Tell REI We See What It’s Doing to Horses & Mules at the Grand Canyon

Tell REI We See What It’s Doing to Horses & Mules at the Grand Canyon

i Jun 16th No Comments by

The Stop Animal Violence Foundation posted an account on Facebook this week of animal mistreatment at Havasupai in the Grand Canyon by outfitters including REI.

Some quotes from it:

  • “One horse in particular appeared to be limping right away as I saw him reach the Hilltop, and he had trouble walking. This beautiful horse appeared to be favoring his leg or limping on it. I saw a female wrangler throw an cooler on him labeled ‘REI.’ He screamed out, rocked forward like he didn’t have good balance and then lifted his left foot up. She then threw another REI cooler on him.”
  • “One smaller mule did not want to be packed, the wrangler yanked and yanked on him, yelling at him, until he came over and folllowed her. He was loaded with REI gear as well.”
  • “The worst sores I observed were on a mule that was carrying Four Seasons gear, I know this because I watched the wrangler unpack them, and then a Four Seasons guide come and pick the action packers and all of the other gear up. I have pictures of the sores on this mule.”

The photos, including of open sores and saddle sores, are posted on Facebook. The witness called some of the outfitters and was told they don’t use pack animals.

Please visit the Facebook page, which includes links to more information about the horses and mules, and follow up with emails to the Havasupai Tribal Council, REI and other outfitters insisting that wranglers stop running them, tied together or not, up and down the canyon. And, for heavens sake, stop packing them with cooler and propane tanks.

There’s also this petition and a list of other actions that can help.

REI CEO Jerry Stritzke: jerrystritzke@rei.com

REI Chief Information Officer Julie Averill: julieaverill@rei.com

REI Head of Communications Alex Thompson: alexthompson@rei.com

Sample email:

Subject: Photos of REI pack animals at the Grand Canyon

Dear REI,

I was dismayed to read an eyewitness account of REI coolers and propane canisters being slung on already hurting pack animals at Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. I understand that some outfitters deny they use such animals — but there are photos with this post. It’s a shock to see REI’s name and services associated with this sort of treatment of horses and mules.

Thank you,

Xyz in Seattle or in Washingon State

Tell USDA to Fine WSU for Deaths of Grizzlies Used in Research

i Jun 13th No Comments by
Photo: Washington Deptartment of Fish & Wildlife

Photo: Washington Deptartment of Fish & Wildlife

We know mice, rats, pigs, cats and dogs are research subjects. Even primates, our closest relatives, are subject to the horrors of our research labs. And, of course, orcas are subject to research work at theme parks.

But grizzlies? Who knew Washington State University kept grizzly bears in captivity for research? Turns out that at least 15 grizzlies have died in the past six years under the “care” of WSU research labs, according to public records obtained by The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.

Five were put down for experiments that required body-tissue samples. Four were euthanized as cubs to control the number of bears in captivity. At least two died because of human error, and the deaths of other animals have raised questions about WSU’s treatment of research animals,” reporter Chad Sokol wrote.

In 2010, two grizzly cubs had to be euthanized after nearly starving to death because they failed to go into hibernation.

In 2014, an 11-year-old bear named Mica was found dead after a tear in her uterus spilled infectious fluid into her abdomen. Mica had been given a contraceptive called megestrol acetate, which the doctor who dissected Mica wrote is “an established risk factor” for uterine infections in dogs and “may be the primary inciting factor in this bear.”

“Regardless, records show all of the center’s female bears were on a megestrol regimen a year later,” according to The Spokesman-Review.

Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now in Cincinnati is calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fine WSU for “infractions related to animal treatment, citing bear deaths and the overdosing of three bighorn sheep,” the paper reported.

Let’s support his request. Please email Dr. Robert Gibbens, director of the USDA’s western region:

Robert.M.Gibbens@aphis.usda.gov
acwest@aphis.usda.gov

Or call him at (970) 494-7478 — asking that he fine WSU for these grizzly deaths.

Sample email: Subject: Please fine WSU over grizzly deaths

Dear Dr. Gibbens,

Recent news reports that WSU has been negligent in its treatment of grizzly bears used for research — to the point 0f killing some of them — signifies a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the USDA.

