Category Archives: Issues

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.


India Announces Ban on the Use of Animals in Cosmetics Testing

Coming close on the heels of a similar ban  in the European Union and Israel, the drug controller general of India has just announced that testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals will not be permitted in India. This is largely due to a relentless PETA campaign. Although more and more companies are banning cruel tests on animals in favor of more modern, reliable tests, millions of animals are still subjected to painful tests in which all kinds of UNNECESSARY substances are dripped into their eyes, smeared on their abraded skin, forced down their throats and sprayed in their faces. KEEP UP THE PRESSURE on our government to pass a similar ban*. In the meantime, remember that no corporations care about your OPINION if your MONEY doesn’t follow suit. Please support only cruelty-free companies — easy if you use PETA’s new, updated global Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide. 

Order a free copy. 

*Tell your children and grandchildren to keep up the pressure too. That’s how hopeful I am.

Big step forward for chimps

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) just announced that it has accepted the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation of retiring over 300 of its chimpanzees. The US has been experimenting on chimpanzees for 90 years and is the last country in the industrialized world to do so.

Pumpkin, a 24-year-old chimpanzee at the Alamogordo Primate Facility, N.M.

The chimps’ similarity to humans makes them coveted for research, but it’s this very similarity that poses an ethical dilemma. Regardless of similarities, no animals should be used as research subjects, so it’s a great piece of news that most of the chimps will be retired.

The news is mixed though. Fifty chimps will remain with NIH. They won’t be bred, but that’s not enough. They also deserve to live out their lives at a sanctuary. Each one is an individual with unique traits and the right to live free from harm.

For more information, you can read the NIH press release and details at Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW.

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

Sally Jewel
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240 Phone: (202) 208-3100

Governor Nikki Haley
Office of the Governor
1205 Pendleton Street
Columbia, SC 29201 Phone: (803) 734-2100                                                                               Email:


AR Conf Sponsors

Animal Rights National Conference 2013

Did you know that we are going to the Animal Rights National Conference June 27-June 30, 2013 in Washington DC? It’s true! Well, not the whole board, or every NARN member, but one board member and hopefully some NARN supporters.

If you haven’t heard of this conference, then you’ll be astounded by its breath: 3+ days of content, networking sessions, 90+ speakers, an awards banquet, 80+ vegan vendors, movie screenings, amazing sponsors (see below), and more than 1000 attendees. Not to mention, one of my personal heroes, stand up comedian, Myq Kaplan. Check out the extensive program.

I’m personally most excited by the sessions that focus on new strategies and the psychology of social change. Here are some of the talks I plan to attend and hopefully bring back all sorts of smarts for NARN and our NW community:

  • Nature of Social Change: social progress through struggle, stages of social change, recognizing victory – with Alex Hershaft.
  • Developing Our Movement: mission and vision, structure, alignments, issues, leadership, communications – with Caryn Ginsberg and Alex Hershaft.
  • Managing a Local Group: volunteers, meetings, workload distribution, working with nationals, finances – with Debra Erenberg and Carolyn Merino-Mullin.
  • Running Effective Campaigns: objectives, tactics, resources, action plan, special events, assessment – with Caryn Ginsberg and Michael Webermann.
  • Winning Hearts and Minds: theory of changing behavior directly and by impacting feelings and beliefs – with Alex Hershaft and Will Tuttle.
  • When Is Collaboration Justified?: how far can we work with an organization with a different vision? – with Saurabh Dalal and Paul Shapiro.
  • Applying Direct Action: getting attention and changing behavior through economic & social pressure – with Brenda Shoss, Andy Stepanian (who I met at Let Live and totally respect), Erwin Vermeulen, and Peter Young.
  • Commonality of Oppression: commonalities in the oppression of animals, children, women, minorities – with Dr. Baruch Ben Yehudah, Elizabeth DeCoux, pattrice jones, and Lisa Kemmerer.
  • Lessons From Abroad: novel tactics from other countries – with Tobias Leenaert, Sharon Núñez, Yossi Wolfson, and Sebastian Zösch.
  • Advertising Our Message: newspapers, public transport, billboards, radio/TV, internet – with Erica Meier and Nathan Runkle, another personal hero from Mercy for Animals.
  • Maintaining Your Online Presence: websites, e-newsletters, blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube – with Caryn Ginsberg and Colleen Holland.
  • War on Animal Activism: repression of social activism by government and corporate interests – with Sarahjane Blum, Elizabeth DeCoux, Will Potter (YESSSSSS!! The best!) and Ryan Shapiro.


