Vegan Outreach: Capitol Hill Block Party

House Votes to Turn Wildlife Refuges Into Game Farms; Time to Call Senators

Shame. The House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow the stuff of wildlife snuff films to happen in Alaska’s 16 wildlife refuges: The denning of wolf pups, the killing of hibernating bears, the spotting of grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and the trapping of grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares.

Talk about turning back the clock — and turning the refuges into “game farms,” as retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer put it.

Top scientists had backed a ban on those practices last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying such killing would not increase moose and caribou numbers.

Don Young, the Alaskan representative who proposed this unsound legislation, said on the House floor that he has killed wolves in their dens. Bizarrely, he also argued that denning and hunting from the air don’t occur. Hmmm.

And he called it a states rights issue — but these are federal refuges.

Five Democrats voted with the Republican majority: Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Ten Republicans opposed the killing, including Dave Reichert of Washington. Here’s his number, if you’d like to thank him (it was House Joint Resolution 69): 202-225-7761.

And here are numbers for Washington’s Senators. Please ask them to block this legislation in the Senate. (Here’s a fact sheet from the Humane Society of the United States.)

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

 

URGENT: House Votes Thursday on Aerial Shooting of Grizzlies

Photo: Frank van Manen/USGS Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It’s time to put animals atop your agenda for calls to Congress.

Congressman Don Young of Alaska has proposed House Joint Resolution 69 to stop the repeal of a ban on aerial hunting and other cruel practices. It would restore the practice of shooting grizzlies from airplanes in the National Wildlife Refuges of Alaska.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last August finalized a rule prohibiting this cruel form of hunting.

If it passes the House, it’s likely to pass the Senate and be signed by the President.

Please call now to make sure HJRes 69 is stopped! Phone calls are most effective.

Pramila Jayapal is the representative for Seattle: 202-225-3106.

To find your rep: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Here’s a fact sheet compiled by the Humane Society of the U.S.

Photo: Frank van Manen/USGS<br />
Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Animal Activism 101: Please Join Us!

After spending my bus commute this morning listening to my neighbor talk about his backyard chickens, I was reminded how much I still have to learn about advocating for animals. We talked about factory farming and rat poison and the waste of crops grown for animal feed. I wanted so much to mention the fates that the brothers of his hens suffered, but things were going well, and I wasn’t sure how to say it without a blaming edge in my voice that would sound more like scolding than information.

Being a strong advocate for animals does not always come naturally.

If you or someone you know feels the same way, consider attending NARN’s Animal Activism 101 class on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s at 2100 24th Ave S, between Rainier Avenue and Mount Baker.

More details on our Facebook events page.

Tell Legislators Why We Need Animal Welfare Records

The USDA last week removed from its website much of the information it used to make publicly available regarding animal welfare, including inspection records for zoos, laboratories and commercial breeders.

The agency said it’s the result of a year-long review and that the action was intended to protect certain personal information, according to the Huffington Post.

“Going forward, APHIS [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] will remove from its website inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, research facility annual reports, and enforcement records that have not received final adjudication,” it said.

It’s as though the USDA forgot that it operates in a democracy that’s upheld by transparency and public records.

Here’s a list of things you can do personally to help protect animals in the wake of this decision. It’s particularly important to let legislators know that the USDA’s action needs to be reversed.

Please contact lawmakers who represent you (find Senators here and representatives here) and members of the House Committee on Agriculture.

Here are a few numbers I’ve kept handy lately:

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (for Seattle): 202-225-3106

Best Way to Stop the Dolphin Hunt: Don’t Visit Marine Parks

When dolphin hunters in Taiji, Japan, last week captured a pod of hundreds of bottlenose dolphins and separated about 80 young ones from their mothers, one mother fought frantically to stay with her baby in a video that made news around the world.

While some dolphins are caught for meat — the modern-day version of a whale-hunting tradition in Taiji — that is not where the big money is. The non-traditional driver of the hunt is dolphins sold for “entertainment.”

