Category Archives: Issues

Tell Congress to Stop the Rotten Egg Bill

[UPDATE: On June 18, 2012, this bill was struck down in the Senate, so for now, it is off the table]

On January 23rd, a bill was introduced to the 112th Congress that aims to establish a national standard of welfare for egg-laying hens. The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 attempts for the first time to codify housing and treatment standards for chickens raised for egg production on a federal level. This bill was written collaboratively by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the United Egg Producers (UEP), an industry trade group representing farmers and companies involved with egg production, marketing, and selling.

After careful consideration of this bill, we at NARN had in the beginning of February taken the official position in opposition to it. We had found the bill as it is currently written very troubling. It codifies the use of cages, and would deny state legislatures the ability to enact laws to outlaw cages or otherwise regulate egg factory conditions, deprive voters of the right and ability to pass ballot measures banning cages, and nullify existing state laws that ban or restrict battery cages (including California’s Proposition 2).

In this bill, the egg industry merely agrees to slowly – at the glacial pace of 15 to 18 years – continue the meager changes in battery cage conditions that are already occurring due to state laws and public pressure. This bill will establish egg factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote. Rather than being “a step in the right direction,” this bill is a dead-end for the future of hens kept for egg-production. This bill would keep hens forever suffering in small cages, where they could never engage in the many natural behaviors essential for their most basic health and well being.

Hens in so-called "colony cages"

While many animal advocacy groups are in support of this bill, we are among growing number of other groups and activists who see as problematic the collaboration with an industry that views living sentient beings as mere commodities to be used and abused for economic gain. We do not agree that industry should be allowed to write their own rules and regulations.

Please contact your members of Congress to stop industry from writing their own rules and circumventing the progress being made to ban the use of cages. Our state laws and voting rights must not be given away.

If you live in Washington State, contact your Representative in your district to oppose H.R. 3798 and contact your Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to oppose S.B. 3239 (Those outside of Washington state can use the following links to find their Senators and House Representatives).

“Colony cages", that this bill would codify, allows around 8 hens to be crowded into a cage the size of a file cabinet drawer.

Statement from United Poultry Concerns (UPC):

It is incorrect to say that the proposed federal legislation would eliminate battery cages. Batteries consist of rows and tiers of identical units; in this case the units are cages. The proposed legislation will enshrine battery cages, not eliminate them. Egg-laying hens will be locked inside windowless buildings, crammed in cages stacked from the floor and lined up in long rows, just as they are now. Tiny furnishings, including plastic strips, falsely called “nests,” are being prettified as “colonies” and “enrichments.” This vocabulary makes people feel good, but it is bad for birds whose legs and wings are designed to run, walk, perch and be physically active, not rot in cages.

After decades of humane efforts in the US and Europe to get hens out of cages, a law that ensures they’ll never get out is being hailed as a victory for hens and “animal rights.” But it isn’t. If people knew the truth of the egg industry and how hens are actually treated behind the scenes, they would be sickened. We do not need to eat their eggs to be healthy.

Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

A Veterinarian’s Perspective on The Rotten Egg Bill

Battery cages are the most unhealthful and distressing means of keeping hens for egg production. Disease conditions such as “cage layer fatigue” and bone fractures due to lack of exercise are major medical issues and are associated with physical pain and suffering.

These are due largely to a lack of meaningful exercise such as flying and running. Depriving hens of important behaviors such as dust bathing or perching well above floor level, a quiet place to lay eggs, proper and adequate exercise, and the opportunity to form social groups of their choosing all have a major negative impact on their quality of life.

The increase in cage size dictated by the proposed legislation, unfortunately, will have no meaningful positive impact on these issues. Hens will still not be able to get proper exercise, they still will be too crowded to even properly stretch their wings, perches will be at an ineffectual height, and nest boxes will not be conducive to the needs for laying eggs.

What the proposed legislation will do, however, is keep the confinement of hens in cages legal, something that no humane-minded individual should accept.

The cages defined by the legislation will in no meaningful way reduce the unimaginable suffering endured by the hens but will be used by the industry as a means of defending this indefensible practice.

Even if this legislation passes without amendments, the situation would be worse for the hens because it would be setting a disastrous precedent; battery cages would be codified in federal law.

I urge people not to support this legislation: it is intolerable for the hens and will be obstructive to getting any meaningful reform in the future. The only tolerable “step in the right direction” is to insist on getting rid of the cages entirely.

Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D.
Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California

Further information about the bill can be found here.

Declaration of Solidarity

We, as the Board of Directors of the Northwest Animal Rights Network,
recognize the culpability of corporations in the systematic exploitation and oppression of animals, in the promotion of their use, and in the violation of their interests by reducing them to commodities.

Whereas,
having examined the resolution and declaration voted upon and passed by the New York City General Assembly of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which takes a united stand against abusive corporate power and expresses solidarity “in a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments;”

And whereas,
noting with approval within their declaration the following statement among 23 listed grievances of corporate malfeasance, “(t)hey have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices;”

And whereas,
we recognize that corporate oppression is negatively impacting all beings, both human and nonhuman, and see the need to stand in solidarity acting as agents for all human and nonhuman animals who are exploited and oppressed to express a feeling of mass injustice;

Thereby,
we stand unified as one with the New York City General Assembly, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Occupy Seattle movement, and the other attendant populist movements across the nation. We will act in concert with their stated call to assert our power to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems all beings face; and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

On October 6, 2011, this resolution and declaration was presented at NARN’s monthly board meeting, voted upon, and passed unanimously .

Take Action: Urge Congress to Support the Great Ape Protection Act

The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (H.R.1513/S.810) has been re-introduced in the 112th Congress. This bill will end the use of chimpanzees for invasive research procedures, shut down federal breeding programs, and release federally-owned chimpanzees to permanent homes in sanctuaries.

The United States is the last country to use chimpanzees in large-scale invasive experiments, and while chimpanzees are our closest genetic relatives, there is still enough substantial differences in physiology, genetics, and susceptibility to diseases to make them poor models in research. Millions of dollars wasted and decades of research with inconclusive results have shown that the use of chimpanzees has not provided any advancement towards cures that human-based research has provided. There are over 500 chimpanzees that are federally owned, and by releasing them to sanctuaries, the Great Ape Protection Act will save taxpayers $20-25 million annually.

The bill has the leadership of Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) as well as 42 cosponsors already signed on in the U.S. House, and Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in the U.S. Senate.

Please take a moment and send an automated letter to your Senators and your House Representative to encourage them to support an end to the confinement and suffering of chimpanzees being used in experiments. The letter is programmed to be directed to your legislators that represent you in your area, and has the option of using a pre-written request or one that you’ve written. Encourage others you know to sign on as well. Thank you.

cross-posted to UW Kills Animals.com

Pro-Animal Research Billboard Offers False Choice

As part of a national advertising campaign funded by the Foundation for Biomedical Research to get public support on the side of animal research, these billboards have been placed here in Seattle as well as other cities like LA and Portland. The FBR is a PR division of the National Association for Biomedical Research, of which the University of Washington is a member. The timing of these billboards is interesting, as it seems they were put up to rally citizens to their side in the face of the upcoming World Week for Animals in Laboratories, a week of international rallies and activities to show opposition to the institutions that confine, torture, and kill animals in the name of “science.”

This ad campaign is grossly misleading, as it presents to the public a false dichotomy, an artificial either/or scenario that suggests that animals have to die in order to save humans. Their claim that animals are integral and absolutely necessary to find cures are belied by the fact that there are many medical foundations that are working on cures for diseases without the use animals in their research. In fact, the use of animals prolongs the development of adequate procedures and treatments; animal physiology is different from that of humans’, requiring that humans models be used anyway for a treatment to be ultimately approved. Researchers get more money in grants by conducting animal testing, so there is little incentive for successful results or solid scientific design. Much of the research continues to be funded despite being redundant or inconclusive. And the animals suffer through torturous procedures, poor conditions, and poor treatment, with countless animals dying as a result, and an innumerable amount killed.

Biomedical researchers try to convince us that knowledge gained from animal studies can be extrapolated to humans yet their scientific papers reporting the results of research repeatedly include a disclaimer warning about making such an assumption. The difference in animal and human physiology means that many results of animal experiments are found to be inclusive, not applicable to human modality, or unreliable. The Food & Drug Administration recently reported that of all the drugs that tested safe and effective in animal testing, 92 percent are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans. Even drugs approved by the FDA because it was deemed safe under animal research can prove fatal because not enough adequate human research was conducted; the FDA estimated that 27,785 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths between 1999 and 2003 occurred from the prescription arthritis drug Vioxx before it was recalled. How researchers can claim that animal research saves (human) lives is indicative of their own hubris and ignorance of the real consequences of their research.

