Action Alerts

Action Alerts

Tell USDA to Ensure the Welfare of Chickens and Turkeys at Slaughter
USDA is considering a change to its inspection system that monitors the slaughter of billions of chickens and millions of turkeys each year. The new regulation would decrease the number of inspectors on poultry slaughter lines, and allow the industry to increase its profits by speeding up the rate of slaughter. This change has the potential to seriously jeopardize the welfare of the birds being killed.
Nowhere in the 50-page notice announcing the new system is there any mention of the potential ramifications of the proposed change on the birds themselves. Fewer inspectors on the slaughter line means less opportunity for evidence of inhumane handling to be observed and stopped. Increased line speed poses a risk to bird welfare by giving workers less time to perform shackling, which can lead to an increase in painful injuries like bruises and fractures. Higher line speed also means that more birds may be inadequately stunned, resulting in an increase in birds entering the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tank where they are burned before drowning.
If the U.S. Department of Agriculture does Not hear from people, they assume no one cares how chickens and turkeys are treated. Public silence could increase animal cruelty in the slaughter plants, where birds are not even covered by the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Please go here to comment online:
Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection (Document ID FSIS-2011-0012-0903);D=FSIS-2011-0012-0903


Tell Missouri Governor to Protect Undercover Factory Farm Investigations
Missouri Senate Bill (S.B.) 631, which has reached the governor’s desk, would require that suspected abuse videotaped on factory farms be reported to law-enforcement authorities within 24 hours, making it harder for undercover investigators to collect evidence showing a pattern of systemic cruelty to animals. This bill is a desperate attempt by agriculture industry giants to prevent consumers from learning the truth about the lives and deaths of animals on factory farms. Past investigations of factory farms resulted in criminal convictions of farm managers and workers found routinely beating, sexually abusing, stomping on, kicking, and throwing animals.
Tell Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to veto S.B. 631 today that would require that suspected abuse videotaped on factory farms be reported to law-enforcement authorities within 24 hours, making it difficult for whistleblowers and undercover investigators to secure evidence of a pattern of routine.

Office of Governor Jay Nixon
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
phone (573) 751-3222
online contact –



Prosecute Man who Willfully Starved 50,000 Chickens
In the face of mounting feed costs, Andy Keung Cheung, the owner of A&L Poultry (Stanislaus County, California), abandoned his farm’s 50,000 egg-laying hens in February 2012. For at least two weeks, the chickens at his farm were denied food.
Nearly one-third of the chickens perished before Stanislaus County Animal Services was notified of this large-scale animal neglect case. With the authorization of county and state officials, a concerted effort to help the surviving chickens was spearheaded by Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, Animal Place and Farm Sanctuary.
Tell Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office to Prosecute Andy Keung Cheung for willfully starving 50,000 chickens.

Birgit Fladager
District Attorney
832 12th Street, Suite 300
Modesto, California 95354
(209) 525-5550

phone (209) 525-5582 or 525-5581
fax (209) 558-4047

Link of the Week


Rebuking the “Ethics” of Eating Meat

News of Note

We Could Be Heroes
I could go on and on about the dangers of producing and consuming too much meat:  heavy reliance  on fossil fuels and phosphorous (both in short supply); consumption of staggering amounts of antibiotics, a threat to public health; and the link (though not as strong as sugar’s) to many of the lifestyle diseases that are wreaking havoc on our health.
Here’s the thing: It’s seldom that such enormous problems have such simple solutions, but this is one that does. We can tackle climate change without inventing new cars or spending billions on mass transit or trillions on new forms of energy, though all of that is not only desirable but essential.
In the meantime, we can begin eating less meat tomorrow. That’s something any of us can do, with no technological advances.


Investing in Animals: Illegal Trade Takes Off
Killing animals for profit. It smacks of a National Geographic documentary from the 1970s. Elephants gunned down by poachers in a sad story of exploitation. But in 2012, it’s still happening.


Going vegan, family style: New vegan fare makes an animal-free diet tastier than ever
Before the television appearances and the best-selling cookbook, Roberto Martin was a typical “Top Chef” kind of guy: meat, meat and more meat.  But then Ellen DeGeneres and her partner, Portia de Rossi, both vegans, hired him to be their personal chef. Now, he rarely puts anything in his body that comes from animals.  For Martin, ethics and health concerns spurred the switch. But it probably wouldn’t have happened, he said, if the food tasted like dreck.


