Category Archives: Animal Welfare

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

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.

RIP Watoto – Vigil at noon on Saturday, August 23rd‏

Today is a very sad day.  Watoto was euthanized.
She died without ever having had a good day.

You may have heard that Watoto, the African elephant that so many people were fighting for, lost her life today. Watoto was discovered lying down unable to right herself when the keepers arrived this morning.  The Zoo’s staff decided to euthanize her after being unable to raise her.

Please join in a vigil/peaceful demonstration at the street entrance to Woodland Park Zoo’s south entrance tomorrow, Saturday at noon.

What:  Vigil for beautiful Watoto
When: Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at noon
Where: Street entrance to the Zoo’s south entrance at N. 50th and Fremont Ave. N.

     

Watoto was only 45 years. In the wild, she would have been in the prime of her life; still bearing calves. Confinement in a zoo takes a devastating physical and psychological toll on these far-ranging and intelligent animals. The zoo industry’s own statistics show that elephants die young.

Woodland Park Zoo denied Watoto of one her greatest needs–companionship of her own kind. After being ripped from her mother in Africa as a baby, Watoto never set eyes on another African elephant. The zoo also denied Watoto the opportunity to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary.

Watoto suffered from a host of chronic captivity related diseases as a result of living her entire life in the cramped quarters of Woodland Park.

Woodland Park Zoo is an exceptionally poor environment. The elephants are locked outdoors in less than 1 acre.  Indoors, the elephants are locked in barren cages, standing on hard substrate and only able to walk a few steps in any direction. This lockup, due to our climate, lasts 16-17 hours a day, every day, for over half of the year. Scientific American describes this as: “tortuous conditions [which] inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”

We hope that Watoto’s suffering and death will not be in vain. We are very grateful for Seattle’s Mayor Murray’s statement. We need him to go farther: Bamboo and Chai need to retire to a sanctuary. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.

Please write to ask the Mayor and the City Council to order the zoo to release Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. They have the authority.

Email: 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,
Deborah.jensen@zoo.org,
Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org,
Darin.Collins@zoo.org,
nancy.hawkes@zoo.org,
zooinfo@zoo.org

Please call the Mayor anytime on Wednesday, the 27th.  Ask the Mayor to withhold funds from Woodland Park Zoo until the elephants are released to a sanctuary. 206-684-4000

Rest in peace, Watoto.

Who Eats More Fish, Cormorants or Humans?

This is another urgent one:  Public comments are being heard until August 19th on the US Army Corps of Engineers’ draft Environmental Impact Statement on whether to authorize the gunning down of 16,000 double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island in Oregon.  Cormorants are big: 3ft long, with a 4ft wingspan.  DDT almost wiped them out but they recovered well, only to be  decimated by slaughters of this kind,  that tear families apart, leaving parents without their children as well as orphaned young to die of starvation. In addition, you KNOW many would only be injured and succumb later after much suffering.

Are you wondering why?  Oh, come on,  one guess will do it.                         Right: they eat fish!  The massacre is “necessary to reduce the predation on juvenile salmon and steelhead trout”.

cormorant

The amount of fish eaten by cormorants isn’t even visible on the graph of Who Eats The Most Fish.  Humans are the biggest fish-consumers and the worst sharers in the history of this planet.  If you were REALLY concerned about predation on fish, how about going to the real predators? An incredibly easy, cheap, compassionate fix to this problem that threatens sixteen thousand cormorants is DITCH THE FISH.  Instead of this massacre, you could make a healthy choice to eat vegan meals instead and those 16,000 beings get to live. Everyone wins.

So please ask Corps officials to “reject Alternatives C and D” (which allow the massacre), and urge them to focus instead on the biggest threats to salmon—dams, human development, and the fisheries industry. And then forward this alert widely!

Polite comments can be directed here:

Sondra Ruckwardt, Project Manager
Attn.: CENWP-PM-E-14-08
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208
cormorant-eis@usace.army.mil

Please also participate in the Corps’ webinar/conference on Thursday, August 14, at 6:30 p.m. PDT. To take part, call toll-free 1-888-431-3632 and when prompted, enter the access code: 3963766. Once you’re on the call, log on to the webinar at https://www.webmeeting.att.com. Don’t want to do it? I know…but remember the Other Side Never Sleeps.

Please feel free to use PETA’s sample letter, or consult it for talking points, but remember that using your own words is always more effective.

