Ask WA Legislators to Pass These Bills on Animal Fighting

There are committee hearings tomorrow for wo bills in the Washington State House of Representatives would outlaw animal fighting paraphernalia: HB 1919 and HB 1929.

House Bill 1919, sponsored by Reps. Mosbrucker, Appleton, Smith, Ybarra, Dye, Ormsby and Stanford, would:

  • Expand the circumstances under which a person may commit an Animal Fighting offense to include: (1) stealing an animal for animal fighting; and (2) possessing, transferring, manufacturing, or engaging in other activities relating to animal fighting paraphernalia.
  • Elevate the classification of Animal Fighting from a class C felony to a class B felony when a person intentionally mutilates an animal in furtherance of the offense.
  • Provide that a person is guilty of Animal Cruelty in the second degree when he or she abandons an animal that has been used for animal fighting and thereby causes or risks harm to the animal.
  • Require the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to establish and maintain a statewide voicemail line to allow members of the public to anonymously report incidents of animal abuse.
  • Require the WSP to establish a central repository for local law enforcement agencies to report incidents of animal abuse for submission to the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

House Bill 1929, sponsored by Reps. Lovick, Klippert, Leavitt and Stanford, would expand the circumstances under which a person may commit an Animal Fighting offense (a Class C felony) to include owning, possessing, buying, selling, transferring, or manufacturing animal fighting paraphernalia for specified purposes. Paraphernalia would include items such as “breaking sticks; cat mills; treadmills; fighting pits; springpoles; unprescribed veterinary medicine; and gaffs, slashers, heels, and any other sharp implement designed to be attached in place of the natural spur of a cock or game fowl.”

It’s important that both these bills pass. Please contact your representatives to ask that they support HB 1919 and 1929. The easiest way to find your representative is to input your address on this website.

In an email, letter or phone call, you might say:

Dear Rep. So-and-so,

I’m writing to ask that you help ensure HB 1919 and 1929 in the current legislature pass. They elevate animal fighting from a Class C to a Class B felony, expand the definition of animal fighting to include buying and owning animal fighting paraphernalia, and require the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to establish both a statewide voicemail line to allow the public to anonymously report incidents of animal abuse and a central repository for local law enforcement agencies to report incidents of animal abuse for submission to the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

These are important bills that should have no trouble passing. Thank you for taking the time to ensure that they do.

Sincerely,

Your Name

WA bill proposes moving all the wolves to Bainbridge Island

It’s hard to believe that’s what’s being proposed by this bill from Rep. Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda), Rep. Tom Dent (R-Moses Lake) and Rep. Carolyn Eslick (R-Sultan), who start strong with mention of enthusiasm about wolves in Washington but quickly degrades into what appears to be sarcasm: “The ecological, economic, and spiritual benefits wolves have brought to eastern Washington needs to be shared with the rest of the state.”

Bainbridge Island “creates a natural border to keep the wolves isolated to an area where they can be protected, studied, and, most importantly, admired by the region’s animal lovers.

Therefore, the state should, “in an effort to perpetuate the species and minimize landowner conflicts, rely on the translocation of wolves as the primary tool for managing wolf-related wildlife interactions in the areas of the state where wolves are naturally occurring.”

Oh, and if they creat problems? “Lethal removal of wolves must be considered for every four confirmed wolf kills of domestic dogs; for every four confirmed wolf kills of domestic cats; and for every two confirmed wolf kills of children.”

Please contact your local rep to oppose Bill 1639. This legislation seems like a joke, but it’s not funny.

Here’s a silly bill to oppose: Attempt to ban cell-cultured meat in WA

Brought to you by four state reps, including the one who keeps proposing a bill to turn eastern Washington into its own state called “Liberty” and one who’s been on the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force:

“The legislature finds that there have been 8 recent efforts to develop cell-cultured meat, which is a meat product 9 grown in laboratories from cell cultures of animal muscle or organ 10 tissue. Cell-cultured meat is also known as in vitro meat, lab-grown 11 meat, synthetic meat, or fake meat. There is uncertainty regarding 12 which government entities should appropriately regulate this product 13 and whether the word ‘meat’ is an accurate descriptor in compliance 14 with current laws. The legislature finds that there is insufficient 15 information about cell-cultured meat to authorize its sale safely 16 into the Washington food system.” — House Bill 1519

Idaho Fur Trappers Wanted — to Grow Up

Seriously, what century is this? Aren’t enough animals being farmed for fur — so many that companies sometimes misrepresent whether clothing they sell uses animal or faux fur — that we don’t need competitions to kill more? People are the beasts in this scenario.

Idaho Fish and Game are part of this depraved situation, which appears to be at least tacitly condoned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials, according to The Smokey Wire website, which is administered by Sharon Friedman, Ph.D., forest geneticist, Forest Service retiree (2012) and former chair of both the Forest Policy Committee and Forest Science and Technology Board at the Society of American Foresters.

What’s Idaho Fish and Game upset about? Of the 2.6 million cattle and sheep in Idaho at any given time, about 77 cattle and 61 sheep have been killed each year there since 2009, according to a post on The Smokey Wire by Matthew Koehler. That compares to fewer than 1,000 wolves, last time Idaho counted. It’s worth reading his whole post to learn more about this subject.

If you’re in Boise, please visit Idaho Fish and Game in person to let them know what you think: 600 S. Walnut, Boise, ID. If you’re not, please call them at (208) 334-3700 and call or email Idaho Fish and Game Commission Members:

  • Derick Attebury of Idaho Falls, derick.attebury@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 525-7290
  • Jerry Meyers of North Fork, Salmon.Commissioner@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 756-2271
  • Brad Corkill of Cataldo, brad.corkill@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 769-1414
  • Dan Blanco of Moscow, dan.blanco@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 799-5010
  • Tim Murphy of Nampa, tim.murphy@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 465-8465
  • Greg Cameron of Rupert, MagicValley.Commissioner@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 324-4359
  • Lane Clezie of Pocatello, lane.clezie@idfg.idaho.gov, (208) 232-4703

You also can call the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which funds the wolf hunt: 800-225-5355.

A Bill to Ban Plant-Based Milk + Happier Reasons to Write Your Legislators

Here’s an overview of bills worth writing to your legislator about this session, which goes through April:

Senate Bill 5349: Concerning products identified as milk (WHAT ON EARTH?)
The bill adds this to language to existing state law that prohibits selling contaminated milk:
“It is unlawful to sell, offer for sale, or deliver any product that is identified by the word ‘milk’ and that is intended for human consumption as food or drink if the product is not milk or does not contain milk or milk products.”

House Bill 1026: Concerning breed-based dog regulations (YES!)
A public hearing is scheduled in the House for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, and it’s set to go to executive committee on Jan. 31.
“Prohibits a city or county from prohibiting the possession of a dog based upon its breed, imposing requirements specific to possession of a dog based upon its breed, or declaring a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous based upon its breed unless certain conditions are met.”

House Bill 1045: Prohibiting the lethal removal of gray wolves (YES!)
“Prohibits the department of fish and wildlife from authorizing the killing of gray wolves. Allows the department to authorize the nonlethal removal or relocation of gray wolves that are destroying or injuring property, or when nonlethal removal or relocation is necessary for wildlife management or research.”

House Bill 1007: Concerning dedicated funding for animal shelter capital projects (YES!)
“Requires the department of commerce to establish a competitive process to: (1) Solicit proposals for and prioritize projects whose primary objective is to assist animal shelters in acquiring, constructing, or rehabilitating facilities; and (2) Establish a competitive process to prioritize applications for assistance.”

House Bill 1025: Concerning the slaughter of horses and other equines for human consumption (YES!)
“Prohibits a person from: (1) Slaughtering a horse if the person knows or should know that the meat from the slaughtered animal is intended to be used for human consumption; and (2) Possessing, purchasing, bartering, selling, or transporting horses if the person knows or should know that the horse or its meat will be used for human consumption. Excludes horses, mules, and asses from the definition of ‘meat food animal.'”

House Bill 1046: Prohibiting hunting with the aid of dogs for certain purposes (YES!)
“Prohibits a person from hunting or pursuing black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx with the aid of a dog.”

Look up your state legislators: https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
A list of their email addresses: https://app.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/Default.aspx?Chamber=S
Set up alerts for bills you want to follow: https://www.washingtonvotes.org/
Look up more about this session’s bills here: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

Grizzly Plan Stalled; We Can Ask Lawmakers to Get It Back on Track

Robb Krehbiel of Defenders of Wildlife sent out a call in The Seattle Times just after Christmas for Washingtonians to tell their lawmakers they want the next Interior Secretary to finish the job that Ryan Zinke stalled.

Zinke visited the state in March and committed his agency to completing a plan to bring grizzlies bak to the North Cascades by the end of last summer.

He didn’t do it, despite more than 126,000 public comments during the 15-week-long public-comment period and 45-day extension requested by local governments. “With 80 percent of Washington voters in favor of grizzly recovery, there is strong public support for the Interior Department to complete this process,” Krehbiel writes.

“With Zinke out as Interior Secretary, we need our congressional delegation to insist that the next office holder work with Washington state to finish the job and bring grizzly bears home to the North Cascades.”