Who’s Pulling the Strings of the Vegan Propaganda Machine?
To the meat industry, all the bad news is just “vegan propaganda” driven by “fringe” animal advocacy groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). It’s a lazy defense — just blame it all on the animal “extremists” that are supposedly armed with large donations, and are on a mission to destroy animal agriculture by spreading lies and misinformation about all animal products and the industries behind them.


Animal Rights Protesters Arrested at Emory
Two animal rights protesters were arrested Monday afternoon at Emory after they blocked the entrance to the university with a banner and chained themselves to it. The protesters were calling for researchers to free Wenka, a chimpanzee that has been used in studies at the Yerkes Research Center.


Video Reveals Torture of Horses Trained to Win Championships
Large numbers of the famed Tennessee Walking Horses have been tortured and beaten in order to make them produce the high-stepping gait that wins championships, an ABC News investigation has found.


‘Enviropigs’ deserve a reprieve, animal rights group says
North America’s largest farm animal protection group is pleading with the University of Guelph to spare the lives of 16 “enviropigs” slated for euthanization after a company to raise the animals commercially could not be found.  Farm Sanctuary says it has already found several “loving homes” for the animals in Canada and the U.S. despite the university’s insistence that the pigs be put down.


Eyeless Shrimp and Clawless Crabs
More than two years after the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig killed 11 workers and spilled more than 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, signs of the spill’s devastating impact continue to emerge.  Scientists in Minnesota have traced oily residues and chemicals found in pelicans’ eggs in the state back to the Gulf of Mexico, concluding that the substances were petroleum compounds and chemicals like dispersants that were used to clear the spill from the surface.


In City Where Dogs Outnumber Children, Finding a Way for Coyotes to Coexist
The emergence in recent years of coyotes in the city’s parks, and sometimes in its expensive backyards and picturesque streets, has raised doubts about whether that founding legacy can survive. Will the two animal worlds — the domesticated and the wild — be able to coexist? Might they even, as many in this liberal city hope, ultimately complement each other?


Meat and Masculinity: Why American Men are Wrong
A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research has found why men don’t find a plant-based diet as manly. They found that “to the strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, all-American male, red meat is a strong, traditional, macho, bicep-flexing, All-American food” directly linked to masculinity. Eating meat alternatives and vegetables, on the other hand, was considered giving up “food they saw as strong and powerful like themselves for a food they saw as weak and wimpy.”


Vets Without Borders provides animal care to improve human welfare
Two Vancouver Island women were among a team of Veterinarians Without Borders volunteers in Guatemala this spring providing medical care, vaccinations and spaying and neutering for street dogs in the impoverished community of Todos Santos with the aim of also improving the lives of their owners in the process.

The Hearts and Minds of Animals: A Discussion with Dr. Marc Bekoff
Marc Bekoff is a former professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He’s won various research awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and has published numerous books and essays, including The Ten Trusts with Jane Goodall and The Emotional Lives of Animals. Two new works of Dr. Bekoff will appear in 2013, Ignoring nature no more: The case for compassionate conservation and Rewilding our hearts.


Elephant Underpass Reuniting Kenya Herds
The first of its kind for elephants, the underpass will ideally provide a safe corridor for the large mammals to move throughout the Mount Kenya region (map), where highways, fences, and farmlands have split elephant populations, according to Geoffrey Chege, chief conservation officer of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a Kenya-based nonprofit.

Action Alerts

Ask Harvard to End Deadly Marmoset Experiment
It is clear from Harvard Medical School’s track record on animal care that animals are not safe at its facilities, and details that have emerged about a recent marmoset’s escape and death at NEPRC are extremely troubling. I am writing to ask that you immediately end this deadly and unnecessary marmoset aging experiment and retire the remaining marmosets to sanctuary.
The marmoset who died last October escaped from his cage, was captured, and was forced into a restraint tube barely larger than his body. Then, he underwent an EchoMRI study while possibly suffering lethal injuries, and was later found dead. This experiment is extremely cruel and completely unnecessary. Aging can be studied ethically and effectively in human population studies and clinical trials instead.
Please prevent the marmosets still at risk at NEPRC from further harm by ending the deadly aging experiment and retiring the remaining marmosets to sanctuary.
Tell New England Primate Research Center to immediately end the facility’s deadly and unnecessary marmoset experiment and retire the remaining marmosets to sanctuary.