 

We Have To Shout Louder

aaaaaand now I have you here reading stuff, with your pen or your phone or at least your keyboard at the ready, I have another request:

In the meantime you will have heard that Proposition 1 passed in Seattle,  certainly because most people didn’t realise what the hell they were voting for.  “Parks? Great! Yes on that!”  But now Woodland Park Prison Zoo stands to receive $2 million additional dollars each year — up to $34 million — and maybe even more than that.
 
WPPZ  has two lobbyists.  Professional shouters and money-obtainers.  We are not professional shouters and money-obtainers, but we do CARE.  Please write to the Mayor and City Council.  We were told they count the number of emails they receive for each issue.  If you only write one line, it still COUNTS. You can send the same one line to everyone, but see those talking points below? (helpfully provided by Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants) They are so good there’s no way you can choose just one line. Go ahead, indulge: write about them all.

Ed.murray@seattle.govJean.Godden@seattle.gov,Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov,Tim.Burgess@seattle.govSally.Clark@seattle.gov,   Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov,Nick.Licata@seattle.govTom.Rasmussen@seattle.govMike.OBrien@seattle.gov,Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov

Talking points:

  • No more additional money should come from the City until the Zoo releases the elephants to a sanctuary.
  • The Zoo spends upwards of a million dollars a year keeping elephants in a pathetic environment.  Why are they spending our tax dollars causing these magnificent animals to suffer?
  • Why are we taking precious tax dollars away from parks when the Zoo can save a million dollars by retiring the elephants?
  • The City Council and Mayor need to represent the will of the people and retire the elephants to a sanctuary.

Thank you. It feels like running in sand, I know, but the writing is on the wall, the end of captive elephants truly is coming.  And you will be able to brag truthfully that you helped make it so.

Please Protest Church Animal Fight

Saint Patrick’s parish in Hortonville, Wisconsin, plans to hold an event this Saturday, August 9th, in which pigs are punched in the face, kicked, jumped on, body-slammed, yelled at, and thrown in a bucket by up to 6 people at a time.  Not surprisingly, the pigs often sustain injuries. It is being called “pig wrestling”, although as far as I know none of those things are actually condoned in real wrestling, which takes place between two evenly matched volunteers.

The event organizers do admit that “there is an inherent risk of injury when choosing to participate.” Most unjustly, it is the creature NOT choosing to participate who risks the most injury.  The HUMANS who choose to do this deserve whatever they get.  And more.

Wisconsin laws specifically prohibit fighting between animals and humans, as well as being a spectator at such a fight (Chapter 951, “Crimes Against Animals”).

Action is URGENT on this one, as we only have one more day. Please call:

Deacon Ken Bilgrien: 920-779-5960

St. Patrick Parish: 920-757-5090 or email benwolf@new.rr.com 
Event Coordinator, Rose Rynish: 920-757-6824 or email stpatdenis@new.rr.com






Where do Washington State candidates stand on animal issues?

Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation/Save Washington Pets has created a handy guide listing 81 candidates and their views on animal welfare bills. Have a look at the survey results so you can help influence future legislation.

A total of 265 candidates are running for 123 open seats in the state legislature. The August 5th primary election will narrow this field of candidates to the top two contenders in each competitive race. The top two, and all candidates running unopposed, will move on to the November general election.

Before you vote in the August primary election, consider where the candidates running for office in your district stand on animal welfare issues.

Without animal-friendly candidates elected to our state legislature, it can be nearly impossible to pass legislation that supports animal welfare. It can also be very difficult to stop bills detrimental to animal welfare from becoming law.

Please take a few minutes today to review the results of the Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation survey of candidates on animal welfare issues.

The report (PDF) is here. (Please be patient when downloading the file–it’s large.) Look for responses from candidates in your legislative district. Click here to find your legislative district.

Candidates state their positions on several issues, such as:

  • Strengthening the laws defining animal cruelty.
  • Providing police and animal control officers the authority to rescue animals confined in extreme temperatures (e.g., hot cars).
  • Limiting the sale of animals in public places by unlicensed sellers (such as roadside animals sales).

Please use caution in judging candidates who did not respond to the survey.

About two-thirds of the candidates running for state legislative offices did not respond to the survey. Many of the non-respondents are incumbents running for re-election who are known to be strong supporters of animal welfare legislation based on their voting records. Similarly, other non-respondents are known to be less supportive of animal welfare legislation based on voting records. Please contact your candidates directly if you need further information on their positions on any animal welfare issues

Do you have questions on the survey? Contact Rick at rick@savewashingtonpets.org.

Thanks to Save Washington Pets for the info in this post!

