Category Archives: Uncategorized

Urge Law Enforcement to Seize Animals in House of Horrors

The Houses of Horror in question are Willard’s Rodent Factory (yes, it’s actually called a factory – how truthful) in Brighton, CO,  and the pet store Jurassic Pets in Thornton, CO.  A recent undercover investigation revealed horrific conditions in both places.  Witnesses found animals languishing and dying in cramped, putrid enclosures filled with feces at Jurassic Pets, and evidence provided by the investigator did allow the Thornton police to raid the store, where they rescued some of the suffering mammals, reptiles and amphibians.  However, the Adams County Colorado Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) has thus far refused to help the thousands of animals at Willard’s Rodent Factory, owned by Lynn and Kenneth Kubic.  This in spite of the fact that law enforcement has had more than ample evidence of persistent, widespread neglect, abuse and cruelty for at least two MONTHS.

According to the undercover investigator, “the Kubics and their workers admitted to “whacking” rats and mice—swinging them by the tail and hitting them against surfaces in an effort to kill them. Hundreds of rats and mice drowned at Willards Rodent Factory when the tubs housing them flooded, while those who were ill or injured were thrown outside to be torn apart by cats.

The Kubics failed to provide effective veterinary care or euthanasia to scores of ill and/or injured animals—including a rat whose face was apparently chewed off, a hedgehog whose infected eye was neglected for so long that it shrank and lost all vision, and reptiles with mucus oozing from their mouths. Thousands of fish and hundreds of other animals perished—with many left to rot alongside live animals—and ailing survivors were routinely thrown into the freezer to die.”

crowded horse troughOwners and management were fully aware of the horrifying conditions and systematic neglect of the mammals, reptiles and amphibians there and obviously didn’t care. How is this still continuing??

PLEASE, take 5 minutes and write (and/or, as always, call) to the sheriff’s office, and ask them to seize all the animals at the Willards Rodent Factory, and end their suffering.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office                                                                                          332 North 19th Avenue                                                                                          Brighton, Colorado 80601                                                                                              (303) 654-1850

And the general moral of the story…is never, ever to shop at stores that sell any live animals. Those little beings come from somewhere, and chances are, it wasn’t good.

A New Low in the War on Elephants

The government of Zimbabwe allowed  THIRTY-SIX  baby elephants to be stolen from their families last month, so they could be exported and sold to zoos.  Helicopters swarmed their herds and as elephants scattered, the infants who couldn’t keep up were captured.  Plans are in the works for HUNDREDS more to be stolen this way, leaving entire herds distraught and mothers frantic and grief-stricken.  It’s really hard to imagine which is worse, the prolonged suffering of poaching, or this double trauma inflicted on mothers and children, with the children condemned to reduced (in every way) lives in zoos.  If they survive: baby elephants are notoriously delicate physically end emotionally and often refuse all sustenance when traumatized. One of the 36 is already dead.

I refuse to call it good news, since everything about this is terrible, but there IS still time to halt the export of these babies and to stop further kidnappings. PLEASE write a quick letter ….and email….and fax…and while you are at it, make a 20-second call, too…to the Zimbabwean Embassy, asking them to stop this immediately. A sample letter is below (thank you, PETA), but please edit it to make it personal.

 I am writing with a heavy heart after learning of the capture and kidnapping of 36 baby elephants from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Please do everything in your power to stop the sale and exportation of these elephants. Young elephants like these are heavily reliant on their mothers. Being torn away from them is not only traumatic but also life-threatening. Indeed, one of the captured elephants has already died. Elephants are highly social and emotionally complex animals who live in herds. Female elephants stay with their mothers for their entire lives, while males stay with their matriarchal herds well past 10 years of age before joining a juvenile male herd. Disruptions to these relationships are detrimental to the species as a whole. The species’ existence is already in peril, and the kidnapping of 36 young elephants only further endangers the declining population. With rumors of planned captures in the works that would orphan hundreds more baby elephants, there is no time to waste.Zimbabwe officials have not taken action despite an international outcry. You are in a unique position of influence to express to your compatriots in Zimbabwe that their refusal to act is marring the image of their country as compassionate people across the world are outraged. Please do what is right for animal welfare and for conservation by doing everything in your power to stop the additional capture of innocent elephants and to ensure that the 35 who are currently slated to be exported are quickly rehabilitated and released. Thank you for your time.

Please address it to
Ambassador H.E Ammon M. Mutembwa
1608 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 332-7100
Fax: 202-483-9326.
E-Mail: info33@zimbabwe-embassy.us.
Thank you.  it’s little enough to do, when you think of what it feels like to lose a child. What a sorry, sorry, species we humans are.

