Tell Feds to Keep Ban on Inhumane Hunting in Alaska

Photo: Berkely Bedell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50838842@N06/6754978699/

Photo: Berkely Bedell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50838842@N06/6754978699/

A comment period is now open on a U.S. Interior Department plan to allow hunters in Alaska to:

  • Bait bears with bacon and doughnuts.
  • Use spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.
  • Hunt black bears with dogs.
  • Kill wolves and pups in their dens.
  • Use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou.

Among other things, the Associated Press and others report. It’s hard to believe these things were ever legal on wildlife preserves, but they were until 2015 — and will be again unless the Interior Department reverses course.

Alaska’s Division of Wildlife Conservation is on board, saying this would align regulations on almost 37,000 square miles of national preserves with state rules — although the Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports that the latter three practices (hunting bears with dogs, killing wolves in their dens, and shooting caribou from boats) are legal in only a small part of Alaska. If all of this rings a bell, it may be because Congress and Donald Trump last year enacted a law allowing unsportsmanlike hunting on wildlife refuges, including shooting bears and wolves from airplanes.

Here’s the link for making a comment the latest  measure. Please leave at least a short one. Silence is dangerous.

Another Petition on Olympic Game Farm: Amadeus the Tiger

Carolita McGee, who is advocating for the animals at Olympic Game Farm in western Washington to be sent to sanctuaries, has created a second petition focused on an ailing tiger, Amadeus, who was still on display while suffering and under veterinary care.

Here’s the petition related to Amadeus.

Here’s McGee’s original petition.

Animal Activist Petitions Against Olympic Game Farm: Here’s How You Can Help

SFM_4483-2When Carolita McGee was seven, her father moved their family to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

“Right away, I was drawn in by the forested backyards we had. Even though I enjoyed having friends, nothing compared to the calming & blissful feeling I would get when I was immersed by nature & her Crtrs (critters ;-)),” Carolita wrote in an email discussing her recent petition against the Olympic Game Farm on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. “It was around 10 years old that I promised nature I would take care of her & that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Formerly a pet sitter, veterinarian assistant and a worker in the pet shop industry — which she no longer supports, she now helps animals of all kinds, wild and domestic, as a volunteer. She works with local animal control officers and sometimes asks PETA for help when other avenues are exhausted.

As a pet sitter in Los Angeles, Carolita specialized in reptile care and provided basic grooming, including baths & mani/pedis for animals with feathers, scales and fur.

She adopted pets that were no longer wanted or near death, which resulted in having 31 Crtrs at one time in a large apartment with no furniture except a TV on the floor. “I slept on the floor for many years so that my pets could have the best set-up I could give them,” she wrote. They included iguanas, snakes, rodents, a rabbit, fish and a parrot she still has.

Carolita created CrtrGrl to educate people and to speak up for nature and its Crtrs using her corny sense of humor via YouTube, her website and social media including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

“People don’t want to be preached to, so I’m using a different twist to get the message across,” she wrote. “My morning ritual includes signing petitions, writing letters to our government, using social media to share and raise awareness on animal advocacy.”

She continues to work with animal control on local matters and recently started a petition against Olympic Game Farm.

How did you become aware of the Olympic Game Farm?  

My husband, Scott, and I visited the farm per a referral from one of the bed and breakfast places we were staying at nearby. We told her about our love for animals and nature, so we were very excited about this “sanctuary” she was raving about!

What kinds of animals live there, and how do do visitors see or interact with them?

We saw farm animals, camel, llama, ponies, bears, wolves, elk, zebra, bison, etc. You pay extra to pet the farm animals, and there are usually kids who enjoy that section. You can pay a dollar or two to buy a loaf of wheat bread to feed the safari animals.

You drive your car on this road that takes you to an open field of wild animals that stick their heads in your window for bread. I didn’t notice a single employee around to make sure no human or animal gets hurt.

We would often get so nervous thinking we were going to run over an animal because they have absolutely no fear of cars. Why would they? Each car is filled with junk food!

DCIM114GOPRO

We noticed a reptile house and an above-ground pool labeled “aquarium” that cost extra. We regret not checking these out, but we were already so overwhelmed with sadness and disgust about how these poor animals are exploited, we couldn’t stomach it anymore.