A dolphin sold for meat brings in hundreds of dollars. Untrained dolphins sold to marine parks garner $10,000 each, according to The Dodo. By that math, Taiji made at least $3 million from about 300 dolphins it sold alive in the late 2010 to early 2011 hunting season, and maybe $1 million on the nearly 2,000 dolphins it sold for meat.

Dolphin_slaughter_in_Taiji_Japan

Photo: VanessaNYC07 at Wikimedia Commons

To its huge credit, the Japanese Assocation of Zoos and Aquariums banned the buying and selling of dolphins from the Taiji hunt in 2015. It was a brave move, made under threat of expulsion from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, National Geographic reported.

However, that does not mean the end of suffering for dolphins, even in Japan. The marine parks could breed dolphins, like their counterparts in the United States have bred orcas and other animals. Taiji’s mayor has also said that, if hunting is banned, the city may rope off its infamous cove (site of the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove”) and breed dolphins there.

The only real way to make headway against the dolphin hunt — and captive breeding — is to stop visiting marine parks. If people are forced to look at how their own behavior leads directly to suffering, that will do more to save these beautiful, brilliant, compassionate animals than any amount of shaming of Japan.

Write to Prisoners, Including a Vegan Sent to Prison Last Week

In case you missed NARN’s letter-writing party on Sunday, it’s not too late to write letters in support of Trans Prisoner Day of Action & Solidarity (Jan. 22). Find names, addresses and more information here.

www.supportnicoleandjoseph.com

www.supportnicoleandjoseph.com

Another prisoner who could use our support is Nicole Kissane, who was sentenced last week to 21 months in federal prison after a judge accepted her non-cooperating plea agreement.

She and Joseph Buddenburg are animal advocates from California who were indicted in 2015 for alleged conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. They are charged for allegedly releasing thousands of animals from fur farms and destroying breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

You can write to Nicole here:

Nicole Kissane #20651-111
San Diego MCC
808 Union Street
San Diego, California 92101

Joseph had already been sentenced to two years in prison. Here’s his address:

Joseph Buddenberg #12746-111
FCI Victorville Medium I
P.O. BOX 3725
ADELANTO, CA 92301

For more information, visit the Support Nicole & Joseph website and Facebook page.

Join us for our next letter-writing party, which will be posted here.

Rest in Peace, Tilikum. We Are Sorry. FREE Lolita/Tokitae!

Tilikum, the orca torn from his family near Iceland when he was just two years old, died yesterday at SeaWorld Orlando.

He suffered in captivity for more than 33 years, having food withheld when he did not “perform” correctly. His tank mates scraped his sides with their teeth because they, too, were hungry.

tilikumLike all orcas in captivity, Tilikum had a collapsed dorsal fin — a sign, for decades, that he was in distress. His sperm was used to create more orcas in captivity.

Tilikum was the star of the 2013 documentary, “Blackfish,” which showed the world the horror of his living conditions. SeaWorld’s profits and stock price tanked, and the company subsequently said it would stop its “Shamu” shows and stop breeding orcas in captivity.

Hopefully, the lessons from his tragic life will save orcas from future suffering.

Unfortunately, we are not there yet.

Tokitae, popularly known as Lolita, is an orca captured with four family members near Whidbey Island in 1970. She’s the only one surviving.

A judge ruled earlier this year that she will remain at the Miami Seaquarium, despite expert reports that the dolphins with whom Tokitae shares a small tank have scraped their teeth on her skin more than 50 times in one year. She often needs antibiotics and painkillers.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro decided that did not constitute “grave harm.”

And so Tokitae is not coming home, despite a detailed and feasible plan that’s in place whenever the humans with power over her life choose to free her.

healthy-orcas

Here’s Judge Ungaro’s email (I think): ursula_ungaro@flsd.uscourts.gov

And email for the Spain-based CEO of Palace Entertainment, which owns the Miami Seaquarium: feiroa@palaceentertainment.com

Sample email:

Dear Mr. Eiroa,

Tilikum’s death this week was another reminder of the graveness of Tokitae/Lolita’s incarceration in Miami.

