Action Alerts

Action Alerts

i Feb 28th No Comments by

Take Action to get the Spay/Neuter Assistance Bill, HB 1226 Passed

To help this bill pass through committee, we need you to take action!  Here are THREE things you can do.

ONE. Please attend the hearing on March 3rd if possible. Sign in “PRO” (in favor of the bill) on the sign-in sheet. If you wish to testify, please indicate so on the sign-in sheet.  The bill number is HB 1226.

TWO.  Submit your testimony or letter of support in writing

THREE.  If you cannot attend the hearing, please send your written testimony to the committee by email. Following are the committee members’ email addresses. We suggest addressing your comments to all of the members. However, if you live in a member’s district, you may wish to address your comments specifically to your legislator. Your comments should be sent no later than March 3, 2011 to the committee. Please identify yourself by name, address, affiliation, and refer to the bill number, HB 1226.

Ruth Kagi, Chair (D) 32nd District:
Mary Helen Roberts, Vice Chair (D) 21st District:
Maureen Walsh (R) 16th District:
Mike Hope (R) 44th District:
Mary Lou Dickerson (D) 36th District:
Roger Goodman (D) 45th District:
Norm Johnson (R) 14th District:
Tina Orwall (D) 33rd District:
Jason Overstreet (R) 42nd District:

For more information & talking points, see this link

Help to Stop Sport Hound Hunting of Cougars
In 1996 Washington voters overwhelmingly passed I-655, banning the use of dogs to aid the hunting of cougars, black bear, bobcat or lynx. Included in this initiative were safeguards to allow the removal of problem cougars in an effort to protect livestock, domestic animals, private property, and ensure public safety.
However, some legislators now want to overturn the will of the voters by claiming that hound hunting is a “tool for cougar population conservation and management” and to address cougar populations that have “exceeded a community’s tolerance.”

Please make a brief, polite call to your Washington state representative and urge opposition to H.B. 1124. Look up your state legislator’s name and phone number.

After you make your calls, please fill out and submit the form here to automatically send a brief, polite email message to your Washington state representative and urge opposition to H.B. 1124. Elected officials receive a lot of email. Be sure to edit your message so it stands out.

Link of the Week

i Feb 28th No Comments by

A New World, Piece by Piece

News of Note

i Feb 28th No Comments by

Vets Recognize Animal ‘Welfare’ in Oath
In January, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published an article that announced a change in the language of the Veterinarian’s Oath to emphasize a commitment  not just to animal health  but to animal welfare. This would include the “prevention of animal suffering.”  For decades, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has upheld confinement farming practices, including veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages, and for years, strongly opposed revisions to the oath.

Board would set poultry, livestock care rules
During the past two years, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia have all passed legislation creating livestock and/or poultry advisory boards, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association of Schaumburg, Ill.  “Rather than providing real reform, agribusiness is giving the illusion of reform, when in reality it’s simply putting even more foxes in charge of the hen house,” said Paul Shapiro, a Humane Society spokesman.

New state standards board to examine treatment of farm animals
The Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission, created last year by the General Assembly, is debating the complexities of how farm animals should be treated.  For instance: is it OK to remove tails, horns and beaks without anesthesia? To confine egg-laying chickens in cages where they can’t extend their wings or sows in stalls that don’t allow them to turn around?

Animal welfare expert prods dairy producers
Temple Grandin, the autistic animal welfare expert whose life became a hit HBO biopic, thinks there are too many lame, dirty, skinny dairy cows out there.  She also thinks major dairy producers, including Dallas-based Dean Foods Co., need to step up audits of their suppliers to help reduce those “bad outcomes.”  “The dairy industry’s gotta get the lameness fixed,” said Grandin

Cut red meat to lower cancer risk
Bringing home the bacon might not be such a great idea, according to stricter new dietary advice from the British government issued Friday.  In the first new guidelines since 1998, Britain advised people to help prevent cancer by cutting down on steaks, hamburgers, sausages and other red meat. Government experts say people should eat no more than 1 pound of red meat a week, or 2.5 ounces every day, significantly less than it previously recommended.

