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Action Alert: Ask USPO to Ban Shipment of Live Animals

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Millions of newborn chicks and ducklings are being sent through the mail as if they were inanimate objects. Barely a day old, they are packed in dark boxes without food or water and sent across the country on harrowing trips that can last up to 72 hours.

Farm Sanctuary has rescued a number of animals, including a beautiful chicken called Tofu, who were shipped this way. It recently rescued three ducklings at a post office, because the man who ordered them was too sick to pick them up. The ducklings had traveled from Iowa to California — across a desert by truck — sanctuary co-founder Gene Baur wrote in an email to supporters. They would have stayed in the box without food, water or care if Farm Sanctuary had not stepped in to help. The sanctuary, which named those sweethearts Dominga, Carrera, and Pavarotti, is now asking people to sign its petition for the U.S. Postal Service to ban shipments of live animals.

You can also contact Postmaster General Megan Brennan via her media contact, Toni Delancey, at toni.g.delancey@usps.gov and 202-268-3118. Here’s a sample message:

Dear Postmaster General Brennan,

Day-old chicks and ducklings are shipped around the country without food or water for up to 72 hours. As you know, many arrive dead.

You have the power to ban the shipment of live animals by mail. Please do everything you can to stop this abuse.

Thank you,

Your name

Here’s Tofu’s story:

Q&A With the Founder of Seattle Farmed Animal Save. Join Us in Enumclaw!

Kris stands with the "Animals Are Not Property" sign alongside Ryan and Shannon Hill of Sky's The Limit Sanctuary, Paul and Maggie Bowen, and Dave Roers outside the Enunclaw Live Animal Auction in June.

Kris stands with the “Animals Are Not Property” sign alongside Ryan and Shannon Hill of Sky’s The Limit Sanctuary, Paul and Maggie Bowen, and Dave Roers outside the Enunclaw Live Animal Auction in June.

Kristina Giovanetti is the founder of Seattle Farmed Animal Save, a nonprofit that’s part of The Save Movement, a global effort that started in December 2010 with Toronto Pig Save. The idea is to bear witness to animals sent to slaughter in our own communities. Kris has been holding personal vigils at the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion’s live animal auction for about a year and invites everyone to join her.

The next vigil is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 15. As the Facebook invitation says, “We are a grassroots, love-based, and peaceful organization. We believe in non-violence and the transformational power of compassion. We follow a Tolstoyian perspective in that we do not believe in turning away from suffering, but instead moving closer to it.” It’s a heart-wrenching experience to watch roosters, geese, rabbits and others struggle and cry out as they are auctioned. There are almost always day-old dairy calves, piglets, lambs and baby goats — and once a month, they auction horses that are sold for slaughter.

It’s also powerful to stand on the road outside the pavilion with signs reminding people that animals don’t belong to us, encouraging them to go vegan, and to honk for the pigs. A surprising number of people honk! A lot yell for us to “get a job,” too, which is puzzling and good for a laugh.

Here’s a Q&A with Kris about The Save Movement in Seattle:

What moved you to start a branch of The Save Movement here?
In June 2016, I attended an all-day vigil in Toronto with Anita, the founder of The Save Movement. We spent 16 hours bearing witness outside pig, cow, and chicken slaughterhouses. The pigs deeply affected me – looking into their eyes, you can really see the fear, you can sense their suffering in a profound way.

Pigs are very much like dogs and to lock eyes with them, to reach out and stroke them in an attempt to provide a moment of comfort and then watch the truck turn into the slaughterhouse where you know they will be brutally killed just moments later is a life changing event.

That day in Toronto I became an activist.

When did you start going to the Enumclaw Live Animal Auction? What have you seen there?
When I returned home, I immediately started looking for places near me to connect with the animals and share their stories. My first trip to the auction barn in Enumclaw was in July 2016.