Although Judge Ungaro decided that dolphins scraping Tokitae’s sides more than 50 times in one year did not constitute grave harm, you have the power to show compassion and send her home.

As you know, there’s a viable and detailed plan for doing just that. Just say the word, and the money will come — from Seattle and elsewhere — to free her.

Please do the right thing before it’s too late.

Thank you,

 

Photos from Blackfish

Canada Goose hurts animals with fur and plumage

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Photo: USEPA

Turkey butchering season has hardly passed, and already the down coat industry is warming up for an onslaught of holiday orders.

Although the vast majority of consumers say they dislike the use of fur, the company Canada Goose continues to use fur from trapped coyotes in its coats. It also fills the coats with plumage from geese that are killed for meat, in some cases having their throats slit while they’re alive.

Even the “ethical” trapping that Canada Goose brags about using allows coyotes to languish for 24 to 72 hours. In that time, mother coyotes sometimes chew through their limbs to escape. The traps also do not ensure a quick or painless end when the trapper returns.

“Humane” traps: No right way to do the wrong thing.

Despite Canada Goose’s claim that fur is the “only” choice for the hard, hard winters its customers endure, modern fabrics mean that warmer coats are available without killing animals. Synthetic materials also hold up to wet, humid weather.

Please tell Dani Reiss, CEO of Canada Goose, that it’s inhumane and completely unnecessary to use fur and plumage in his products — and that you’ll be spreading the word about the old-fashioned butchering still carried out for his company’s products.

Here’s his email: dreiss@canada-goose.com. And here’s Canada Goose’s Facebook page.

Invite Mr. Reiss to come on into the 21st century, where we can let the coyotes keep their fur, and geese their plumage — and muscles.

Tell regulators to breach Snake River dams for orcas and salmon

gorgeNow is the time to push wildlife officials to use the permission they already have from a 2002 environmental impact statement that allows them to breach four dams on the lower Snake River. Those breaches would have a tremendous positive impact on salmon and orca populations in the Northwest.

Comments on the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement are being taken now — and the Snake River is part of that system.

Please comment here, encouraging them not to wait to breach these four dams. Salmon and orca need this help now.

Here are politicians to contact as well — you can just copy and paste your comment from the EIS page — and here’s an encouraging story about the sockeye, chinook and trout already making their way back to an upper watershed following the demolition of a dam blocking the Elwha River.

Federal complaint over 38 primates dead at Everett lab and breeding facility

How much will it cost this time? SNBL USA has been slapped on the wrist for primate mistreatment before, in 2006 for a paltry $36,852 and in 2009 for an even more paltry $12,937.

Now the USDA has filed a nine-page complaint detailing the deaths of 38 primates in the company’s lab and breeding facility in Everett, north of Seattle, The Seattle Times reports. The “gravity of the violations… is great,” according to the complaint.

Incidents include:

  • Strangulation of a primate after he or she became entangled in a cable.
  • The death of a 6-week old primate who died after escaping its enclosure and becoming trapped in a fence.
  • The deaths of 25 macaque monkeys who stopped in Houston on a trip from Asia to Everett and another town in Texas. Despite people observing that the animals were thirsty, sick and/or in physical distress, they were shipped on rather than given veterinary care.
  • The deaths of six macaques during liver biopsy procedures performed by personnel that were “inadequately trained.”

That list of horrors highlights the importance of stopping research on primates and other animals, whose torment frequently produces no more useful medical information than tests that do not involve animals.

It also calls to mind the expanded animal research capabilities of the University of Washington’s new underground research lab, currently under construction.

And just to put icing on that nightmare cake, check out the photo the paper ran below the primate death story. Zoos and animal testing: Really, really outdated and cruel.

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