Chai Dies in OKC, Another Elephant Lost Too Young

Chai Dies in OKC, Another Elephant Lost Too Young

tombstone_elephantsThe zookeeper who found Chai dead in her Oklahoma City cell this weekend thought she looked peaceful.

That might be the first time Chai was at peace since being taken from her mother at the age of one in Thailand. She was beaten at one location, then artificially inseminated 112 times in Seattle, where she also lost her 6-year-old daughter, Hansa, to herpes — a disease that’s ravaged young elephants in zoos for decades.

Chai also suffered from the pacing and swaying (here in Seattle) that’s indictive of the extreme trauma, stress and boredom that so many smart, social animals in captivity endure.

Zoo officials said the average life expectancy for an Asian elephant is 47. That’s in  captivity. In the wild, Chai would be in the prime of her life, as Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants point out.

Malee, a 3-year-old elephant, died of herpes in Oklahoma City last fall.

When zoo CEO Deborah Jensen bucked Seattle residents’ and the mayor’s wishes to send Chai and Bamboo to a sanctuary, and instead sent them to suffer in another zoo, she went against the wisdom of one of her predecessors and Lyn Tangen, from the Woodland Park Zoo Elephant Task Force, who wrote: “No one can seriously doubt that elephants that have 15 or more acres to roam are better off than elephants crammed into a 1 or 2 acre exhibit in a zoo…. In the 21st century, Seattle has better ways to save wild elephants and their habitats than continuing to keep Chai and Bamboo at a zoo.”

Jensen, who was a huge success in the captive-elephant-loving Association of Zoos and Aquariums,  is blessedly no longer in charge of the zoo.

Now Bamboo is alone in Oklahoma City, trying to integrate with a herd after an unsuccessful integration attempt years ago.

Take Action: Make Animal Cruelty a Federal Offense

Americans decry the dog torture and death that makes up the Chinese dog meat trade — but it’s still not a federal offense in the United States to crush, burn, suffocate, impale or otherwise subject animals to heinous cruelty.

It’s illegal to trade in video showing these activities, and the FBI is tracking animal abuse in a database that classifies such crimes as felonies — but they are not against the law at the federal level.

H.R. 2293, the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT Act), would make those things illegal.

It has just a 10 percent chance of passing, according to GovTrack.us.

Please take the time to contact your legislators, asking them to co-sponsor this imporant bill.

How Ray the Rescue Pony Came Home, and Could Help Change the Law

When a family in rural Washington found an elderly Shetland pony wandering along the road, they took him in and, if his owners weren’t found, hoped to keep him.

Because of a misguided state law, they couldn’t. He was sent to auction, where they paid a pretty penny to keep him, as Animal News Northwest recounts in the tale of Runaway Ray the Pony.

If no one had bought Ray, his fortunates would have gone the way of other stray livestock: to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered.

Fortunately, State Rep. Michelle Caldier (R-Port Orchard) sat in on the auction and tried to change the law so that animals like Ray can be adopted, if someone is willing and able, rather than auctioned.

A hearing for House Bill 2500 is scheduled for this Thursday, Jan. 28, before the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources.

Please contact bill sponsor Rep. Caldier to voice your support: (360) 786-7802 and/or michelle.caldier@leg.wa.gov.

Committee Chair Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen) is a co-sponsor, as are Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor), Tom Dent (R-Moses Lake) and Lynda Wilson (R-Vancouver).

Join us at Humane Lobby Day!

Have you heard about Humane Lobby Day? It’s one of the most important days for animals in Washington State and it’s happening on Wednesday, January 27th from 8-3.

Washington_State_Capitol_Legislative_Building

Humane Lobby Day is an opportunity for us—constituents—to speak up for animals by visiting our State legislators in Olympia and letting them know about the changes that are needed to protect animals.

Learn more and sign up here.

Humane Lobby Day is hosted by HSUS. If you have questions, please email state HSUS director Dan Paul at dpaul@humanesociety.org.

If you’re wondering if you can make a difference, the answer is yes!

Christie Legally, the HSUS Washington State Council secretary, explains, “People often worry that they don’t know anything about lobbying or the current bills.  The Lobby Day agenda includes time at the beginning of the day when we will all learn about the bills we need to support. Staff members from the HSUS and other animal welfare agencies will explain each bill and why it is important.  We will also be learning how to lobby by practicing lobbying for bills with other attendees. “

“Also, people often worry that they don’t know anyone in the animal protect movement, and therefore they hesitate to go to Lobby day alone. But I encourage folks to come to Lobby Day even if they don’t know anyone there. You will meet people who are a lot like you who are taking a stand to protect animals. You may even meet other people from your district when you attend your Lobby Day meetings together. This day will be a full, rich day of learning about animal protection and the role of our legislature to protect animals!”

Read more about the importance of attending Humane Lobby Day, and remember that January 22nd is the deadline to register, so sign up today!

Please Stop Showing Images of Birds in Captivity

2009ecard-2In honor of National Bird Day earlier this week, Born Free USA and the Avian Welfare Coalition called for websites and the public to stop sharing online videos of birds in captivity.

“While possibly entertaining to some, videos of captive parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, and others inadvertently promote the myth that birds are domesticated pets,” according to the National Bird Day site.

Birds are actually wild, intelligent animals with emotional and physical needs that cannot be met in captivity.

Laws protect blue jays, cardinals, crows and other native birds from commercial exploitation, but the pet industry allows such treatment of “pet, exotic” birds who even when bred in captivity are not domesticated and suffer terribly.

With nearly 12 percent of the 9,800 species of birds in the world facing extinction, including a third of the world’s 330 parrot species, which are among those that suffer from the illegal pet trade, it’s past time to start working to save them through activism and personal behavior.

Windows kill as many birds as cats. Learn how you can help prevent bird collisions with windows, like:

  • Keeping indoor houseplants and flowers away from windows where birds might see them and assume they’re outside
  • Installing new windows with a slight downward tilt so they do not reflect the sky and trees

Here are a host of other ways to save birds’ lives, including: