Category Archives: Issues

Bill Gates promotes veganism

You know veganism is going mainstream when people like former President Bill Clinton cut out meat, eggs, and dairy. Now, Bill Gates is on board, with a feature on his website called The Future of Food.

Bill Gates

Gates is primarily concerned with the environmental impact of meat eating as the developing world readies itself for economic growth. Meat production is a cruel, unsustainable industry that damages water supplies and land–and that’s what Bill Gates is trying to change.

He supports new innovations in plant-based foods and wants to reinvent the way people eat. Instead of fixing a broken system, he’s working with companies who want to turn the industry on it’s head and start a whole new model. A plant-based model.

Less land, less water, and no animal cruelty is a model that benefits everyone.

Leaked Internal Email Uncovers Monkey Death at Woodland Park Zoo Due to Improper Handling

A male patas monkey. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

We at the Northwest Animal Rights Network are shocked to learn of a recent incident at the Woodland Park Zoo that involved the death of a monkey due to apparent improper handling by zoo staff. An internal email was leaked by a zoo employee to In Defense of Animals — an international organization we have worked with in previous campaigns — who then reported the information. According to the zoo employee, a male patas monkey suffered grave injuries several weeks ago when zoo staff, reportedly operating against the advice of keepers, captured the monkey with a net. An internal email dated March 2, 2013, obtained by IDA, confirms the monkey suffered a severe compound leg fracture, a traumatic brain injury, and extensive bruising. Zoo staff reportedly placed the injured monkey in a kennel following capture, yet despite his serious injuries, the monkey languished in the kennel alone for an estimated two hours without medical attention or medication to alleviate his pain. A veterinarian eventually euthanized the monkey.

Obviously any case of animal abuse is disturbing, but this has far more serious implications as the zoo employee stated that the monkey would be alive today if proper procedures had been followed. Due to apparent negligence and the failure to adhere to policies concerning the welfare of animals, he suffered painful and life-threatening injuries and was left alone to languish without medical attention for a substantial amount of time.

The IDA has subsequently submitted a complaint to the USDA, stating that this reported incident may violate multiple provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including improper handling of an animal and failure to provide adequate veterinary care.

“The last hours of this monkey’s life were full of terror and pain, as evidenced by information received from the zoo employee and the internal email detailing the monkey’s injuries. This reported case demonstrates a disturbing lack of respect, empathy, and compassion for a vulnerable animal and raises the question of whether other similar cases at the Woodland Park Zoo never see the light of day,” said IDA spokesperson Nicole Meyer. “IDA is asking the USDA to conduct a thorough investigation and to hold zoo staff accountable for this alleged incident.”

We at NARN also urge the USDA to investigate this report and to hold the zoo accountable as well, and we will provide updates about the complaint from the USDA as to what actions, if any, occur as a result. We will also work with IDA for any further actions concerning this incident.

Spay/Neuter Assistance Bills Hearings: How You Can Help

The spay/neuter assistance bills were recently introduced as SB 5202 and HB 1229 in the Washington legislature and have hearings scheduled on February 5 and 6.

Here we’ll guide you in attending the hearings, submitting a letter or email of support, and offer talking points. If something’s not clear, email us at info@savewashingtonpets.org for guidance.  Thanks for speaking up on behalf of the animals!

Attending the Hearings

Your attendance at either or both hearings will be very helpful. You can testify or just sign in indicating your support for the bills, and you can bring copies of written testimony to provide the committee members (bring about 20 copies for committee members and staff).

Special notice for residents of District 19 (Pacific, Wahkiakum, and parts of Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties): Please contact us atinfo@savewashingtonpets.org. Your attendance at the hearings is very important, since the committee chairmen represent your district.

If you Cannot Attend the Hearings

1.  Identify your district and your senator/representatives, then call and/or email them to let them know you support these bills (mention both bills by number as SB 5202/HB 1229). Helpful Hint: to avoid forms, use the legislator email directory.