What are the animals’ living quarters like?

The animals in the open field have little shelter — just a few wooden beams and a roof scattered here and there. We saw two Kodiak bears in their own open area with just a metal half dome for shelter. There were no pools, nothing to climb around on, but plenty of bread being tossed at them.

A solo black bear and three wolves were housed together in a small, wire enclosure with very little to provide enrichment. These animals were pacing back and forth, showing obvious signs of boredom and frustration. This is the last section we saw before rushing out of there. Unfortunately, I became too overwhelmed.

Behind the elk, in the distance, is a small open shelters with a wooden roof top that they share.

Behind the elk, in the distance, is a small open shelter with a wooden roof top that they share.

What are they eating?

The owner said in one article that they are fed fruits, veggies, meat, grains etc. and that the bread is merely a treat, but if you’re open to the public 8+ hours, 7 days a week, offering loaves of bread to every visitor, this bread becomes their staple diet. Even as a treat, it provides no nourishment and can be harmful to these animals. Even the USDA doesn’t approve of this, but they haven’t pushed the owner to stop, which boggles my mind. (I will be posting copies of the USDA reports soon.)

What else are the animals experiencing?

Scott and I mostly witnessed much sadness with many of the animals there. In addition to the pacing, there were animals just still, staring into space. Words are not enough to describe just how absolutely sad they were. It’s gut wrenching. One bear wouldn’t take the bread being tossed at him/her, yet people wouldn’t stop tossing them as they hit his/her body.

Does the game farm charge to visit?

Yes. $14 per person.

Who owns the farm, and how have they responded to your efforts?

Robert Beebe owns the farm. I’ve written a letter to him which he never responded to.

I tried another approach with the letter in this petition. NARN comments — and the owner’s responses to criticism are in this Huffington Post article.

What can I do to help?

Thanks much for asking.

  • Please sign the petition and share it widely.
  • Please share any photos or video you have.
  • Contact local newspapers, radio and television stations and tag them in tweets and on Facebook.
  • Please contact Disney’s headquarters for infringement of the Disney name “Olympic Game Farm.” Let Disney know that you are shocked & disappointed that they would support animal neglect, abuse & cruelty.
  • Please contact Dr. Carolyn J. McKinnie, USDA’s Supervisory Veterinary Medical Officer, for this region asking her to require the owners to make improvements or send the animals to a proper sanctuary. She appears to be the veterinarian who visits the game farm.

 

A word of encouragement for all of us

I’m sure you know this already, but with the animal welfare laws being so weak, being an animal advocate can often times feel like we’re running in place to never reach the finish line. This can be quite frustrating and exhausting, but laws change due to persistence and continued courage. Every day I’m learning to be strong for these wonderful non-human beings. Each and every one of them are worth the pain that comes with the fight. I strive to live to see the day animals & their habitats are no longer slaves & exploited for human benefit. That they live to be, at the very least, respected, living wild and free.

SFM_3382

 

Photos used with permission of Carolita McGee.

Spread the word about statewide effort to save wildlife, pets from fishing lines

Bonnie Anderson and Diane Weinstein will never forget the day they found a little American coot being strangled by fishing line off a dock on a small lake in their community. One end of the line was caught under the dock and the other end was around the bird’s neck so that it could not swim away.

There have been other incidents — a grebe tangled in fishing line found along a major road, a female mallard dangling by a wing that was caught in fishing line from a tree. “We were finally able to cut the line, but she went underwater and never came up. We think she became further entangled under the water,” Bonnie said.

They’re heartbreaking stories from one community — and they are, unfortunately, not alone.

With spring comes fishing season, and that means more wildlife and pets can be entangled in fishing line.

Save Our Wildlife

Dr. John Huckabee, a veterinarian at PAWS in Lynnwood, treats animals hurt by the fishing line around Green Lake and elsewhere — even from people’s yards, where they sometimes hang ornaments with the line. Songbirds and owls get them wrapped around their necks.

“All too frequently, it causes a tourniquet effect around a leg, a toe, a foot, sometimes around wings,” Dr. Huckabee said. “The line is very strong and when, say, a gull gets it wrapped around a wing, it can cut through skin of the wing and render them flightless. They can experience tourniquet necrosis and amputation of the limb.”