Photographing cows or other farm scenery could land you in jail under Senate bill
Commentary: When cameras are outlawed..
Florida State Senator Jim Norman wants to protect farmers from radical animal-rights activists. But while we appreciate his intent and his efforts to bring attention to the issue, his proposed law seems a bit extreme.  Norman, has proposed a bill that would make it a first-degree felony to photograph a farm without written permission from the owner. His proposal comes in response to recent, well-publicized incidents in which activists have released photographs or videos showing alleged animal abuse on livestock operations.

Senate measure takes stand against animal fighting
Animal fighting might be “a way of life” in southern West Virginia, but it is also one that could cost participants dearly if a Senate-passed bill reaches the governor’s desk.

US researchers defend animal testing
US researchers defended animal testing, telling a small group at one of the biggest science conferences in the United States that not doing animal research would be unethical and cost human lives.

“Farm to Fridge” exposes truth about meat, dairy and egg production

Action Alerts

i Feb 22nd No Comments by

Support Washington State Proposed Shark Fin Ban
Shark finning is the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the ocean where it can take days to die what must be an agonizing death. Some sharks starve to death, others are slowly eaten by other fish, and some drown, because sharks need to keep moving to force water through their gills for oxygen.
Earlier this week, the Washington state legislature introduced a bill to ban the shark fin trade. This bill prohibits the possession of trade in shark fins, similar to the groundbreaking Hawaii law. The text of SB 5688 can be seen here.
Take action
Support the passage of a Washington State bill that prohibits the possession of trade in shark fins, similar to the groundbreaking Hawaii law.
Written testimony can be sent to the Members of the Natural Resources & Marine Waters Committee. Testimony should be addressed to Senator Kevin Ranker, chairman of the Natural Resources and Marine Waters committee. And it should be sent to ALL committee members.

Senator Kevin Ranker
Senator Debbie Regala
Senator Bob Morton
Senator Jim Hargrove
Senator Val Stevens
Senator Dan Swecker

Link of the Week

i Feb 22nd No Comments by

News of Note

i Feb 22nd No Comments by

Getting from A to Z: Why Animal Activists Should Support Incremental Reforms to Help Animals
Some animal rights activists, who call themselves “abolitionists,” argue that we shouldn’t work to improve conditions for animals. They argue that anti-slavery abolitionists did not work for “no raping of slaves,” but rather supported complete abolition, so we too should only work for a complete end of animals being abused for human purposes. One “abolitionist” recently offered a commentary on slavery by philosopher Slavoj Zizek to support this idea: “Remedies do not cure the disease, they merely prolong it. Indeed, the remedies are part of the disease. … The worst slave owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the core of the system being realized by those who suffered from it.”

Egg industry urged to act aggressively
California egg producers say their counterparts in Washington must be more aggressive in fending off a ballot measure certain to ban all cages in egg production there.  The Humane Society of the United States is one sponsor of a ballot initiative in Washington that would require egg producers to give hens enough room to turn around and extend their wings. Any eggs sold in the state would have to be produced in facilities meeting that standard.  A similar ballot measure, Proposition 2, was approved by California voters in 2008.

Animal welfare bill would limit abuse investigations
After waiting six hours to testify, animal lovers and ranchers finally squared off over a proposal to prevent non-profit organizations from investigating animal abuse cases.  And after another two hours of testimony, well past 8 p.m. Monday evening, lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee voted 12-1 to kill House Bill 1063.

Today’s Lab Rats of Obesity: Furry Couch Potatoes
Shiva belongs to a colony of monkeys who have been fattened up to help scientists study the twin human epidemics of obesity and diabetes. The overweight monkeys also test new drugs aimed at treating those conditions.  The corpulent primates serve as useful models, experts say, because they resemble humans much more than laboratory rats do, not only physiologically but in some of their feeding habits.

Good news, 20 years on, the BSE epidemic is finally over
The BSE epidemic cost us billions, and devastated the British farming industry. Now, that plague is at an end. A few days ago, in New Scientist, we described how just 17 cases were recorded worldwide in cattle last year.  So far, the human equivalent of BSE, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), has claimed 170 lives, mainly through consumption of BSE-infected beef. And because of the extraordinary incubation time of the disease, it is possible that many more cases may be waiting in the wings.