Mark Barnes, J.D., LL.M.
Interim Managing Director
New England Primate Research Center


Stop the Road to Ruin in Alaska!
Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service NOT to allow a road to tear through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Please take action now — the deadline for public comments is Friday, May 18th.
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge is one of Alaska’s most ecologically unique refuges, with lagoons, tundra and stunning mountain peaks. This incredible habitat is home to brown bears, wolverines, caribou and other wildlife.
But federal officials are under pressure to move forward with a terrible plan to slice through this special place with an expensive, unnecessary road that would devastate fragile habitat and the wildlife that lives there.


Vanessa Kaufman
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
phone 703/358-2138

Link of the Week


Summary of Washington State Legislature Animal Welfare Bills – 2012

News of Note

Beagles, kept in testing labs, get new chance at life
For the first time in their doggy lives, a group of beagles are stepping out into a world they have never known.  “They were kept in cages. They never saw the outdoors,” said Shannon Keith from the Beagle Freedom Project. “They had no enrichment in their lives like toys or quality food.”  For the past seven years the dogs have been living in animal testing labs.


USDA seeks to close loophole in animal welfare law to cover breeders who sell pets on Internet
Dog breeders who skirt animal welfare laws by selling puppies over the Internet would face tighter scrutiny under a rule change proposed Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The change would subject dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies electronically, by mail or over the phone to the same oversight faced by wholesale dealers as part of the Animal Welfare Act.


Exotic animal farm in Zanesville, Ohio, is in trouble again
The Zanesville, Ohio, farm where dozens of wild animals were released from cages and then killed by law enforcement officials now faces foreclosure because the owner owes more than $14,000 in back taxes on the 70-acre property. The animals remaining from the October incident were housed and monitored at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium before being returned to the farm earlier this month.


Mysterious Mass Deaths Claim Dolphins & Pelicans
Nearly 900 dead dolphins have washed up on the beaches of northern Peru since February. Autopsies have revealed air bubbles and blood in their sinuses, indicating they suffered from “the bends,” or decompression sickness, after a panicked, rapid ascent to the ocean’s surface. If this is the case, what is spooking so many dolphins, and is that why they died?


Going Vegan: You don’t need to be wealthy to go vegan
When high-profile celebrities decide to go vegan, they cast a bright spotlight on the benefits that can come with plant-based eating, ranging from lowering your carbon footprint to improving overall health. And because we know them from other aspects of their lives, it makes it easier for us to relate to their new food choices.


Medical Firm Strikes Back at Animal Rights Group
A Los Angeles-based medical equipment supplier asked for a restraining order against an animal rights group it claims has terrorized its employees by holding protests every weekend for months at their homes and offices.  Beckman Coulter Inc. sued for an injunction and restraining order against Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, affiliated group Band of Mercy Inc., and group members.


Veganism a human right, says law grad
A Toronto law school graduate from P.E.I. is making a case for vegans to have their beliefs protected under human rights legislation.  Camille Labchuck recently made the argument before the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which has been holding hearings to define the word “creed”.

“Pink slime” label forces beef plant closures
The top U.S. producer of ammonia-treated beef that critics called “pink slime” said on Monday it will close three of its four plants after sales dropped and did not recover following recent attacks on the product.  In March, public outcry erupted over the filler for ground beef, which is made from fatty trimmings that are more susceptible to contamination than other cuts of beef. The trimmings are therefore sprayed with ammonia – more often associated with cleaning products – to remove pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli.


Baby Hawk Freed of Plastic Bag
The bird is free.  The plastic bag that had been twisted around the ankle of a baby hawk for nearly a week up in the Hawk Cam nest released its grip on early Tuesday morning. According to viewers of the Hawk Cam, when the eyas stood up at about 6:30 a.m., the bag was gone.

Action Alerts


Save Ben the Bear!
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, and two residents of Cumberland County, North Carolina appalled at the living conditions that they’ve witnessed for Ben and other animals at Jambbas Ranch in Fayetteville, North Carolina, have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture challenging its decision to renew Jambbas’ federal Animal Welfare Act license. The USDA has for years repeatedly cited Jambbas for AWA violations, including unsanitary conditions, hazardous enclosures, failure to provide adequate veterinary care, and failure to supply sufficient quantities of food and potable water. Yet the agency has continued to renew Jambbas’ license, despite the fact that the AWA clearly prohibits the licensing of a facility that is not in compliance with the Act.
Urge the USDA not to renew the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license of Jambbas Ranch in Fayetteville, N.C. due to its repeated and ongoing violations, resulting in the suffering of Ben, a solitary bear, and the other animals kept there.