Update On the Angora Action Alert

Remember this when you feel as if nothing ever changes, and nothing you do makes any difference: after receiving more than ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND emails from people demanding that they ditch angora, huge upscale French clothing company Lacoste has just confirmed that it is removing all angora wool products from its shelves and has requested to be added to the list of retailers that do not sell angora.  The list now includes Gap (which owns Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta), Express, Lands’ End, QVC, French Connection, Forever 21, New Look, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H & M, Marks & Spencer, Limited Brands, IZOD, and Eddie Bauer.

How much does it cost you to write a few lines? Five minutes, maybe. If all of those one hundred thousand people had decided a five-minute letter/email was just too much to ask of them,  if all of them had thought, “It’s OK, someone else will do it” — nothing would have changed.  And let’s not forget the phenomenal courage of the undercover investigator who visited almost a dozen rabbit farms in China and documented the horrors. China supplies 90% of the world’s angora, yet has neither humane standards for the treatment of the rabbits nor penalties for abuse.

It’s not the war, true, but it’s a battle.

 

Food Giant Scared of Eggless Mayo

 

Look familiar? You have probably seen this and already tried it, wondering if it gets better than Vegenaise. (Does it? My vote is no, but that’s beside the point here.) You may also have heard that the food giant Unilever is suing the start-up company Hampton Creek, maker of this spread that tastes like mayonnaise but contains yellow peas instead of eggs (Whirled Peas! Literally!)  — hence the logo that depicts an egg with a pea shoot growing through it.  For us, the most important aspect of Just Mayo is that no one got hurt to make it.  The lawsuit contends that Hampton Creek is guilty of false advertising and fraud (because Unilever, which sells $60 BILLION worth of stuff worldwide under 1,000 different brand names, is SO concerned about false advertising) — and, the crux of the matter, is denting sales of its own mayonnaise products, marketed under the brand names Hellmann’s and Best Foods. (Wait, isn’t that how capitalism works?!)

By FDA regulations, mayonnaise contains egg yolks.  Just Mayo does not, it is true, but then it doesn’t call itself mayonnaise either. Also, considering Hampton Creek specifically markets the eggless-ness of Just Mayo, it can hardly be said to be creating false impressions.  Nevertheless, Unilever’s suit alleges it will suffer “irreparable harm” from Just Mayo, feigns concern that “consumers are being misled”, and demands damages of three times Hampton Creek’s profits, plus legal fees, plus the recall of all Just Mayo products and marketing materials, and a change in logo.

In the first 24 hours of the story going public, Hampton Creek received 18,000 messages of support.  Unilever and Hellmann’s were deluged by negative comments. And the media visibility for Just Mayo has been estimated at the equivalent of advertising worth $20+ million in just the first week after the lawsuit was filed. HA!

During that time Unilever was busy quietly cleaning a bunch of it’s own websites and product descriptions, which were found LIKEWISE not to conform to the rules it was trying to set for Just Mayo.

Just Mayo is already on the shelves in chains like Costco, Target and WalMart, and Hampton  Creek has also begun selling Just Cookies, an eggless, dairy-free cookie dough in four varieties. Will Keebler’s elves be lining up at their own lawyer’s office to accuse Hampton Creek of fraud in their use of the word “Cookies”??

Caroling at City Hall

Are you ready to sing for the elephants?

caroler

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants will be caroling throughout City Hall to Christmas songs reworded to promote Bamboo and Chai’s retirement to a sanctuary.

As you may have heard, Woodland Park Zoo is closing their elephant exhibit and relocating the elephants. However, they are planning to send the girls to another zoo. They need to go to a sanctuary. The Mayor has the power to make that happen!

When: Monday, December 15th, 2014 from 10:45am to noon.
Where: Main lobby of Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle, 98104.

The main lobby is at the 5th Avenue entrance between Cherry and James streets (or just go upstairs from the 4th Ave entrance).

Please wear ORANGE. Wear the t-shirt from previous actions or your own orange top.

Monsters Continue to Sell (and buy) Angora and Fur

Angora Rabbit Recap
It’s been more than a year since PETA released undercover footage of angora rabbits who had their fur violently ripped out by the fistful so that it could be used in sweaters and accessories. While numerous companies have acted ethically and responsibly by discontinuing angora sales after viewing the footage, fashion company BCBG Max Azria continues to profit from this cruel industry. BCBG also sells fur from Asiatic raccoons (also known as raccoon dogs)—animals who are often slammed to the ground and beaten on fur farms.

These animals need you now more than ever! Please call BCBG today at 877-707-2224 and urge it to stop selling angora and fur immediately! (Press 2 and speak to a customer service representative.)

Here’s an example of what to say: “I’m calling to urge you to stop selling angora and fur. As long as BCBG continues to profit from torturing animals, I won’t shop at your stores.”