2.  If your senator or representatives are on the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee or the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee it is especially important that you submit a letter/email or come to the hearing (where that legislator is a member) to testify.

The Hearings

SB 5202: The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 10 am, before the Senate Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in Senate Hearing Room 3 in the John A. Cherberg Building at the Capitol.

HB 1229: The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, 8 am, before the House Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O’Brien Building at the Capitol.

Please note that hearing schedules are subject to change. Please confirm the senate hearing schedule here and the house hearing schedule here before you travel to Olympia. Need directions to Olympia? Please see this page on the Legislature’s website.

Talking Points for Your Email or Testimony

The bills would provide financial assistance to support the costs of companion animal spay/neuter surgery. Expected impacts include significant cost reductions for animal care and control of homeless animals and a significant reduction in the numbers of dogs and cats euthanized in Washington shelters. For possible talking points, please see our flyer that explains the bill, and our flyer that summarizes the financial benefits of passing this bill.  Remember to be brief and polite in any communications with legislators.

Questions? Contact us at info@savewashingtonpets.org!

Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation has taken a lead role in preparing and advocating for passage of the Spay/Neuter Assistance Bill (SB 5202/HB 1229) and the two bills addressing animal cruelty (SB 5204/HB 1202 and SB 5203/HB 1201). Please join us in supporting the passage of these bills, and all bills that advance and preserve the humane treatment of animals.

Time for the Elephants at Woodland Park Zoo

After years of diligent work, the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants have still not gotten the zoo to even consider releasing Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary – making it clear that the zoo leadership cares more about revenue than the lives of the elephants themselves.

Elephants are genetically wired to spend up to 20 hours a day roaming across hundreds of miles. At Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) the elephants must share less than a single acre of outdoor space. Depriving Bamboo, Chai and Watoto of adequate space causes them serious mental and physical harm.

In the wild elephants live in tropical and subtropical regions. Seattle’s cold climate forces the elephants indoors for an unacceptable amount of their lives. Bamboo, Chai and Watoto are locked in small barn stalls, barely able to move, for 16 to 17 hours a day for nearly 7 months of the year.

The elephants suffer from painful arthritis and bouts of colic. Chai and Bamboo endure chronic foot infections—the leading cause of death in zoo elephants—caused by lack of space. A complex social life, critical to elephants’ well being, is denied them and Watoto, the lone African elephant, is frequently kept in solitary confinement. All three elephants display neurotic repetitive behavior caused by high levels of stress and boredom—including pacing, swaying, and head bobbing.

Watoto indoors

Finally someone else has taken notice: The Seattle Times has published a story about the lives that these beautiful creatures face behind our bars: http://seattletimes.com/elephants. The article focuses on the horrific attempts for zoos to create more baby elephants, because they create such huge draws of patrons. More than 100 artificial insemination for the two girls. It also shares how zoos “train” these wild creatures.   Please read the piece and share this story with your friend and family who still support zoos so they can understand the cruelty behind their summer visits. Make sure that you and your family all write letters to the zoo asking them to release the elephants and put the elephants lives ahead of profit.

Now is this time. With this very public article,  the tragedy of captive elephants is revealed, but the zoo must hear from us too. They must become stewards of compassion for animals. Please:

Write to:  Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th Street, Seattle, WA  98103

Email: woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org and zooinfo@zoo.org

Address letters to:
Dr. Deborah B. Jensen, President and CEO
Bruce Bohmke, Chief Operations Officer
Jamie Creola, VIce President of Education
Dr. Darin Collins, Director of Animal Health
Dr. Nancy Hawkes, General Curator
Valerie Krueger, Director of Finance
David Schaefer, Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Gigi Allianic, Media and Public Relations

Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to make a difference!

When Charitable Giving Isn’t Charitable

During the holiday season, it is popular to give charitable gifts in someone else’s name, particularly if the recipient has made it clear they don’t want material presents. This is also the time when charities solicit year-end tax-deductible donations. Heifer International, MercyCorps, Oxfam, World Vision and similar charities are popular because they pitch that you can combat hunger in desperate areas, such as Afghanistan or Sudan, by donating money which they will use to ship live animals such as cows, goats, donkeys, or chickens to families living in those regions for them to raise for milk and meat.

