Category Archives: Issues

Letters Opposing the "Rotten Egg Bill" Delivered to WA State Delegates of US Congress

Today letters were hand-delivered to the Washington State offices of U.S. Senators Ed Murray and Maria Cantwell (both D-WA), as well as U.S. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), urging them to oppose The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 (H.R. 1731/S. 820). Green Vegans, NARN, Action for Animals, and United Poultry Concerns were signatories to the letters. The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013 would condemn egg-laying hens to confinement in battery cages forever, and would prohibit any future challenge by state law or public vote. This bill has provisions that would fare even worse for hens than the similar bill that failed to pass last year.

chickens
So-called “colony” cages, that this bill would codify, allows around 8 hens to be crowded into a cage the size of a file cabinet drawer.

Below is the text of the letter delivered to Congressman Dermott–the letters to Senators Cantwell and Murray are exactly the same except for the substitution of “S. 820″ for any mention of “H.R. 1731.”

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Dear Congressman McDermott,

H.R. 1731, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013, is a far worse bill than proposed in 2012. Though the bill amends an Act that addresses itself entirely to the quality of table eggs and concerns about maintaining public health, the H.R. 1731 amendments take on an entirely new subject: changes in the housing of hens who produce table eggs. Though this letter does not cover all the flaws and threats of the bill, these are our major concerns. We oppose this bill in its entirety and ask you to oppose it for the following reasons.

First, no person, organization, or state government may improve the welfare and treatment of egg-laying hens if it differs from the inadequacies of the Act.  There is no sunset language in this bill. According to the proposed bill, no person, agency, or act of Washington State government could implement science-based improvements based on studies of animal behavior before or after 2029 when the bill comes into full implementation: Requirements within the scope of this Act with respect to minimum floor space allotments or enrichments for egg-laying hens housed in commercial egg production which are in addition to or different than those made under this Act may not be imposed by any State or local jurisdiction [Section 4(b)(c) of the bill]. H.R. 1731 will disenfranchise your constituents from this matter—completely. We hope this issue alone, the disenfranchisement of the people of Washington State, will move you to oppose this misleading bill.

Second, H.R. 1731 removed important definitions and deadlines. It currently states: “(a) The term ‘adequate environmental enrichments’ means adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based on the best available science, including the most recent studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the term.” The deadline schedule for the Secretary of Agriculture to define “adequate environmental enrichments” has been deleted from the 2013 version of the bill. The deleted section from 2012 read, “The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.” The number of nesting spaces serves as an example of the need for clearly defined implementation. Research demonstrates that the lack of nesting opportunity is extremely stressful to the hen as it is one of several innate behavioral needs. Yet the Secretary is not required to specify any interior changes to cages excepting square inches per hen, itself a gross denial of the hens’ basic needs.

Third, the 2012 version of the bill used the word “must” consistently as the implementing mandate, as in “must provide environmental enrichment”; the 2013 bill (the “Amendments”) replaces “must” with “shall” throughout. We believe “must” was replaced with “shall” to further weaken the minimal, humane-washing changes it proposes. Going to the U.S. Federal Register Website, “Drafting Legal Documents / Principles of Clear Writing / Section 3” you will see they believe it correct to, “use ‘must’ instead of ‘shall’” because: “shall imposes an obligation to act, but may be confused with prediction of future action” while “must imposes obligation, indicates a necessity to act”. The plain English use of “must” in the 2012 bill is obvious when compared to “shall” in the 2013 bill. That change must be opposed along with the bill.

Fourth, cruel practices will continue under this bill: burning off the sensitive tips of beaks ensures a lifetime of pain and suffering—in addition to disabling the hens’ ability to groom their feathers and pick off lice; the wholesale slaughter of male chicks at birth, often by suffocation or grinding while alive, will continue because they do not lay eggs; female chicks will never experience the enriched experience of bonding with a mother hen; the maximum space allowed in caged confinement when the bill is fully implemented in 2029 is one square foot for the larger brown variety of hens; yet the overwhelming number of hens used in the US egg industry are the smaller white leghorn variety. They will theoretically receive a maximum of only 124 square inches per hen, or fourteen percent less than one square foot. After enduring this bill’s impacts, not a single hen will be spared from a life of deprivation before slaughter.

