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Update on Lolita: Records Show Dolphins Scrape Her Skin, Other Issues

Only if the orca Lolita faced “grave harm” would her captors at Seaquarium in Miami be deemed in violation of the Endangered Species Act, a judge ruled earlier this summer.

Apparently the fact that the dolphins with whom Lolita shares a small tank have scraped their teeth on her skin more than 50 times in one year does not constitute such harm. That and other signs of illnesss and misery were reported this week by The Seattle Times.

Lolita, who’s also known as Tokitae and was stolen as a young whale from the waters of Penn Cove in the Pacific Northwest, is 20 feet long. The tank she shares with the dolphins is 80 feet at its widest.

The PETA Foundation said it will appeal the judge’s ruling.

Bamboo Attacked, Bitten: Time for a Sanctuary

We join the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants in calling on the Oklahoma City Zoo to have compassion for Bamboo, our beloved elephant, and retire her to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

This call follows a new report in The Seattle Times saying Bamboo has been attacked in her new home in Oklahoma City and her tail bitten so severely that it was called an “amputation.” (Thank you to the paper and to reporter Sandi Doughton for the continued coverage.)

“Our hearts go out to Bamboo who is experiencing attacks from one or more of the elephants at the Oklahoma Zoo. In a tiny zoo yard, there is no space to flee and escape from an attack. Bamboo is also suffering from serious, captivity-related foot problems and colic. Bamboo has frequently been isolated as a result of these attacks,” the Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants wrote.

Here is contact information for officials at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Please remember that they did not make the decision to keep Bamboo and Chai out of a sanctuary, but they can make the decision now to send Bamboo to one.

Cindy Batt, Chairperson — She works in the private bank division of Bank of Oklahoma. Its phone number is (405) 936-3900.

Don Kaspereit, Vice Chairperson — 12308 Kingsbrook Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73142

Sample message for phone or mail:

Hello Ms. Batt/Mr. Kaspereit, I’m calling/writing  from Seattle to ask that you send Bamboo to a sanctuary now that it’s clear she is not doing well in Oklahoma City. We know that you’ve done your best to care for her, but the compassionate thing to do at this point is to send her to a sanctuary. Zoo managers have a hard time making that decision themselves, because of the politics within the zoo industry (cite Seattle Times story from a few years ago if necessary), but you as chairperson/vice chairperson of the board can make a difference for this elephant without risking your career. I hope you will consider doing that. Bamboo has suffered enough. Thank you.

 

 

Help prevent the killing of geese in our parks!

USDA Wildlife Services has been lethally removing Canada Geese from the Puget Sound area for 14 years. Geese are rounded up from parks and gassed to death or shot.

In 2015 Wildlife Services killed 578 geese in King County and 287 on Lake Washington. Shooting has become their preferred method of killing, but they also conducted two round-ups on Lake Washington where they gassed to death geese and their goslings. The numbers for 2016 will not be available until next year.

In a report to members of the Interlocal Agreement, Wildlife Services stated that they hazed and harassed 3,892 geese in King County.  The techniques used included “working dogs, boats, paintballs, and firearms.”

In a decreasing trend, egg addling dropped to just 292 eggs.  Clearly, egg addling is not a priority.  It is obviously much easier to shoot geese or round them up and gas them instead of addling eggs to prevent their development.

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Humane solutions to mitigate conflicts with geese in urban areas exist. In addition to addling, the following are effective: landscape modifications, goose deterrent products and control techniques, automated devices to clean up goose droppings, and education and public outreach on the need to stop feeding waterfowl.

Officials often cite health concerns as a reason to justify the killings. However, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website, “Canada geese are not considered to be a significant source of any infectious disease transmittable to humans or domestic animals.”

As part of an interlocal agreement to kill geese, several cities are working together, including Bellevue, Kent, Kirkland, Mountlake Terrace, Port of Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Renton, Seattle Parks and Recreation, SeaTac, Tacoma Metro Parks, Tukwila, Woodinville, University of Washington, and Washington State Parks.

Take action:

Like the Peace for Geese Facebook page, and sign the petition on change.org.

If you live in one of these cities listed above, or have connections to UW, please contact officials directly and ask them to stop the killings and opt out of the agreement.

Tell them that killing geese creates a void in the environment, other geese quickly move in, and a new round of killing begins. This creates an endless cycle of killing. The brutal killing of thousands of geese including their newborn goslings is unacceptable. We must do a better job of sharing the earth with wildlife.

Stop Mutton Busting!

You might be thinking, “What the heck is mutton busting?”

At mutton busting events, popular at state fairs, terrified sheep are “ridden” by children in front of a screaming audience.

Sheep are gentle, highly sensitive “prey” animals who desperately try to run away from the kids, whom they see as predators. The sheep have no escape from this highly stressful event.

From September 2 to 25, the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, Washington, plans to host this cruel event in addition to traditional rodeo activities. These animals need your voice now!

Please contact the Washington State Fair Foundation and ask officials to cancel “mutton busting.”

