Category Archives: News of Note

Cowboy Hats Get Papers

Last year, at the Tacoma Rodeo, a friend explained to his 4-year-old son, who kept mistakenly leafleting protesters,  how to be more successful: target the people in cowboy hats, not the ones holding signs. Thereafter Danny handed anti-rodeo literature to people in Western attire, telling each one “Cowboy hats get papers!”  When we are engaged in activism, we all make split-second assumptions based on appearance: Camo Cap won’t sign my petition but Birkenstock Sandals will; Fake Eyelashes won’t give a damn about my leaflet but Pierced Hoodie will take one. Business Suit is going to say something rude but Fleece Vest will be nice. And I know from my own experience that we are very often wrong. Business Suit turns out to be a PETA member, Pierced Hoodie is a rude little shit, but Camo Cap brings his wife back to sign, too.

I was reminded of that when I read an article another friend sent me about Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa Co, in Arizona.  He is known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”. He also has a reputation as a racist and a redneck, and has been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations, amongst others. He has been found guilty of the “worst pattern of racial profiling in US history”, and his jails have been twice ruled unconstitutional. He is also known for his investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate, and his unending claim that it is a forgery.

HOWEVER… I found it fascinating that the following is ALSO true of Sheriff Arpaio, and I trust you will too.

Animal Crimes Investigations Unit (ACIU)
Hotline Number: (602) 876-1681
Email: animal_cruelty@mcso.maricopa.gov

Sheriff Arpaio created the Animal Crimes Investigations Unit over a decade ago and to this day, it remains one of the only units of its kind in existence inside a law enforcement agency.The unit currently leads the way in enforcing animal cruelty laws, some of which are still in their infancy stages, and in doing so, is helping to create case law. The unit’s work also provides an example for other law enforcement agencies in this groundbreaking area. Sheriff Arpaio feels the work done by this unit is critical for a number of reasons not the least of which is this fact: there is a significant correlation between those individuals who perpetrate violent crimes against animals and those who eventually commit crimes against people.

Every year, the unit receives thousands of animal cruelty reports to the hotline Sheriff Arpaio established.

Specially trained detectives investigate every call. These investigations have resulted in the seizure of thousands of animals and produced hundreds of arrests since the unit’s inception.

The detectives are assisted by Sheriff’s posse personnel trained in animal cruelty investigations. Utilizing these posse members reduces response time and saves taxpayers money.

When an animal is seized from an abusive or neglectful owner, it is turned over to and cared for at our MASH (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Safe Haven) unit. MASH utilizes an innovative program of supervised inmates to care for the animals, thus providing the inmates with animal care training and therapy.

During the history of this unit many notable investigations have resulted in arrest. These cases have received local, state, national, and even international attention. Some such investigations have included:

  • The successful felony prosecution of a celebrity who, until his run in with this Sheriff’s office, had eluded felony conviction for decades
  • Record single animal seizures in the hundreds (animals ranging from dogs, cats, and horses to reptiles and monkeys)
  • Mass arrest of 69 people for blood sport/animal fighting (cockfight)
  • Investigations resulting in long jail sentences for animal cruelty
  • Arrests for bestiality, dog fighting, cockfighting
  • Charges for associated crimes discovered during cruelty investigations included drug possession, child abuse, fraud, Booking single suspects for in excess of 100 felony animal cruelty counts
  • Many of these cases set precedence for being the first of their kind arrests

When probable cause is established in an animal cruelty investigation, the suspect is booked into Sheriff Arpaio’s Jail. Exceptions to this are only made in extenuating circumstances when the booking is not in the best interest of the community.

Sheriff Arpaio’s Animal Crimes Investigations Unit is constantly asked to consult with other law enforcement agencies throughout the nation which are seeking advice on how to properly conduct successful animal cruelty investigations. Arpaio’s unit is also asked to provide training to other agencies. The Animal Crimes Investigations Unit is proud to lead the way in this field and as such, has been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards.