Fifth, there are no criminal penalties for violating the provisions of this bill. If the Secretary of Agriculture finds noncompliance, he submits reports to various committees. Eggs without carton labels describing how the hens were raised “shall” not be part of commerce. Eggs coming from covered sources that do not provide the “enrichment” and tiny space allocations less than those as scheduled in the Act as amended by H.R. 1731 are prohibited from commerce. But, again, there are no provisions for penalties, confiscations, fines, or any other impediment that would stop that commerce even after a notice, if any, was given.

Sixth, these amendments apply to egg-laying hens, but the Act they are being appended to is about egg handling and grading to maintain public health. We do not see any specific provisions that hen cages can be inspected and reported, only the facilities where eggs are “handled”. In addition, there are no appropriations to pay for the compliance inspections, reporting, and enforcement, if any.

Seventh, H.R. 1731 does not include over 56 million commercial egg-laying hens who are “in production” in any given month. This is multiplied over the course of every year as the egg-laying hens are killed and replaced when productivity declines. “All layers in the United States on April 1, 2013 totaled 348 million…. The 348 million layers consisted of 292 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.11 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs.” (USDA, Cornell, 2013). S.802 only covers table eggs. In addition, all flocks of less than 3,000 hens are excluded from this bill. Why should any hen be denied consideration by the proponents of the ill-conceived H.R. 1731?

Eighth, this bill does not protect human workers or hens from ammonia. The 2012 amendments allowed 25 ppm of ammonia in the air in egg-layer housing but the 2013 version adds an allowance for temporary increases for unusual conditions. At 25ppm, “Marked eye, skin, and respiratory irritation” occurs in humans. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL). However, “temporary” is not defined in the proposed legislation regarding permissible ammonia levels over 25ppm and is therefore of unspecified duration. How long is “temporary” and what are “unusual conditions”?

Chickens exposed to 20 parts per million of ammonia for 42 days are susceptible to pulmonary congestion, swelling, and hemorrhage. Studies documenting the destructive effects of atmospheric ammonia on chickens and turkeys are referenced in: Carlile, Fiona S. 1984. Ammonia in Poultry Houses: A Literature Review. World’s Poultry Science Journal 40: 99-113.

Ammonia is not the only toxic gas in the chicken houses, and these other toxic gases are not addressed in the proposed legislation: nitrous oxide, CO2, hydrogen sulfide, methane. Chickens need three times more air volume than humans per kilogram of body weight to meet their oxygen requirements. The toxic gases in the houses added to the airborne debris (feathers, dander, organic dust, insecticides, microbes) are as cruel as cages. This toxic waste environment is also detrimental to ecosystems and contributes to global warming.

Congressman McDermott, we ask you to make certain this bill does not pass out of committee, and should it progress to the House and Senate conference committee for resolution, please oppose it there. Remember those of us who are dedicated to ending the real suffering of the hens NOT covered by these amendments. If H.R. 1731 passes, we will be denied our advocacy and hope for ending animal abuse. We, your constituents, and national organizations who specialize in chickens and farmed animal advocacy, oppose it.

Please oppose and defeat H.R. 1731.

Thank you,

Will Anderson, President
Green Vegans / The New Human Ecology
3518 Fremont Avenue N, #358
Seattle, WA  98103
206.715.6414 / www.greenvegans.org / will@greenvegans.org

Rachel Bjork, Board President
Northwest Animal Rights Network
1037 NE 65th St #174
Seattle, WA 98115
rachel@narn.org

Dave Bemel, President
Action for Animals
P.O. Box 45843
Seattle, WA 98145
206-227-5752
afa@afa-online.org

Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
757-678-7875
karen@upc-online.org / http://www.upc-online.org

First Asian Country Enacts Nationwide Shark Fin Ban

So…the first nationwide shark fin ban in Asia has just been adopted in the country of Brunei, on the island of Borneo. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah made the decree that officially bans the catch and landing of all shark species from the waters of Brunei and their domestic sale, as well as banning the importation and trade of shark products. Admittedly Brunei has the population of Portland, OR, but it IS the 5th-richest country in the world.

 

Canada Set to Ban Gestation Crates

Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council has drafted a Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs, which has been released for 60-day public comment. This consultation period may still resolve remaining issues with the Code, including some confinement during pregnancy and a long phase-out period. A recent national poll  showed that 84% of Canadians support a complete phase out of these confinement systems. 