Please call and send polite comments to:

Washington State Fair Foundation
110 Ninth Ave. S.W.
Puyallup, WA 98371
foundation@thefair.com
253-841-5105

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Please Post Comments on Plan to Expand Hunting and Fishing in Refuges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed expanding hunting and fishing in 13 wildlife refuges around the country, including in Colorado, Oklahoma and Indiana.

It would increase the killing of migratory birds, big animals or “game” and “sport” fishing.

Hunting is already allowed in more than 300 of the country’s 560 wildlife refuges — for the benefit of the 5 percent of the population that hunts.

Far more people watch birds than shoot them. And the majority of people spend tens of billions of dollars on wildlife-watching trips and equipment. Their voice — and their ability to get close to wildlife rather than watch it be eradicated by those who are tasked with conserving it — needs to be heard.

Post your public comment now so that Colorado’s Baca National Wildlife Refuge might stay free of hunting and the big animals in its Alamosa and Monte Vista refuges do not become game. The details of the government’s proposal and its comments section are here.

Enough is enough — and more than 300 refuges with hunting is plenty.

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Help Tigers on International Tiger Day

Today is International Tiger Day.

Please speak up for baby exotic animals, including tigers, who suffer at roadside zoos. Undercover investigations at roadside zoos has revealed horrible abuse. Roadside zoos are atrocious prisons for wild animals who should be free. Zoos that offer the public to have photo sessions with these dangerous animals are bad for the animals and for people.

The Humane Society of the United States is pushing for new regulations because existing regulations are not effective. We need a complete ban on the commercial use of captive wildlife, many of whom are endangered species.

Follow the link to an HSUS page where you can urge the USDA to adopt regulations completely prohibiting public handling of all big cats, bears, primates and other dangerous wild animals.

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Food Empowerment Day at Drizzle & Shine

Local vegan boutique Drizzle & Shine donates a portion of sales to a different non-profit each month. Food Empowerment Project is their non-profit for July. In addition to donating a percentage of the monthly sales total, Drizzle & Shine is hosting Food Empowerment Day at the store and will be offering 10% off all purchases with an additional 10% going to Food Empowerment Project.

Come visit and meet some of the local FEP volunteers and try some fair-trade, vegan chocolate!

Where: Drizzle & Shine, 102 15th Ave East (Capitol Hill), Seattle, WA 98112
Date: July 30th, 2016
Time: From noon to 4 pm.

Food Empowerment Day

Food Empowerment Project is an organization that is working to create a more just and sustainable world through the food choices we make. They are a fantastic organization that is creating a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, the unavailability of healthy foods in communities of color and low-income areas, and the importance of not purchasing chocolate that comes from the worst forms of child labor.

Check out their app, Chocolate List, in Google Play or in the Apple App Store. It’s a great resource to help you source companies that make vegan, slave-free chocolate.

Ask Lawmakers to Add Farmed Animals to the Animal Welfare Act

Undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals Canada is licensed under CC by 2.0

Even if you missed NARN’s letter-writing party this week, there’s still a way you can write to advocate for the billions of pigs, cows, chickens and other animals who, every single day, endure a living hell of unspeakable torture:

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966 sets minimum standards for animal care and guards against abuse. However, the more than 9 billion farmed animals that die each year and many small animals used in laboratories are excluded.

Two laws are in place for slaughter and transport, but they are full of loopholes and rarely enforced. State anti-cruelty laws also fail farmed animals by exemption, leaving the agricultural industry to self-regulate and put profits before animal stewardship.

No federal law saves farmed animals from having their testicles, tails, horns, beaks and toes cut off without anesthesia or pain management. No federal law prevents male chicks (“byproducts” of the egg industry) from being tossed onto conveyor belts and ground up alive. No federal law stops geese from being force-fed until their organs fail, or chickens from being starved so they’ll start laying eggs again, or fish from being exposed to light 24 hours a day to speed their growth. No federal law saves animals from being confined in spaces so small they can’t turn around, stretch out, extend their wings or lie down comfortably.

NARN and In Defense of Animals invite you to tell your Congressional lawmakers that farmed animals need to be included in the Animal Welfare Act. Feel free to personalize and submit the letter below to:

Dear [Lawmaker name here],

As a voter who cares deeply about animals, I’m asking for an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 54) to extend legal protections to farmed animals.

Shockingly, there are no laws in place to protect the more than nine billion farmed animals who are slaughtered in the United States every year from abuse and acts of cruelty while they are being bred and raised. Farmed animals, like pigs, fish, sheep, cows and chickens are routinely subjected to painful and barbaric procedures.

As you know, animals are confined in spaces so small they can’t turn around, stretch their limbs or extend their wings, or lie down comfortably. Without anesthesia or pain management of any kind, their testicles, tails, horns, beaks, and toes are cut off. Male chicks in the egg industry are tossed onto conveyor belts and ground up alive. Geese are force fed until their organs fail, while chickens are routinely starved to induce egg laying, and fish are exposed to light 24 hours a day to speed their growth.

