Category Archives: Animals Used for Entertainment

Running with the bulls

It’s time again for another blood sport bath. Every summer from July 6th to 14th, the San Fermin Festival takes place in Pamplona, Spain. It’s a festival honoring Saint Fermin, a 3rd Century Roman who converted to Christianity.

Sadly, the festival revolves around the running of the bulls. Every morning bulls are forced onto slippery cobblestone streets filled with thousands of crazed revelers. As fireworks and explosives go off, the terrified animals run through a cordoned off section that creates a chute of sorts. The route leads to a bull ring, where they will be tortured and killed.

Photo credit: Bernard bill5 at nl.wikipedia
Photo credit: Bernard bill5 at nl.wikipedia

The festival is steeped in tradition related to transporting bulls to market. Today, it attracts mainly tourists, who think running among terrified animals makes them macho. It’s not brave or masculine. It’s shameful.

Many Spaniards oppose this cruelty. This year, animal rights activists from PETA UK and Spain’s Anima Naturalis joined forces to demonstrate against the barbaric practice. They stood in coffins (representing the 48 bulls that will be killed during the festival) to protest.

Photo credit: RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit: RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

The San Fermin festival attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs. Bull fighting is actually on the decline but tourism keeps it alive. When travelling, stay far away from bull fights and other forms of cruelty and vote with your dollar. Spain is a beautiful country so enjoy the scenery, hospitality, dance, art, architecture, nature and beaches instead.

Morro Bay Aquarium in CA Closes

City officials of Morro Bay, CA, have voted not to renew the lease of the 50-year-old Morro Bay Aquarium.  In the ocean, harbor seals can dive more than 650 feet and stay underwater for 10 minutes at a time. Sea lions are social animals by nature, and form colonies, where they live and play together and can swim at a rate of 7 mph. For decades, the sea lions, seals, and fish at the Morro Bay Aquarium have been imprisoned in barren concrete cells only a few feet wide and a few feet deep. During the last three years alone, the facility received sixteen citations for not meeting even the minimum federal standards of care (goodness knows hardly stringent) — including failing to feed a significantly underweight sea lion properly and putting a harbor seal in a 20-inch deep pool.Courtesy: PETA

According to PETA, who was instrumental in the closure, “The Morro Bay Aquarium’s barren, shallow display tanks deprive seals and sea lions of everything that they need to survive and thrive, including room to swim, depth to dive, and the companionship of their families.” According to the aquarium owner, Bertha Tyler, “They want to do something that is not the truth. They are selling stories that are not sold because I know our animals have lived here a long time. We have one that’s Maggie. She is 28 years old and we also have had them live to 32 years old but they don’t say that.”

Just saying…that’s what she said.

 

A Quick Jaunt to the 1800s…

…when bear-baiting was still legal in the United States. Oh wait –

IT IS STILL LEGAL IN SOUTH CAROLINA. Official public bear-baiting events are held annually in Spartanburg, Hickory Grove and Travelers Rest, S.C., by breed clubs associated with the United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club. (THERE’s a great association!). Backyard events are held throughout the rural areas of northwest South Carolina year-round.

Called bear “baying because officially the dogs are merely to bark at the bear and keep it in one place, in FACT the bears have their teeth and claws removed or filed down, are closely chained to a post, and and are subjected to repeated attacks by teams of trained dogs, often for hours, until exhaustion. And that is their life.

The practice is almost entirely unregulated, although South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources issues permits to keep black bears captive (and does not enforce sterilization), knowing what they are subjected to and not giving two shits. Black bears are intelligent, shy animals who avoid humans whenever possible. They usually roam miles a day in search of food, and their home range can be as large as 200 miles. South Carolina law only requires a bear’s enclosure be 9′ x 9′. And black bears can live for 40 years.

This is not a sport, spectator or otherwise. It is CLEARLY animal cruelty. Take 5 minutes to email the following people to ask that it be banned from ALL 50 STATES (as most people would assume it was, long ago) and that all those who continue to participate be prosecuted with felony animal cruelty.

Daniel Ashe
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
E-Mail: contact@fws.gov

Sally Jewel
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240 Phone: (202) 208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov

Governor Nikki Haley
Office of the Governor
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 734-2100                                                                               Email: http://www.governor.sc.gov/Pages/SendMessage.aspx

 

If there is even a chance of stopping this, your 10 minutes are worth it.