Please! Help Needed to Stop Wolf Killers IN Washington!

 

One wolf, a pup, has already been shot from a helicopter by a hunter hired by the State of Washington using your tax dollars. Yesterday, Monday, Fish & Wildlife hunters were out again, targeting more wolves from what is known as the Huckleberry Pack.  The state could have used rubber bullets or paintball rounds to harass the wolves, but instead resorted immediately to airborne snipers.

aerialgunning

Why? Wolves from that pack have allegedly killed about 20 sheep and injured three more.  Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. Their population has grown to about 50 wolves again today, but an entire pack was exterminated in 2012 to stop cattle depredation. A lot of ranchers and hunters object to the presence of wolves, saying they prey on livestock (which the  ranchers want to sell to other people to kill) and deer (which the hunters want to kill themselves for fun).  The next time some hunter uses the  the excuse that they need to keep the deer population down, remember that they suddenly object when wolves start doing that naturally for them.

Fish & Wildlife say that non-lethal methods have been used, but we know they have refused multiple offers of help for non-lethal coexistence, including from WSU.  F&W also points out that the livestock owner has not done anything to attract the wolves — apart, of course, from choosing to pasture 1800 sheep in wolf country, just three miles from the known location of the wolves’ den.

The sheep were already meant to have been moved, but were not.

PLEASE call AND email Governor Inslee and tell him to immediately ground the helicopters, get Department of Wildlife staff on the ground to get the sheep out of this area, and to NEVER let this happen again.

and/or

360-902-4111.

 Thank you.

We Need Comments NOW Against the New UW Lab

As you know, the University of Washington’s Board of Regents approved plans for a new Animal Research and Care Facility (ARCF) at the UW.  It is now being considered by the UW’s Environmental and Land Use Compliance department, which can decide to NOT let the proposed lab plans go forward — and they are currently taking public comments.  If they receive an AVALANCHE of letters, they cannot ignore them.  So please, read the information below and then submit your comment to help prevent this lab from being built.    animal-testing

           THE ARCF WOULD DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF PRIMATES, PIGS, AND RABBITS THAT THE UW CAN TORTURE.                                                      It is SO important that it never be built.

You can review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement here: http://f2.washington.edu/cpo/projects/sepa

Please submit your comments (and try to keep them polite, professional and focused) by this Wednesday, August 27, to Jan Arntz, Environmental and Land Use Compliance: jarntz@uw.edu

Ideas for comments: 
1. Follow comments with questions. Questions are more difficult for the UW to dismiss without addressing. Examples of such questions are: What has the UW done to ensure that XXX impacts are mitigated? Did the UW consider XXX and if so what did it find? If not, why not?
2. Raise public involvement issues. Has the UW really considered the concerns of the public, including pressure to consider alternatives to using animals in research? Members of the Board of Regents admitted to not doing outside research about the lab, animal testing, or alternatives to animal testing and did not consider much of the public comment submitted to them prior to voting for the ARCF.
3. Incorporate comments of others by reference, including anyone else opposed to the construction, possibly including members of a group you work with.
4. Comment on everything, even if it seems small. Comment on environmental impacts, consistency with broader UW plans (including reputation), UW’s history of violations in their labs, and compliance with all other laws. Animal Welfare Act regulations, environmental regulations, etc.

Lend Your Voice to Ireland’s Activists

The picturesque village (pop. 1600) of Stradbally in SE Ireland is known for an annual arts and music festival called the Electric Picnic.  It is NOT known for the largest fur farm in the country,  just 13 minutes away.  There, thousands of mink are kept in horrendous conditions and gassed to death when just six months old.

mink1

Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/ban-fur-farming-in-irela…

If you can stand it, watch disturbing footage filmed at the fur farm in Stradbally here: https://www.change.org/p/ban-fur-farming-in-irela…

mink

Email Minister of Agriculture Simon Coveney.  No one wants their country to have e negative image in other parts of the world. Tell him Ireland should be known for other things instead of concentration camps for fur-bearing animals. Tell him you support a total ban on fur farming and an immediate closure of Ireland’s fur farms.

