Category Archives: Animals Used for Entertainment


On August 8th, a woman and her 13-year-old son who were at the Kelly Miller Circus in Point Place, Ohio, witnessed a circus handler beating an elephant (who was even carrying four children on her back at the time!) so severely with a bullhook that she screamed. This is a clear violation of Ohio law, which prohibits not only beating but using  “electric or other prods, or similar devices” on animals who are “performing, or being used in any exhibition, show, [or] circus.” The Toledo Area Humane Society (TAHS) has the authority to pursue this case, but is refusing to do so, despite being provided with a sworn affidavit from the witnesses, the police report, photographs and the name of the handler.

Kelly Miller Elephant Beaten

Please contact the TAHS now and tell them to press charges and ensure that the abuser is held accountable. WAY TOO MANY abusers get away with their abuse as it is.

If you want to write a paper letter (always good), their address is 1920 Indian Wood Cir, Maumee, OH 43537 and their telephone number (419) 891-0705

And finally, their FB page (although these posts will no doubt be deleted regularly):






So Movies Approved by the AHA Are OK, Right?

You are no doubt familiar with the movie disclaimer, ‘No animals were harmed...’ by the American Humane Association. Now a former AHA employee, Barbara Casey, who worked on the set of the now-cancelled horse-racing drama, Luck, has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was terminated after she refused orders to ignore animal safety standards in order to save time and money. Casey is suing the AHA, HBO, and the production company, Stewart Productions, alleging that they ALL allowed horses to be abused  — four died — and tried to cover it up. Her lawsuit is bolstered by graphic photographs, which I am not including as I would like you to continue reading. The lawsuit describes several other instances in which the AHA’s lack of concern for animal welfare led to severe injuries and death. As you know, a total of 27 animals died during the making of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. In spite of this, the AHA’s message still ran at the end:  “American Humane monitored all of the significant animal action. No animals were harmed during such action.” (The fact that this may be nominally true, as the animals apparently died due to negligence while NOT being filmed, doesn’t make it better). The AHA is supported financially by the film and TV industry, and has evidently gone over, at least partially, to the Dark Side. The only truly cruelty-free movies are those using no animals at all.

Join us on Japan Dolphin Day

September 1st marks the beginning of the dolphin drive hunting season in Taiji, Japan. Every year, thousands of dolphins are slaughtered in Taiji, by a small group of fishermen. For too long, they’d kept this information from the Japanese public and the rest of the world. The Oscar-winning documentary, The Cove, brought the horrors to light a few years ago.

This year, more than 16,000 people are joining 117 events all over the world to raise awareness and show the Japanese government that we will no longer condone this abuse on our friends of the sea.

Seattle is holding an event too–please join us!

When: Friday, September 6th
Where: 11:30 am at West Lake Plaza (we’ll march to the Seattle General Consulate of Japan at 601 Union Street at noon)

Japan Dolphin Day

If you can spare a bit of time, come on down to West Lake Plaza! There’s no better way to spend your lunch hour.

Please bring your posters, banners, and your voice. This is a peaceful, non-racist protest and racism and vandalism are not welcome at this event.

You can get more info on the Dolphin Day Facebook page.

Tell USDA to Stop Public Contact with Captive Wildlife


Tell USDA to Stop Public Contact with Captive Wildlife

As you may know, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees Animal Welfare Act regulations concerning captive wildlife. However, it does very little in monitoring public handling of wildlife, like baby tigers, lions, bears, and primates at malls, fairs, and roadside zoos across the country. After they are too old to be used to pet, feed, pose with, and play with, the babies are often discarded at shoddy roadside zoos, sold into the pet trade, or killed for their meat. Allowing such close contact with wild animals is not only unsafe for the public, it also puts the animals’ health at risk, undermines conservation efforts, and drains valuable resources from nonprofit sanctuaries.

We need your help to urge USDA to stop public handling of wildlife!

Eight wildlife organizations, including Born Free USA and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), are asking USDA to prohibit public contact with captive wildlife. GFAS and several sanctuaries that are supported by AAVS’s Tina Nelson Sanctuary Fund, often become responsible for the care of animals who are rescued for this exploitive business. This puts a drain on their valuable resources, making it more difficult to provide refuge to animals relinquished from labs.

Help Captive Wildlife!
You can help protect wildlife by urging the USDA to prohibit public contact with captive wild animals like baby tigers, lions, bears, and primates. A sample letter is below. Comments must be made directly to USDA via the Federal Register website. While it is always more valuable to personalize your message, you may copy and paste the sample letter below into the “Comments” section on that website. Don’t forget to click “Submit!”

**Send your letter from this link:

Submit Comments to USDA

Deadline to comment is October 4, 2013!

Sample letter

Dear U.S. Department of Agriculture,

I am writing to ask USDA to issue Animal Welfare Act regulations, prohibiting public handling of big cats, bears, and primates, regardless of the animal’s age.