(Action Alert courtesy of PETA; thanks)

Has Daiya Betrayed Us?

daiya

Daiya (pronounced Day-ah) Foods, Inc. has been our cheesy savior since 2008, when it was founded as a “vegan cheese company”.  Its shreds, slices, wedges, cream cheese and most recently, pizza,  have made the conversion to veganism easier for a lot of people, as well as making the vegan version of conventional foods more familiar. Daiya is probably what most of us are thinking of when someone says, “Oh, I could never do without the cheese!” and we say, “You don’t have to!” Daiya cheese is made from cassava and arrowroot and contains no animal products. It has received multiple awards, including from VegNews and PETA. Its founders, Andre Kroecher and Greg Blake, are vegans, and the company was never been shy about using the word VEGAN.  Ethical and successful…wow.

Trouble is, for some time now non-vegan things have been sneaking in. Not that your Daiya pizza now secretly contains bacon, or that beef fat is being surreptitiously added to your cheddar shreds, but references to meat, and recipes containing meat have begun surfacing on the Daiya website and Facebook page, and a subtle verbal shift away from “vegan” (with its ethical connotations) and towards “dairy-free” (now referring to human health and food allergies) has taken place.

To begin with, this passed largely unnoticed.  However, as the news has become more widely disseminated, a growing number of vegans find this seriously offensive.  A vegan cheese company, founded by vegans, promoting recipes that contain beef, turkey, ham, fish, and eggs?  Four hundred-odd people have ‘liked’ the Boycott Daiya FB page. This does feel like a betrayal. A abolition-vs-welfare kind of betrayal. We had decided Daiya was abolitionist and they turn out to be welfarist. Or worse. Since we all know with gut-wrenching clarity that a ham roll-up or seafood salad is not … NOT… just a “food choice”.  However.

Having reached all the vegan world, was Daiya’s growth as a vegan cheese company, while little short of meteoric, pretty much limited to the growth of the number of vegans?  Would we would prefer them to remain small and ethical, rather than become huge at the expense of any compromise with suffering?  And this is where the abolition-vs-welfare thing comes in. As we know, even though about 2/3 of the human population is lactose intolerant, this does NOT stop them eating cheese.  While we are all abolitionists at heart, would we prefer they eat real cheese and get upset stomachs (yes, I know, we don’t care about that bit) or Daiya and don’t?  Isn’t every bag of Daiya shreds (which, just fyi, do not contain palm oil, although some of the other Daiya products do) bought better than a bag of real shredded cheese? As a very large and successful company, would Daiya have the power to effect more change for the better than a relatively small and insignificant one?  Is Daiya poised to become the next Silk? Just thoughts. And I haven’t finished thinking this one through yet.  For what it’s worth (likely not a whole bunch) company spokespeople profess injured innocence:

“We are sorry for offending you. That was certainly not our intention. Here at Daiya, we simply try to provide resources and recommendations (which include our many user-submitted recipes) that might appeal to the many different people who love our products.”

For more info about the boycott, visit: https://www.facebook.com/daiyahurtsanimals?fref=nf

and to tell Daiya what you think, https://www.facebook.com/daiyafoods

 

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.

Keep Up the Pressure on Sea World…

…because at SOME POINT, SOMEWHERE, SOMEONE is going to open a last letter, click on a last email, read the results of a last poll, and finally say, OK. We’re done.

Standing at a protest outside Woodland Park Prison Zoo a few days ago, I was nonplussed at the number of people giving us the thumbs-up and waving and nodding….as they went in to visit the zoo.  I wondered about it aloud to a fellow protester: why are these people still going in if they agree with our reason for being here? One of the people marching in turned around and said truculently, BECAUSE IT’S FUN!

I remember being there.  I went to zoos. I went to aquariums. I went to Sea World. I went to Parrot Jungle. It was something you did if you ‘loved animals': you went to look at them.  Even when I was very little, it made me vaguely uncomfortable. My parents always seemed sad there, but they went anyway. It was as if we all knew something fundamental about it was badly wrong, but it was an immutable part of the status quo.  Finding out exactly how bad those places are was never much of a surprise, but finding out how POWERFUL individuals are in creating change, was.

Predictably, Sea World has reacted to calls for liberation by deciding to build bigger prisons, hoping most people won’t realize bigger bathtubs are still bathtubs,  even if they are decorated around the edges with plastic rocks and plants.

orca

I am asking you to let them know a real sea change has occurred, and no amount of window dressing will ever make imprisonment for entertainment alright again.  It’s gone beyond conditions. It is a matter of rights. The ones they have and we don’t.

So please, right now, when you finish reading — not later today, not tomorrow — tell SeaWorld to set in place a firm plan to release the animals to sanctuaries that can provide them with a more natural environment (like sea pens, pending release).  And tell them to do it now — not in 10 years, not even in five.

Sign an online petition here.

And/or better yet, make direct contact:

Jim Atchison (president & CEO of SeaWorld), PO Box 690129, Orlando, FL 32869

The Blackstone Group
Contact information for 29 locations to write, call and/or fax…

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.