Simon.Coveney@oireachtas.ie,

AnimalHealthAndWelfareAct@agriculture.gov.ie

 

 

 

RIP Watoto – Vigil at noon on Saturday, August 23rd‏

Today is a very sad day.  Watoto was euthanized.
She died without ever having had a good day.

You may have heard that Watoto, the African elephant that so many people were fighting for, lost her life today. Watoto was discovered lying down unable to right herself when the keepers arrived this morning.  The Zoo’s staff decided to euthanize her after being unable to raise her.

Please join in a vigil/peaceful demonstration at the street entrance to Woodland Park Zoo’s south entrance tomorrow, Saturday at noon.

What:  Vigil for beautiful Watoto
When: Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at noon
Where: Street entrance to the Zoo’s south entrance at N. 50th and Fremont Ave. N.

     

Watoto was only 45 years. In the wild, she would have been in the prime of her life; still bearing calves. Confinement in a zoo takes a devastating physical and psychological toll on these far-ranging and intelligent animals. The zoo industry’s own statistics show that elephants die young.

Woodland Park Zoo denied Watoto of one her greatest needs–companionship of her own kind. After being ripped from her mother in Africa as a baby, Watoto never set eyes on another African elephant. The zoo also denied Watoto the opportunity to spend her remaining years in a sanctuary.

Watoto suffered from a host of chronic captivity related diseases as a result of living her entire life in the cramped quarters of Woodland Park.

Woodland Park Zoo is an exceptionally poor environment. The elephants are locked outdoors in less than 1 acre.  Indoors, the elephants are locked in barren cages, standing on hard substrate and only able to walk a few steps in any direction. This lockup, due to our climate, lasts 16-17 hours a day, every day, for over half of the year. Scientific American describes this as: “tortuous conditions [which] inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.”

We hope that Watoto’s suffering and death will not be in vain. We are very grateful for Seattle’s Mayor Murray’s statement. We need him to go farther: Bamboo and Chai need to retire to a sanctuary. Click here to read the Mayor’s statement.

Please write to ask the Mayor and the City Council to order the zoo to release Bamboo and Chai to a sanctuary. They have the authority.

Email: Ed.murray@seattle.gov,
Jean.Godden@seattle.gov,
Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov,
Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov,
Sally.Clark@seattle.gov,
Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov,
Nick.Licata@seattle.gov,
Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov,
Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov,
Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov,
Deborah.jensen@zoo.org,
Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org,
Darin.Collins@zoo.org,
nancy.hawkes@zoo.org,
zooinfo@zoo.org

Please call the Mayor anytime on Wednesday, the 27th.  Ask the Mayor to withhold funds from Woodland Park Zoo until the elephants are released to a sanctuary. 206-684-4000

Rest in peace, Watoto.

Tell MGM Resort to Retire the Dolphins They Keep Kinda Quiet ABout

For the past 20 years, the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, owned by MGM, has kept a low profile about the fact that they have TEN dolphins in intense confinement, subjected to the unbearable desert heat, forced to perform for food, and interact with high-paying guests who want ‘yoga with dolphins’.  Several have already died due to inadequate care and stress.

mirdolph

Please tell MGM Resorts to shut down their dolphin exhibit at the Mirage Hotel & Casino and retire the surviving dolphins to a coastal sea pen.  They obviously don’t care that this would be the right thing to do, but they could pretend to, and get some great positive publicity for themselves, while setting a wonderful example for others to follow. You can pretend too: to have been planning a massive wedding there — until you found out about their captive dolphins.  Hey, if they can include a whole page on their website all about their fictitious concern for the planet and all its creatures, you can have fictitious weddings.

So please, email the Mirage at DreamService@Mirage.com. If you have a page of real paper handy, you can also write to the Manager at The Mirage Hotel and Casino                                                                                  3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd..                                                                                                        Las Vegas, NV 89109

THANK YOU.