India is the First Country to Ban the Import of Foie Gras

With little fanfare, a notice appeared on the Indian Directorate of Foreign Trade’s website on July 3rd, simply stating that the import of foie gras, the “fatty liver” of geese, is now prohibited.  Produced mainly in France, in recent years it had found a place in high-end Indian restaurants. AND…contrary to so much legislation here in the US  that only takes effect in 300 years, this takes effect IMMEDIATELY.

It follows a campaign launched by the activist group Animal Equality, that together with PETA India, also managed to have the extremely cruel bullock cart races and all bull events banned throughout India in May of this year.

Their report to the Indian government included an investigation of a Spanish farm that was supplying liver to Indian restaurants.  The Spanish investigation was one of seven shocking foie gras investigations carried out by the group in 2012-2013 in France and Spain.

While countries such as Israel, Germany and England have banned the production of foie gras, and the U.S. state of California banned its production and consumption in 2012, India is the only country to ban imports.

In 2013 India also banned shows involving any cetaceans throughout the country.

 

 

Wildlife and Wildlands in Danger

(From HSUS)

Wildlife and wildlands are in peril!

Please urge Sen. Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441 and Sen. Patty Murray (202) 224-2621 to oppose the dangerous “Sportsmen’s Act.”

The U.S. Senate will soon be voting on the dangerous “Sportsmen’s Act,” a radical handout to extreme trophy hunting groups.

In a single swoop, this legislation would open millions of acres of public lands–including sensitive Wilderness Areas–to hunting and fur trapping, at the expense of other land users and endangered and threatened species.

It would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from even considering the issue of toxic lead ammunition which poisons wildlife and the environment. And it would permit the latest in a series of import allowances for sport-hunted polar bear trophies from Canada, encouraging trophy hunters to escalate the killing of threatened species around the globe.

Your senators need to hear from you right now. Please make a brief, polite phone call today to Sen. Maria Cantwell (202) 224-3441 and Sen. Patty Murray (202) 224-2621 urging them to oppose S. 2363, the “Sportsmen’s Act.”

For more info and to send a follow-up message, please see the HSUS info online.

Puget Sound area officials are killing Canada Geese‏

(From the Peace for Geese Project)

For the past 13 years, USDA Wildlife Services has been killing Canada Geese in the Puget Sound area, under an agreement with several cities and areas.

geese

The geese are rounded up in parks around Lake Washington and other areas, and gassed to death or shot.  In 2013, nearly 1200 were killed in King County alone.

Humane solutions, including egg addling, use of OvoControl-G (a proven oral birth control method for geese), and sterilization, exist.

Alternately, parks can use other measures, such as landscape modification, goose deterrent products and control techniques, automated devices to clean up goose droppings, and education and public outreach on the need to stop feeding waterfowl in our parks.

The members of the 2014 interlocal agreement to kill geese include Bellevue, Kent, Kirkland, Mountlake Terrace, Port of Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Renton, Seattle Parks and Recreation, SeaTac, Tacoma Metro Parks, Tukwila, Woodinville, and the University of Washington.

What to do:

Please sign the Change.org petition.

Also, please share the petition and like Peace for Geese on Facebook so you can get more updates.

Act Against the USDA’s ANTI-Wildlife Services

In June, Wildlife Services released a 655-page report in which it acknowledged killing over four million animals last year. This total includes over 75,000 coyotes, 420 black bears, 3,700 foxes, 12,200 prairie dogs, as well as beavers, wolves, mountain lions, otters, , ferrets, birds, and other animals.  It’s a secretive, wasteful, ineffective and cruel war on wildlife. One they need to not only continue but grow.  One that, fyi, you are largely financing.

Bear in mind that these four million animals are not only shot (and we know how often that is NOT a quick death) from land and from the air, but also trapped, burned and poisoned — methods that cause hours/days of agony before death , and the deaths of countless other non-target (and non-reported) animals.  In addition, I think we have probably all seen appalling news stories and videos about Wildlife Services employees routinely practising extreme cruelty, leaving animals to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes for fun, and even brutalizing domestic dogs.

coyotrap

It is also good to remember that while all of these animals were killed because they were somehow inconveniencing humans, a large number died specifically because they were inconveniencing humans producing meat – so many that Wildlife Services has been termed a subsidy for the livestock industry.

Wildlife Services operates with little public oversight and few rules requiring that it use the best available science, non-lethal methods, or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals — or even the suffering of target animals. There is a growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, to change this. Let’s add to it.

Tom Vilsack                                                                                                                           Secretary of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
AgSec@usda.gov

Action alerts, news, tips, stories, and resources for Animal Advocates in the NW