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Senate Votes Tomorrow on Wildlife Refuge Hunting Bill

I’m reposting this from a month ago, because the Senate votes on it tomorrow. It already passed the House.

The House of Representatives voted last month 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 issuebut 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 Senate Joint Resolution 18:

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

Finally: A Study Will Examine Whether Animal Testing Even Works

The same week The Seattle Times reported that a macaque monkey at the UW died of thirst, The Baltimore Sun offered some hopeful news:  Johns Hopkins, which runs the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, is now going to compare standard animal tests with more modern scientific methods that use human cells or computer models.

I used to think the end of animal testing — or, at least, most animal testing — was a no-brainer. It’s not emotionally tied to food, and people can surely understand that more accurate non-animal alternatives are better than inhumane treatment of animals.

But the propaganda is effective. Many people believe humans will die if animal testing stops, despite much evidence to the contrary — some of it self-evident.

How valuable do you think smoking tests on animals are? Do we not know the ill health effects of cigarettes? Yet the tests continue.

How about emotionally wrenching tests at the University of Wisconsin that showed monkeys prefer love to food? They’re at it again.

In an excellent report that gives a comprehensive outline of the issue, Meredith Cohn at The Baltimore Sun writes: “Many hope to decrease the number of drugs that show promise in animal testing but fail to prove safe and effective in human trials, failures that are costly and disappointing to pharmaceutical companies and researchers as well as to patients hoping for better therapies and cures. A drug trial for a promising Alzheimer’s drug failed in a large trials last year, for example.”

In 2015, more than 767,600 animals were used in research, Cohn reported. That’s according to data from a U.S. Department of Agriculture website that was recently taken down. That number included dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, primates and some farm animals.

It’s incredible that this hasn’t been done before, and thank heavens it’s happening now.

Next, how about someone stops the creation of these human-pig hybrids meant to carry human organs for transplant?

UW Research Monkey Dies of Thirst: Contact EVERYONE

Here’s the heartbreaking story of another research monkey dead at the UW. In a new inspection report, federal regulators say a female pigtail macaque went without water for at least two or three days, and that she was “severely dehydrated.”

Her water line had become disconnected from her cage.

Shame.

Please send letters to the editors of The Seattle Times and the UW Daily.

And contact UW President Ana Mari Cauce:
Phone: 206-543-5010
Email: pres@uw.edu

And ask the USDA to fine the UW’s Primate Center (WaNPC – Washington National Primate Center):

Fort Collins, CO Office
USDA/APHIS/AC
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
E-mail:acwest@aphis.usda.gov
Phone: (970) 494-7478
Fax: (970) 494-7461

New Ag-Gag in Arkansas: Let’s Stop This Thing

From the Animal Legal Defense Fund:

A proposed new Ag-Gag bill is being considered by Arkansas lawmakers, and we need your help to stop it from becoming law. Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, and industry lobbyists push Ag-Gag laws to accomplish that goal.

House Bill 1665 has already passed the Arkansas House and moved out of committee in the Senate. The law would allow factory farm employers to sue whistleblowers directly, making them vulnerable to expensive lawsuits all for trying to do the right thing. Such intimidation will effectively keep those who see animal cruelty from speaking up.  Arkansas’s version of Ag-Gag is written so broadly that it would also ban undercover investigations of virtually all private entities, including daycare centers and restaurants. This law would silence conscientious employees who wish to report wrongdoing.

Call or email the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to politely inform them that if this bill passes, you won’t be visiting the state.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: 501-682-7777

It’s incredibly important to always be calm and polite when speaking with decision makers and other officials who might influence them. Keep your call short and simple, and consider using the script below.

“Hello, my name is __________ and I’m calling to let you know that even though Arkansas is a beautiful state, I will not be visiting if HB 1665 becomes law.”

Ask State Senators to Back Breed Bill

Please find your State Senator here and ask them in a short phone call to support SB 5094, which would limit dog breed discrimination.

You can also send a written online comment here.

SB5094 would require local governments with dog breed restrictions to exempt dogs who pass a canine behavioral test, such as the AKC canine good citizen test.

The original bill overturned some breed restrictions, but that lacked support in committee. The compromise bill is at least a step forward.

Some background reading:

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.