Many effective non-animal methods are available, such as such as in-vitro cell and tissue cultures, micro-fluidic circuits, computer modeling, micro-dosing, the use of CAT, MRI, and PET scans, using human cadavers or organs, and clinical research. Extensive studies have to be conducted on humans regardless of the treatment or protocol anyway, so the use of animals can and should be skipped, which would allow the speedier development of treatments among human models.

The billboard also directs people to ResearchSaves.org, which offers an equally offensive command: “Against animal research? Please sign and submit this directive before you get sick or injured in order to insure you receive no medications, surgeries, treatments or disease therapies that have been tested or tried in research animals.

The logic of this imperative relies on the same simplistic reductive binary thinking. Using the same logic, we can then ask people: Against Nazis? Then you can’t drive a Volkswagen Beetle, developed by Hitler’s engineers to be the Jeep of the German army during WWII. Nor can you drive a Ford, who financed the Nazi party and helped secure its start. Nor can you drive a vehicle from General Motors, who by the mid-30s was totally committed to large-scale war production in Germany, producing trucks, tanks & armored cars. Against war and US military aggression? Then you can’t use microwaves, fly in planes that use jet engines, or use the internet, all technologies developed in the theater of war. The price of living in a modern industrialized society is that all of us, regardless of our individual beliefs, benefit from many things that came into existence from actions or institutions that we would otherwise not support. The idea, then, of directing some of us to give up the benefits of modern society without asking the same of themselves is just an example of inflated self-importance.

This is, of course, aside the fact that their claim of the treatments we have now came about because of animal research. It’s more accurate to say that we have as many treatments we have despite animal research. Human testing has always been the last line of research; animals are used initially simply because of economics. And because they are viewed as mere property, conditions to ensure their care are routinely neglected or circumvented, and less stringent oversight is given to invasive procedures. Every day, hundreds of lives are lost in service of projects that have seen no measurable progress; if cures are actually found, foundations, institutions, and researchers would loss valuable grant money. In the most cynical fashion, they sacrifice the lives of animals in pursuit of money, while telling the public that this circular game is necessary, using images of innocent children to win sentimental support.

The real answer to the question “Who would you rather see live?” is quite simple: both.

And it is possible and being proven every day among responsible researchers. Three U.S. agencies aim to end the archaic practice of animal testing, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Toxicology Program and the National Institutes of Health, realizing it is ineffective and wasteful. Non-animal-based research also is more ethical, as it doesn’t have the moral dissonance of taking one life in order to save another. One can only imagine how much further along the road to finding cures we would be if we hadn’t wasted billions of dollars, hours, and lives on animal testing that has proven unreliable or inconclusive. Animal research doesn’t save lives. It won’t save “her,” and we all know what happens to the “rat.”

Cross-posted at UWkillsAnimals.com

Disaster Preparedness

In light of the recent catastrophic events in Japan, it is a poignant reminder to all of us to prepare for disasters, no matter what form it takes. Here in the Pacific Northwest region, we are at risk for earthquake activity, owing to the many fault lines that run along the Pacific coastline, as well as effects of tsunamis. Many low-lying areas are also prone to flooding, and tornadoes, while rare in this region, are not out of the question.

After being lucky enough to survive an initial disaster, the infrastructure we depend on may not be functional; there may no longer be access to food or running water, electricity or shelter, so planning ahead for such contingencies increases your chance of surviving for a period of time in case rescue crews or relief supplies are not able to reach you for a few days. Especially after a substantially destructive event with widespread damage, help may not come for some time, so it is best to plan ahead; imagine taking a camping trip for a week and you’ll get some idea of what you’ll need. Speaking of camping, many of us in this region do so, so there is the added advantage of having those supplies and gear at our disposal. Failing that, you can compile such items now and it will serve the dual purpose of being available for that trip you’ve been wanting to take in the mountains.

It will take some time and money to compile these kits, but it is important to start now and add to it as time and money allows; every little bit you add will greatly improve your situation later should the unthinkable happen. We recommend compiling one go-kit for each member of your household, including special items for your companion animal(s), and stowing camping gear in your available vehicles. There are special items you can compile for the home, but be aware that after a flood, earthquake, or tornado, your residence may be compromised enough to be unsafe for habitation, if it is left standing at all.

