Category Archives: Animal Welfare

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

Speak up for animals in labs

Have you read the Herald’s article, Inside the Monkey Lab? It’s about SNLB, an animal research facility in Everett, WA, and it’s terribly one-sided.

Please write to Peter Jackson (, the editorial page editor, and tell him the article was not fair or balanced. You can also add your comments at the bottom of the article, but a letter to the editor will have more impact. For talking points on why we don’t need animal testing, here’s some info:

Animal testing is bad science, based on outdated ideas, and it’s a money-making racket. Researchers applying for grants, can secure more money when they use animals in their experiments. And Mark Crane, the SNLB VP interviewed in the article said his company breeds and sells research monkeys to other labs for about $3,500 each. It’s big business. Careers depend on it.

If animals are so different from us (different enough for us to justify experimenting on), it also means they’re too different to gather relevant, conclusive evidence drawing of a monkey being operated onthat would apply to us. If they’re similar enough that the experiments would actually be useful and relevant, then they’re just like us and it’s unethical to test on them. Either way, it’s wrong.

The cost of experimenting on animals is high and the benefits are minimal. Non-animal testing is usually cheaper and more accurate than animal tests, which can be unreliable. Animal tests are misleading because they’re not good at showing how humans will respond.

With animal testing, illness is induced, and then a cure is sought. That’s an unrealistic and unnatural environment and doesn’t translate well to humans. According to the AAVS, nine out of ten drugs that appear promising in animal studies go on to fail in human clinical trials.

For example, the polio vaccine was delayed by decades because of animal testing. Monkeys respond differently to the virus. Penicillin almost didn’t see the light of day because it was ineffective on rabbits (and killed guinea pigs). It wasn’t until Alexander Fleming gave it to a dying patient (as a last-ditch effort) and she recovered that it was proven acceptable for human use.

Thalidomide, a drug used in the 1950s to treat morning sickness, was proven harmless in dogs, cats, rabbits, monkeys, and rats, and was cleared for human use. It wasn’t until over 10,000 children were born with severe birth defects that it was pulled from the market. Animal tests didn’t warn us.

More recently, Vioxx, a painkiller for people with arthritis, was taken off the market after it caused up to 320,000 heart attacks and strokes. The drug was tested on animals but those tests never revealed the danger to people.

We have the technology to use alternatives to animal tests–and there are many! We have mathematic and in silico (computer models), genomic tests, in vitro (test tube) on human cell cultures, and medical imaging.


Unfortunately we were unable to prevent the Anacortes Middle School from going ahead with their inhumane donkey basketball event this coming Saturday, January 18th. (See my post from November 18th). Recently interviewed, the owner of the “Donkey Sports” company said, “Animal rights groups are a small, misinformed segment of society and should not be allowed to deprive the rest of the community from [sic] this fun event.” 

Let’s ALL go and make sure no one going in remains unaware that this is animal cruelty, and that compassionate people are a SIGNIFICANT — AND GROWING — VOCAL SEGMENT of the population! The event begins at 6pm; protesters should be there at 4:30. Bring signs!

Whatever else you were going to do with Saturday, do this instead. Unless you are sabotaging fishing boats off a Certain Cove in Taiji, or something similar.

Victory for Canada geese!

Washington State Parks recently confirmed that they will not be killing Canada geese in any state parks in 2014!

canada geese

Last spring, we reported that geese were rounded up and gassed in Sammamish State Park. For 2014, State Parks Resource Manager Andrew Fielding said they’ll be using non-lethal methods instead, such as:

  • Using remote devices like air boats to deter geese
  • Bringing in trained dogs handled by volunteers to scare geese away
  • Modifying the landscape to make it less appealing to the geese
  • Adding fencing (like snow fencing) to keep geese away
  • Installing predator cut-outs to scare off the geese
  • Improving signs to let people know they shouldn’t feed the geese
  • Enforcing rules that prohibit feeding wildlife
  • Sharing information through local inter-agency agreements

The Parks Department will focus on Lake Sammamish because it’s in an urban area and has a large number of Canada geese.

This effort was a collaboration with a lot of groups. Action for Animals spread the word, NARN did, and so did In Defense of Animals. But one person, Diane Weinstein, took the lead, talked to officials, and got the issue to the top of their agenda. It shows that it takes just one person to make an impact and get the ball rolling.

And when an issue gains momentum, there’s no stopping it!

So thanks to Diane, AFA, IDA, and all the individuals who called, emailed, and spread the word.

Keep fighting for animals!

Tell Southwest Airlines to cut ties with SeaWorld

Southwest Airlines is renewing its commitment to promote SeaWorld, claiming its relationship with SeaWorld is about “bringing families together.”

Conversely, SeaWorld is all about tearing marine mammal families apart. For a glimpse into how they operate, check out the official page for the documentary, Blackfish (you can watch the full movie on Netflix).


PETA has reached out to Southwest Airlines, but the company isn’t listening. Now it’s your turn to tell Southwest how you feel.

Please politely urge Southwest Airlines to sever its partnership with SeaWorld. You can contact them on their web form.