I’m particularly drawn to the talks that include Dr. Alex Hershaft. Originally from Warsaw  Poland, Dr. Hershaft is the founder of FARM USA and a holocaust survivor. I think his story, his life, his dedication, and even his non-AR reputation are fascinating and I hope to get to meet him personally.

If you want to get  last-minute flight to DC and join me, please do! If not, comment below on the talks you want me to attend and blog about. I can also purchase the audio recordings of any session you want for $9, the key notes for $15 each, or the entire 3 day conference for only $150.

A Strike Against Fur

Investec is a large South African bank that provides an extensive range of financial services.  No doubt as a public relations ploy, it also dabbles in conservation. According to its own website, “at the heart of Investec’s values is our firm commitment to society and the environment [i.e $$$].” To demonstrate this so-called commitment, Investec established the well-publicized Investec Rhino Lifeline, aiming to “raise awareness of the rhino crisis through education, rescue and prevention initiatives.” HOWEVER, what is less known is that Investec maintains lucrative business relations with fur companies, and even after being made fully aware of the atrocities involved, officially declared itself to be indifferent to the suffering of animals in the fur trade. Please take a moment to email them and point out their position is immoral and hypocritical, and that you will avoid any dealings with their bank in the future. Which might be hard, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? :-)


Atrazine: Let's get it banned

Every pesticide in America undergoes a re-evaluation every 15 years and fortunately 2013 is the year that Atrazine gets reviewed.

Atrazine is one of the world’s most common pesticides. It’s been in use for 50 years (over 80 million pounds of it were used on American crops last year alone) and has been called the DDT of the 21st Century. This harmful pesticide is an endocrine disruptor that can turn male frogs into females at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion.Atrazine frog image

Atrazine causes cancer in laboratory mammals and developmental problems in fish. Atrazine is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in rainwater, groundwater and tapwater in the USA. It’s used on corn, sugar, sorghum, yams, rice, and even lawns.

Frogs and humans share half our DNA, so Atrazine can’t be good for humans either. That’s probably why the European Union banned the it in 2004. But the company that produces it, Syngenta, is fighting to keep Atrazine on the market in the USA.

Fortunately, Save the Frogs! is working to get Atrazine federally banned and out of production as soon as possible. They need your help.

Save the Frogs! has an online petition that you can sign to help get Atrazine banned in the USA.

URGENT action needed immediately – the Farm Bill will have devastating consequences for animals

From Mercy for Animals

Don’t Let Congress Eliminate State Animal Protection Laws: Stop Dangerous Farm Bill from Advancing

We urgently need your help.

Last night, leaders from the United States House of Representatives refused to allow debate on pro-animal amendments to the Farm Bill, while allowing the dangerous King Amendment to slide through.

If enacted, the King Amendment would nullify the few state laws that do provide protection to farmed animals, such as laws banning cruel crates and cages, prohibiting the force-feeding of ducks, and forbidding horse slaughter and shark finning. This amendment also threatens laws governing environmental protection, worker safety, and more.

All of our hard-fought victories could be lost.

The King Amendment and the rest of the Farm Bill will be voted on by the House later tonight and tomorrow. We need your help to speak out immediately against this dangerous legislation, which will have devastating consequences if enacted.

What You Can Do:

Please contact your US representatives as soon as possible and urge them to vote “NO” on the Farm Bill. Representatives receive a lot of emails, so personalizing your message will make it stand out.

Thank you for getting active to help our country’s farmed animals!

In order to address your message to the appropriate recipient, we need to identify where you are.
Please look up and use your full nine-digit zip for the best results.