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


Protect Thousands More Birds from Death in Oregon
Tell the Secretary of the Interior to direct more water to the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge (Oregon-California border) to avert more deathly disasters for birds.  More than 20,000 birds have already died in the Refuge as water levels reach dangerously low levels. The Refuge is widely considered the most important habitat for migratory waterfowl in the Lower 48, and yet the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has failed to provide adequate water to support the millions of birds arriving for spring migration. With more than two million birds forced to bunch together in the remaining wetlands, an outbreak of avian cholera has caused the massive die-off.


Ken Salazar
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street N.W.
Washington DC 20240
phone (202) 208-3100
fax (202) 208-6950stop


I am writing to urge you to direct the Bureau of Reclamation to send additional water resources to the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and avert a catastrophic disaster for migrating birds. As I write this, the Bureau has not sent adequate water, and the resulting low water levels have caused the deaths of more than 20,000 waterfowl–and that number is rising.
The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is the most important habitat for migratory waterfowl in the Lower 48. Millions of birds moving north along the Pacific Flyway rely on this Refuge to successfully complete their spring migration. Letting it dry out would break one of the most important links in a migratory chain that stretches from Alaska to Patagonia.
Clearly, the situation in the Klamath is complicated, and a number of interests compete for scarce water resources. In a dry year, all of these interests suffer. But letting the Refuge go completely dry would be an untenable disaster.
The short-term solution to this problem is for the Bureau of Reclamation to release enough water into the Refuge to support the waterfowl journeying north through spring and summer.
The recurring need to ensure water for the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge will continue until a comprehensive plan is put forward to balance all of the interests in the Klamath Basin. Until that plan becomes a reality, the Bureau needs to release enough water to get the birds by for now. Please send the water now to avoid a catastrophic disaster for this incredible natural resource.


Stop the Slaughter, Protect U.S. Turtles

Millions of wild-caught freshwater turtles are exported to Asian food and medicinal markets each year.
Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose and actively lobby to list U.S. freshwater turtles under CITES to require adequate documentation and by ensuring that trade in turtles is contingent on their survival. Export permits for species listed on Appendices I and II are issued only if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.


Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
ATTN: FWS-R9-IA-2011-0087
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., M.S. 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203
phone (703) 358-1729


The United States is a key player in the international turtle trade, exporting millions of live, wild-caught turtles each year. Most turtles harvested in the United States are exported to supply food and medicinal markets in Asia, where turtle consumption rates have soared and native turtle populations have already been drastically depleted.

Scientists warn that freshwater turtles cannot sustain any significant harvest from the wild without a population crash. Wild collection for meat and pets is a leading cause of turtle endangerment in the United States.

Listing under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species would help remedy this situation by requiring adequate documentation and by ensuring that trade in turtles is contingent on their survival. Export permits for species listed on Appendices I and II are issued only if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.

Thus I am writing to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose that the following freshwater turtle species be included in Appendix I or II:

— Alligator snapping turtle (Macroclemys temminckii)
— 13 species of map turtles (Graptemys spp.)
— Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata)
— Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
— Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

Each of these species is exported for their meat or for the pet trade, and wild collection could hurt the species. Commercial collecting of wild turtles also intensifies the effects of water pollution, road mortality, incidental take from fishery devices, and habitat loss, which are already contributing to declining turtle populations.

Please act now to stop unsustainable international trade of these native freshwater turtle species.

Link of the Week


Animal Tracker

News of Note

Animal rights group to fight big cat lawsuit
An animal rights group can join a lawsuit and fight a challenge to a Louisiana law that bars private ownership of big cats, a state district judge ruled Monday.  Judge Janice Clark said the Animal Legal Defense Fund and two Louisiana residents can be parties to a challenge brought by Michael Sandlin, who has kept a tiger for decades at his Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete.