'Write a letter to the President'</p><br />
<p>Please, every single wolf advocate must write, call and email the Whitehouse and their state lawmakers protesting the proposed removal of Wolves across the United States from the Endangered Species List. If this proposal is approved, Wolves would lose protection even where they have not set foot for a hundred years!<br /><br />
Please consider printing out this image or another showing the horrendous way wolves are treated in the states where they have already lost their protection ...<br /><br />
Also, it is important not only to demand a stop to the proposed de-listing but to demand a  re-listing of Wolves to federal protection in the five states where they are being run ragged and killed for sport , which is taking their population down to unsustainable numbers. </p><br />
<p>Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your message gets to the White House as quickly as possible.</p><br />
<p>If you write a letter, please consider typing it on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper. If you hand-write your letter, please consider using pen and writing as neatly as possible.</p><br />
<p>Please include your return address on your letter as well as your envelope. If you have an email address, please consider including that as well.</p><br />
<p>And finally, be sure to include the full address of the White House to make sure your message gets to us as quickly and directly as possible:</p><br />
<p>The White House<br /><br />
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW<br /><br />
Washington, DC 20500

Please write, call and email the White House and your state lawmakers to protest the possible removal of wolves across the United States from the Endangered Species List. If this proposal is approved, wolves would lose protection and would be open to hunting and trapping. Please also demand a re-listing of wolves in the five states where they are now being killed for “sport” , which is taking their population down to unsustainable numbers.

Ideally, your letter should be written on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It can be typed or neatly handwritten in pen. Include your street and email address on the letter (I am really not quite sure that everyone still knows how to write real letters!). The full presidential address is:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Victories from South America

On June 12, the Colombian Senate approved a nationwide ban on the use of animals in circuses. With this ban, Colombia joins other South American countries that prohibit the use of animals in circuses, such as Bolivia and Peru, and now Veracruz, which has gone considerably further and also prohibited bullfighting, dogfighting, and cockfighting. The Colombian prohibition covers wild, native, and exotic animals, as well as birds.

 

Chimps to make federal endangered species list?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that chimpanzees in the US be added to the federal endangered species list. The Washington Post published an article that explains the current situation and how changing the listing for captive chimps will help their plight.

creative commons Thomas Lersch

Right now, wild chimps are listed as endangered while their captive cousins are listed as only threatened. This differentiation lets people breed, sell, ship, and experiment on captive chimps in the US. Adding captive chimps to the endangered species list would change that and would help chimps in zoos, circuses, and in the entertainment industry.

Changing their status will prevent chimps from being used in invasive medical testing procedures and from being taken across state lines. It would also ban international commerce of chimps.

The Humane Society, Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW, and the Jane Goodall Institute all back the proposal.

Read the press release from Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW.

Take Action!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public feedback about the issue. Please visit this Humane Society page, add your comments, and sign the petition asking US Fish and Wildlife Service to help all chimpanzees by applying Endangered Species Act protections to captive chimpanzees.

Blackfish: A review of the new documentary

Blackfish reveals the complicated life of Tilikum, an orca born in the wild off the coast of Iceland. As a young whale, Tilikum was forcibly separated from his mother and sent to perform at a marine park in Victoria BC. He’s been in captivity since 1983 and is currently confined at SeaWorld in Florida.

The documentary reveals the frustrations Tilikum has endured and how he’s been picked on by other whales in his pool, cooped up in a dark “garage” of sorts during off seasons, and forced to perform year in and year out.

Orcas similar to Tilikum

Out of his frustrations, grew an aggression that wild orcas don’t display toward humans. Tilikum has killed three people, two of which were trainers.

The movie shows the horrors of wild capture and captive breeding. It documents the unnatural acts orcas are forces to perform in front of clueless audiences. The charade SeaWorld conducts is shameful. They lead people into believing these beautiful whales somehow enjoy their time in captivity and are safe and happy.

On the contrary, an orca’s life in captivity is extremely short. They live on average for 9 years from the time they are captives–regardless of how old they were when they entered captivity. In the wild, male orcas can live about 60 years; females up to 100.

Orcas, also called killer whales, live in family units called pods. Each pod speaks a different “language.” They live with or near their pod for their whole lives and travel about 100 miles a day. They are extremely social and have highly developed emotions. To see families separated and grief-stricken and captive whales isolated in concrete pools was heartbreaking. But the film is an important movie to watch.

Blackfish will be released in NY and LA later this summer, and more widely after that. CNN Documentaries is distributing the film on TV in the fall.

It’s a terrific resource and the things you’ll learn apply to all captive marine animals. Sadly, SeaWorld is one of the better marine parks. There are many more orcas who languish is worse conditions, including many at Canada’s Marineland.