He testified last year in Olympia on behalf of legislation that Bonnie and Diane spearheaded — an effort to establish a statewide monofilament fishing line recovery and recycling program.

A story that came up during testimony was of a harbor seal pup whom PAWS had rehabilitated and released with a flipper tag and a satellite transmitter to track her location. The transmitter signal disappeared following several weeks of movement throughout Puget Sound, and the pup’s whereabouts were a mystery — until a diver found the seal entangled in fishing line and drowned under the Edmonds fishing pier.

The line is transparent in water and ensnares birds, mammals, fish and reptiles. Even pets are affected, with vets having to retrieve fishing line and hooks from their stomachs.

“Carelessly discarded monofilament fishing line takes a terrible toll on wildlife,” Bonnie said. “They suffer prolonged and painful deaths when their bodies or extremities become entangled.  This often results in slow strangulation, starvation, loss of limbs or infections.

She and Diane began their project four years ago in a presentation to their homeowners association’s board of directors. They agreed to place a fishing line collection bin on the dock where the little American coot had struggled. A sign explains the need to protect wildlife and properly dispose of fishing line.

Their next step was reaching out to state officials. State Sen. Mark Mullett was interested, and they worked with him to draft the bill for which Dr. Huckabee testified. The bill didn’t make it to a vote, but Sen. Mullett got funding for the program.   At the same time Bonnie and Diane found success at city and county levels. The Department of Natural Resources also has been very helpful, they said.

By the end of 2017, fishing line collection bins were installed at 93 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) water access locations, 18 piers and ports, 25 state parks, 42 city and county parks, including 19 King County locations. Approximately 42,000 feet of monofilament fishing line has been removed from bins at the WDFW locations.

ml parks 054

Bonnie said the state of Florida pioneered this type of program, which also is in effect in 38 states.

The city of Edmonds in Washington recently installed five boxes on its deep-water fishing pier.

“We wanted to find a way to highlight the problem, and when Bonnie approached us and then provided all the plans for how to make the bins, it made it really easy for us to call attention to the fact that these plastic products people use for fishing really need to be kept out of the marine ecosystem,” said Jennifer Leach, who runs the Edmonds Beach Ranger Program.

People are putting their fishing line in the bins — along with coffee cups and Coke bottles and cigarette butts, she said.

As vegans, we don’t fish and so are not leaving fishing line in the water. But we can help by contacting our communities’ parks, piers and recreation centers to ask them to install recycling bins for fishing line. In the interim, those organizations can ask people to pick up line and put it in covered receptacles. It’s important that they be covered, so that birds will not try to use the line for nesting material.

“It has to be recycled,” Bonnie said. “If it’s put in the trash, before it is covered at landfills   wildlife can become entangled and birds can carry it off.

Bonnie designed decals explaining that putting the line in the trash isn’t the best solution.

She has requested the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to post the fishing line recycling program and bin locations on their website. This will help to promote the program and responsible disposal of fishing line.

No bottles

Call Lawmakers to Stop Bills Allowing Foie Gras, Dog Meat, and Battery-Caged Hens

Harper, Kohl and Burton, rescued and recovering from the foie gras industry. Farm Sanctuary, NY, USA. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Harper, Kohl and Burton, rescued and recovering from the foie gras industry. Farm Sanctuary, NY, USA. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Three bills in Congress would force states and localities to allow the sale of dangerous and inhumanely produced products, Compassion Over Killing pointed out.

They are HR 4879, HR 3599, and HR 2887, and here’s the damage they would do:

  • California could be forced to allow the sale of foie gras, which is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese with pipes down their throats until their liver swells and becomes diseased.
  • Georgia and other states could be compelled to allow the sale of dog meat.
  • Massachusetts could be forced to allow the sale of eggs from battery-caged hens, despite an overwhelming vote by the people of the state to prohibit the sale of these products.

The most effective action would be quick, polite calls to your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. A sample message: “I live and vote in your district/state and ask that you vocally oppose Rep. Steve King’s HR 4879 and HR 3599 and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s HR 2887. They are dangerous attacks on state and local laws that protect animals and consumers.”

Hearing Today! Please Support Low-Income Neighbors and Their Pets

There’s a hearing in Olympia today!

We’re reminded of the importance of Washington Senate Bill 6196 by Pasado’s Safe Haven:  “New and exciting legislation has been introduced that would help both low income Washington residents and their pets. Currently, there are restrictions in place for the veterinary procedures that agencies are able to provide in Washington but SB 6196 would remove these limitations. Passing SB 6196 would allow local animal care agencies, animal control, and humane societies to provide valuable veterinary services to our state’s low income pet owners.”

The effort has a Facebook page, and Pasado’s has a “take action” page.

Please take a couple minutes to help today!

Let PCC Know Climate Change Is a Vegan Issue, Too

IMG_6045

The nonprofit grocery chain PCC Community Markets, which often does a thorough job reporting on the food industry, recently published an article about food and climate change and failed to mention the role of animal agriculture.

Animals raised for food account for 39 percent of total agricultural emissions — a major contributor to greenhouse gases. Animal agriculture is also a major source of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

PCC has an online customer comment form: https://www.pccmarkets.com/contact-us/

You also can send a message to PCC’s entire board using this email address: board@pccmarkets.com.

Urgent: Speak Against Sloth Event Slated for Tomorrow (Dec. 14)

The Zoological Wildlife Conservation Center & Sloth Center is holding a “Santa Sloth” fundraiser in Olympia on Thursday, Dec. 14, at which sloths and lemurs will be used as photo props.

The event costs $40, and the Facebook event indicates about 160 will attend.

The Center itself has negative USDA reports and had a lemur die in August when it was left outside overnight and coyotes came onto the property. Indeed, they “they breed animals, sell animals into private ownership, and allow the public to handle animals on the premises. They are not accredited by GFAS,” according to ICARUS Inc.

In light of that background, perhaps it’s not surprising that the Center has not gotten the word about using wildlife as props.

Let’s each take a moment to remind them and those planning to attend the event above. Thank you!

Bear Witness for the Turkeys ~ Join Us in Enumclaw on Saturday

Thanksgiving is a time of mixed emotions for many vegans. It’s nice to share traditions and favorite vegan recipes with family and friends — but it’s a holiday that also reminds many of us of the destruction wrought by the arrival of white people on this continent and the deaths of 46 million gorgeous beings every year, birds who were born only to suffer, die and be complained about as “dry, stringy” meat on the tables of Americans.

gary larson cartoon

Next Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Seattle Farmed Animal Save will bear witness to turkeys being sold for local Thanksgiving tables. The group will gather and hold signs on the highway outside the live animal auction at the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion (22712 SE 436th St, Enumclaw). It’s a bit of a drive, but you can drop by the Redwing Cafe on your way there or back for a yummy treat.

I’ve never been there before Thanksgiving, but founder Kristina Giovanetti (who beautifully described the power of bearing witness in an earlier NARN post) says it’s what you would expect: Box after box after box of turkeys being sold. No price is decent for a living being, but these animals go for shockingly little.

As you probably know based on Instagram posts from all over the world, the Save Movement is powerful and heartening and heartbreaking, all at the same time. Please join us on Saturday!

Here are photos from a recent live auction — beautiful animals with numbers on them:

Birds in boxes.

Birds in boxes.

chicken

sweet goat

sweet goat2

sweet goats

Raise Your Voice! It’s Not Too Late for the Mountain Goats: Deadline 10/10/17

Photo by Wingchi Poon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Oreamnos_americanus#/media/File:Wherever_you_go_I_will_go.JPG) Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Photo by Wingchi Poon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Oreamnos_americanus#/media/File:Wherever_you_go_I_will_go.JPG) Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Anyone who’s so beleaguered by the treatment of animals or the state of politics in this country, or both, that they haven’t taken time to speak up for the mountain goats of the Olympic Peninsula  (HERE IS THE LINK TO COMMENT) should take heart: We have been here before. We can make a difference.

Just ask Roger Anunsen and Cathy Sue Ragan-Anunsen. They helped lead the fight against removing the mountain goats in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when it seemed the National Park Service (NPS) had its case all sewn up.

The Anunsens represented The Fund for Animals (now part of The Humane Society of the United States) on the National Park Service Olympic Mountain Goat Management Committee and ended up reading the NPS’s entire case — article after report after brief — on long drives between their home in Oregon and meetings about the goats in Port Angeles.