Vegans will have to ensure that there is enough food stocked up and packed away. Relief supplies, once they come, may not be all vegan, so having enough food for at least 7 days is recommended. Energy bars are convenient, especially in the Go-Kits, but they are expensive. Better to stock up at home on canned soups, beans and vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, and avoid foods like rice, noodles, and instant mixes as they require heat and a lot of precious water to prepare. There are now available quite a few packaged vacuum-sealed meals (usually Indian or Thai curries) that are vegan.

Another consideration for vegans is the inclusion of first-aid kits. There are many pre-packaged first-aid kits on the market, but many of them have products either with animal ingredients or are manufactured by companies that conduct testing on animals. It is better to make your own, using items from safe manufacturers. A list of recommended items are below.

Discuss an evacuation plan with all members of your household and how to notify each other in case of separation. Note that phone and internet communication networks may either be inoperable or overloaded, but establish an out-of-town/state contact person that each person can check in with, or use the same social networking sites. Discuss alternate meet-up places. If you have children, make sure they know their basic personal information should they get separated, know alternate contacts and meeting sites, and role-play with them on what to do and where to go as well as how to get hold of 911 and other contacts.

Your companion animals need special attention and planning. Make sure any licenses are current, and each animal has an ID tag. Consider micro-chips. Keep an updated list of trusted neighbors who could assist your companion animals in case of an emergency. Make sure they are comfortable being inside carriers. Fasten down aquariums and other cages to their tables to prevent them from tipping over. If you evacuate, locate all your animals and keep them with you. Be aware that shelters will only allow service animals. In a large-scale disaster, animal shelters will be set up when possible.

If there is absolutely no way to take your companion animals with you, inform animal rescue workers of your pets’ status: On your front door or in a highly visible window, use chalk, paint or marker to write the number and types of pets in your residence. Include their location in your home and the date that you evacuated. Leave plenty of water in a large, open container that cannot be tipped over. Leave plenty of food in timed feeders to prevent your pet from overeating. Absolutely do *not* tie up your pet in your home. The first chance you can get communications, find out who among neighbors, friends, or rescue workers can get to your place.

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never as critical to follow as preparing for a disaster. It is worth it to start now, and even if you cannot afford to get everything at this point get what you can, and continue to build upon your kits, because every little bit will prove to be invaluable should the unexpected happen. And especially for those of us who have others who depend on us, like companion animals, and those who are living as vegans, it is important to place extra consideration to ensure that as many living beings survive as possible.

FIRST-AID KIT (in a small plastic container)

    + First-aid manual
    + Sterile gauze pads of different sizes
    + Adhesive tape
    + Adhesive bandages in several sizes
    + Elastic bandage
    + A splint
    + Antiseptic wipes
    + Soap
    + Antibiotic ointment
    + Antiseptic solution (like hydrogen peroxide)
    + Cold packs/Heat packs (wrap in towel prior to use)
    + Tweezers
    + Sharp scissors
    + Safety pins
    + Disposable gloves

GO-KIT (in a backpack)

    + LED-flashlight
    + Dust-mask
    + First-aid kit (as noted above)
    + Bottled water
    + Dried food like soy jerkies, energy bars, dried fruit, granola, etc.
    + Permanent marker, paper, tape to leave behind notes
    + Whistle
    + Flare or warning light to signal planes/helicopters
    + Multi-tool knife
    + Matches in waterproof container or cigarette lighter
    + Rain poncho
    + Warm hat/gloves
    + Sturdy shoes
    + A change of clothes
    + Emergency Mylar blanket (aka thermal blanket, Space Blanket, first-aid blanket)
    + Extra glasses, contact cases, contact solutions, other vital personal items
    + Prescription medication
    + Travel-size toothpaste and toothbrush
    + Photos of family members/companion animals for ID purposes
    + Copy of health insurance and identification cards
    + List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
    + Extra keys
    + Emergency cash in small denominations

COMPANION-ANIMAL GO-KIT (in a shoulder bag)

    + Carrier with blanket (Store with bag)
    + Sturdy leashes and muzzles for dogs.
    + Food, potable water and medicine/supplements for at least one week
    + Non-spill bowls, manual can opener (if using canned food)
    + Plastic bags for sanitation
    + Recent photo of each pet
    + Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency veterinary hospitals and animal shelters
    + Copy of your pet’s vaccination history and any medical problems
    + Favorite toy
    + A pillowcase may be a good emergency transport for cats and other small animals

