Category Archives: News of Note

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?

We Have To Shout Louder

aaaaaand now I have you here reading stuff, with your pen or your phone or at least your keyboard at the ready, I have another request:

In the meantime you will have heard that Proposition 1 passed in Seattle,  certainly because most people didn’t realise what the hell they were voting for.  “Parks? Great! Yes on that!”  But now Woodland Park Prison Zoo stands to receive $2 million additional dollars each year — up to $34 million — and maybe even more than that.
 
WPPZ  has two lobbyists.  Professional shouters and money-obtainers.  We are not professional shouters and money-obtainers, but we do CARE.  Please write to the Mayor and City Council.  We were told they count the number of emails they receive for each issue.  If you only write one line, it still COUNTS. You can send the same one line to everyone, but see those talking points below? (helpfully provided by Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants) They are so good there’s no way you can choose just one line. Go ahead, indulge: write about them all.

Ed.murray@seattle.govJean.Godden@seattle.gov,Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov,Tim.Burgess@seattle.govSally.Clark@seattle.gov,   Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov,Nick.Licata@seattle.govTom.Rasmussen@seattle.govMike.OBrien@seattle.gov,Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov

Talking points:

  • No more additional money should come from the City until the Zoo releases the elephants to a sanctuary.
  • The Zoo spends upwards of a million dollars a year keeping elephants in a pathetic environment.  Why are they spending our tax dollars causing these magnificent animals to suffer?
  • Why are we taking precious tax dollars away from parks when the Zoo can save a million dollars by retiring the elephants?
  • The City Council and Mayor need to represent the will of the people and retire the elephants to a sanctuary.

Thank you. It feels like running in sand, I know, but the writing is on the wall, the end of captive elephants truly is coming.  And you will be able to brag truthfully that you helped make it so.

All That Is Necessary for the Triumph of the Geese Killers is for Us to Do NOTHING

The public appears to  have entered an era of indifference to the plight of Canada geese trying to coexist with humans.  The major newspapers and news stations are utterly uninterested in running any geese stories.  Not “newsworthy enough”.  This kind of don’t-give-a-shit atmosphere is EXACTLY what communities and law enforcement and the USDA like best of all: prime goose-slaughter conditions.
The lone standouts: City Living Seattle will be running an article by Christie Lagally, it looks as if the Woodinville Weekly will do one, and you may also see letters to the editor by Diane Weinstein. Please, when you do, comment and write your own letters; let editors know this is a subject that still matters a LOT to a LOT of noisy, articulate, persistent people.  Allowing, by our apathy, the slaughter of Canada geese for reasons of selfishness and convenience is dangerous, not least because it allows an abusive mindset to grow. We do not need even ONE new USDA killer to be offered a job, one that will then need to be justified by more goose killing.
geese
The petition for the geese on Change.org, asking Puget Sound area officials to stop killing geese has 1,300 signatures and is growing very slowly.  1,300 people against gassing geese families??  Even Ms. Glass-All-Empty here knows THAT isn’t true.  Have you signed? Have your friends? Have your family members?  You know how the whole situation would change if half a million names were on that petition?! Please, share the link as widely as possible.
Silly you. Did you think you could take a nap? You can’t EVER nap. Because the Other Side never sleeps.

Seventh Generation Betrayal

Seventh Generation: the people you could trust to make absolutely ethical (if expensive) toilet tissue, paper towels, and all manner of cleaning products. Products you could feel good buying and using because you were supporting a company that never harms animals. Right?

NO.  According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Seventh Generation has been promoting legislation that will result in the “painful poisoning deaths of tens of millions of animals”. It has been an advocate of various campaigns promoting animal testing, and is now refusing to support reforms to the Toxic Substances Reform Act — reforms that would reduce the number of animals poisoned and killed, and mandate that animals only be used at all after all other methods of obtaining information on toxic chemicals have been exhausted.

experimentmouse

Seventh Generation’s comment? Reducing animal testing isn’t “compatible” with its position on protecting the environment by using safer chemicals.  (Can they seriously still believe that animal testing confers any kind of safety at all?)

For a company that always portrays itself as cruelty-free and ethical to actively promote policies that will lead to the torture and death of millions of animals is a BETRAYAL of all the customers who have bought its products in the mistaken belief that no animals would ever be harmed. It’s also makes the company a LIAR of gargantuan proportions.

Please, contact Seventh Generation and give them an earful.  And remember — no one cares about your OPINION, unless it is backed up by your MONEY,  so don ‘t forget to say how done you are with Seventh Generation products unless they reverse course.

http://www.seventhgeneration.com/press/contact-public-relations

Please Protest Church Animal Fight

Saint Patrick’s parish in Hortonville, Wisconsin, plans to hold an event this Saturday, August 9th, in which pigs are punched in the face, kicked, jumped on, body-slammed, yelled at, and thrown in a bucket by up to 6 people at a time.  Not surprisingly, the pigs often sustain injuries. It is being called “pig wrestling”, although as far as I know none of those things are actually condoned in real wrestling, which takes place between two evenly matched volunteers.

The event organizers do admit that “there is an inherent risk of injury when choosing to participate.” Most unjustly, it is the creature NOT choosing to participate who risks the most injury.  The HUMANS who choose to do this deserve whatever they get.  And more.

Wisconsin laws specifically prohibit fighting between animals and humans, as well as being a spectator at such a fight (Chapter 951, “Crimes Against Animals”).