But such programs aren’t charitable for the animals, and in many cases, for the families either; if a family is struggling to provide for themselves, how can they ensure adequate nutrition, conditions, and care for their animals? It is a near-sighted attempt to solve the vastly complex problem of global hunger that poses substantial risk for the animals, the environment, and the people for which these programs advertise that they help; the World Land Trust calls animal-donation programs “environmentally unsound and economically disastrous.”

First, the animals have to survive the initial transport. Animals are bred and raised in large-scale farms throughout the world operated by the charities, and then shipped out. Baby chicks and other young animals are shipped overseas as airmail or cargo. In addition to the long hours or days of flight, these animals may be in planes at various terminals for hours without food or water. Countless animals arrive sick and dead. Northwest Airlines reports that up to 30% of chicks arrive dead in just in domestic flights; one can only surmise the number is much higher after international flights. Chicks are characterized as “easy to transport,” because they are small, inhumanely packed in boxes, airmailed at the cheapest rate, and shipped in huge numbers.


Baby chicks being shipped by mail

Non-native animals introduced to fragile habitats, where the animals have larger or different appetites from indigenous species, will overtax the vegetation or simply starve. Grazing animals cause topsoil runoff and land degradation, which can contribute to drought conditions. Arid conditions cannot support animals like cows, descended from forest-dwelling species, who require large amounts of water. Increasing the reliance on animals raised as livestock for sustenance can have disastrous results, as the recent famine in the Horn of Africa has shown.

People living in impoverished communities hardly have enough food, water, and land for themselves, let alone for animals. Having another mouth to feed adds to a family’s burden, and the animals often suffer from horrible neglect, malnutrition, dehydration, and lack of shelter from the burning midday sun or night-time freezing temperatures. Animals already in impoverished areas are sick and dying for lack of veterinary care and treatment. There is a desperate need for more veterinary services, not for more animals to tend, feed and care for. Some recipients of animals never asked for one and complain about the economic and environmental havoc such an animal creates. Much of the grain intended for families end up having to support the animals. After a couple years on such a program, some families report back having been even poorer than when they started.


Goats, a popular animal for donation, tend to overgraze and destroy fragile native vegetation (Heifer International promo photo)

Animal-based agriculture taxes and misuses land and resources already stretched thin, promotes high-fat Western diets over indigenous diets heavy in grains and vegetables, and jeopardizes human and animal health by inviting diseases like Avian flu. Delivering animals used for dairy enterprises into rural areas that have no refrigeration, electricity, or passable roads to get milk to markets, to serve populations that are lactose-intolerant are misguided at best. Taking animals from their mothers, shipping them thousands of miles into inhospitable regions with no animal-welfare standards, restricting and exploiting them for dairy products, forcing extended suffering due to illness and injury, and ultimately slaughtering them (often times with rusty or dull knives) does not fit in the spirit of compassion and charity of the holiday season.


Dairy cow in a region where up to 90% of the population are lactose intolerant (Heifer International promo photo)

Global hunger is a problem that cannot be solved by well-intentioned donations of animals which often end up doing more harm than good. This holiday season, if you truly want to help the people in countries suffering from drought, natural disasters, poverty, and war, please instead consider supporting sustainable, animal-friendly relief organizations that work to end hunger, help communities set up local sustainable food projects, re-establish arable land, and provide direct aid. Food For Life Global provides food distribution of plant-based meals all across the world, The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation strategically plants orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, VEGFAM funds self-supporting, sustainable food projects and the provision of safe drinking water as well as emergency relief, Sustainable Harvest International addresses the tropical deforestation crisis in Central America by providing farmers with sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, and Feed My Starving Children ships out hand-packed meals developed specifically for malnourished children. Also Kiva creates entrepreneurial opportunities through micro-lending to help people world-wide work their way out of poverty.