HOME KIT (in large plastic tub)

    + Water*
    + Food (as noted above)
    + Manual can-opener
    + First-aid kit (as noted above)
    + Crowbar
    + Dust-masks
    + Non-leather heavy-duty work gloves
    + Hand-powered radio
    + Flashlight/batteries
    + Plastic sheeting/duct-tape to cover up broken windows
    + Bucket/heavy plastic bags for sanitation (toilets may not function)
    + Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer and soap
    + Rope/twine
    + Plastic tarps
    + A copy of important documents & phone numbers
    + Tools; hammer, nails, staple gun, hacksaw/pruning saw
    + For children provide comfort food and treats, and games

It would be a good idea to store a crowbar, dust-mask, sturdy shoes, flashlight, and glasses next to your bed

CAR KIT (to supplement Go-Kit)

    + Water*
    + Food (as noted above)
    + Sleeping bag(s)
    + Tent
    + Camping mess kit (forks, spoons, knives, metal pots/cups/plates)
    + Camp stove, or matches/cigarette lighter for building camp-fires
    + Extra blankets
    + Flashlight/batteries
    + First-aid kit (as noted above)
    + Emergency road-side kit (usually includes flares and tools)
    + In-car chargers for cell-phones and other communication devices
    + CB Radio
    + Change of clothes
    + Warm hat/gloves

*A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT WATER:
In a disaster, water supplies may be cut off or contaminated. Store enough water for everyone in your family to last for at least 3 days.
Store one gallon of water per person, per day. Three gallons per person per day will give you enough to drink and for limited cooking and personal hygiene. Remember to plan for your companion animals.
If you store tap water:
Tap water from a municipal water system can be safely stored without additional treatment.
Store water in food grade plastic containers, such as clean 2-liter soft drink bottles. Heavy duty, reusable plastic water containers are also available at sporting goods stores. Empty milk bottles are not recommended because their lids do not seal well and bottles may develop leaks. Label and store in a cool, dark place. Replace water at least once every six months.
If you buy commercially bottled “spring” or “drinking” water:
Keep water in its original container, and don’t re-store a bottle once it’s been opened. Store in a cool, dark place. If bottles are not marked with the manufacturer’s expiration date, label with the date and replace bottles at least once per year.
Treating Water after Disaster:
If you run out of stored drinking water, strain and treat water from your water heater or the toilet reservoir tank (except if you use toilet tank cleaners). Swimming pool or spa water should not be consumed but you can use it for flushing toilets or washing.
Treatment Process:
Strain any large particles of dirt by pouring the water through layers of paper towels or clean cloth. Next, purify the water one of two ways:
Boil – bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 3-5 minutes. After the water cools, pour it back and forth between two clean containers to add back oxygen; this will improve its taste.
Disinfect – If the water is clear, add 8 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water. If it is cloudy, add 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) per gallon. Make sure you are using regular bleach— 5.25% percent sodium hypochlorite— rather than the “ultra” or “color safe” bleaches. Shake or stir, then let stand 30 minutes. A slight chlorine taste and smell is normal.

A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT EARTHQUAKES:
In an earthquake, since it happens suddenly and without warning, it is important to know what to do. It is a myth that the safest place is under a doorway; in modern structures, the doorway is no stronger than the rest of the building–in fact, you’re likely to get injured from doors swinging wildly, and if it’s a public building, people may shove past you to hurry through. Instead, drop, get under cover, and hold on. Many people make the mistake of standing, running, or trying to keep furniture from falling over—all major earthquake no-nos. When an earthquake strikes, don’t run or try to escape. Search for cover as close to you as possible; if you’re in bed, stay curled up and protect your head with a pillow. If you’re driving, pull over to the side when it’s safe, and stay off bridges and going underneath overpasses.

Let Live 2010: Community, compassion, and creativity

This year was my first time in attending the Let Live Conference, a yearly grassroots animal rights activist conference and forum from Portland’s Let Live Foundation. Over the course of the weekend, a wide array of workshops were held on many topics moderated by activists of note from all over the country. After meeting with many people that I admired and have known only through the world of social networks and blogs, had many engaging conversations, and heard many inspiring presentations, I returned home with my head bursting with ideas that I can’t wait to act upon.