Before they started reading the full documents, “we believed everything that the park officials said publicly and to the media and thought the only remaining question would be how to solve the (alleged) problem in a non-lethal manner,” Ragan-Anunsen said. Reading every available document changed their minds.

First, the NPS didn’t acknowledge historic evidence — including a 1896 report from National Geographic, which was one of the foremost scientific publications in the country — that goats lived on the Olympic Peninsula before the 1920s, when other reports say people first located them there. The NPS “told the public over and again that there was no evidence whatsoever that mountain goats were ever seen in the Olympics before the 1920s,” the Anunsens said. But, they said, their FOIA records request uncovered the fact that the NPS knew about that same 1896 National Geographic article and intentionally hid it from the public.

Why would the park service hide something like that? It’s hard to say, but possibly because they believed it was in the best interest of the area’s plants that the goats be removed, the Anunsens said. One group pushing hard to remove the goats were concerned about native plants — but the vegetation studies they cited were either flawed (the goats were drawn to salt blocks that the NPS’s own scientists had placed near the plants in order to attract the goats for a goat study — oops) or found the goats had little to no actual impact on the plants.

The Anunsens, The Fund for Animals, professional photographers Keith and Antje Gunnar of Whidbey Island, and others campaigned for years to keep the goats in what may be their native habitat, and they succeeded with the help of many others who reconsidered their position once they became aware of park officials’ unsubstantiated claims and “sloppy science” that served as the foundation for their effort to remove or kill the Olympic mountain goats. U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks helped. So did The Seattle Times’ editorial board.

It’s unclear why a similar widespread campaign is not happening now, the Anunsens said. But some reporters have documented the parallels:

  • The Kitsap Sun’s Seabury Blair Jr. views the state’s environmental impact statement as “an impressive document that demonstrates four decades dedicated to justifying slaughter of a wild animal.”
  • A conservation biologist who led an independent team looking into the goats’ impact on the peninsula in the ‘90s found that the goats now there came from the 1920s goats — and that they have little impact on the rare native plants. Wind, rain and snow do more damage, he recounted to The Seattle Times’ Evan Bush.
  • In that same article, Bush recounted questions that NARN board president Rachel Bjork posed at one of the poorly attended public meetings regarding the goats, along with the state’s answers:
    • Don’t you just want them for hunting in the Cascades? (Harris responded that officials are motivated to grow the Cascades populations. They’d need to see rising numbers before considering hunting.)
    • Why can’t you use contraceptives instead of killing? (Contraceptives are untested for mountain goats, Happe said, and only last for three years in other ungulates.)
    • Why allow the option to take some mountain-goat kids to zoos? Isn’t it inhumane to take them from their parents? (Kids could struggle in relocation and zoos are interested in young mountain goats, Harris said.)

It’s not the full-throttled outcry of the Fund for Animals, a U.S. representative and the editorial board of the state’s largest newspaper. Nor is it a book like 1998’s “White Goats, White Lies: The Abuse of Science in Olympic National Park” by R. Lee Lyman, an anthropology professor from the University of Missouri-Columbia. It’s also not the 25-page booklet, “Olympic Monarchs: Don’t Let Them Get Your Goat!” that the Anunsens compiled to refute the park’s case point-by-point and to save the goats from transfer, hunting, zoos and killings in the ‘90s.

For some reason, there’s not been an outcry this time — at least not yet.

“To make it through this part of the process without major controversy … I’m encouraged,” the park’s acting superintendent, Lee Taylor, told The Seattle Times. “It feels like this is the moment we could get it done.”

“[W]e could get it done” doesn’t sound right, perhaps because it’s not.

Let’s at least step up the number of comments the Park receives on behalf of the goats. Please let the Park know what you think of its plan for them — HERE IS THE LINK FOR COMMENTS, WHICH CLOSE ON 10/10/17. Please take a moment to take a stand with us. Please submit a comment, write a letter to your local paper, call your state or national lawmakers and post on social media on behalf of these mountain goats.

“I think we are now at that same stage we were in initial hearings [decades ago], where everyone believes it’s a done deal,” Ragan-Anunsen said. “If we can let them know it doesn’t have to be that way, if they want to be involved, perhaps we can stop the train in its tracks.”