Quickest Easiest Action Alert Ever: 2 clicks

Woodland Park Prison Zoo has announced it will send its lone African elephant,  Watoto, to be exhibited in another zoo. Which could be even worse than here.

watoto-300x199

Watoto is 44 years old, and has spent every miserable one of them at Woodland Park since since she was taken from her mother as a baby in Kenya. IT IS NOT RIGHT that she die in a zoo.  After 44 years of making money for WPZ,  they OWE her.  Every person who ever went to the zoo (myself included, once 15 years ago) owes her.  Way more than can ever be repaid, for the theft of 44 years of family, friends and freedom.  She has a host of painful health issues, as well as the emotional ones caused by prolonged solitary confinement. The absolute LEAST the Zoo should do is let her go.  And the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in California is willing to take her. There, she could roam on 80 acres of rolling hills, with a therapy pool, lake, and six other elephants.

el_eleslake

Sign a petition to Seattle’s mayor asking that Watoto be retired to a sanctuary:

http://www.change.org/petitions/help-stop-elephant-abuse-at-seattle-s-woodland-park-zoo 

Even better, please ALSO email/tweet the Mayor, City Council and Zoo management. Say as much or as little (“Retire Watoto to a sanctuary.”) as you like.

Email: Ed.murray@seattle.gov, Jean.Godden@seattle.gov, Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov, Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov, Sally.Clark@seattle.gov,  Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov, Nick.Licata@seattle.gov, Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov, Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov, Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov, Deborah.jensen@zoo.org, Bruce.Bohmke@zoo.org, Darin.Collins@zoo.org, nancy.hawkes@zoo.org, zooinfo@zoo.org

Tweet: @Mayor_Ed_Murray   @SeattleCouncil   @woodlandparkzoo

Also, save the date:  Oct. 4th from noon to 2pm.  Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants is one of the sponsors of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. Details coming. 

Come on. Whatever time remains to her with warmth, freedom and companionship…and all you have to do is take a minute or two? Don’t even think of saying “Later”.

Update, August 22: If you are only reading about this now, it is too late for Watoto, who died today. “Too Late” is a pretty terrible thing. It means she never. ever. knew a grassy meadow, or bathed in a lake, or made decisions about where she wanted to go and with whom.  Not the world.  Just simple things that should be natural for everyone.  But she never had them, and now she never will.  Let’s make sure we never have to say that about Chai and Bamboo. You were going to write for Watoto; write for Chai and Bamboo:

LET. THEM. GO.

 

Modern Leather from Modern Meadows

Modern Meadow (what a genius name!) makes leather.  It looks the same, feels the same, wears the same, even smells the same, as traditional leather, which is odd, considering it is missing such a huge component of leather: the suffering.

modernmeadow

Modern Meadow’s mission is to  help meet the increasing global demand for leather items without the cruelty and the environmental toll.  Leather stopped being just a by-product of the beef industry long ago: pound for pound, leather can actually be more lucrative than meat, with certain hides fetching hundreds of dollar per square foot — and sales of leather goods are expected to reach $91+ billion in the next four years.

Modern Meadow uses a tissue engineering technique called biofabrication to grow leather from skin cells in trays in a lab. The company is also developing biofabricated meat, fish and poultry from muscle cells. Even the initial cells used to grow leather and meat are obtained from small biopsies that don’t kill, injure or even hurt any animals.

The founders, father and son Gabor and Andras Forgacs, previously founded Organovo, which provides engineered human tissues to drug companies testing new compounds. Other companies are also exploring biofabrication for human health, for example growing tissue “patches” to help heal a heart, lung, liver or bones.  Modern Meadow is the only company employing the technology for the manufacture of consumer goods.

Currently it takes Modern Meadow about a month to make a square-foot leather sample that’s fully finished (arguably it takes 2-3 years to obtain the same from a real cow), but the company is working to perfect production of its biofab leather until it is as affordable as traditional leather and hides.