This year, make the gift of giving charitable for people, the environment, and the animals.

This post was originally published in I ♥ AR on December 21, 2011 and is reproduced with permission.

We Need Your Vegan Holiday Recipes

Attention all vegan cookers, bakers, chefs, and recipe hounds! We need your amazing recipes for the 2012 annual holiday recipe hand out!

Each year we distribute vegan information, restaurant guides, and vegan holiday recipes to the greater Seattle community. Believe it or not, many people still say that they don’t know what to cook to make their holiday tables cruelty-free – and we just can’t have that, can we?

Join in the fun! Submit your holiday recipe to Rachel by Friday November 16, 2012. The best recipes will be included in the guide AND the author will get a gift certificate to Vegan Haven! (If you have a blog, we’ll include the URL so more folks find your delicious cooking ideas and recipes).

Vegan Table

Tips: 1. Keep is simple with a short list of ingredients. 2. Recipe should be a somewhat traditional  holiday (Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) dish – but don’t be afraid to add a modern twist. 3. Make sure the ingredients are easy to procure without going to specialty stores so our friends that don’t live near Sidecar can still whip up something delicious.

We need a variety of recipes from main dishes, salads, and breads, to sides and drinks, and of course, special deserts – so send those recipes in ASAP and use your vegan cooking skills to spread compassion this holiday season.

Deadline: Nov 16, 2012
Submit:  email Rachel of NARN (Rachel{at}narn.org

But even better – if you want to help hand out vegan information, we’d love your help. We need lots of volunteers. Did you know that leafleting is one of the easiest ways to multiply the impact of the help you do for animals by being vegan? Imagine if just one person chose to go vegan after receiving information from you. That is double your impact. But you could triple or quadruple your veganism! We all had to learn somewhere.

Where is your veganism headed?

We’ve noticed that there are many phases or “faces” of veganism. They aren’t in the same order for everyone, but maybe you recognize yourself in some of these. They can last for 10  days or for 10 years. Sometimes all at once.

  1. I’m vegan! I’m my family thinks I am a freak and I want to be loved so I pretty much never mention it to my grandma, and I downplay any inconveniences and never talk about how others hurt animals around people who aren’t vegan. I don’t use the world vegan often and nobody at my work probably even knows. Veganism is a personal, private choice.
  2. I’m vegan and I want some comfort food! I try to make or eat everything that is labeled vegan. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t eaten a real vegetable in weeks. And I go out to eat with my friends many times a week just to be with like minded people and eat vegan waffles and gravy and cake. Why isn’t everyone vegan? The food is so amazing!
    Redwood Vegan Biscuits and Gravy
    Vegan biscuit, potatoes, sausage from Redwood Sunday brunch. 

  3. I’m vegan and I want omnivores to know that vegans aren’t freaks, and I’m normal, so everyone should know that I am vegan. I’ve got vegan pride. So I talk about how good vegan food is to anyone who will listen. And I tell my co-workers how good it feels to be vegan. And I make vegan food for my family, friends, and anyone who will eat my food and let sing vegan praises. I invite others out to dinner. I eat healthy so that I can be a good vegan role model. I rarely mention the animals at all. Just food. And I do everything else normal so vegans aren’t so scary.
  4. I’m vegan but all of the animal suffering around me still makes me incredibly sad. I want others to discover how easy it is to be vegan. Someone influenced me once, so maybe I can influence others? How can I be supportive and encouraging while also telling the hard truth about how animals suffer in factory farms, laboratories, fur farms, zoos, circuses, and beyond?  I’ll do some vegan outreach at the Fremont Fair. I want a vegan world! Veganism is political!
    Seattle Tilth Fair Sept 8, 2012 - Rachel and Anika
    NARN Board Members doing vegan outreach at the Tilth Festival this summer. 

  5. I’m vegan and I want to help animals right now. I don’t need to fit in anymore. Animals are suffering this very moment and I can’t turn away. I can’t forget them. I want to make a difference. When history is on our side, I want to say that I spoke out. That I made a fuss. That I didn’t let let suffering and tyranny run rampant on my watch. That I tried to do something with my time and talents.

