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.
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.
…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.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
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: http://www.governor.sc.gov/Pages/SendMessage.aspx
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.
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?
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; TDSantos@investec.co.za
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 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.
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.
Sharks are a vital part of the oceans’ ecosystems. But 20% of the nearly 550 species of sharks risk extinction, in part because of the cruel appetite for shark fin soup.
Each year, millions of sharks are killed for their fins, considered a delicacy to some, and are often de-finned while still alive and thrown back into the ocean to drown.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has asked for the public to comment on a proposed rule.
The purpose of the proposed rule is to implement the Shark Conservation Act, which is meant to close loopholes in the U.S. ban on shark finning.
The problem is that the federal government may then block states from taking extra steps to prevent the influx of non-regulated shark fins into their states. That could threaten the ability of states to close their market to shark fins–and mean a big step backwards for shark conservation.
The Humane Society of the United States has a petition you can sign. Please tell the Department of Commerce that while you approve the implementation of the Shark Conservation Act, states should have the ability to adopt even stronger measures to minimize their role in providing a market for shark fins.
On June 12, the Colombian Senate approved a nationwide ban on the use of animals in circuses. With this ban, Colombia joins other South American countries that prohibit the use of animals in circuses, such as Bolivia and Peru, and now Veracruz, which has gone considerably further and also prohibited bullfighting, dogfighting, and cockfighting. The Colombian prohibition covers wild, native, and exotic animals, as well as birds.
A national research watchdog organization has completed a major investigation of the University of Washington, Seattle, and has filed an Official Complaint with the USDA noting numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Ohio-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) noted that federal law violations include multiple primate escapes, severe animal debilitation, severe limb contracture with skin ulcers, and deaths.
The SAEN investigation uncovered nine primate escapes including one where two escaping primates fought and injured each other requiring euthanasia for one of the monkeys. Nine primates were listed as emaciated or severely debilitated, three primates suffered from severe limb contracture and skin ulcers. Another primate had “linear crush” injuries, requiring amputations.
Overall, the SAEN complaint involves potentially dozens of federal violations connected to at least 22 primates in a period of roughly one year.
“The staff and researchers at the UW appear to be drastically unqualified, substantially inept, and unable to follow even the most basic requirements of animal husbandry,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN. “Not only is the UW unable to keep the monkeys in the cages, they are unable to prevent serious injuries during the escapes, some of which required euthanasia.”
View the official complaint as well as the UW records which were uncovered detailing their abuses in this PDF file.