Action Alerts

Action Alerts

Stop Namibia From Exporting Rhinos, Elephants And Other Wildlife To Cuban Zoo
Namibia has announced that it will donate wild-caught elephants and many other species of wildlife to the National Zoological Park in Cuba to fulfill a diplomatic promise made in 2009. The animals will be taken from Waterberg Plateau Park and include lion, buffalo, black and white rhinos, brown hyena, spotted hyena, Cape eland, greater kudu, leopard, cheetah, caracal, and white-backed vulture. The animals are reportedly being captured now and the first exports will take place in early October.
The capture and transport is sure to be stressful for all the animals involved. Elephants’ profound social bonds make separation from their mothers and families extremely traumatic for the babies and remaining family members, causing enormous emotional suffering. Familial ties are so strong that females remain with their mothers for life; males leave the herd at about age 14.
No matter the country, elephants do not fare well in zoos, where they endure captivity-caused diseases, including painful foot infections and crippling arthritis, that result in early deaths. The most recent science has found that elephants in zoos die decades sooner than those in the wild.

Send a polite message to the Embassy of the Republic of Namibia in Washington, DC. Remind them that wildlife should not be used as diplomatic tools.

If you are considering traveling to Namibia and this action would affect your decision, please state that in the message.


Embassy of the Republic of Namibia in the U.S.:
1605 New Hampshire Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20009
phone (202) 986-0540
fax (202) 986-0443

Put an End to Unlicensed Puppy Mills
The proposed rule to close the “sight unseen” loophole is critical to ensure that people breeding and selling dogs are doing so with oversight, and to ensure that they can no longer sell thousands of puppies online and through newspaper ads without ever being inspected. It should be required that dogs in licensed facilities receive basic care. These are reasonable and essential changes that I care about. Please close the loophole on Internet pet sellers.
In order to ensure that the USDA continues to focus on the regulating of large-scale commercial dealers that breed or sell animals as pets, I encourage you to make it clear in the new language that the definition of “dealer” not apply to nonprofit animal rescue groups, as these groups exist primarily to find homes for unwanted animals, rather than to breed or trade animals for profit.
Tell the USDA to close the loophole that allows breeders who sell puppies directly to the public via the Internet, or by phone or mail, to virtually get under the radar and who don’t have to provide even minimum standards of care for their dogs that are required to sell animals to pet stores.

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

Link of the Week


Vegan Shortcake

News of Note


Retracting a Plug for Meatless Mondays
The message seemed innocuous enough, coming as it did from the federal agency tasked with promoting sustainable agriculture and dietary health: “One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias,” read a United States Department of Agriculture interoffice newsletter published on its Web site this week, “is to participate in the ‘Meatless Monday’ initiative.”


More on Milk
Although lactose intolerance and its generalized digestive tract problems are well documented, and milk allergies are thought to affect perhaps 1 percent of the American population, the links between milk (or dairy) and such a broad range of ailments has not been well studied, at least by the medical establishment.  The stories here expose problems both with agriculture and with medicine. Once American agriculture became fixated on producing the most crops possible, regardless of the cost to land, water, air, animals and people, one of the jobs of the Department of Agriculture became figuring out how to sell all that produce.  Thus selling and therefore consuming milk and other dairy — whether it’s good for you as an individual or not — became an all-American task.


In Praise of ‘Vegan Is Love’
It roused a request from someone who rarely if ever reads my column, “You should write about this woman and her book.”  At first I thought my wife was nuts, something that was clearly evident long before this suggestion. No one cares about this, really. This is why I had to add the definition of vegan to my lead. People can barely muster empathy for the starving, war-damaged or oppressed peoples of the world, much less chickens. And if there is one thing people usually agree on, it is that they love meat — cheap McDonald’s crap to big, fat, juicy, expensive carcasses….The public image of most vegans is that they’re militant, elitist and mostly angry, something you would be if you really cared about animals, because a preponderance of evidence shows that hardly anyone does. Most say they do, but they don’t — like people telling pollsters they go to church instead of strip clubs or read instead of watching The Bachelor. Maybe people dig their pet or some cute thing they see in a movie, but cows?


Judge criticizes treatment of L.A. Zoo elephants
While harshly critical of the conditions in which elephants are housed at the Los Angeles Zoo and sharply criticizing the animals’ caretakers, a judge on Tuesday nevertheless stopped short of shutting down the exhibit and found the treatment of the zoo’s three elephants does not rise to the level of abuse.  In a 56-page opinion that expounded on appropriate elephant foot care, a male elephant’s extended period of sexual arousal and how best to interpret the animals’ head-bobbing – as a sign of distress or happiness, Segal concluded the elephants’ existence is “empty, purposeless, boring and occasionally painful,” but not abusive in violation of state law.  “This case raises the question of whether the recreational or perhaps educational needs of one intelligent mammal species outweigh the physical and emotional, if not survival, needs of another,” the judge wrote. “Existing California law does not answer that question.”