Please find your Washington legislators here and ask them to tell the Department of the Interior to restart this project.

Speak Out Against Coyote-Killing Contest

Here’s a celebration of a lack of empathy: To reward people who’ve learned coyote calls well enough to lure them to their deaths, the United States Predator Challenge invites people from three parts of the country to kill coyotes and bring their carcasses to three locations for counting toward a depraved contest entry.

The website reads, “We want to stress the importance that to win one of these regional contests will be HUGE… and to win the overall Championship will truly set the bar in the predator calling world.”

In an action alert, Project Coyote asks that you:

  • Urge your state legislators to support a ban on wildlife killing contests, which are cruel and unsporting, in your state. Locate your state legislators here. Find more guidance on passing local and state bans on wildlife killing contests here.
  • Urge your city and/or county council to pass a resolution condemning wildlife killing contests and calling for a statewide legislative ban. This year, the city councils of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, passed similar resolutions.
  • Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper.
    a. For tips and tools about writing letters to the editor, click here.
    b. Talking points (it’s important to be polite and personalize your message):
    °  States should follow the lead of California and Vermont and ban the killing of coyotes and other wildlife for prizes and fun.
    °  Wildlife killing contests are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes, and simply for the “fun” of killing.
    °  No evidence exists showing that indiscriminate killing contests serve any effective wildlife management function. Coyote populations that are not hunted or trapped form stable family groups that naturally limit populations. Indiscriminate killing of coyotes disrupts this social stability, resulting in increased reproduction and pup survival. Read more here and here.
    °  Coyotes play an important ecological role helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and species diversity. As the top carnivore in some ecosystems, coyotes provide many benefits including providing free rodent control and regulating the number of mesocarnivores (such as skunks and raccoons), which in turn helps to boost ground and song bird abundance and biodiversity. Read more here.
    °  Wildlife killing contests perpetuate a culture of violence and send the message to children that life has little value and that animals are disposable.
    °  Wildlife killing contests put non-target wildlife, companion animals, and people at risk.
    °  Killing as many animals as possible conflicts with traditional fair-chase hunting values and contravenes science-based wildlife conservation principles and practices.
  • Post this sharegraphic on social media, accompanied by the requests above.
  • Help raise awareness about wildlife killing contests by distributing this educational postcard and this factsheet.
  • Help sponsor a screening of KILLING GAMES ~ Wildlife In The Crosshairs in your community. Contact Project Coyote at info@projectcoyote.org about sponsorship opportunities.
For more information about wildlife killing contests, please visit the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests’ website here.

Good news for orcas, geese, sad news about Cinder the bear + ACTION ITEM

A quick roundup of this week’s animal news — with a request that you call the governor.

First, the grim: Cinder the bear, who was rescued as a badly burned cub in eastern Washington several years ago, was treated successfully by the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Center and released successfully by Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation. They found her in her den outside Leavenworth a couple years later, well fed and doing well. and found to be doing well when her radio collar was replaced in a den outside Leavenworth a couple years after her release. But this week, her skeleton was found: She was killed by a hunter last fall. It’s heartbreaking. As one commenter on the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation Facebook page put it, “She had a rough life.” As one of the rescuers said, wild animals including bears would prefer five days of freedom to a lifetime in captivity — so at least she had a couple good years. I’m trying to hold onto the latter thought. It’s more than some animals enjoy.

Now for the more hopeful: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is asking for $1.1 billion and a three-year ban on orca watching in an effort to save the southern resident orcas — the orcas who frequent Puget Sound. Please spread the word that whale watching is harmful. As Gov. Inslee called the temporary ban “a relatively small inconvenience to give them a break. … Someone who is starving should not be scrambling for that last morsel that can keep them alive.”

  • Here’s Gov. Inslee’s number: 360-902-4111. Please call to thank him and ask that he take measures to help Washington’s wolves, too. One of the easiest/cheapest: Inslee must transfer management of wolves from the game managers at the Department of Fish and Wildlife to the nongame division, where they will be managed as endangered species.
  • Also along orca lines, Lynda Mapes at The Seattle Times just published a great story on the stealing of orcas in the 1970s from Puget Sound. Even if you don’t have time to read it, check out the top/featured photo of Lolita/Tokitae’s eye through the net the day she was taken from Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove.

Finally, more good news: Amazon said it will stop selling illegal foie gras in California. That means they were selling it before. And a lawsuit pushed them to this. But at least they’re stopping.

 

 

Today’s the Day to Call Gov. Inslee for the Wolves: 360-902-4111

save-wolves-gray-wolves-by-Sakarri-Flickr

The Center for Biological Diversity published a full-page ad in today’s Seattle Times calling on people to call Gov. Inslee and demand that he stop the senseless killing of Washington’s endangered wolves.