Allowing USDA licensees to use tiger, lion, and bear cubs or primates, for playing, petting, and photo sessions with the public fuels the exotic pet trade, puts the animals’ health at risk, endangers the public, and creates a burden for both law enforcement and nonprofit sanctuaries. Animals exploited this way are often discarded, ending up at unaccredited roadside zoos, the exotic pet trade, and even on dinner plates or in illegal wildlife trade.This practice is unsafe for the public, harmful to the animals, and undermines conservation efforts.

Please take swift action to prohibit public contact and close encounters with big cats, bears, and primates.

Thank you for your time and attention on this important issue.

Ending the Use of Animals in Science

STOP Denmark's Dirty Little Taiji


Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen


P.O.Box 64
FO- 110 Tórshavn
Faroe Islands

Jacob Vestergaard

Minister of Fisheries
Bókbindaragøta 8
P.O. Box 347
FO-110 Tórshavn
Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islanders have a lot to say about this not being anyone else’s business. How comfortable to be able to commit atrocities and then say it’s no one else’s business. I want that to apply to things I’d like to do, too.


A Quick Email/Call to Your Senator to Oppose the Sportsmen's Act

Tell Your Senator to Oppose The Sportsmen’s Act 2013 (S. 1335)

“Sportsmen” have nothing to do with either sports or fairness. If this Sportsmen’s Act 2013 (S. 1335) — extensively financed by the atrocious trophy hunting Safari Club International — passes, it would allow hunting AND trapping in designated wilderness areas, allow “volunteers” to help in the killing of so-called “excess” animals on federal land, including National Parks, increase the share of federal lands turned into shooting ranges, and legalize the transporting of bows through national parks and the importation of “trophies” from polar bear kills in Canada.
Wild animals have a hard enough life as it is, trying to coexist with a species as selfish and short-sighted as humans, with the attendant threats of poaching, hunting, habitat loss, and pollution, without even safe national parks and wilderness areas being opened to yet more killing.
Look at that fox again. You cannot tell me anything in your life is more important than 5 minutes to make a call and write a quick email and/or paper letter. Come on.

Cantwell, Maria - (D – WA)
(202) 224-3441
Murray, Patty - (D – WA)
(202) 224-2621

Obama Administration Nixes Importation of Beluga Whales

beluga-Pt-Defiance_robin_angliss_300The Obama administration has just done an unreservedly good thing: turned down Georgia Aquarium’s application to import 18 beluga whales from Russia for public display at its own facility in Atlanta and at partner facilities, including SeaWorld of Florida, SeaWorld of Texas, SeaWorld of California and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that importing these animals would contravene the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and that beluga populations had to be protected from the continued depletion of live captures. The rejection gave the following reasons:

  • NOAA Fisheries is unable to determine whether or not the proposed importation, by itself or in combination with other activities, would have a significant adverse impact on the Sakhalin-Amur beluga whale stock, the population that these whales are taken from;
  • NOAA Fisheries determined that the requested import will likely result in the taking of marine mammals beyond those authorized by the permit [i.e. it would encourage further live capture hunts];
  • NOAA Fisheries determined that five of the beluga whales proposed for import, estimated to be approximately 1½ years old at the time of capture, were potentially still nursing and not yet independent.

Beluga whales are highly social, playful animals that live and migrate in groups of ten to several hundred in the arctic and subarctic waters of Russia, Greenland and North America. Beluga whales face a number of threats including ship strikes, pollution, noise, habitat destruction and entanglement in fishing gear — in addition to live capture. Beluga hunts, like orca hunts, drive the whales into nets and rely on mother-child bonds to capture entire pods. In captivity belugas, like orcas, have greatly reduced lifespans.

Had this importation permit been issued, it would have been seen as a U.S endorsement of the cruel and unsustainable live capture industry. This decision effectively discourages the industry by closing off the U.S. as a market.

Btw…NOAA received close to TEN THOUSAND letters and emails during its 60-day public hearing period on this proposed beluga whale importation last year. If you were one of those who wrote in…see what you did. If you were not…see what you can do next time :-)


Giant Pacific Octopus Receives Protection


This month the Washington State Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to set aside seven protected areas for  the hitherto-unprotected Giant Pacific Octopus: Redondo Beach in Des Moines; Three Tree Point in Burien; Seacrest Park Coves 1, 2, and 3 (in West Seattle); an area adjacent to the Les Davis Fishing Pier in Tacoma; the Alki Beach Junk Yard in West Seattle; the Days Island Wall in Tacoma; and Deception Pass north of Oak Harbor. The new rules will take effect this fall.
This was set in motion when two so-called ‘sport fishermen’ caught such an octopus in West Seattle last October and dragged it on land, still alive, where they proceeded to beat it in front of onlookers and finally threw it in their truck.
If you were one of the people outraged by this, and who made your outrage known, then this is your doing — good for you. The fact that the protection is not 100% doubtlessly has to do with the fact that the ‘sport fishermen’ weighed in on the decision.

India: Dolphins "Non-Human Persons"


India has become the first country on earth to officially recognize that dolphins are “non-human persons”.  As you know, the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forests banned dolphin captivity earlier this year, calling it “morally unacceptable” due to their high intelligence and sensitivity.