Community was front and center, with the idea of building coalitions with many other movements. The way the workshops were arranged allowed plenty of room for interaction, participation, and sharing of views and opinions, and placed the role of the audience in the same level as the speaker(s). It focused on the grassroots; people who in their spare time do what they can to help others and create change. The conference also created space for social interaction, networking, and conversation to bring everyone together and to remind everyone of the common goal. The scale of the conference was impressive, as behind the scenes volunteers tirelessly manned tables, video-taped presentations, served food, and kept the conference humming along as the spotlight speakers helped others to help animals.

There were so many workshops I wished I could have attended, but since I am (still) rooted to the physical principle of not being able to occupy two places at once, I had to make some tough choices. As a relative newcomer to animal activism (3 years as a member of the Board of Directors for NARN), I chose the ones that I felt would be most useful for me personally to become a better activist. I took a lot of notes, and as I review them, many ideas are already formulating that I can apply in the coming months towards new campaigns, tactics, and creative approaches. Look for some action soon!

Very soon we will have a “What I Learned at Let Live” forum to bring those of you who weren’t able to attend together with those of us who did to spread the wealth of information and ideas, so stay tuned!

Funeral Motorcade for the Sea Lions

On Friday, April 2, the Northwest Animal Rights Network welcomed the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition as they stopped into Seattle in their first stop on their 40-state Compassion for the Animals Road Expedition. Together they held the Funeral Motorcade for the Sea Lions in light of the recent new stories of sea lions having been shot to death in Puget Sound. The culprits were fishermen, shooting seals who were guilty merely of the crime of eating. In light of such wanton killing, NARN and GAHC are taking a stand against such a gross display of greed and arrogance, not only for the plight of the sea lions, but for all animals who end up having their lives sacrificed with no regard whatsoever.

Eulogy delivered for the sea lions shot to death in Puget Sound

Despite the weather bringing blustery winds reaching 30 mph, rain bursts, and a high of no more than 45 degrees, 20 cars took part in the motorcade, drawing Q13 News to the scene. After a eulogy in Volunteer Park given by Peter Keller of NARN, as well as a speech by Anthony Marr of GAHC, the motorcade assembled and drove across the 520 floating bridge, dodging the cresting waves splashing over the sides of the bridge driven by high winds, and reconvened in Bellevue at the Bellefields Park. There another speech was given and the participants networked together to continue this work forward to give voice to all animals being killed at the hands of human self-interest.

Funeral Motorcade being assembled in Volunteer Park

The common argument that fishermen give is that the sea lions “eat too much salmon,” so to them it’s OK to kill sea lions so that fishermen can kill the salmon instead. However, salmon comprise less than 5% of the sea lions’ diet, and that sea lions in fact benefit the salmon by targeting the other two dozen species of predatory fish that prey upon salmon in far greater quantities–if anything needs to be sacrificed, it should be fishing, not sea lions.

group photo of motorcade participants

In our grief we speak, that all killings of sentient beings must end!

The eulogy given was as follows:

Greetings ladies and gentlemen,

We are gathered here today to honor ten individuals whose lives have been tragically cut short over these past three months. Here in Puget Sound, ten of this region’s most distinctive animals were found shot to death, their only crime being that they were born as sea lions, and merely living as nature intended.

No longer will they be able to experience the joys of the open sea, of lounging in the sun, playing on the shore, of catching fish. They were killed by predators, an invasive species not native to this region, one who thinks fish was theirs and theirs alone. Humans were responsible, the only species of animal that is motivated by greed, and it was greed that motivated them to shoot to death these unfortunate creatures.

Many top minds throughout history hace said the greatness of a society can be judged by hoe well they treat animals, and the fact that we deem it appropriate to kill animals simply because we feel they are inconvenient really calls into question how far we’ve advanced.

Today we grieve not only the tragic death of these indiviuals, but we are here to pay homage to all animals who have paid the ultimate price in service of mankind’s greed and arrogance.

The next time anyone encounters a dead animal, whether it be on the shores or fields with a bullet in its body, or it be shrinkwrapped on a grocery shelf, they should bow their heads in reverence to the life that was sacrificed, and make a pledge to stand up and say–the killing has got to stop!

Let us now give a moment of silence to honor the dead.

(pause)

Thank you very much, and let peace be with you.

Legislation to Watch

Senate Bill 6566 (Prohibiting terrorist acts against animal and natural resource facilities.)
Introduced by Sen. Val Stevens, (R-Arlington) (R) on January 18, 2010, prohibits terrorist acts against animal and natural resource facilities and prescribes penalties

Senate Bill 6634 (Providing penalties for failure to comply with dairy farm record keeping.)
Introduced by Sen. Kevin  Ranker, (D) (D) on January 19, 2010, authorizes the department of agriculture to impose a civil penalty, not to exceed five thousand dollars in a calendar year, on a dairy producer for failure to comply with dairy nutrient management recordkeeping requirements

Senate Bill 6483 (Promoting natural wildlife planning management.)
Introduced by Sen. Jim Hargrove, (D-Hoquiam) (D) on January 15, 2010, requires the department of fish and wildlife to obtain specific legislative authorization before implementing a species management, recovery, or reintroduction plan that recognizes a method of propagation or dispersal other than natural propagation or dispersal

News of Note

December 27th, 2009

Landmark Investigation Announced: “The Blueprint”
After five months of research and investigation, I am announcing the release of a landmark document: The Blueprint – the largest update of fur farm addresses in nearly 15 years.

Foie gras given away
“French producers have given away 14 tonnes of foie gras to charity after hugely overestimating the demand for the delicacy this Christmas.  After a decade of growth, sales of foie gras stagnated last year but production levels rose, leading to a surplus, according to Les Marches, a French food trade magazine.

Animal welfare victories force farmers to use PR
The suffering cow covertly taped by the Humane Society of the U.S. prompted the biggest beef recall in U.S. history and contributed to sweeping legislation over the past 13 months designed to improve the lives of farm animals. But more important for farmers, it awakened the masses to the stark reality for many animals raised for food.

Bow hunters shoot elk in Wash. pasture
The herd would run from one end of the pasture to the other, led by the ranking elk cow. A few of the animals had arrows embedded in their hides and were bleeding but were still upright and running…The state wildlife agency declared an elk hunting season in an area roughly bounded by Highways 9 and 20, east to the intersection of 20 and Cape Horn Road.

Controversial roundup of wild horses underway
Mustangs are herded into corrals as Bureau of Land Management begins a two-month operation to capture 2,500 of Nevada’s wild horses. Equine activists say the action is unnecessary.  A controversial roundup of 2,500 wild horses from public and private lands in Nevada began on Monday amid protests from activists who call it needless and inhumane.

Racehorse’s plight shines light on illegal slaughter farms
Freedom’s Flight’s racing career ended before it had even started…That “worst” farm in America turned out to be an illegal slaughter farm in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Couto, working for the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, participated in a raid on the farm and rescued Freedom’s Flight.

9/19 Demo to Oppose Primate Research at the UW

Despite the rainy weather, the Demo to Oppose Primate Research at the UW went forward as planned on Saturday. Armed with 5 signs and 2 banners, I got to the corner of NE Pacific and Montlake just before 11am. I knew that the rain might keep some protesters away, so I found a spot just off of the sidewalk that gave me a good view of people walking by, and made me visible to passersby. While I waited for the other activists to arrive, I held a sign that read “Cruelty is Criminal” above a picture of a monkey looking through cage bars. Plenty of people walking by looked at my sign, and I couldn’t help but think they must have thought it was strange that I was the only one standing there with a sign.

After 15 minutes or so passed, no other activists showed up to join me, and I thought about leaving, but a middle aged man came up to me and said “I support what you are standing up for”. This comment pleasantly surprised me, and the rain had tapered off, so I decided to stick it out. Before too long, another man – a guy some might refer to as looking like a stereotypical football fan – approached me and said that he was glad that I was out there. I had been out there by myself for 30 minutes and the only reactions I had gotten so far were positive ones.

By the time 12:20 rolled around, I had distributed numerous leaflets, had a woman tell me that she worked near the UW’s Primate Research facility on Western, and my sign had been seen by hundreds of people. I truly felt that my time had been well spent, and despite the low turnout for the demo, it had been effective. One person can in fact make a difference.

I’ll be out there for the next UW Husky Football home game, to greet attendees with my sign and information about the horrible research that goes on behind closed doors at the UW. I hope this time others will be able to join me.