That makes tomorrow — Monday — a great time for us all to call at once, to send a message.

GOV. INSLEE: 360-902-4111

Please also sign the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition for Gov. Inslee.

The center’s ad reads: “Governor Inslee: STOP the SENSELESS KILLING of WASHINGTON’S ENDANGERED WOLVES. More than 20 wolves have already been gunned down by the state, including 18 to appease one rancher who refuses to take reasonable steps to protect his cattle, like removing them from known wolf den and rendezvous sites. It’s cruel, counter to science and a waste of taxpayer money

“Washington has more than 1 million cattle and approximately 120 wolves. Conflicts between cattle and wolves are rare, affecting only a handful of Washington’s cattle annually. In response the state has killed 20 percent of Washington’s endangered wolves, destroying wolf families and even killing pups.

Science shows that killing wolves is not effective at reducing conflicts and may actually create more. The only methods scientifically proven to work are nonlethal.

And yet: The state has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on helicopter snipers to gun down endangered wolves, and spent more than $1 million on a consultant for its wolf-killing program.

“HERE’S WHAT MUST CHANGE:

  1. Inslee must immediately halt state-sponsored killing of wolves.
  2. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife must develop a new strategy for dealing with wolf-livestock conflicts.
  3. Inslee must transfer management of wolves from the game managers at the Department of Fish and Wildlife to the nongame division, where they will be managed as endangered species. [Ed. note: can you believe this hasn’t already happened?]
  4. Inslee and wildlife managers must listen to Washington residents — 3 out of 4 say wolves should be protected and are a vital part of our wilderness.
  5. Endangered wolves should be welcomed and protected on our public lands.

Thank you to the Center for Biological Diversity for paying for this ad!! For more information — or to donate — visit BiologicalDiversity.org.

Also see previous posts on this blog:

Does This Look Like a Cow Pasture? Then Stop Killing Wolves, Gov. Inslee

Fish & Wildlife Killed the Matriarch of the Profanity Pack: Time to Start Calling

Gratitude, Sorrow for Wolf Researcher Who’s Out at WSU

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Stop Buying Betta Fish

bettaIt’s disheartening to see any price tag on a living being — but the low, low $2 price tags on betta fish are especially sad.

People buy bettas because they’re cheap, beautiful and have a reputation as easy to care for. One reason bettas for that reputation, National Geographic explains, is that betta fish have an organ that allows them to take oxygen from the air above the surface of water. That means they can live in water with less oxygen than other fish.

However, all fish require more work than many people realize and should not be taken as pets without careful consideration, National Geographic shows based on science — and many people, including me, can tell you anecedotally. My husband and I had goldfish for years, and they required a fair bit of work, including a lot more space than those cartoonish goldfish bowls indicate and water that gets dirty quickly and therefore needs to be changed frequently. Even with our hard work and good intentions, one of our fish died from a bacterial infection that, we later learned, he probably would have survived if we’d gotten better advice. Google was not a big help, and neither were people at the pet stores we consulted. Pancho was more than 10 years old, and it broke our hearts to see him go the way he did.

As National Geographic explains, betta fish also require more time and care than many people realize — so be aware in advance of what any fish you take in will need and have resources available before you need them, so you can act quickly if your fish gets sick.

  • While bettas can live in small areas — like puddles in the wild during dry seasons — they typically have far more space the rest of the year, and should have larger tanks at home. Like 2.5 gallons at a bare minimum for a single fish. Four gallons is better (but don’t go too large, because too much pressure can hurt fish).
  • To feel well, betta fish need their water to be 76 to 82 degrees.
  • lack of environmental enrichment also is a problem, as it is for many captive animals. Fish do have feelings and the ability to feel happy and unhappy.

Just because some animals can live in harsh conditions for a while — for example, with small tanks and dirty water — that doesn’t mean they should. Similarly, just because people know how to breed animals to be pets doesn’t mean we should (although breeding is better than capturing fish in the wild, as most pet fish are).

Petco and other stores have shown they don’t know how to properly care for the betta fish they sell. They often stack bettas near each other in a way that stokes their anxiety, and as PETA recently documented, betta fish often suffer and die from cold temperatures, dirty water and being shipped in too-large containers that put dangerous pressure on their bodies.

If you or your child would like a betta fish, ask around at work and school. Chances are you’ll find someone with a betta sitting in a corner whom they’d like to rehome with someone who has more space and more time, so the fish can thrive rather than just sit there and look pretty.

Please consider tweeting @Petco and/or emailing customerrelations@petco.com  to ask the company not to carry betta fish anymore. It’s too complicated a process for a company that hasn’t handled that responsibility well.