What to do

First of all, never go to a marine park like SeaWorld or Marineland. Ask your friends not to go and talk to schools about canceling field trips to marine parks. Marine parks exist for one reason, and one reason alone: making money. Vote with your dollars and spend your time and money somewhere else.

Look at the websites below for information about how to help. Two orcas, Morgan and Lolita, are great candidates for release.

Resources

Blackfish website – Information about the movie, including the trailer and upcoming screenings.

Orca Network – Information about whales in the Pacific Northwest, creating safe whale habitats, and the Free Lolita campaign.

Voice of the Orcas – Interview and current event about conservation and activism.

Miami Sea Prison - Information about captive orcas and the fight to release Lolita, the last surviving whale from the L Pod hunt in 1970.

Free Morgan Foundation – The campaign to release Morgan, an orca currently in captivity in The Netherlands.

Marineland Animal Defense - A campaign to end animal captivity at Marineland in Niagara Falls Canada.

Decision on Removing Wolf Protection Indefinitely Delayed

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, bowing to special interest groups, had proposed lifting protections for gray wolves — presently an endangered species — across the lower 48 states, although the very small population of 75 Mexican grey wolves in the Southwest would continue to receive protection.. (The National Cattlemen’s Association wants that removed too.).This would have affected the approximately 6,000 wolves thought to roam the continental US, primarily in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes regions. The federal proposal said that this number was sufficient to ensure survival of the species, which was almost wiped out early last century due to a government-sponsored  poisoning and trapping campaign.  If this proposal passed, it would transfer control of wolves to state wildlife agencies, where special interest groups such as hunters and ranchers (who are very bad about sharing livestock and elk they want to kill THEMSELVES for fun and profit) would be free to create open season on wolf hunting and trapping.

In Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, regulated hunting and trapping of wolves has already been introduced, leading to a fast, sharp decline in wolf numbers.
In Oregon and Washington, which have small but rapidly growing wolf populations, the animals remained protected under state laws even after federal protections were lifted in portions of the two states.
However, in a court filing last week, government attorneys say “a recent unexpected delay” is indefinitely holding up action on the predators. No further explanation was offered.
Let’s be grateful for small mercies.

Urge USDA To Confiscate Elephant Lucky From The San Antonio Zoo

In a shocking move, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) reportedly approved a request by the San Antonio Zoo to keep a 53-year-old female Asian elephant named Lucky in isolation. Lucky is now the only solitary female elephant in an AZA-accredited zoo in the U.S. The zoo’s director told the media that Lucky will remain at the zoo  until she dies. The zoo’s other elephant, Queenie, died in March.

elephant Lucky San Antonio ZooNo elephant should ever be held in solitary confinement. Female elephants are profoundly social – they live in matriarchal, multi-generational herds in the wild that include sisters, aunts, nieces, and nephews.

The AZA’s own guidelines require that elephants are housed in groups of three, yet the AZA is inexplicably sanctioning the San Antonio Zoo’s cruel decision to keep Lucky alone. This is the third variance the AZA has given to the zoo in a decade to house Lucky alone, despite pleas from IDA and our members to deny the unreasonable (and inhumane) requests and instead send Lucky to a facility that can meet her physical and social needs.

You can learn more and sign the petition at the IDA site.

Protest Wolves Losing Endangered Species Protection

From IDA, In Defense of Animals

The United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) has announced a plan to delist all wolves throughout the United States (except Mexican wolves) who are currently protected by the Endangered Species Act. This reckless and politically motivated plan will intensify the ongoing slaughter of wolves. We have already seen tragedy in western states where hateful anti-wolf rhetoric and politics trump ethics and science.
When wolves lost their ESA protection in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, these states immediately began to allow a recreational slaughter. Wolves are being injured and killed by bow hunters, gunned down by trophy hunters, tortured by trappers in steel-jaw foothold traps and snares, and subjected to other brutal “management” methods, including aerial gunning. More than 1,100 wolves have been killed in these states since Congress took ESA protection away from them in 2011.
Has the human behavior that caused the endangerment of wolves and made necessary their protection changed? No! This question, not just numbers, should determine whether this species can afford to lose ESA protection. Wolves are still discriminated against and misunderstood, their role as important top carnivores for the integrity of ecosystems is not sufficiently valued, and they are hated by the livestock industry, ranchers and hunters.
Take action now:Don’t allow wolves to be delisted – they cannot afford it!