Exotic-animal keeper’s widow can have surviving creatures back, officials say
State officials will return five surviving exotic animals to a woman whose husband released dozens of wild creatures, then committed suicide…Once the animals are returned to Thompson, nothing in Ohio law allows state officials to check on their welfare or require improvements to conditions in which they are kept, Pitchford said


Vegan confessions
If you invented a pill that offers long life, good health, and a body to be proud of, you’d make a fortune. Bottles would fly off the shelves.  Suggest a change in behavior that achieved the same result, however, and what do you get? Catcalls, derisive comments, and rude e-mails…Studies have found that a little meat is better for you than a lot, no meat is better than a little, and a vegan diet — no meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products (in others words, 90 percent of the farm economy) — is best of all. Good luck trying to sell that one. The Bad Food lobby is one of the most powerful in Washington, up there with guns and oil.


Meet Deuce Lutui, vegan
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the coach Pete Carroll dropped a bit of a dietary bombshell on Friday by proclaiming that Deuce Lutui had become a vegan…“My whole family is vegan,” he said of his wife, Puanani, and their four children. Lutui then cracked the slightest of smiles before adding, “It’s a little different from the Tonga traditional cuisine. But it’s a lot of education, really, that has kind of opened that insight for me…Added Lutui, “It’s beautiful, and it’s true. I’ve gone vegan.”

USACE employee finds vegan diet possible in Afghanistan
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important regardless of where you live, and for Cornelius Cheatham, an engineer at the Afghanistan Engineer District-South, eating well is not negotiable but wholly possible, even in Afghanistan.

Safeway grocery says moving to crate-free pork supply
Safeway Inc, the second-largest U.S. grocery chain, said on Monday it plans to stop using pork suppliers that cage pregnant sows as part of their production process, a practice animal rights groups have called inhumane.


Activists trying to save animals at testing facility in Chandler
“Animal advocates across the country are cautiously pleased that the Covance facility is shutting down,” said animal rights activist Cathy Lasusa.  The company announced restructuring in their first quarter reports, which includes shutting down the Chandler facility, saving $20 million a year.  While cutting costs was Covance’s top priority, activists say their concern now is what will happen to the hundreds of animals tested at the laboratory.

City of Strays: Detroit’s Epidemic of 50,000 Abandoned Dogs
Estimates vary, but groups place the number of strays in the city at anywhere between 20,000 and 50,000. The latter number, which would mean 350 strays per square mile, seems quite inflated; still, there’s no question the dogs are a serious problem. Detroit remains the poorest major city in the United States, and some residents who can no longer afford to take care of their dogs turn them loose, or else leave them behind when fleeing the city themselves. (Local shelters have a euthanization rate of 70 percent, so abandoning the dogs to fend for themselves might not even be, in some instances, the least humane of options.)


Atypical BSE Has Never Led To Human vCJD – But Could It?
There is good news and bad news about the “L-type” atypical mad cow phenotype, found in the nearly 11-year-old, dead dairy cow discovered two weeks ago in California…Spontaneous vCJD occurs in humans in about one in one million cases.  Dr. Michael Hansen, a Consumers Union scientist who has long tracked mad cow disease, thinks there is a possibility L-type BSE is “not necessarily a spontaneous case.”


The Vilsacks May Disagree on USDA Plan to Revamp Poultry Inspection
Tom Vilsack reportedly told the president of the American Federation of Government Employees last month that expanding HIMP was fueled by budget cuts: “He said it’s budget cuts — we have to do it,” John Gage told the Washington Post.  But consumer advocates, government employees unions, and ABC News have been extremely critical of the plan and on Wednesday Democratic congressional candidate Christie Vilsack went on the record with her concerns as well.


Staten Island pol targets cosmetic cruelty to animals
You may have to forget those facelifts for your feline and piercings for your pooch.  Saying that she was “sickened” by a TV program about cosmetic procedures for pets, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has introduced a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to subject a dog, cat or other companion animal to piercings, tattoos and unnecessary appearance-altering surgeries.


Fighting season — for animals — peaks in Afghanistan
Spring marks the start of the “fighting season” for humans involved in Afghanistan’s decade-long war — but for birds, dogs, camels and even kites it reaches its peak…Animal fighting was banned as un-Islamic under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 regime, but is once again a violent feature of daily life in Afghanistan — as is the war between Taliban insurgents and 130,000 NATO troops.  “No doubt the continuous fighting in the country has added to the violent character of the people,” says Dr Temorshah Mosamim, head of a mental health hospital in Kabul, referring to more than 30 years of war since a Soviet invasion in 1979.