While many organizations along the west coast rescue and rehabilitate bears orphaned in forest fires and otherwise in distress, WSU has apparently killed four grizzly cubs in the past four years to avoid overpopulation in the labs. What a waste of resources.

Worse still are the unnecessary and unplanned deaths of Mica, who died because of the contraceptive she’d been given, and two cubs who were euthanized in 2010 because they’d failed to go into hibernation as researchers erroneously expected.

These mistakes are unconscionable. I hope you will impose the maximum fine to let WSU know this treatment and these deaths will not be tolerated and must stop.

Thank you,

Just Say No to Backyard Flocks

We’re reposting this great article with permission from Ducks and Clucks:

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The backlash continues to grow against the urban farming trend when it comes to backyard flocks. In recent years, cities across the US have revised land use codes to permit backyard flocks. But now those same cities are seeing an increase in neighbor complaints, dumped and surrendered chickens and even rat infestations.

It’s a complex issue with emotional and political implications including social justice, personal freedom and self-sufficiency. But animal shelters and rescue groups will tell you it’s just gotten out of hand.

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating ducks and clucks for over nine years now. There hasn’t been a single day in that time when I am not at or beyond capacity. I don’t know of any reputable, safe sanctuary in the entire NW that isn’t also at capacity and constantly seeking safe homes for dumped poultry. Not one. It’s becoming a crisis and the animals are suffering.

One of the biggest problems we see when people decide to get backyard chickens is the information available is almost entirely skewed towards the positive aspects of urban flock keeping. Just look at this beautiful spread of chicken coops and accessories by Williams Sonoma:

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You know what’s missing from those professionally-photographed and beautifully-styled yuppy urban farms? A LOT. A WHOLE LOT.

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Here’s our collage of the reality of many backyard flocks. This is just a few snapshots of what happens every day with backyard flocks. Not quite as romantic and beautiful as the Williams Sonoma catalog, is it?

This collage includes aggressive ducks or roosters that bite children, infected wounds from dumped geese attacked by dogs, chicken $#!t covered in flies, an injured rescued rooster covered in lice, a raccoon bite down to the vertebrae, raccoons, bloody wing from raccoon attack, hawks, $#!t-covered deck and porch, and rats… lots of rats.

So obviously we discourage backyard flocks. You don’t rescue over 100 birds in 9 years and come out thinking backyard flocks are an awesome idea. This isn’t to say that everyone is doing it wrong. But enough people are regretting their choice to get flocks that it’s causing a big problem for shelters and sanctuaries, and way too much unnecessary suffering for the animals caught in the middle.

So here’s our list of tips to seriously consider before ever taking on the commitment of a backyard flock. But honestly? Just don’t do it.

Tip #1: Protecting urban chickens is costly but required. Chicken wire is not predator proof. Hens are extremely vulnerable to predators like hawks, eagles, raccoons and dogs. Raccoons can reach right through chicken wire to eat hens through the wire, and often work in groups. Eagles and hawks don’t pick up hens and fly away with them, they just take a piece. Roomy coops with hardware cloth on all sides, top and bottom can provide safety for urban hens.

Tip #2: Roosters may be illegal where you live. When hatching chicks, what will you do with all the male chicks? There is no local or state agency to help with animal control issues for urban flocks. Resources at local shelters are very slim and most aren’t well-equipped to house poultry or other farm animals. Two roosters will fight and injure each other. Factory farms and hatcheries routinely grind up male baby chicks while they’re still alive. It is difficult to acquire hens without taking part in the cruelty that male chicks face. Ask before you buy, “What happens to the male chicks?”

Tip #3: Hens get sick. What will you do? When a hen is sick, do you know where to go for urgent treatment? It is important to ensure that even backyard hens are free from suffering and neglect. Basic veterinary care for infections, parasites or injuries can start at $80 and run into the hundreds of dollars. Birds are much better than dogs or cats at hiding illness, so it is critical to get them care quickly. Are you prepared to ensure your birds don’t suffer?