Animal-rights groups ready their cameras for Canadian seal hunt
Another showdown over baby seals is set to begin on a tiny island off the coast of Cape Breton.  The hunt for grey seals is expected to begin Monday and representatives of the Humane Society will be there to film the kill, standing the required 10 metres away as demanded by their permit from the Canadian government.

“Lone Wolf” animal rights arsonist sentenced to 5 years
An admitted arsonist known in militant animal-rights circles as “Lone Wolf” was sentenced on Friday to five years in federal prison for setting a fire that destroyed a Colorado sheepskin store.  Walter Edmund Bond pleaded guilty last November to setting the blaze that burned the Sheepskin Factory in suburban Denver to the ground on April 30, 2010.

Oklahoma panel approves program to assist retired and unwanted racehorses
The rule calls for some money from the Oklahoma Breeding Development Fund Special Account to be used to help pay for the retraining and care of Oklahoma-bred thoroughbred racehorses.  The Oklahoma Legislature still needs to approve the plan by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.  Retired and unwanted racehorses have become a serious problem in Oklahoma and other states, according to Oklahoma horse racing officials.

10 Horrifying Stories of Factory Farming Gone Wrong

Working for What's Better Towards What's Best: Our Approach to Advocacy

i Feb 17th No Comments by

After announcing our support for Initiative 1130, some activists have expressed concern that this measure, which regulates the treatment of egg-laying chickens, is inconsistent with our other campaigns (ending the use of primates and other animals at University of Washington, freeing the elephants at the Woodland Park Zoo, vegan education and outreach) and our stated position of ending the use and exploitation of all animals.

One concern raised is that this measure would promote the “humane” myth, the idea that the passage of this measure means egg-laying hens would be treated humanely, leaving the buying consumer to buy so-called “cage-free” eggs in good conscience. That is a valid point, one which we have addressed when crafting our original post of our support with the qualification, “While this initiative will take a step towards alleviating some of the suffering, it does not ensure that the hens will be treated humanely.” We also listed the kind of treatments the measure does not address that will still occur, such as de-beaking.

In addition to qualifying our support, we will not allow to go unchallenged animal industries misleading the public into thinking that the new measure, if passed, would mean humanely-treated eggs. Our activism includes education on the inherent exploitative nature of farm production, among other animal industries, in all of its forms and practices. We have always advocated that to truly treat animals in a humane and respectful way, one should practice ethical veganism, the living practice of animal rights, and we will continue to do so.

But while we educate as many people as possible about ethical veganism, allowing industries to remain as cruel as possible is in our minds not a morally defensible position. While we will always advocate for the rights inherent to all sentient beings to live a full life, to be free, to not to be used and exploited, the hard fact is that until the majority of people believe that animals shouldn’t be raised for food, fashion, research or entertainment, billions of animals each year will continue to be bred, raised in torturous conditions, made to suffer at the hands of humans, and be killed in the prime of their life under the worst of abuses without any protections whatsoever.

We see this measure as just the start, a step to end some of the worst abuses while we continue to advocate for the end of the use of animals. This will serve as a building block upon which other measures can be passed, until there is a foundation of legal precedent for other measures recognizing the rights of animals to be built upon.

Our position is calling for both the end of the abuse and use of animals. Our approach is one of animal rights pragmatism; we must always strive for what is best for sentient beings at all times. What is better now is further progress to what is best. The converse cannot be true, that what is worse now can somehow progress to what is best. To allow the worst of abuses unchallenged while we work to secure the ultimate rights of animals puts the animals through needless suffering.

We do not see as inconsistent working to ensure better treatment for, in this case, chickens, while we also advocate for their rights and freedom; we work ultimately for the animals, not ultimately for an abstraction. Animal rights, while it is the goal we all wish for the animals, is merely a means to an end, not the end itself. The end is the sentient being. In fighting for the rights of animals, the animals themselves should be the primary focus in deciding what we can achieve now.

Actions Alerts

i Feb 14th No Comments by

Call to Action:  Spay/Neuter Assistance Bill, SB 5151
please take FIVE minutes to call and email your senator now.

Homelessness is the single leading cause of death for healthy cats and dogs in the United States. About five million animals are killed in our country’s shelters each year. In Washington State, tens of thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized in Washington shelters each year.

The purpose of Washington’s spay/neuter assistance legislation is to provide funding to assist low-income owners of cats and dogs to obtain affordable spay/neuter surgeries, and to provide for spay/neuter surgeries on feral and free-roaming cats.

We need YOUR help.  Here are three things YOU can do NOW:

1.  Spread the word about the bill. Tell your friends and associates who care about companion animal welfare; ask your veterinarian to get behind this effort.  Post and distribute flyers at community locations, at community events; and ask retail stores, pet product stores, clinics, and other establishments to support the bill and have flyers on hand to give customers and clients.  Sign up, and ask other people to sign up for our newsletter.

Send an email and follow it up with a brief telephone call to your state senator’s office.  Send your message ONLY to your state senator please. It’s quick and easy to call your state senator!  Just call your senator’s office, and speak briefly with his or her legislative assistant or leave a message. Tell them your name, that you’re a constituent, and that you support SB 5151, the spay/neuter bill.  Then request that your senator contact Senator Pridemore immediately and ask that a hearing be scheduled on SB 5151 in the Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee

2. Become a spay/neuter bill advocate in your legislative district. We would like to have at least 50 people in each of Washington’s 49 legislative districts become spay/neuter bill advocates.  We need advocates to sign up now!  Get the details here.

Ask the University of Washington to End the Use of Ferrets in its Pediatrics Residency Program

Please take a minute to ask University of Washington School of Medicine dean Paul G. Ramsey, M.D., to replace the use of ferrets in the school’s pediatrics residency program with validated human-based training methods. We have provided text for you, but if you decide to write your own message, please be polite and encouraging. Here are some talking points:
1. Please replace the use of animals in UW’s pediatrics residency.
2. Anatomical and physiological differences between ferrets and humans render this type of training suboptimal.
3. UW is part of a shrinking minority of pediatrics residencies (less than 15 percent) that still use live animals for training.
4. High-fidelity simulators such as Laerdal’s SimNewB and Gaumard’s Premie HAL accurately replicate the airway of a premature newborn and allow for data collection.
5. UW already has a state-of-the-art simulation center that can easily provide nonanimal training methods.

Support Washington State Proposed Shark Fin Ban
Take action to support the passage of a Washington State bill that prohibits the possession of trade in shark fins, similar to the groundbreaking Hawaii law. Text of SB 5688.
Written testimony can be sent to the Members of the Natural Resources & Marine Waters Committee. Testimony should be addressed to Senator Kevin Ranker, chairman of the Natural Resources and Marine Waters committee. And it should be sent to ALL committee members.

Senator Kevin Ranker
Senator Debbie Regala
Senator Bob Morton
Senator Jim Hargrove
Senator Val Stevens
Senator Dan Swecker
For more  info, see this link

Link of the Week

i Feb 13th No Comments by

Green Vegans

News of Note

i Feb 13th No Comments by

Group faults UW use of ferrets in medical training
A national physicians group has filed a federal complaint against the University of Washington, saying its use of ferrets to train medical residents in emergency procedures on babies and children violates a federal animal-welfare law.

Growing number of farm animals spawn new diseases
A growing number of livestock, such as cows and pigs, are fuelling new animal epidemics worldwide and posing more severe problems in developing countries as it threatens their food security, according to a report released on Friday.
Why Aren’t More Blacks Advocates For Animal Rights?
But for many African Americans, who continue to struggle immensely to prove their own humanity, there is a sentiment that the suffering of animals evokes more empathy from white folks than does the suffering of black people. Moreover, the history of oppression that our ancestors faced has been hijacked to promote an agenda, which seems to reinforce the notion of just how trivial our humanity remains to the rest of society.

Oprah Takes on Veganism, Harpo Studios Institutes Meatless Mondays
With guests Kathy Freston and Michael Pollan, Oprah dedicated her full show yesterday to veganism and meat production. She and her staffers went vegan for a week, some of them have decided to continue the diet (or go “veganish”) even after the challenge was over, Veganist author Freston took people shopping for vegan groceries and showed up in their homes to offer cooking advice, and Lisa Ling visited a slaughterhouse to see where meat really comes from.

The Real Vegan Challenge Won’t Be Televised
It’s been said that “As Oprah goes… so goes the nation.” And in case you missed it, last week Oprah, and almost 400 of her staff, went vegan. Last Tuesday’s show documented her “vegan challenge,” and a segment of the broadcast focused on a slaughterhouse run by Cargill. Journalist Lisa Ling was allowed a polished guided tour inside, and filmed cows being processed for food.

Kathy Freston, a vegan on a jet-fuelled mission
She is the Vegan Queen who presents herself as Everywoman – in other words normal, not cultish – a gradual convert to the plant-based, no-animal-protein diet whose latest book, Veganist, Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World, vaulted to No. 1 on Amazon last week, days after its release and a segment on Oprah.

State voters may be asked to decide fate of caged chickens
Chickens are descended from the junglefowl and in captivity have a lifespan about 60 months to 120 months. In a large-scale egg operation, the lifespan of a laying chicken — one specially bred to produce the most eggs over a short period — is about 22 months to 25.5 months.  The hens, depleted from intensive laying, are killed to make processed food or animal feed. Most males from egg laying stock (about 320 million annually in the United States) don’t make it beyond the fuzzy chick stage because they are killed as soon as their gender is determined.

F.D.A and Dairy Industry Spar Over Testing of Milk
Each year, federal inspectors find illegal levels of antibiotics in hundreds of older dairy cows bound for the slaughterhouse. Concerned that those antibiotics might also be contaminating the milk Americans drink, the Food and Drug Administration intended to begin tests this month on the milk from farms that had repeatedly sold cows tainted by drug residue.  But the testing plan met with fierce protest from the dairy industry, which said that it could force farmers to needlessly dump millions of gallons of milk while they waited for test results

Terrorism act muzzles animal rights movement
In 2006, six animal activists of the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were convicted of terrorism under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act and sent to federal prisons across the United States.  Did they kill anybody? No. Did they cause physical harm to anybody? No.  What they did was apparently more dangerous:  they caused a significant loss of profits to a powerful laboratory at which nonhuman animals are subjected to horrific experiments which test household products, pharmaceuticals, foods, and other products.

UK soccer stadium bans sale of red meat
Director Dale Vince, owner of Forest Green Rovers, (a soccer team in the Blue Square Premier league in the UK), has banned the sale of burgers, sausages and cottage pies at the stadium.  The ban had previously only applied to the meals served the players and staff, but will now extend to concession stands for those attending matches at the team’s 5,200-capacity New Lawn Stadium in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Whole Foods implements new animal-welfare rating system
The five-step rating system, enacted in coordination with the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, uses a tiered system starting at step 1 (animals aren’t kept in cages, crates or crowded) to the highest tier, where animals spend their entire lives on the same farm. Color-coded tags will let shoppers know how various products are rated.

Wild salmon sea lice linked to B.C. fish farms
Young sockeye salmon from B.C.’s Fraser watershed are infected with higher levels of sea lice after swimming past salmon farms, a new study has found.  And those salmon carry an “order of magnitude more” of the parasites than salmon that don’t swim past salmon farms, said a study published in PloS One this week.

Mo. House panel backs proposal placing a right to raise livestock in Mo. Constitution
A Missouri House committee has endorsed a proposal to place the right to raise livestock in the state Constitution.  The proposal would declare a right to “raise livestock in a humane manner without the state imposing an undue economic burden on animal owners.” If passed by the House and Senate, the proposed constitutional amendment would be submitted to Missouri voters, likely in November 2012.

North Dakota Considers Bill Allowing Police, Vets to Seize Animals
Legislators in North Dakota have introduced a bill that would allow police and veterinarians to seize animals they believe are being treated inhumanely. A public hearing on the measure is set for Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.  As introduced, Senate Bill 2365 would grant a law enforcement officer or licensed veterinarian the right to take custody and control of an animal if there is “reasonable cause to believe” that the animal has been subjected to activity prohibited by state laws pertaining to the humane treatment of animals.