries, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE, Building 1, Seattle, WA 98115-6349. (Contact Leah Mattox at 206-526-6150)

Copies of the DEIS are available on CD by contacting Steve Stone at (503) 231-2317 or

Keep Whales and Dolphins Out of Captivity

Are you a Washington State resident? Please help keep whales and dolphins out of captivity. Young people who do not want to see whales and dolphins in captivity are encouraged to call when their parents do.

Washington State Legislature House Bill 2115 would prohibit captivity of whales, dolphins and porpoise for entertainment and exploitation. It is under attack and being blocked from leaving the Rules Committee which decides if a bill will proceed to debate and vote by the full Washington State House of Representatives.

How to help:

a) If your Representative is on the Rules Committee, call their office or email them.


b) If your Representative is not on the Rules Committee, call them.  If you need to find who your Representatives are in Washington State, go here.

Reps need to hear from you before Wednesay, March 11th. Time is of the essence.

Thank you!

“Sportman’s Act”: You Shall Not Pass

One definition of the word “sport” is as follows:  “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.  I will let you contemplate such things as baiting, blinds, beer, hunting accidents, night scopes, decoys, lures, hounds, high-powered rifles, crossbows,  camouflage AND MANY MORE as you mentally list the reasons hunting and trapping ARE NOT SPORTS.

In view of that…let’s shoot down the mis-named “Sportsman’s Act”. Once again, a small faction of wealthy trophy hunters is pressuring your elected officials to allow the importation of  — are you SERIOUS? — threatened polar bear trophies from Canada. They also want to open millions of acres of public lands to “sport” hunting and commercial trapping. And they want to do it without evaluating possible implications for animals, habitat and the opinions of Americans who enjoy our nation’s wild spaces without having to kill the inhabitants.  This bill would also permanently strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the authority to regulate lead shot and other ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act, and would add lead sinkers and other fishing gear to the existing exemptions. To add insult to injury, the bill would direct up to $10 million annually toward improving access to landlocked public lands, allocate a larger proportion of existing federal funding to building and maintaining shooting ranges on federal and non-federal lands, and require federal land managers to consider how their plans may impact hunting, fishing and recreational shooting.  Do I need to remind you of the suffering involved for animals left to die slowly of bad shots, for their families and children, for animals trapped for days in agony, whose only release is (maybe) the trapper and his dogs? Hunting and trapping are NOT sports. They are HORRORS.

Please, if you don’t already know who they are and how to get in touch with them, find your federal legislators here:

and make a brief, polite phone call today to urge them to OPPOSE S. 405, the Sportsmen’s Act, and protect our wildlife and wildlands.  (I know you don’t FEEL polite. I don’t either. But let’s pull ourselves together.) Follow up with an email (links at the same site above).



Shocking animal cruelty at federal laboratory

Did you get a chance to read the New York Times article about the horrific federal laboratory in Nebraska? The lab conducts research on farmed animals to benefit the meat industry. They receive millions of dollar a year in our money–taxpayer funds–to torture and abuse animals (the experiments are so gruesome even people in the animal agriculture industry are appalled).

The article exposes experiments conducted at the 50-year-old U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, including:

  • Newborn sheep being left to die in open fields–intentionally.
  • A young, restrained cow who suffering broken legs and died while being repeatedly mounted by six bulls.
  • Stalls so small that piglets are crushed by their mothers.
  • Deliberate high-risk pregnancies that result in deformed babies.
  • Testing for extreme heat tolerance.
  • Failure to provide adequate veterinary care to animals.
  • Animals starving to death in plain view of “caretakers.”

Sadly, cows, pigs, and sheep are excluded from protection under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Only Congress can stop such egregious animal suffering by making changes to the Act.

The American Anti-Vivisection Society has put together a great page to help you reach out to your legislators.

Please tell your legislators that you are outraged that federal government funds are used for such cruelty and that it must be stopped. Politely tell them that ALL animals deserve protection under the Animal Welfare Act.

AND While You Are Calling Olympia…

…to ask your representatives to oppose HB 1104, the Ag-Gag bill, please also ask them to SUPPORT HB 1131, which is an important animal protection bill to help curtail trafficking in wildlife and wildlife parts by prohibiting the purchase, sale, or transfer of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns.

If you’ve already called…call back.


URGENT PS on Washington’s Ag-Gag Bill

Several states have already introduced Ag-Gag bills since the beginning of the year, but the one that is moving the fastest is, shamefully, Washington’s.   It is set to have a hearing this coming Tuesday, January 20th.                                                                                                         WE CAN ACT BEFORE THEN!  Make sure you call your representative now to ask him or her to oppose HB 1104 (a link to find your legislators is in the previous blog post on the subject). A tip for the shy ones among us: if you call over the weekend, you can just leave a message. (I would still recommend calling during business hours though, as voice mail boxes can be full.)

The Humane League offers the following great suggestions for involvement:

·         Submit a letter to the editor. Getting letters printed in your local newspaper is an easy and effective way to reach thousands of people on the issue. Plus, lawmakers and their staff regularly read the letters section to have a pulse on what the citizens in their district care about. We already have some letters drafted and instructions on how to submit them – and submitting only takes 30 seconds. To do this, please email Sarah Swingle at Just tell her which city you live in and she’ll get you started!

·         Phonebank: You can help out big time by committing to make phone calls for one hour (or more!) to Humane Society members in Washington, asking them to call their state representatives about the bill. It’s easy, effective and flexible. Calls will start tomorrow and end on Tuesday at 10:30am EST. If you can make some calls, email Kenny Torrella and he will get you started.