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.
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.
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
Some of you have probably already heard of Tony. He is a Siberian-Bengal tiger who has spent the last 13 years in a crappy chainlink cage at a truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Take just a moment to think of what you have done in the last 13 years. Take another to think of what tigers would normally do in 13 years. He hasn’t done anything.
Incredibly, the Louisiana Senate Bill 250 presently pending was specifically designed to allow Michael Sandlin, owner of the truck stop, to continue his miserable exhibition of Tony — this despite the fact that Tony’s captivity was declared illegal by a state court of appeal, AND despite the fact that Sandlin has repeatedly violated federal law by failing to provide adequate veterinary care and safe and sanitary housing and by handling that causes undue stress/ trauma. The Louisiana legislature should be ashamed of itself — but obviously isn’t — for creating a loophole to skirt its own state’s animal-protection laws.
SO…unless Governor Bobby Jindal vetoes the bill, Tony’s fate is sealed. It is URGENT, therefore, that we all contact the governor as quickly as possible, by phone (225-342-7015 or 866-366-1121), fax (225-342-7099), by letter (P.O. Box 94004, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004), or by email (http://www.gov.la.gov/index.cfm?md=form&tmp=email_governor), to ask him to VETO SB 250. I have listed these in order of importance, although of course best of all is to do ALL OF THEM.
It is bad enough that Tony has had to languish in appalling conditions on reeking cement for 13 years; it would be heartbreaking to know that for lack of effort, he would never know anything else. For however much time he has left, he should know grass, water, running, climbing trees, and being able to make simple decisions about his own life. Please … do it now: ask Governor Jindal to veto SB250.
I thought about a title for this post for quite a while. I wanted something that would make you stop and decide to read more. Maybe if the title were “The Best Cheese in the World”, you would stop and look, and by the time you found out it wasn’t about cheese, you would understand why I told you it was.
If you are reading this, chances are you are vegan. You have fought your cheese battle and won, fought your cute-leather-shoe battle and made do, fought your chocolate battle and either decided you like dark chocolate because it is way healthier, or — like me — decided to just do without. Your supermarkets are smaller than other peoples': they have no meat, no fish, and no dairy aisles. Hopefully, I am about to give you one more battle to win, and am about to make your grocery store smaller still. Because palm oil isn’t vegan.
When you think of the meaning of ‘vegan’, it doesn’t ONLY mean ‘no animal ingredients'; for most of us, there is a very strong element of ‘no animal suffering‘ and that is why palm oil fails. Palm oil sneaks into almost as many things as dairy does, and causes terrible suffering as more and more forest is destroyed to make way for palm plantations. Critically endangered orangutans, whose last holdout is the Indonesian rainforest of Sumatra and Borneo, are the most visible victims. I am not including the photo that made me a believer in the split second it took to absorb the sight of a burned-but-alive orangutan, covering her face with her hands. These only-everso-slightly-different non-humans, whose name means ‘people of the forest’, are chased, shot, poisoned, burned and beaten, and their homeland destroyed and bulldozered at such a rate that according to this short slide show —
— it may be gone in ten years. Gone. Along with the orangutans, the elephants, the tigers, the rhinos — and an incredibly long list of others, because the Indonesian rainforest contains 12% of the world’s mammal species, and 17% of all known bird species. And it is estimated that more than half of Indonesia’s species have never even been recorded. At this rate they will disappear unrecorded.
A French documentarist named Patrick Rouxel made a short documentary about the palm oil/rainforest crisis, simply called “Green”. Watch it:
Not all palm oil comes from burning out orangutans and poisoning elephants in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Some of it comes from Malaysia. Some is termed “sustainable”. The Earth Balance margarine so beloved of vegans contains palm oil, and Earth Balance is proud to say 30% of it is “sustainable”. I freely admit that where animals are concerned, I tend to be a glass-bone-dry person. But if 30% is “sustainable”, what is the other 70%? And where colossal amounts of money are to be made, the word “sustainable” can become as flexible as those standing to profit from it wish. And those palm plantations in It’s-OK-Malaysia? They are being created in someone‘s ex-habitat. Maybe the someone isn’t as heartrending as an orangutan infant, as photogenic as a Sumatran tiger, or as big as an elephant, but their home is being destroyed and burned and bulldozed nevertheless.
Let me tell you why.
