A lawmaker from Wisconsin had the bright idea that milk should be labeled milk only if it’s dairy. She wants to limit the use of yogurt and cheese, too. She’s wrong, of course. The dictionary could tell her that.
Nevertheless, Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s DAIRY PRIDE Act (some people need the all caps) has picked up some steam.
Please call you senators to remind them about the dictionary — and that there are more important things to be spending time on than changing the definition of milk.
In Washington state, our senators are:
Patty Murray: (202) 224-2621
Maria Cantwell: (202) 224-3441
If you’re in another state, here’s an easy way to look up your senators’ contact info.
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?
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.
And contact UW President Ana Mari Cauce:
And ask the USDA to fine the UW’s Primate Center (WaNPC – Washington National Primate Center):
Fort Collins, CO Office
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117
Phone: (970) 494-7478
Fax: (970) 494-7461
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.”
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Join us for our next letter-writing party, which will be posted here.
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.
Like 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.
Here’s Judge Ungaro’s email (I think): email@example.com
And email for the Spain-based CEO of Palace Entertainment, which owns the Miami Seaquarium: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Photos from Blackfish
I was about to write a post about how the US government was planning to slaughter 45,000 wild horses and burros and provide a call to action.
Good news! After public outrage, the plans have been halted.
It’s a great reminder to speak up for animals. From an article about the decision: “The panel’s recommendation created an uproar among animal rights activists and highlighted the challenges ahead for the U.S. government as it seeks to control the population of wild horses and burros.”
Letters, calls, and petitions DO make a difference. I’ll keep an eye on this issue and post action items if the situation changes.