“They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations..” — Henry Beston



Vote NO for the Zoo Levy

If you live in King County, you should have received your ballots and voter’s guide for the upcoming primary and special election on August 6. Among the city council, mayor, and other public official positions up for your vote, there are a few measures on the ballot. One that deserves some special consideration is King County Proposition No. 1, which we at the NARN board encourage you to vote NO.


Proposition 1 is a levy meant to provide funding for King County-operated parks  and recreational facilities. It also provides 7% of the levy collection to be earmarked for the Woodland Park Zoological Society. According to the figures provided by King County, they estimate that $4.2 million per year would support the Woodland Park Zoo. Using the last budget figures provided by the Zoo — a projected operating cost of $32.9 million — the levy would contribute roughly 1/8 of its budget.

Now, anyone familiar with our Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants campaign, or have seen the critical Seattle Times expose of the Zoo, knows that the zoo has stubbornly refused to release their elephants to a sanctuary when all evidence has pointed to the fact that the Zoo is incapable of providing the basic necessities for elephants.

While any visit to any zoo will feature a vast array of bored, lonely, listless animals cooped up for the entertainment of people, elephants like Bamboo, Chai, and Watoto at the WPZ pose particular problems that zoos aren’t able to address. Elephants are very social creatures, forming life-time bonds with parents, offspring, friends, relatives in the wild, but are separated when they are captured in the wild or taken from their families as babies when born in captivity; they require the space that only freedom provides, sometimes walking as many as 50 miles a day, with home ranges in the hundreds of square miles. Zoos are cramped and lonely places for them, with indoor facilities measured in feet, not miles, and an outdoor range of one half to three acres. And owing to the cold and wet climates of much of the US (including here in the Pacific Northwest), compared to the hot and dry climates of their habitat in Asia and Africa, this means that elephants like the ones in Woodland Park spend a majority of their time indoors.

Zoos will do just about anything to avoid having to admit that they may not be able to adequately care for an animal, and Woodland Park Zoo is no exception. Despite the increased public concern that the WPZ is not the right place for elephants, they steadfastly refuse to budge on the issue. They, like any other zoo, do not want to admit that any information that comes out about the conditions can actually force a zoo to release an animal to a sanctuary. That is why they continually whitewash the obvious concerns, and why the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the governing body of the zoo industry, refuses to acknowledge the existence of a natural-habitat refuge like the Elephant Sanctuary of Hohenwald, Tennesee. To do so would be a fatal admission that an animal would be healthier and happier while living elsewhere.

While zoos insist their main focus is education and conservation, animals on display merely serve as profit-making attractions; their “conservation” programs arguably serves to actually diminish the population of animals in the wild, as fertile females are taken from their natural habitat to provide baby animals for zoos which attract more paying visitors. And even their captive breeding programs are largely unsuccessful; Chai of the Woodland Park Zoo, for example, has undergone 112 attempts to forcibly impregnate her, even against recommendations to not do so since she has the elephant herpes virus. She has had numerous miscarriages, and her last birth, a female elephant named Hansa, died at the age of 6 in 2007 of the herpes virus that was passed onto her.

While claims are made by zoos like Woodland Park of the value of their education and conservation programs, a study funded by the AZA  “Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium,” reports that there was no statistically significant change in “overall knowledge”. Instead, social scientists found that zoo visits actually “reinforced” and “supported” the pre-existing attitude and values of guests. (1) Their claims of “conservation” is meaningless as animals bred in zoos are never released, and will never be released, to replenish the ones lost in the wild, and animals in captivity have up to half the life expectancy of those in their natural habitats.

Zoos like the Woodland Park Zoo are poor investments of public money, so you can show your disapproval by voting NO for King County Proposition 1. Obviously a concern about this levy is its primary funding for the county-operated parks and other outdoor areas, and it is hard to vote against the continued maintenance of our valuable green space–particularly since such levies are now the primary source of funding for the King County parks and recreation division; the King County general fund support for that division was eliminated as of 2011. This levy is meant to continue funding after the expiration of the 2008-2013 voter-approved operations and maintenance levy, of which approximately 70% of the operating budget of the parks was provided.

Parks levies enjoy popular support–each one regarding park operations and maintenance (from both King County and Seattle) brought to the voters have passed. The last levy proposed by King County in 2007, Proposition No. 2 – Open Space, Regional Trails, and Woodland Park Zoo levy, passed 59-41%. With such popular support, this levy stands a very high probability of passing, but through your vote of NO, the margin of support will diminish, and we can then demonstrate the public concern about using our money to fund failed education and conservation programs of the Woodland Park Zoo. In the unlikely event of this levy failing to pass, we can as citizens of King County then provide that as proof of our unwillingness of using public funds for the Zoo, and we can demand instead a levy for the parks that does not provide allocations to the Zoo.

Don’t forget to mail in your ballet by August 6, and to vote NO on King County Proposition No. 1. Thank you.

(1) “Why Zoos and Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium,” (Falk, Rienhard, Vernon, Bronnenkant, et al., 2007, p. 10).