Let your friends and family know as well so we can be a loud voice for orcas and other animals in captivity.

Action Alert! Chance the chimpanzee in Wolf of Wall Street

In the upcoming movie Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio is seen holding an infant chimpanzee, Chance. this is especially disappointing because Mr. DiCaprio is known for his passion for animal conservation—most recently he supported conservation efforts to save tigers in Nepal.

Animal advocacy groups have contacted Mr. DiCaprio and the movie producers; however, our efforts to reach out have not resulted in Chance’s scenes getting removed from the movie. Now it is time for the public to speak up!Chance on set

Chance was once a pet, and his previous owners discarded him to a pseudo-sanctuary called the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. The animal attraction claims to be a reserve for animals, but they regularly exploit their residents for entertainment purposes. In fact, Chance’s owners (the Rosaire-Zoppe family) are the only remaining trainers who continue to use chimpanzees in circuses. No respectable reserve or animal sanctuary would lease out their animals for media productions such as this movie.

Even if the AHA was present for filming, they have no authority over Chance’s treatment off-set, making the “no animals were harmed” disclaimer misleading.

Portraying chimpanzees as cute and cuddly attractions seriously misinforms the public on the true nature of these beings and perpetuates the pet and entertainment industries. Studies have shown that showing chimpanzees alongside humans in film and TV mask their endangered status, and these scenes hurt conservation efforts.

Despite hearing these facts from advocacy groups, the Wolf of Wall Street producers have not removed Chance’s scenes from the movie, which will be released on December 25. We encourage you to please post on the movie’s poster on their Facebook page and Twitter to let them know that because of the issues with Chance’s scenes you will not be going to see the movie, and you will tell all your friends to boycott it with you.

Sample Facebook Post:

I’m boycotting Wolf of Wall Street because of the chimpanzee scenes! Even Hollywood knows that abuse occurs when animals are used in movies ( Chimpanzees don’t belong in movies unless they are CGI. Chimpanzees are an endangered species and showing them as cute and cuddly props hurts conservation efforts and perpetuates the pet trade.

Sample Tweets:

Pls RT! Join @EyesOnApes and tell @LeoDiCaprio chimps should not be in movies & you won’t see @TheWolfofWallSt!

RT! @LeoDiCaprio I will boycott @TheWolfofWallSt because of Chance’s scenes. Chimps do not belong in movies!

Don’t support animal abuse. Refuse to see @LeoDiCaprio in @TheWolfofWallSt and tell all your friends. Pls RT!

The final thing you can do to help Chance is to spread the word! Please share this alert on social media and encourage your friends to boycott the movie with you.

~ reposted from Eyes on Apes ~

Helping people and animals this season

waywardNARN now has a donation box at Wayward Vegan Café!

We’re having a donation drive to collect supplies for the companions animals of the low income and homeless. We’re working in particular with the organization Peace on the Streets by Kids on the Streets.

Please stop by Wayward, and drop in a can of cat or dog food, a doggie or kitty bed, a leash, flea treatment, or other item for animals.

Where: 5253 University Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105 (open 9-9 every day)

Help the kids and the animals this holiday season!

Have your say about the Seattle Parks zoo assignment

Woodland Park Zoo Elephant logo

Very soon, a new Seattle City Council Chair of Parks will be selected. The Parks Chair oversees Woodland Park Zoo. Bamboo, Chai and Watoto are the three elephants who have lived 45, 33 and 43 years, respectively, on display at the Zoo. They need a council member who is concerned about their welfare to be the next Parks Chair.

Please ask Sally Clark (City Council President), Ed Murray (the Mayor-elect) and the other City Council members to choose a City Council member who will work with the Zoo to retire the elephants to a sanctuary in a warmer climate with hundreds of acres to roam.


What you might want to know:

The Zoo-appointed Task Force’s recommendations should not be used to determine the elephants’ fate. Their bias was clear, with 5 out of the 14 being current or former Zoo Board members and many others having a clear conflict of interest. The Zoo Board will make their decision about Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s future early next year.

Friends of WPZ Elephants commissioned a survey using Research Now, an independent research company. The findings debunk the Zoo’s cherished catchphrase and the Task Force’s justification for keeping the elephants: That seeing an elephant will inspire people “to learn, care and act to help conserve elephants and their habitats in the wild.”


  • 97% of survey respondents knew about elephant poaching for their ivory. They learned about this crisis from print and media—not from Woodland Park Zoo.
  • 88% of people who saw the elephants at the Zoo didn’t change to whom they donate or products that they buy.

Our wet and cold climate is wrong for elephants. It forces Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to be locked up in a tiny, barren stall for 16 to 17 hours a day for over half of the year. It’s like you being locked up in a broom closet.
Watoto in a box

Please write a polite email asking for the new Parks Chair to be someone who will work with Woodland Park Zoo to retire Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary so they may have a humane quality of life.

Thanks so much,
Nancy Pennington and Alyne Fortgang
Co-founder, Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants
A NARN Campaign

Please join us on Facebook

Spaceless in Seattle — heartbreak at Woodland Park Zoo

Billy the chimpanzee featured on Chelsea Lately


Many of you might have seen that a chimpanzee named Billy was on the show Chelsea Lately last week. Billy was seen rocking and showing his top teeth–a clear sign of distress. The show said they would have Billy back the next night, and despite hearing from thousands of people to please not air Billy again, they went ahead with the segment anyway.

We want to continue to put pressure on the show and on Chelsea Handler, the host of the show. Not only are there numerous welfare concerns, but seeing chimpanzees alongside humans perpetuates the pet trade.

Studies also show that since chimpanzees are so prevalent in media, people aren’t aware of their endangered status. Please speak up for Billy and all chimpanzees still used in entertainment and ask Chelsea to issue a mea culpa about Billy’s appearance and promise to never use apes on her production again.

Please send a polite letter to her, c/o Tom Brunelle, letting her know that chimps like Billy should not be used in entertainment.

You may send your letter to Chelsea Handler c/o Tom Brunelle at

Sample Letter to Chelsea Lately:

Dear Ms. Handler:

I was disappointed to hear that Chelsea Lately had Billy the chimpanzee on the show, and despite hearing from concerned advocates, aired a second appearance by Billy. You should know that great apes used in entertainment are torn away from their mothers as infants, often repeatedly beaten during training, and then discarded when they become too strong to be managed.

Using a chimpanzee for a cheap laugh sends the message that these amazing beings are simply props. Surely you are aware that chimpanzees are endangered species in critical need of protection?

Please make the compassionate decision to issue a mea culpa for airing Billy’s segments two nights in a row, and pledge to never exploit great apes for entertainment purposes again. Thank you for your consideration of my comments on this urgent matter.

[Your name here]
[Your city & state]

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

~reposted on behalf of Eyes on Apes~

Please Protest Local Donkey Basketball


The Anacortes Middle School is having a donkey basketball event as a fundraiser on January 18th. PEOPLE can volunteer for sports, but animals are forced to participate. In donkey basketball events, the donkeys are forced to carry people far too big and heavy for them, have their tender mouths jerked around, and are kicked and often hit, as well as shouted at by teenagers who care more about winning the game than hurting the donkeys. The donkeys are dragged from school to school and are usually not even given food and water beforehand so that they don’t have “accidents” during the games. The deprivation, constant travel, unfamiliar surroundings, loud noise, and rough handling are extremely stressful for them. They often develop unpredictable temperaments and have been known to lash out in frustration or fear, causing injury to participants or bystanders (who, if they are there supporting such a method of fundraising, totally deserve it).

Allowing animals to be brutalized for entertainment ANYWHERE desensitizes young people to animal suffering and reinforces the already way-too-prevalent belief that there is no good reason to be considerate of animals. They should not have to pay the price at school fundraisers. There are LOADS of humane and fun ways to raise school funds.

This was brought to our attention by activist Deanna Devaul in Mount Vernon, who has asked for our help. PLEASE take 10 minutes and write a real paper letter (four, pls!) to the following people (can be the same for each one), whose reactions to Deanna’s concerns have varied from indifferent to unpleasant. A call would always be great ALSO. Schools ALL OVER THE COUNTRY cancel donkey basketball ALL THE TIME; let’s shut this one down, too. THANK YOU!


Rick Durfee, Eagles President
901 7th Street
Anacortes, WA  98221
Tel - (360)293-3012

Patrick Herrington, Principal
Mark Perkins, Assistant Principal
Chris Crane, Activities Director
Anacortes Middle School
2202 M Avenue
Anacortes, WA  98221
Tel - (360)293-1230

World Vegan Day

Happy World Vegan Day!

World Vegan Day was started in 1994 to celebrate The Vegan Society’s 50th anniversary. The Vegan Society formed in the UK in 1944. That was the year that the term “vegan” was coined and defined.

Vegans come in all shapes and sizes and walks of life. It’s hard to generalize who a vegan is. Here is a bit of information about what vegans strive for:

Vegans abstain from animal products. Food wise, that means meat (including fish), eggs, and dairy. Veganism extends to other areas as well. Vegans don’t wear animal products (fur, leather, wool, silk, feathers, or any other item from an animal), or use household products containing animal ingredient or products tested on animals. Vegans don’t support captive animals acts like those in the circus or SeaWorld.

Vegans view animals as the sentient beings that they are, and not commodities to be exploited and used by humans. You can read our Vegan FAQs for answers to many questions about being vegan.

vegan starterNovember is World Vegan Month. A perfect time to go vegan. One way to start your journey is by ordering a vegan starter pack. Several organizations have packs to help you get started. The packs include things like recipes, nutritional info, and compelling reasons to go vegan.



vegan mentor programIf you’re already vegan, and need a bit of support, you can join the vegan mentor program, which matches new vegans with established vegans so you can make a smooth and lasting transition to veganism. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your quest for a cruelty-free life.


So whether you’re just thinking about veganism or you’re well on your way, World Vegan Day is a great time to make a commitment to the animals, the earth, and your health.