Wolf Pups Add to Oregon Packs
Two of Oregon’s four known wolf packs, the Imnaha and the Wenaha pack, have each added four pups to the mix this year, bringing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife count to approximately 37 confirmed wolves in Oregon, according to Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands. “And there’s likely more,” he says.


New vegan Arian Foster looks in great shape
Texans running back Arian Foster addressed the subject of his becoming a vegan for the first time publicly Saturday morning — not quite a month after breaking the news via Twitter — but it wasn’t a subject he cared to expound upon.  “There’s nothing to talk about in the offseason — that’s why (his July 5 tweet) got so much attention,” Foster said after the Texans’ first training camp practice. “Nobody asked what I ate last year. … It’s just the flavor of the week. You’ll forget about it in a month.”  Besides, Foster added, “There are other vegans in the NFL.”


7 Reasons Why I Became a Vegan
I am a vegan. Cue the gasps, the incredulous questions of “Why?,” “Where do you get your protein?” and “I could never give up ice cream!” and the all-around pity that comes when I make this announcement.  At this point, I’m pretty used to it. Since becoming a vegan a year and a half ago, I have learned to adapt to people looking at me like I have two heads. Now I can come back at you and say, “Yes, I am a vegan and yes, you should be one too.”


‘War Room’ Directors Making Animal Rights Documentary
The subject of D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ next project says that certain animals, including porpoises, elephants, whales and primates, deserve fundamental common law rights.  For their next project, renowned documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus – husband/wife directors of The War Room, the Oscar-nominated 1993 look at Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign — will spotlight a lawyer on a mission to gain legal personhood for nonhuman animals.


Animal Rights Advocates, Residents Square Off On Controlling Carson’s Coyote Proble
Carson’s coyote problem prompted a special meeting Wednesday to figure out what to do about the wild animals living in a marshy area set in the middle of the Carson Harbor Village Mobile Home Park, south of the 91 Freeway.

Action Alerts


Stop the Egg Products Inspection Act in the House of Representatives, H.R. 3798/S., 3239

Contact your Congressional Representative and tell them to OPPOSE the Egg Products Inspection Act of 2012. This legislation would decriminalize animal cruelty by establishing “enriched” egg farm factory cages as a national standard that could never be challenged or changed by state law or public vote.

Contact your U.S. Representative


Help Topeka Zoo’s Elephant Sunda

Tell the USDA to remove Sunda from the Topeka Zoo and send her to a natural habitat sanctuary where she can walk on soft surfaces throughout the year and have far more room for healthy, healing movement. The zoo’s medical records indicate that Sunda has a history of recurring foot disease, and the USDA has repeatedly cited the Topeka Zoo for elephant care problems, going back to 1998. The zoo currently faces formal charges by the USDA that include providing “minimally appropriate husbandry” for the elephants and failure to inspect their feet as frequently as necessary.
Sunda and her cage-mate Tembo, an African elephant, have been subjected to the inadequate conditions at the Topeka Zoo for far too long. They live in a tiny exhibit and spend the long winters standing indoors on hard flooring, which is taking its toll on their feet. Both elephants display abnormal repetitive behaviors such as swaying and rocking. The Topeka Zoo has made four appearances on IDA’s annual list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants.

Dr. Chester Gipson
Deputy Administrator
Animal Care
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
phone (301) 734-7833
fax (301) 734-4978



Coca-Cola Sponsors Rodeos

Please write to Coca-Cola and politely ask that they withdraw from the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo. Also ask that they find out what happened to all of the animals that were injured.
The following emails are all associated with the leadership of Coca-Cola. You can copy and paste them all in one email. Please be polite and respectful:,,,,,,,,,,,,

Online contact link:

Link of the Week


Open the Cages Tour

News of Note


Meat industry advertising
Non-profit organizations that advocate for animals urge us to eat less meat or forgo meat altogether at the same time as we face a constant onslaught of advertising from the meat industry urging us to eat more of their meat products. In this struggle between opposing messages, meat-oriented chain restaurants and the meat packing industry have a significant advantage in financial resources available to them.

The Milk Wars: Should Milk Be Taken Off the School-Lunch Menu?
On Thursday, a national doctors group petitioned the U.S. government to remove milk as a required food group from the National School Lunch Program, the federally assisted program that has provided lunch to millions of public school kids since 1946. The doctors’ reasoning: milk doesn’t help protect kids’ bones.


