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New Ag-Gag in Arkansas: Let’s Stop This Thing

From the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

A proposed new Ag-Gag bill is being considered by Arkansas lawmakers, and we need your help to stop it from becoming law. Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, and industry lobbyists push Ag-Gag laws to accomplish that goal.

House Bill 1665 has already passed the Arkansas House and moved out of committee in the Senate. The law would allow factory farm employers to sue whistleblowers directly, making them vulnerable to expensive lawsuits all for trying to do the right thing. Such intimidation will effectively keep those who see animal cruelty from speaking up.  Arkansas’s version of Ag-Gag is written so broadly that it would also ban undercover investigations of virtually all private entities, including daycare centers and restaurants. This law would silence conscientious employees who wish to report wrongdoing.

Call or email the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to politely inform them that if this bill passes, you won’t be visiting the state.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: 501-682-7777

It’s incredibly important to always be calm and polite when speaking with decision makers and other officials who might influence them. Keep your call short and simple, and consider using the script below.

“Hello, my name is __________ and I’m calling to let you know that even though Arkansas is a beautiful state, I will not be visiting if HB 1665 becomes law.”

Ask State Senators to Back Breed Bill

Please find your State Senator here and ask them in a short phone call to support SB 5094, which would limit dog breed discrimination.

You can also send a written online comment here.

SB5094 would require local governments with dog breed restrictions to exempt dogs who pass a canine behavioral test, such as the AKC canine good citizen test.

The original bill overturned some breed restrictions, but that lacked support in committee. The compromise bill is at least a step forward.

Some background reading:

House Votes to Turn Wildlife Refuges Into Game Farms; Time to Call Senators

Shame. The House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow the stuff of wildlife snuff films to happen in Alaska’s 16 wildlife refuges: The denning of wolf pups, the killing of hibernating bears, the spotting of grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and the trapping of grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares.

Talk about turning back the clock — and turning the refuges into “game farms,” as retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer put it.

Top scientists had backed a ban on those practices last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying such killing would not increase moose and caribou numbers.

Don Young, the Alaskan representative who proposed this unsound legislation, said on the House floor that he has killed wolves in their dens. Bizarrely, he also argued that denning and hunting from the air don’t occur. Hmmm.

And he called it a states rights issue — but these are federal refuges.

Five Democrats voted with the Republican majority: Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Ten Republicans opposed the killing, including Dave Reichert of Washington. Here’s his number, if you’d like to thank him (it was House Joint Resolution 69): 202-225-7761.

And here are numbers for Washington’s Senators. Please ask them to block this legislation in the Senate. (Here’s a fact sheet from the Humane Society of the United States.)

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

 

URGENT: House Votes Thursday on Aerial Shooting of Grizzlies

Photo: Frank van Manen/USGS Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s time to put animals atop your agenda for calls to Congress.

Congressman Don Young of Alaska has proposed House Joint Resolution 69 to stop the repeal of a ban on aerial hunting and other cruel practices. It would restore the practice of shooting grizzlies from airplanes in the National Wildlife Refuges of Alaska.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last August finalized a rule prohibiting this cruel form of hunting.

If it passes the House, it’s likely to pass the Senate and be signed by the President.

Please call now to make sure HJRes 69 is stopped! Phone calls are most effective.

Pramila Jayapal is the representative for Seattle: 202-225-3106.

To find your rep: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Here’s a fact sheet compiled by the Humane Society of the U.S.

Photo: Frank van Manen/USGS<br />
Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Animal Activism 101: Please Join Us!

After spending my bus commute this morning listening to my neighbor talk about his backyard chickens, I was reminded how much I still have to learn about advocating for animals. We talked about factory farming and rat poison and the waste of crops grown for animal feed. I wanted so much to mention the fates that the brothers of his hens suffered, but things were going well, and I wasn’t sure how to say it without a blaming edge in my voice that would sound more like scolding than information.

Being a strong advocate for animals does not always come naturally.

If you or someone you know feels the same way, consider attending NARN’s Animal Activism 101 class on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s at 2100 24th Ave S, between Rainier Avenue and Mount Baker.

More details on our Facebook events page.

Tell Legislators Why We Need Animal Welfare Records

The USDA last week removed from its website much of the information it used to make publicly available regarding animal welfare, including inspection records for zoos, laboratories and commercial breeders.

The agency said it’s the result of a year-long review and that the action was intended to protect certain personal information, according to the Huffington Post.

“Going forward, APHIS [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] will remove from its website inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, research facility annual reports, and enforcement records that have not received final adjudication,” it said.

It’s as though the USDA forgot that it operates in a democracy that’s upheld by transparency and public records.

Here’s a list of things you can do personally to help protect animals in the wake of this decision. It’s particularly important to let legislators know that the USDA’s action needs to be reversed.

Please contact lawmakers who represent you (find Senators here and representatives here) and members of the House Committee on Agriculture.

Here are a few numbers I’ve kept handy lately:

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (for Seattle): 202-225-3106

Best Way to Stop the Dolphin Hunt: Don’t Visit Marine Parks

When dolphin hunters in Taiji, Japan, last week captured a pod of hundreds of bottlenose dolphins and separated about 80 young ones from their mothers, one mother fought frantically to stay with her baby in a video that made news around the world.

While some dolphins are caught for meat — the modern-day version of a whale-hunting tradition in Taiji — that is not where the big money is. The non-traditional driver of the hunt is dolphins sold for “entertainment.”

A dolphin sold for meat brings in hundreds of dollars. Untrained dolphins sold to marine parks garner $10,000 each, according to The Dodo. By that math, Taiji made at least $3 million from about 300 dolphins it sold alive in the late 2010 to early 2011 hunting season, and maybe $1 million on the nearly 2,000 dolphins it sold for meat.

Dolphin_slaughter_in_Taiji_Japan

Photo: VanessaNYC07 at Wikimedia Commons

To its huge credit, the Japanese Assocation of Zoos and Aquariums banned the buying and selling of dolphins from the Taiji hunt in 2015. It was a brave move, made under threat of expulsion from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, National Geographic reported.

However, that does not mean the end of suffering for dolphins, even in Japan. The marine parks could breed dolphins, like their counterparts in the United States have bred orcas and other animals. Taiji’s mayor has also said that, if hunting is banned, the city may rope off its infamous cove (site of the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove”) and breed dolphins there.

The only real way to make headway against the dolphin hunt — and captive breeding — is to stop visiting marine parks. If people are forced to look at how their own behavior leads directly to suffering, that will do more to save these beautiful, brilliant, compassionate animals than any amount of shaming of Japan.

Write to Prisoners, Including a Vegan Sent to Prison Last Week

In case you missed NARN’s letter-writing party on Sunday, it’s not too late to write letters in support of Trans Prisoner Day of Action & Solidarity (Jan. 22). Find names, addresses and more information here.

www.supportnicoleandjoseph.com

www.supportnicoleandjoseph.com

Another prisoner who could use our support is Nicole Kissane, who was sentenced last week to 21 months in federal prison after a judge accepted her non-cooperating plea agreement.

She and Joseph Buddenburg are animal advocates from California who were indicted in 2015 for alleged conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. They are charged for allegedly releasing thousands of animals from fur farms and destroying breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

You can write to Nicole here:

Nicole Kissane #20651-111
San Diego MCC
808 Union Street
San Diego, California 92101

Joseph had already been sentenced to two years in prison. Here’s his address:

Joseph Buddenberg #12746-111
FCI Victorville Medium I
P.O. BOX 3725
ADELANTO, CA 92301

For more information, visit the Support Nicole & Joseph website and Facebook page.

Join us for our next letter-writing party, which will be posted here.

Tell the Oklahoma City Council to send Bamboo to The Elephant Nature Park

Have you read the In Defense of Animals’ list of the Top 10 Worst Zoo for Elephants? Not surprisingly, Oklahoma City Zoo (OKC Zoo) took the top (i.e.: worst) slot for 2016. OKC Zoo has questionable health care, dangerous housing practices, and continues to breed elephants in a herpes virus-infected environment.