In April, the Retail Council of Canada and eight of Canada’s largest retailers (including Walmart Canada, Costco Canada, and Safeway Canada) committed to sourcing fresh pork products from gestation crate-free suppliers over the next nine years. Two of the three largest pork producers in Canada—Olymel and Maple Leaf Foods—have already announced that they will shift away from gestation crates within the next 4-9 years. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, also announced a similar policy within the next four years (Even though it has just been purchased by China?)

The new Code of Practice will take effect in 2014, at which time the construction of new gestation crates would be prohibited. Pork producers would have to eliminate the lifelong confinement of pigs in gestation crates and house them instead in groups by 2024. 

Nine US states and the European Union have passed laws against the use of gestation crates. More than 50 of North America’s largest pork buyers, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Tim Hortons have committed to eliminating gestation crates from their supply chains within the next 2-9 years.

 

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 Congress to Crack Down on Puppy Mills

From HSUS:

https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5934&autologin=true&s_src=web_hp_bb1052913

Urge Congress to Crack Down on Puppy Mills

Legislation to crack down on puppy mills has been reintroduced in Congress. S. 395 / H.R. 847, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, will close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act regulations that currently allows puppy mills to sell dogs over the Internet without any oversight or standards of care.

This bipartisan bill will require the following changes to the AWA: 1.) All dog breeders who sell more than 50 puppies per year directly to the public will be federally licensed and inspected; 2.) Dogs at commercial breeding facilities must be given the opportunity to exercise for 60 minutes a day; and 3.) The bill will not affect small breeders and hobby breeders who sell fewer than 50 dogs per year directly to the public, but is crafted to cover only large commercial breeding facilities.

The PUPS Act is sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif.

TAKE ACTION
Complete the form [https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5934&autologin=true&s_src=web_hp_bb1052913] to automatically send a message to your legislators expressing your support for the PUPS Act.
Look up your legislators’ phone numbers here.

After making your phone call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form [https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5934&autologin=true&s_src=web_hp_bb1052913] to automatically send a follow-up message to your legislators. Members of Congress receive a lot of email, so remember to personalize your email message below so that your message stands out.

Disaster Preparedness for You and Your Companion Animals

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In light of the recent catastrophic events in Moore Oklahoma, 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. We must take preparations to be able to survive on our own for a period of time, and ensure the survival of those who depend on us, such as our companion animals.

moore

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 (after the Moore tornado, first-responders at first were not able to get into the affected neighborhoods because of the extensive amount of debris blocking roadways), 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
+ 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 (doors that are shut may be jammed)
+ 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 (to filter out drywall, insulation, and other dust shaken loose), sturdy shoes, flashlight, and glasses (if you need corrective vision) 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.

WE ARE BEGGING: Call & email to kill the KING AMENDMENT!

People, this is HUGE.

Right now — now, not later — please call your Representative in the U.S. Congress and ask that she or he demand to strip the King Amendment from the Farm Bill. The King Amendment  would overturn every voter-approved animal welfare ballot measure relating to agriculture – Prop 2 in CA (veal and gestation crates, battery cages), Prop 6 in CA (the sale of horses for slaughter), Prop 204 in AZ (veal and gestation crates), and Amendment 10 in Florida (gestation crates). It could also void six other state bans on gestation crates, horse slaughter bans in a half-dozen other states, the comprehensive animal welfare standards adopted by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, and other anti-downer laws and animal protection laws designed to shield farm animals from abuse. Under this amendment, we would have no state laws for agricultural facilities relating to worker rights, animal welfare, environmental protection, or public health.

During his ten years (HOW? WHY?!) in Congress, the Republican Steve King from Iowa has attempted to block all animal welfare laws. He favors killing horses for human consumption, killing American bison in Yellowstone National Park, and trophy killing of polar bears, even though they are an endangered species. He opposes every bill against dogfighting and cockfighting. He even opposed including pets in disaster planning.

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative. Just say, “Hi, I’m calling to ask that Representative NAME oppose the King Amendment to the Farm Bill, which slashes protections for animals and violates state’s rights.” If the person you speak with doesn’t know your representative’s position, please leave your name and phone number, and ask for a call back. Send a follow-up email saying the same thing.

I can only say again, this is HUGE. I can’t think of any other piece of legislation that has the potential to cause such suffering for so many. 

When Wolves Lose Endangered Species Act Protection, We Lose Wolves!

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.

wolf in creek, credit Jim Robertson

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.

Learn more and sign the petition at the IDA site.

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.