Tip #4: Chicken feed attracts rats and chicken droppings attract flies. Cleaning and maintaining urban coops on smaller lots can be difficult and time consuming. Flies and rats bring parasites and illnesses with them that can infect hens and other household pets. Rat populations can easily get out of control and often damage homes.

Tip #5: Hens don’t lay eggs every day. Many urban farmers get hens to ensure their families have humanely-raised, fresh eggs to eat. But hens have natural cycles that change as the seasons change, and sometimes they don’t lay eggs. Laying an egg every day takes a lot of nutrients, especially calcium. Poor nutrition or poor breeding can cause many hens to be prone to reproductive cancers and other maladies like prolapse and egg binding. First-time farmers often need to be reminded that hens are not egg-laying machines and each hen is an individual. Egg-laying hens reach their peak at 18-months but can live more than 10-years.

Tip #6: Hens crow too. While generally not as loud as roosters, hens crow too. Hens cluck in the morning quite early to be let out of their predator-proof nesting areas. In the summer when days are long, the hen crows can begin at 4:15am. Neighbors will tend to think you are illegally keeping roosters if they hear crowing, and may complain. Also, some hens cluck loudly when they lay eggs. It is important to keep in mind if you have close neighbors.

Tip #7: Each hen has a unique personality. While some breeds have specific characteristics, every hen is her own chicken. While they can be charismatic, emotional and interactive, some hens will attack and injure less dominant hens, especially if space or food is limited. Other hens will eat their own eggs. Some will chase other household pets or pluck out their own feathers. They are unique individuals and don’t always get along.

In summary, because hens are easy to hatch and cheap to buy, they are often treated as disposable animals. And hens that no longer lay eggs are considered useless. But when it comes to suffering, all animals are created equal. With proper care and attention, hens can live up to 10+ years. Before becoming responsible for the care and happiness of any living being, do all the research you can, and be wary of anyone who makes urban chicken coops seem simple and easy. It is a years-long commitment with daily, required care.

P.S. If you still still STILL think a backyard flock is for you, ADOPT! Please adopt. Do not buy or hatch while so many healthy, beautiful, loving, friendly birds languish in shelters.

16,000 Cormorants Flee Nests After Government Slaughter

i Jun 4th No Comments by
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Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Following the government’s slaughter of cormorants on East Sand Island in Oregon, 16,000 additional cormorants have abandoned their nests — a horror for the animals and their eggs as well as a biological catastrophe.

Absurdly, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is blaming eagles.

“Bald eagles are known to significantly startle and disperse nesting colonies,” Corps spokeswoman Amy Echols told The Daily Astorian.

Dan Roby, a researcher at Oregon State University, disagreed in the same story: “I’m pretty confident that’s not what caused the cormorants to abandon the colony. We’ve seen that number of eagles out there before. We’ve seen them killing cormorants on their nests, and it doesn’t cause that kind of abandonment.”

Federal agents shoot cormorants and oil their eggs to “protect salmon” — rather than significantly addressing human overfishing, hydroelectric damming or pollution. They reported killing 209 cormorants between May 12 and May 18, the paper reported.

Last year, Wildlife Services killed 1,707 cormorants in Oregon and oiled 5,089 nests. A permit this year allows them to kill 3,114 double crested cormorants, 93 Brandt’s cormorants and 9 Pelagic cormorants — and oil 5,247 nests,according to the Chinook Observer.

The Audubon Society of Portland and other animal organizations have tried to sue the U.S. Army Corps and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, including a new suit demanding a halt to the “management plan.”

Please email officials to let them know this program has now failed spectactularly and must be stopped:

Dave Williams, Oregon Wildlife Services State Director
david.e.williams@aphis.usda.gov

Curt Melcher, Director, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (general email)
odfw.info@state.or.us

A sample email:
Cormorant killing backfired — please stop
Dear Mssrs. Williams and Melcher,
It’s clear from the recent departure of 16,000 cormorants on East Sand Island that the program of destroying the birds and their nests has backfired. Please discontinue it before you completely topple the island’s ecosystem.
There are other ways to protect salmon populations, including preventing overfishing and mitigating pollution.
Killing cormorants is not the answer, as we’ve just learned the hard way.
Thank you,