Please email the Oklahoma City Mayor and City Council asking them to stop the inhumane treatment of these endangered animals by closing the elephant exhibit and retiring the elephants to the 2,100 acre Asian habitat at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Contact:

Mayor Rick Cornett (who happens to be on the Zoo Trust Board!), (405) 297-2424,  mayor@okc.gov

Ward 1: James Greiner, (405) 297-2404, ward1@okc.gov

Ward 2: Ed ShaDid, (405) 297-2402, ward2@okc.gov

Ward 3: Larry McAtee, (405) 297-2402, ward3@okc.gov

Ward 4: Pete White, (405) 297-2402, ward4@okc.gov

Ward 5: David Greenwell, (405) 297-2569, ward5@okc.gov

Ward 6, Meg Salyer, (405) 297-2404, ward6@okc.gov

Ward 7: John Pettis, (405) 297-2569, ward7@okc.gov

Ward 8: Mark Stonecipher, 405) 297-2569, ward8@okc.gov

abused elephantBamboo and Chai were sent to OKC Zoo in 2015. Poor Chai, who you can see in this video, died within 8 months of arriving at the zoo. She died from emaciation, after rapidly losing 1,000 pounds, and from an infection in her blood, likely caused by 25 puss-filled abscesses—both conditions went untreated!

Bamboo, the last surviving elephant from Woodland Park Zoo is still languishing at OKC Zoo. She’s been attacked by the other elephants, and has sustained multiple injuries, including a gash to her trunk and a bite that amputated the end of her tail. As a result, this social creature is frequently kept isolated.

Please write a polite but firm email to the Oklahoma City Mayor and City Council asking them to stop this inhumane treatment of elephants. Tell them to allow these elephants retire to the 2,100 acre Asian habitat at the accredited Elephant Sanctuary in TN.

Rest in Peace, Tilikum. We Are Sorry. FREE Lolita/Tokitae!

Tilikum, the orca torn from his family near Iceland when he was just two years old, died yesterday at SeaWorld Orlando.

He suffered in captivity for more than 33 years, having food withheld when he did not “perform” correctly. His tank mates scraped his sides with their teeth because they, too, were hungry.

tilikumLike all orcas in captivity, Tilikum had a collapsed dorsal fin — a sign, for decades, that he was in distress. His sperm was used to create more orcas in captivity.

Tilikum was the star of the 2013 documentary, “Blackfish,” which showed the world the horror of his living conditions. SeaWorld’s profits and stock price tanked, and the company subsequently said it would stop its “Shamu” shows and stop breeding orcas in captivity.

Hopefully, the lessons from his tragic life will save orcas from future suffering.

Unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Tokitae, popularly known as Lolita, is an orca captured with four family members near Whidbey Island in 1970. She’s the only one surviving.

A judge ruled earlier this year that she will remain at the Miami Seaquarium, despite expert reports that the dolphins with whom Tokitae shares a small tank have scraped their teeth on her skin more than 50 times in one year. She often needs antibiotics and painkillers.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro decided that did not constitute “grave harm.”

And so Tokitae is not coming home, despite a detailed and feasible plan that’s in place whenever the humans with power over her life choose to free her.

healthy-orcas

Here’s Judge Ungaro’s email (I think): ursula_ungaro@flsd.uscourts.gov

And email for the Spain-based CEO of Palace Entertainment, which owns the Miami Seaquarium: feiroa@palaceentertainment.com

Sample email:

Dear Mr. Eiroa,

Tilikum’s death this week was another reminder of the graveness of Tokitae/Lolita’s incarceration in Miami.

Although Judge Ungaro decided that dolphins scraping Tokitae’s sides more than 50 times in one year did not constitute grave harm, you have the power to show compassion and send her home.

As you know, there’s a viable and detailed plan for doing just that. Just say the word, and the money will come — from Seattle and elsewhere — to free her.

Please do the right thing before it’s too late.

Thank you,

 

Photos from Blackfish