And should anyone still think, somehow, that leather isn’t too bad ….watch the leather segment of the movie “Earthlings”. It’s not long.     And then remember that yes, in fact you buying it IS exactly the same as you DOING it.

Who Eats More Fish, Cormorants or Humans?

This is another urgent one:  Public comments are being heard until August 19th on the US Army Corps of Engineers’ draft Environmental Impact Statement on whether to authorize the gunning down of 16,000 double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island in Oregon.  Cormorants are big: 3ft long, with a 4ft wingspan.  DDT almost wiped them out but they recovered well, only to be  decimated by slaughters of this kind,  that tear families apart, leaving parents without their children as well as orphaned young to die of starvation. In addition, you KNOW many would only be injured and succumb later after much suffering.

Are you wondering why?  Oh, come on,  one guess will do it.                         Right: they eat fish!  The massacre is “necessary to reduce the predation on juvenile salmon and steelhead trout”.

cormorant

The amount of fish eaten by cormorants isn’t even visible on the graph of Who Eats The Most Fish.  Humans are the biggest fish-consumers and the worst sharers in the history of this planet.  If you were REALLY concerned about predation on fish, how about going to the real predators? An incredibly easy, cheap, compassionate fix to this problem that threatens sixteen thousand cormorants is DITCH THE FISH.  Instead of this massacre, you could make a healthy choice to eat vegan meals instead and those 16,000 beings get to live. Everyone wins.

So please ask Corps officials to “reject Alternatives C and D” (which allow the massacre), and urge them to focus instead on the biggest threats to salmon—dams, human development, and the fisheries industry. And then forward this alert widely!

Polite comments can be directed here:

Sondra Ruckwardt, Project Manager
Attn.: CENWP-PM-E-14-08
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208
cormorant-eis@usace.army.mil

Please also participate in the Corps’ webinar/conference on Thursday, August 14, at 6:30 p.m. PDT. To take part, call toll-free 1-888-431-3632 and when prompted, enter the access code: 3963766. Once you’re on the call, log on to the webinar at https://www.webmeeting.att.com. Don’t want to do it? I know…but remember the Other Side Never Sleeps.

Please feel free to use PETA’s sample letter, or consult it for talking points, but remember that using your own words is always more effective.

 

URGENT: Ivory Ban Threatened

You know those things that are so horrendous you just know THIS TIME, absolutely EVERYONE must be against them? Except invariably someone comes along with a nasty comment that shows there actually isn’t anything bad enough for EVERYONE to condemn it?  I am talking about things like chopping up dolphins and slaughtering dogs slowly for tender meat, and poaching elephants for ivory trinkets.

Right….ivory trinkets.

So the day before yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the first state ivory (and rhino horn) ban.  That is pretty great.  It is even greater that the Obama administration has proposed a federal ivory ban.  It winded me for a second or two to find that there are NRA-backed, Republican-introduced bills in both the House and the Senate to kill it. These bills would also block states from passing their own bans (which would effectively repeal parts of the recent New Jersey law).  And the NRA is vociferous about supporting them.

We need to mobilize and make sure our lawmakers know an overwhelming number of AMERICANS SUPPORT BANNING IVORY.

And we need to do it quickly. As you know, nasty pieces of legislation can be tacked on to larger bills and rushed through at any moment.  So PLEASE, call NOW.  Don’t put it off until later. Not only is a call quickest, it carries the most weight.  Calling is EASY and NO-stress; there is no conversation: you give your name and say you want your lawmakers “to oppose any and all pieces of legislation that kill the federal ban and block state ivory bans.”  That’s it. 

It’s a good idea to know your legislators’ contact info, but if you don’t, look it up quickly and easily: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

ele

How much worse does it have to get for EVERYONE to condemn it?

Action alerts, news, tips, stories, and resources for Animal Advocates in the NW