Action is URGENT on this one, as we only have one more day. Please call:

Deacon Ken Bilgrien: 920-779-5960

St. Patrick Parish: 920-757-5090 or email benwolf@new.rr.com 
Event Coordinator, Rose Rynish: 920-757-6824 or email stpatdenis@new.rr.com






India is the First Country to Ban the Import of Foie Gras

With little fanfare, a notice appeared on the Indian Directorate of Foreign Trade’s website on July 3rd, simply stating that the import of foie gras, the “fatty liver” of geese, is now prohibited.  Produced mainly in France, in recent years it had found a place in high-end Indian restaurants. AND…contrary to so much legislation here in the US  that only takes effect in 300 years, this takes effect IMMEDIATELY.

It follows a campaign launched by the activist group Animal Equality, that together with PETA India, also managed to have the extremely cruel bullock cart races and all bull events banned throughout India in May of this year.

Their report to the Indian government included an investigation of a Spanish farm that was supplying liver to Indian restaurants.  The Spanish investigation was one of seven shocking foie gras investigations carried out by the group in 2012-2013 in France and Spain.

While countries such as Israel, Germany and England have banned the production of foie gras, and the U.S. state of California banned its production and consumption in 2012, India is the only country to ban imports.

In 2013 India also banned shows involving any cetaceans throughout the country.

 

 

Act Against the USDA’s ANTI-Wildlife Services

In June, Wildlife Services released a 655-page report in which it acknowledged killing over four million animals last year. This total includes over 75,000 coyotes, 420 black bears, 3,700 foxes, 12,200 prairie dogs, as well as beavers, wolves, mountain lions, otters, , ferrets, birds, and other animals.  It’s a secretive, wasteful, ineffective and cruel war on wildlife. One they need to not only continue but grow.  One that, fyi, you are largely financing.

Bear in mind that these four million animals are not only shot (and we know how often that is NOT a quick death) from land and from the air, but also trapped, burned and poisoned — methods that cause hours/days of agony before death , and the deaths of countless other non-target (and non-reported) animals.  In addition, I think we have probably all seen appalling news stories and videos about Wildlife Services employees routinely practising extreme cruelty, leaving animals to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes for fun, and even brutalizing domestic dogs.

coyotrap

It is also good to remember that while all of these animals were killed because they were somehow inconveniencing humans, a large number died specifically because they were inconveniencing humans producing meat – so many that Wildlife Services has been termed a subsidy for the livestock industry.

Wildlife Services operates with little public oversight and few rules requiring that it use the best available science, non-lethal methods, or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals — or even the suffering of target animals. There is a growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, to change this. Let’s add to it.

Tom Vilsack                                                                                                                           Secretary of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
AgSec@usda.gov

Sea Shepherd Targets the Taiji of the North

It seems that the entire world should now be aware of the carnage of dolphins in a bay filled with their own blood in Taiji, Japan. It is less widely known that the Danish Faroe Islands — just 200 miles from Scotland — host their own annual cetacean slaughter.

grindadrap (2)

Much like in Taiji, the hunt starts when fishing boats sight a pod of whales or dolphins, and drive them into a bay.   However, in the Faroe Islands, 23 different bays are used, not just one (which makes sabotaging or even just recording the hunts much more difficult). Every member in the pod is driven or pulled onto the beach with ropes and using a blunt hook in their blowhole. Then they are hacked to death.  Faroese citizens take part and rush into the water to join in the slaughter, sparing no one, not mothers, babies, or pregnant females.

In allowing this to continue, Denmark is in violation of three conventions it has signed vowing to do everything in its capacity to protect pilot whales — the Bern Convention, Bonn Convention and ASCOBANS. Pilot whales are classified as “strictly protected” under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.  Even harassing whales and dolphins is a crime in Europe.

The Faroe Islanders have one of the highest standards of living in the world, so the slaughter of entire pods of small cetaceans is not to provide jobs for ‘starving subsistence fishermen’, nor to satisfy the unconscionable demand for performers at marine parks, nor even to feed hungry mouths.  Faroese health officials have condemned pilot whale meat as unsafe for human consumption (due to mercury, PCBs, dioxins and DDT derivatives); especially as Faroese children already show higher levels of poisonous mercury than anyone else in the world. The annual Faroese ‘hunt’ — called the Grindadrap or Grind — still takes place because it is apparently considered ‘traditional fun’.

unborn pilot whale
Unborn Pilot whale calves are cut out of their mothers’ murdered bodies 
(Undercover images credit: Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd – 2010)

Sea Shepherd has been disrupting the Grind since 1983, in spite of considerable violence against them.  Video footage they obtained has provided the basis for several documentaries. Sea Shepherd’s Operation Grindstop this year will include calling the Danish government to task for providing EU subsidies and loans to the Faroe Islands which openly flaunt European laws protecting cetaceans, and working to gain direct support from members of the European Parliament. Sea Shepherd is also researching the possibility of creating a defensive wall of sound outside the Grind coves to deter migrating cetaceans. Efforts are being made to identify the Faroese fishing vessels used in Grind hunts, as well as their owners, for the purposes of  naming and shaming them as well as having them blacklisted as EU fish suppliers.  Sea Shepherd also intends to further publicize the fact that the Faroe Islanders kill hundreds of dolphins as well as pilot whales. For this reason the logo for Operation Grindstop 2014 features both a pilot whale and a dolphin (see below). It is to be hoped that all this will have a detrimental effect on the Faroese tourist industry.

grindadrap

I can’t help but wonder what would happen if one Faroe Islander stood alone on the beach of a Grind cove and held out his arms and shouted, “NO MORE!”

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