For crap. The popular mass movement away from trans fats caused a gap that palm oil has filled. It is mainly in processed foods, crackers, chips, cookies, boxed cereals, candy, cake, pastries, bread spreads (check your peanut butter!),and margarine. It is in about half of all boxed foods. Many of those foods got tossed out in battles you have already won. And luckily none of them are crucial to your survival.
Face it: margarine is a cultural habit. You know how many millions of people around the world would look at you blankly if you told them you only eat bread with grease wiped on it? If you don’t want to give up wiping grease on your bread, I can give you a good, easy, much-healthier margarine recipe, and you can make your own from now on. You can also skip that step and use straight coconut oil for everything you used margarine for. Unrefined for a slight coconut taste, refined for no taste at all. And you wouldn’t believe all the health benefits coconut oil is meant to have. Palm oil is also in all kinds of utterly unnecessary beauty products, toiletries, laundry and kitchen products, even ones claiming ‘bio’, ‘enviro’ or ‘green’ status. (Btw, PETA has a great list of excellent DIY, completely cruelty-free beauty and cleaning agents.) The following list of foods and other products containing palm oil comes from BOS (Borneo Orangutan Survival) Australia. Many of the things listed are non-vegan and so you would not be eating them anyway, and many are specifically Australian, but the list will give you a very good idea what foods to suspect in the US, too.
So watch the movie and the slide show, and research for yourself what eating crap you shouldn’t be eating anyway is causing in places not your own back yard. And I think you will sit back with the same feeling you had when you first watched “Meet Your Meat” or whatever it was that made you change your life, and you will see why palm oil isn’t vegan. Because vegan isn’t just the letter of the law, it’s the spirit, too. And we are strong people when it comes to giving up things and not looking back. So much so, I don’t think you will mind that I just bulldozed another aisle or two of your supermarket.
Volunteers for Sea Lions Still Needed at the
Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon
In Defense of Animals and the Sea Lion Defense Brigade (SLDB) are seeking passionate, dedicated individuals to be volunteer observers through the end of May at the Bonneville Dam and in Astoria, Oregon near Pier 36. The Columbia River sea lions need reliable eyes and ears on the river to assist in ending the lethal removal program.
If you have a still camera, binoculars, and/or video equipment and time to help, please volunteer with SLDB at either the Bonneville Dam or in Astoria.
The sea lion killing program is more about politics than sound science. Sea lions are being trapped, branded, and killed for eating only 1% of the fish, while human predation is at an all time high.
Sea Lions are being scapegoated by the fishing industry. Science shows the importance of protecting keystone species in the ecology and removing these species from an eco-system causes harm to the system as a whole.
For information about how you can help, or to volunteer, please contact Eric at email@example.com.
The Miami Seaquarium has recently been purchased by a California-based amusement park company called Palace Entertainment. Among its many captive animals is the orca Lolita. This is a great opportunity to demand that she be released back into the waters of her birth, something Seaquarium’s present owners have always refused to do.
Lolita has lived at the Miami Seaquarium for almost 45 years, in the smallest orca tank on the entire continent (35′ x 80′ x 20′ deep — although she herself is 20′ long). For the first 10 years of her captivity she had a male companion, Hugo, who apparently committed suicide in 1980 by repeatedly bashing his head against the tank walls. Now she lives a solitary life, forced to perform in depressing daily shows for the public.
She was caught in 1970 in Puget Sound, taken from the L pod of the Southern Resident orca community in an 80-whale ….what? roundup? theft? kidnapping? Her mother and extended family still live there. Marine mammal experts have proposed a plan in which Lolita would be transferred to a coastal sea pen, and once she relearns the skills necessary for independent survival, she would rejoin her family in the wild.
Please, contact Palace Entertainment and ask for her release:
“I am writing in response to the recent announcement that Palace Entertainment has signed an agreement to purchase the Miami Seaquarium. I’m sure you are aware of the controversy surrounding Lolita, an orca at the Miami Seaquarium who for decades has lived in a small concrete tank, without the company of another orca. I urge Palace Entertainment to allow Lolita to be rehabilitated and released into her native waters. Such a decision would bring tremendous positive publicity to your company!”
Also contact Miami-Dade County’s Mayor and Commissioners and ask that, as a condition of the sale of the Miami Seaquarium to Palace Entertainment, that Lolita be released back into the waters of her birth. Contact:
Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Commissioners
Stephen P. Clark Government Center
111 NW 1st Street, Suite 220
Miami, FL 33128
Online comment form.
