Category Archives: Animals Used for Entertainment

Belgium bans wild animals in circuses

On the heels of Great Britian, Greece, Austria, Slovenia, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru, the Belgian government has approved a new law that bans all wild animals from circuses.

Circus tent

The ban still must be approved by Parliament, but with 130 cities and municipalities already refusing circuses with wild animals, it shouldn’t be a tough sell.

Animal activists in Belgium have worked hard for this day. They knew that animals’ needs couldn’t be met in a circus and they worked with the people and government to implement the ban.

Circuses with animal acts take note: This is the direction of the future of entertainment. Change with the times or get left behind.

Jungle Party Demonstration for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants is joining IDA (In Defense of Animals) for this year’s Jungle Party Demonstration for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto, the three elephants on display at the Woodland Park Zoo. Jungle Party is the zoo’s largest fundraiser and Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants will be present to make the donors aware of the elephants’ pathetic lives.

What: Rally for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto
When: 4pm – 6:30 pm; Friday, July 12, 2013. Come for all or part of the time.
Where: Woodland Park Zoo’s WEST entrance (on Phinney Ave N. at N. 55th, Seattle, WA  98103)

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants and IDA will also be protesting the composition of the task force that the zoo formed after years of criticism over the elephant program, the two scathing Seattle Times reports and subsequent two editorials calling for Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s retirement to a sanctuary. The zoo is concerned about its image and the task force is about damage control, not looking after the elephants’ best interests.

Woodland Park Zoo chose all members of the task force, most of whom are financially and personally invested in the zoo. There are the five current or past zoo board members on the force—a clear conflict of interest. Dr. Slinker, a zoo board and task force member, chose the health panel. He co-authored an op-ed in The Seattle Times in which he said the elephants don’t have foot problems (which they do) and should stay at the zoo.

This task force is all about assuaging donors not Bamboo, Chai and Watoto’s welfare.  It clearly shows the zoo is concerned about their insistence on keeping elephants in their tiny display.

Also: Please come to all or part of the next task force meeting on Monday, July 22nd from 4pm – 7pm or 8pm (to be announced). It will be at the Seattle downtown library at 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104-1109 206-386-4636

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.