Recognize any of this? Board member Pete is fond of the  slogan: “Silent = Consent.” We don’t consent to the horrors that are perpetrated in the name of human desires. We won’t be silent. Board member Anika’s favorite quote is “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” –  Elie Wiesel. She likes it because it admits that she sometimes feel powerless – but that even if that is the case, she should still speak out against injustice.

If you are feeling more and more inclined to speak out against the ways we torture and needlessly kill animals, NARN is here to support you. We can help you follow your passions, join with others, and make a difference in the lives of animals today. Just email us at info@narn.org.

 

Primate Lib Week 2012: Kick-Off and Letter Writing Party

“We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  ―    Elie Wiesel

As you know, Oct 6-14, 2012 is National Primate Liberation week. While we aren’t excited that researchers continue to abuse and exploit our close cousins in the name of human health, we are excited to get together to talk about what we can do for these monkeys and future generations of primates.

We plan to kick-off the week  with a great social and information sharing event and letter writing party. If you are vegan and have been thinking of getting more involved, this is the ideal gathering to learn more about NARN and what is possible when a group of people get together to make a difference.

letterforblog

The current president of NARN will speak about what type of primate experiments and financial support come into the NW and we’ll have other guests as well. We’ll also show a trailer for the upcoming documentary screening of Maximum Tolerated Dose, which will screen on Monday evening. Vegan snacks and treats will abound – Violet Sweet Shoppe is even donating some vegan sweets.

NARN will provide some sample letters designed for: a) UW Leaders and Policy Makers b) Those Currently Involved in Primate Research, c) other academics and professors at the UW who would be willing to open up the conversation with their students and colleagues and d) press and media. We will have physical paper and envelopes, and some old stationary and cards too. We can be creative and serious about our cause at the same time.  Children are welcome – as long as they are old enough (or young enough) to see photos of animals in cages and hear open discussion about why it matters. There won’t be anything specifically gory, but use your best discretion. Their letters may end up being some of the most influential.

Bring your laptop if you have one! We have more than 30 different people to write – sending emails and typing is much faster – even if less fun. We’ll have sample letters on a memory stick for you to take and modify – adding your own voice and ideas.

And remember: For every single letter or email that you you write, you’ll be entered into the drawing for this amazing vintage Animal Rights shirt commemorating the liberation of an infant rhesus monkey, not unlike the many infant monkeys that suffer in UW labs today. For more information about the activities for the week RSVP on the Facebook Event Page and for more information about the experiments and abuses in UW labs visit uwkills.wordpress.com.

See you Sunday!

5:30 PM
University Friends Meeting Hall
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle

Free parking, bike racks (and right off the Burke-Gilman trail), and on many bus lines!

 

National Primate Liberation Week: Win a Vintage 1985 Animal Rights Shirt

OK Animal lovers. We you know are you are getting ready to attend some of the National Primate Liberation Week events that we have in store for you. But to make coming out even more fun and rewarding, NARN is giving away an extremely rare and special t-shirt.

DSC04050

This T-shirt, only worn once for this photo session, commemorates the liberation of Britches from a California lab in 1985 by the ALF. Britches story is inspiring and special – and reminds us of the real lives behind the laboratory cages. If you aren’t familiar with Britches, check out the 10 minute mini-movie made about his story and his rescue. The t-shirt is bright white and an XL, so it can be made to fit most sizes either as-is, or with tailoring. Could be made into a patch, or tank, or something else cool too.

Britches Tshirt

How to enter the drawing? Each event that you attend during National Primate Liberation week (kick-off, movie, UW protest, postering, etc) you’ll be entered. And bonus: for every letter you write at the kick-off event, Sunday Oct 7, you’ll be entered too! Please share this awesome drawing with all your vegan and animal loving friends too. We can’t wait to run into someone in Seattle wearing this shirt!