“I am writing in response to the recent announcement that the Miami Seaquarium has agreed to be bought by a California-based amusement park company. I’m sure you are aware of the controversy surrounding Lolita, an orca at the Miami Seaquarium who for decades has lived in a small concrete tank, without the company of another orca. I urge Miami-Dade County to request, as a condition of the sale of the Miami Seaquarium, that Lolita be rehabilitated and released into her native waters.”
Please take a couple of minutes to write a letter that could change her life..GIVE her a life…what’s left of her life.
We sure owe it to her, after what our species has done.
If you’re a UW student or faculty member, you’re in luck. Tomorrow, UW CARE is hosting a free screening of the documentary Maximum Tolerated Dose. The film chronicles humans and non-humans who have experienced animal testing first-hand.
Note: The screening is not open to the public; you have to be a UW student of staff member to go.
One of our members, Shelby, has brought to our attention a goose family in need of help. Mom is incubating eggs in a nest on a retaining wall outside Macy’s at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, and Dad patrols the parking lot area below (apparently the family has chosen this ill-advised nesting site before!). Shoppers, both on foot and in cars, do not expect geese and will not be watching out for them (let’s be real: even if they did, would they?). Mall security doesn’t seem to care. They WILL care, however, if you all call to show them that a single goose family is important to you. Their number is 206-246-7400, press 5 for mall security. All we are asking is that a small area, 3 parking spaces, be cordoned off to protect this family from cars and people. You might also mention that messing with nesting geese is illegal, and that geese are excellent parents who may very well be aggressive towards people who come too close, so that creating a barrier between people and geese would be a good idea all round.
And thank you Shelby — a great example of NOT WALKING ON BY.
In Georgia, a bill is under review which would permit the use of live raccoons for field trial competitions. Time is running out — the bill, HB423, has already been approved by the State House and has now gone to the Natural Resources Committee, where it could be discussed any day. Please help stop this Bill – if passed, hunters will be allowed to train their dogs using caged live raccoons. Every minute in confinement is already a terrifying eternity for them. In addition, they are flung high into trees or hauled across fields and bodies of water as frantic dogs give chase. They must repeatedly endure this hellish ordeal, often for hours on end, and many are badly injured or killed during the trials. Survivors risk developing chronic and contagious stress-induced disorders, which are also often fatal.
URGENT ACTION! Please contact the members of the Natural Resources Committee and urge them to oppose HB 423.
Send an email (one to all is fine) today to: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently stripped wolves of their Endangered Species Act protections in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes. As a result, these states have opened trophy hunting and trapping seasons, and thousands of wolves have been mercilessly slaughtered.
The FWS has also proposed removing protections for wolves in the rest of the lower 48 states, which would lead to even more killing. Thanks to feedback from nearly A MILLION citizens and a host of conservation biologists, the FWS recently convened a new panel of experts to revisit the issue. This new panel found that the FWS relied upon ONE SINGLE — faulty — paper in deciding to remove federal protections from wolves.
A new comment period is open and the FWS needs to hear from you before March 27. After a previous such comment period in Michigan, 10,000 pro-wolf comments were deliberately deleted; we trust that this will not happen with the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. (Sample letter/email below, but personalizing it is always a good idea!)
Dear Secretary Jewell,
I value wolves and I want to see them protected by the Endangered Species Act. Without these federal safeguards, wolves are pitted against an unfair arsenal of traps, snares, baits, hounds, and shooters who kill them from low-flying aircraft. Killing wolves puts their family packs in disarray and leaves young pups to starve.
Most Americans love wolves, and wolf-watching tourists spend millions of dollars to see them in places like Yellowstone National Park. After receiving pressure from the livestock industry and extreme groups, the government has given up on wolves and literally put them in the crosshairs before they could recover to most of their historic range. It’s quite simple: wolf populations are still recovering, and the best available science does not support their removal from the protections afforded to them by the Endangered Species Act. Please provide adequate protections for this iconic and beautiful species.
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Your action can save a lot of lives. And a lot of suffering. Wolves are seldom killed instantly with a single clean shot. Remember hunters who shoot anything that moves; remember bowhunters and traps. Please give up 15 minutes for this. Don’t put it off.
Action alerts, news, tips, stories, and resources for Animal Advocates in the NW