Farmed animals are exempt from the AWA and from most state anti-cruelty laws, leaving the agricultural industry to self-regulate and put profits before animal stewardship. While some animals exploited for food are covered under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, no federal law regulates how farmed animals are bred and raised.

Recently proposed amendments, such as the amendment concerning captive marine mammals, have sought to address gaps in the Animal Welfare Act. Farmed animals should not and cannot continue to be left vulnerable to acts of cruelty.

Every day, billions of pigs, cows, fish, chickens, and other animals face unspeakable suffering and torture. Please stand up for their welfare and amend the AWA to include standards for the housing and treatment of farmed animals.

Thank you,

Photo: Undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals Canada is licensed under CC by 2.0

Announcing #Comments film USA tour

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Seattle Premiere, Saturday July 16 2016
Northwest Film Forum, 8:30 pm

What the heck is #Comments?

A film short kicking off a new genre: “Sketch Commenty.”

Ever been frustrated by online comment sections? This short film is for you.

#Comments, a 35-minute video, is part of a series of verbatim comments from online articles acted out as characters by musicians Eleni Vlachos and Rob Beloved of the band Beloved Binge.  The first in the series includes three articles on vegan mayo, two of which chronicle a lawsuit by corporate giant Unilever (Hellman’s) against tiny startup Hampton Creek (Just Mayo).

Eleni started the series to address the inhumanity of our online behavior in a humorous way, and named this new genre “sketch commenty.”  She wondered:  By laughing at ourselves, can we change the conversation?

At each show, two bands join the party: Audiences are invited to sit, drink, listen, and watch.

Seattle premiere: 8:30 pm Saturday, July 16, 8:30 pm – 12:00 am

Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

9:00 pm: Black Giraffe: www.facebook.com/blackgiraffemusic
9:45 pm: #Comments film (trailer): https://youtu.be/P4cgpIVLrM0
10:20 pm: Q&A with filmmaker & actors
10:30 pm: Ichi Bichi: https://www.facebook.com/Ichibichiband/

$8 goes to performing acts and space.
Event page: http://www.nwfilmforum.org/live/page/calendar/4006
Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/141049829638336/

This film premiered in Durham, NC on April 23, 2016 to a sold-out crowd who laughed during the entire performance. One man said, “I almost peed my pants.”

The new “Sketch commenty” series hit the road in June — both screening this film and making a new one recording characters from shows across the US featuring reader comments from articles about “fake” meat. Watch for the wigs!

Trailer:   https://youtu.be/P4cgpIVLrM0 
Theme song https://soundcloud.com/beloved-binge/comments-theme-song  
Press: Independent Weekly  Creative Loafing 

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Photos from the sold-out premiere, by Edward Wando

Learn more: www.youbigtalker.com/comments

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Feds Close to Delisting Grizzlies as Endangered

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The federal government believes that when the grizzly bear population hit 600 in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it had done its job. Now at 700, they’re ready to delist the bears as endangered and hand “conservation” of grizzlies over to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho — who are ready to let hunters shoot them, despite overwhelming citizen support (including at a public meeting in Bozeman) for not shooting them.

“Why rush when you’re as close as you are to your absolute minimum?” David Mattson, a grizzly researcher retired from the U.S. Geological Survey and no longer on the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team,  told The Humane Society of the United States. The bears are expanding beyond Yellowstone and Grand Teton because there’s less for them to eat in the parks — which will make them more vulnerable to hunters if they are delisted.

“Grizzly bears haven’t evolved to be hunted like game,” said Robert Wielgus of Washington State University, who cites to HSUS in the above article the negative impacts of trophy hunting in Canada and details the territory rituals of grizzlies that push females and cubs closer to humans.

Many grizzlies have learned that it’s safe to let their cubs eat near public roadways, where they’re a popular attraction in national parks. These bears will be the first to be shot for their skins, heads and claws, if they are delisted and hunted as trophies.

What’s more, many scientists believe that the grizzlies we do have now need to mix their gene pools, meaning they’d need to travel safely between national park areas.

Once found in most western states, our country’s majestic grizzly bears were once hunted to near-extiniction. The type on the California flag is extinct. Let’s not allow this to happen again.

Please let Dept. of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who’s headed home to Seattle soon, that this is not a responsible way to handle protection of our fragile grizzly population. Here’s the letter I pasted into its feedback form:

Dear Secty. Jewell, I’m a Seattleite who read with pride this spring’s UW Columns Magazine profile of you, which mentions your imminent return to the Northwest. I know you have to strike compromises, but I don’t see it as responsible to delist grizzlies in and around Yellowstone as endangered when their population is barely above what’s considered recovered. To make it in the long term, these bears need to safely reach bears to the south to mix their gene pools. They also need to continue to trust that they will not be shot if they’re near roadways, where tourists love them and the mother bears and cubs are safe from males who are switching territories. Please don’t allow your legacy to include setting the stage for the decline of grizzlies, after all this country has done to bring them back from the brink of extinction. Thank you!