Calgary Stampede horse deaths anger animal rights activists
The debate between cowboy tradition and animal rights at the Calgary Stampede was reignited late Thursday when three horses were killed and a fourth seriously injured during a chuckwagon race at the huge annual rodeo and exhibition of Western Canadian culture  Chuckwagon racing, the marquee event of Calgary’s famous 10-day festival, is inspired by pioneering cowboys’ practice of breaking camp and racing away. The thrilling sport is a Stampede symbol but it has claimed dozens of animals over the years.


Animal Liberation Front Actions Heat Up; Will Underground Activism Make a Comeback?
As observed in this week’s feature story, the underground movement that produced the infamous 2001 arson at the University of Washington largely fell apart afterward. Its members dispersed amid squabbles and a backlash from law enforcement. But that doesn’t mean radical activism is completely dead.

Minnesota Zoo exhibit raises dolphin captivity questions
The string of dolphin deaths at the zoo has become a flashpoint for a broader debate about keeping dolphins in captivity. Zoo officials were worried about the fatalities and the public heat surrounding them, according to emails and other documents MPR News obtained through the state Data Practices Act.  Zoo officials, however, say the deaths had nothing to do with their decision to close the exhibit this fall, which they said largely has to do with the scarcity of dolphins.


St. Louis Zoo: seals probably died from stress
The St. Louis Zoo says three harbor seals that died in June while moving to the zoo from Canada likely died from stress caused by the trip. Zoo officials say in a news release that multiple factors caused the deaths but the main problem was myopathy, or muscle disease, which can develop under stress. One seal survived the trip and has joined the zoo’s seal display.

Alaska animal care standards plan draws mixed response in Fairbanks
Proposed new minimum animal care standards were met with mixed feelings during a public hearing in Fairbanks on Wednesday night.  The standards, which have been in the works since late last year, would establish the minimum levels for care of animals and give the state better tools to deal with cases of animal neglect and abuse.


Gorilla Youngsters Seen Dismantling Poachers’ Traps
Just days after a poacher’s snare had killed one of their own, two young mountain gorillas worked together Tuesday to find and destroy traps in their Rwandan forest home, according to conservationists on the scene.

Action Alerts


Tell Air China to refuse to fly monkeys destined for laboratories.

Even though nearly every major airline in the world has abandoned the disgraceful practice, Air China continues to transport hundreds of monkeys from Asia to their deaths in some of the cruelest laboratories in the United States.
Some of the monkeys are bred in captivity on cramped, squalid factory farms, while others are stolen from their homes in the wild. The traumatized monkeys are crammed into small wooden crates and transported in the dark and terrifying cargo holds of planes, often on passenger flights just below unsuspecting customers. In 2012 alone, Air China has been cited for four violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, stemming from incidents in which laboratory-bound monkeys either escaped or were injured as a result of the dangerous and inadequate enclosures that Air China used aboard its flights.
Upon arriving at laboratories, these highly intelligent and social primates are confined to small, barren cages, where many suffer from extreme boredom, loneliness, frustration, and depression. Primates used in testing are routinely infected with deadly diseases, have tubes forced down their throats so that chemicals can be pumped into their stomachs, and have their heads cut open so that devices can be implanted in their brains.
Air China’s decision to profit off the suffering of these monkeys puts the airline out of step with most leading companies in the cargo and passenger airline industry—including China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa, and British Airways—all of which have banned the transport of primates to laboratories.


Find contact information for over 30 Air China offices here:


Tell the National Institutes of Health to intervene on behalf of 15 young chimpanzees used at BIOQUAL, Inc., in Rockville, Md., and release them to a sanctuary.
Talking Points:
We request that you use the considerable influence of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to ensure that the fifteen young chimpanzees used at BIOQUAL, Inc., in Rockville, Md., are released to a sanctuary.
We request the 11 chimpanzees who were leased by NIH and housed a BIOQUAL until recently to be transferred from New Iberia Research Center, Louisiana, to Sanctuary and the four remaining chimpanzees, being housed at BIOQUAL, Inc, be transferred directly to sanctuary.
These chimpanzees, collectively known as the Rockville 15, range in age from just 2 to 7 years old and were likely born in violation of NIH’s own 1995 breeding moratorium.
Considering that they are unnecessary for human health research, as detailed in the recent Institute of Medicine report, they should be released to sanctuary where it is cheaper for you to house them, and a much better environment for these chimpanzees to live.
They must not live out their days in a laboratory that has repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act.
New Iberia is currently under investigation by the United States Department of Agriculture for an incident in which the decomposing bodies of three monkeys were found trapped in a metal chute. In addition, between 2000 and 2008, 14 infant chimpanzees died as a result of traumatic injury at New Iberia.


