Save animals and help the planet

Yesterday was Earth Day, and Pasado’s Safe Haven posted an excellent article about how to help animals and the environment.

To the planet, every day is Earth Day. It’s never a bad time to make positive changes. Here’s the info from the Pasado’s post:

Washington dairy farms produce 20 million pounds of waste each day.

This waste isn’t regulated by outside agencies, and it seeps into our groundwater and enters streams directly through runoff. The dairy and meat industries’ disposal and storage methods are incredibly destructive to our environment, dangerous to human health, and damaging to domestic and wild animals.

Animals are treated horrifically on these farms.

Because animals are nothing more than a commodity on dairy and beef farms, they often spend their entire lives standing in several inches of their own waste.

Take action and help Pasado’s save countless lives!

How To Help

Please contact Governor Inslee and ask him to require the Department of Ecology to issue new State Waste Discharge General Permits for factory farms. Call Governor Inslee at 360.902.4111 or copy and paste the following suggested email into the Governor’s contact us form. (To make even more an impact please consider drafting a letter in your own words.)

Dear Governor Inslee,  Please direct the Washington Department of Ecology to issue a strong National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) and State Waste Discharge General Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (“CAFOs”) that do business in the State of Washington.  The current CAFO General Permit was issued in 2006 and expired July 21, 2011. No new permit has been issued. It is imperative that the Department of Ecology issue a permit that contains the following requirements: (1) universal coverage for all medium and large CAFOs; (2) mandatory surface and groundwater monitoring; and (3) implementation of best waste management practices.

I sincerely hope that you take this request seriously and act swiftly. Issuing a new CAFO General Permit will not only bring us into compliance with the law, but in addition it will:

  • Be a small step toward improved conditions for farmed animals who currently spend their entire lives in their own waste.
  • Be a significant step toward improvements in our groundwater and freshwater streams.
  • Be a significant step toward mitigating human health hazards created by the situation as it now stands.

Please act now, Governor Inslee, and help to guide our state to becoming a national leader in environmental and animal welfare policy.

The Problem

Washington Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs / Factory Farms) dispose of animal waste in ways that have devastating effects on our ground water, streams and oceans. The Department of Ecology regulates this practice through a permit system REQUIRED by the federal Clean Water Act and the Washington Water Pollution Control Act. However, the current permit system expired in 2011 and it has serious flaws, including covering only 12 of the 1183 CAFOs in Washington.

The Solution

The Department of Ecology needs to issue a new CAFO permit that contains:

  1. Required coverage for 100% of medium and large CAFOs/Factory Farms.
  2. Mandatory surface and groundwater monitoring.
  3. Implementation of the best waste management practices.

We believe the Department of Ecology is open to this; however they are well aware of the immense power of the animal agriculture industries. They need the influence of a directive from Governor Inslee in order to make this happen.

For more information, please see the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club’s summary of the environmental effects of CAFOs.

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Help polar bears

The Senate will soon be considering a dangerous bill that, if passed, will undermine years of protection for polar bears and hurt other wild animals.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014 (S. 1996) combines several radical hunting proposals into one bill. If passed, it will benefit a small group of wealthy trophy hunters who want to import polar bear trophies from Canada–despite current laws against that! The bill would also mandate that federal agencies open up millions of acres of public lands to hunting and trapping. It would also strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to protect habitat and people from lead poisoning through toxic ammunition exposure.

Act now

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Senator urge opposition for S. 1996. Look up your senator’s phone number here. You can say: “I would like you to please vote NO on S. 1996, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014.”

After making your phone call, please go to this HSUS page where you can personalize and submit the letter automatically.

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Support SB 6080 and get fishing line collected and recycled

Carelessly discarded monofilament fishing line is a serious threat to humans and wildlife. When birds and other animals get tangled in it, they risk strangulation, starvation, amputation, and death. Because it’s transparent, monofilament fishing line is also a serious risk to people who swim and dive near it.tangled fishing line

SB 6080 would require a pilot program to be implemented for the collection, recovery, and recycling of monofilament fishing line at established fishing areas, boat ramps, and other locations.

Please support SB 6080 by testifying at the hearing in favor of the bill, submitting written testimony to the committee, or both.

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. before the Senate Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee. The hearing will be in Senate Hearing Room 4, J.A. Cherberg Building on the state capitol campus in Olympia. (Here are directions and a map of the capitol campus).

How to help:

  • Attend the hearing and bring others who support this bill with you. Sign in, indicating you support the bill (pro). You don’t have to testify, but you can!
  • If you testify, please be brief. There are hearings on other bills during that committee meeting and your testimony may be limited to one or two minutes.
  • Written testimony is welcome. Provide your written testimony the committee staff when you enter the hearing room. Please bring 14 copies of your testimony so there are plenty of copies for committee members and staff.
  • If you can’t be at the hearing and you’d like to send a brief comment by email, just reference the bill name (concerning a fishing line or monofilament recycling pilot program), the bill number (SB 6080) and your name, address, and affiliation (if any). Send your comments to Adam Day at adam.day@leg.wa.gov. Mr. Day is the legislative assistant for Senator Mark Mullet, the prime sponsor of SB 6080, and he’ll give your comments to members of the Senate Energy, Environment, and Telecommunications Committee. If you’d rather contact each of the committee members directly, you can find their names listed here. You’ll find their email addresses here. Note: Your comments should be submitted by January 21, 2014.

Committee hearings are subject to change. Before attending this hearing, please confirm that its time, date, and location have not been changed. The committee’s hearing schedule is here.

Thanks to Save Washington Pets (Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation) for the info about this bill.

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Atrazine: Let’s get it banned

Every pesticide in America undergoes a re-evaluation every 15 years and fortunately 2013 is the year that Atrazine gets reviewed.

Atrazine is one of the world’s most common pesticides. It’s been in use for 50 years (over 80 million pounds of it were used on American crops last year alone) and has been called the DDT of the 21st Century. This harmful pesticide is an endocrine disruptor that can turn male frogs into females at concentrations as low as 2.5 parts per billion.Atrazine frog image

Atrazine causes cancer in laboratory mammals and developmental problems in fish. Atrazine is one of the most commonly detected pesticides in rainwater, groundwater and tapwater in the USA. It’s used on corn, sugar, sorghum, yams, rice, and even lawns.

Frogs and humans share half our DNA, so Atrazine can’t be good for humans either. That’s probably why the European Union banned the it in 2004. But the company that produces it, Syngenta, is fighting to keep Atrazine on the market in the USA.

Fortunately, Save the Frogs! is working to get Atrazine federally banned and out of production as soon as possible. They need your help.

Save the Frogs! has an online petition that you can sign to help get Atrazine banned in the USA.

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Bill Gates promotes veganism

You know veganism is going mainstream when people like former President Bill Clinton cut out meat, eggs, and dairy. Now, Bill Gates is on board, with a feature on his website called The Future of Food.

Bill Gates

Gates is primarily concerned with the environmental impact of meat eating as the developing world readies itself for economic growth. Meat production is a cruel, unsustainable industry that damages water supplies and land–and that’s what Bill Gates is trying to change.

He supports new innovations in plant-based foods and wants to reinvent the way people eat. Instead of fixing a broken system, he’s working with companies who want to turn the industry on it’s head and start a whole new model. A plant-based model.

Less land, less water, and no animal cruelty is a model that benefits everyone.

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