Dr. Francis Collins, Director,
National Institutes of Health
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Link of the Week


NARN Vegan BBQ / Picnic

News of Note



Got Milk? You Don’t Need It
Three months ago, I decided to give up dairy products as a test. Twenty-four hours later, my heartburn was gone. Never, it seems, to return. In fact, I can devour linguine puttanesca (with anchovies) and go to bed an hour later; fellow heartburn sufferers will be impressed. Perhaps equally impressive is that I mentioned this to a friend who had the same problem, tried the same approach, and had the same results. Presto! No dairy, no heartburn!


Missouri town hopes to have first U.S. horse slaughter plant
A town in Missouri is trying to be the first of several in the United States to get a new plant to slaughter horses now that Congress has overruled animal rights groups to allow the killing for the first time in five years.

San Francisco restaurant defies California’s foie gras ban
The restaurant owner, Ray Tang, and its general manager, Maureen Donegan, reasoned that the restaurant can legally ignore state law because the Presidio, now managed mostly as a national park, has remained federal property even after being decommissioned by the Army. Businesses on federal property must adhere to federal regulations, which trump state ones, they say.

Midnight egg amendment in 2012 farm bill escalates animal rights fight
Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) attempt to stop California laws that regulate egg-laying hens and foie gras has escalated an animal-rights battle.  King, in a midnight vote, got an amendment attached to the 2012 farm bill aimed at stopping a California law banning the sale of eggs harvested from hens living in tiny cages where they cannot spread their wings. It also stops another law from banning the sale of foie gras made using forced feeding.


Arian Foster, Texans RB, generates stir by going vegan
We experienced inner-core rumblings in the fantasy football world this week when Houston Texans running back Arian Foster announced to society that he’d become a vegan.

Baby Goats, Vegan Unicorns, and Meat-Eaters are Destroying the Planet!


The pork industry’s advocate in the crate debate
An undercover video of what appeared to be animal abuse sent Howard Hill into action.
An activist shot the video last year at a confinement barn near Kamrar owned by Iowa Select Farms of Iowa Falls, the largest producer of hogs in the state. It was the latest in a series of such videos of hog and hen operations, produced and distributed to the media for maximum shock effect.
Shaken by the publicity and loss of some business, Iowa Select was jarred into what Hill, its director of external operations, said became “a whole new corporate culture.”


Animal groups, marine parks release competing captivity polls
Animal-rights groups and the marine-park industry released dueling public-opinion surveys Monday that each of them said depicted national attitudes toward keeping killer whales and other marine mammals in captivity.

From Pig Farm to Pig Sanctuary: One Farmer's Story

(originally published in the Taipei Times)

Lo Hung-hsien feeds his pigs at his farm in New Taipei City

A hog farmer from New Taipei City’s Linkou District has transformed his farm into a real-life “piggy paradise” where pigs are not raised for meat, after he was struck by the woeful eyes of a piglet which was going to be slaughtered.

“Animals are our friends, not our food,” said 34-year-old Lo Hung-hsien, the owner of the pig sanctuary, who is also a vegetarianism advocate and a part-time volunteer.

In an effort to cover the huge overhead costs of managing the non-profitable ranch, Lo holds down multiple jobs, including working as a cargo driver, setting up temporary stalls at night markets and running an online business selling dumplings. Aside from his salaried jobs, Lo also squeezes in time for his advocacy work to promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet, volunteer at schools and give free speeches at the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Exhausting all his hard-earned money on raising his family and “piggy friends,” Lo said that despite all the criticism he has received for his decision to change how the farm was managed, he will still hold on to his beliefs even if it left him penniless.

Before his change of heart, Lo said that he had been a profit-driven pig farmer who inherited his family’s large-scale, lucrative farming business from his grandfather. Lo said that at the business’ peak, his farm could accommodate 500 pigs and raked in substantial revenue that was far more than he could spend.

Recalling the moment that transformed him from a moneymaking pig farmer to a vegetarian who regarded his farm animals as close companions, Lo said it was a piglet that was about to be butchered that changed his perception of pig farming. Lo said that at the time, a staff member from a slaughterhouse had gone to his farm to single out a few hogs, prompting the terrified animals to start wailing.

“Except for one piglet, which abruptly quieted down when I took it in my hands and then it looked me right in the eyes, as if saying: ‘How could you do this to me?’ That look in its eyes shattered me and kept me awake all night,” Lo said. “It was then that I resolved to convert to vegetarianism and cut off cooperation with any butcheries,” he said.

Over the past few years, only forty out of the hundreds of hogs survive, while the rest have succumbed to old age or disease, but Lo still spares no effort in attending to his pig companions. Lo starts his day at 4am each morning, driving to a number of vegetarian restaurants to collect their leftovers, which are first cooked before being fed to his treasured pets. Afterward, Lo cleans up the pigpens and washes and plays with the hogs attentively, as if they were his children.

He has also sprayed the slogan “animals are our friends, not our food” on his truck because he wants to spread the seeds of his beliefs wherever he goes.