I’ve seen so many horrible things there – the chickens are transported in cardboard boxes with a few air holes punched in the sides. There is a stone-faced woman who always works the birds. She reaches in, pins their wings behind their back and yanks them out of the box. The birds are screaming, literally screaming as she holds them high and waves them around in the air for a few seconds as the auctioneer works the crowd and finally sells them for 3 to maybe 9 dollars. Then the woman shoves the screaming and terrified bird back into the box, head first.

The day-old male dairy calves always stay with me, in my mind, for days after I see them. They still have umbilical cords dangling from their bellies and look absolutely bewildered. They have no idea they are being sold to become veal calves and will spend the next few weeks chained to a crate and will then be killed.

This place sells lambs and baby goats, too. The babies are always very hard to see.  But I think the spent dairy cows are the most heartbreaking of all. They are absolutely skin and bones – it looks like they haven’t been fed for weeks. Their bodies are emaciated and they have large, swollen udders. But it’s the look in their eyes and the way they hang their head that just rips my heart out. These sweet, gentle beings have been impregnated over and over again, and have had their calves stolen from them every single time. Their bodies have been exploited and pushed absolutely to the breaking point. And when their milk production begins to wane, the farmers stop feeding them, then sell them to slaughter to become cheap hamburger meat. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching to see them.

What does it mean to you to bear witness as these animals are sold? What is the power of bearing witness? 

Bearing witness is being present in the face of injustice and trying to help.  When we bear witness we become the situation – we connect with our entire body and mind.  And from that, action arises.  The purpose of bearing witness is to provide love and compassion to these animals, to share their stories, to show the reality of animal agriculture, raising awareness to the public, and helping people make the connection.  People need to understand what goes on so they will make the decision to stop supporting it.
How do people react to the protest? What do you think of the calls to “get a job”?  

We get about an equal number of supportive people and angry people, and a lot of people just pass by with no visible or audible reaction.  The supportive people will honk in a friendly manner and give a thumbs up.  The angry people show us their middle finger and yell at us.  The comment to “get a job” is so curious to me because we hear it all the time, and I’ve heard it at vigils all over the world.  I think what they are really saying is that we should do something constructive with our time.

Are there also slaughterhouses near Seattle? Where are they, and what do you know about them? 

Yes, there are two slaughterhouses within an hour of Seattle that we have investigated and will be holding vigils at.  Both of them are north of the city, around Stanwood and Mt Vernon.  The Draper Valley chicken slaughterhouse kills more than 800,000 chickens each week.

Do you plan to have vigils at the slaughterhouses, too?  

Absolutely!  We are learning the truck schedules and will be starting vigils up there very soon.

Seattle Farmed Animal Save

 

Please follow Seattle Farmed Animal Save on Facebook and on Instagram, and join Kris in Enumclaw next weekend.

If you happen to be in Europe this fall, she’ll also be speaking in Luxembourg in September at the International Animal Rights Conference.

Come Table and Leaflet for the Animals at Folklife and/or the Fremont Fair!

It was a great weekend for spreading the good vegan word! By the end of the U District Streetfair, all our boxes of literature were empty — hooray!

We have a couple more events coming up and would love to see you, either as a tabler or a leafletter, or both! Tabling shifts are typically three hours.

To learn more about shifts and to sign up, write to Rachel at rachel@narn.org or check out “events” on NARN’s Facebook page.

Eva Piccininni tabling for the animals at the U District Streetfair this weekend.

Eva Piccininni tabling for the animals at the U District Streetfair this weekend.

Thank You, Rep. Sherry Appleton, for Talking Sense to UW Over Treatment of Pigs

“Paramedics don’t need to cut open the throat of a pig when they have other options,” Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, told the The News Tribune regarding the University of Washington’s practice of using live pigs to practice a medical procedure that involves slitting their throats.

“I would like to see the university take responsibility and to search out different ways to solve these situations,” said Appleton, who is one of eight members of the state House who signed a letter asking the UW to consider using modern training methods instead of animals.

The university says it’s looking into it.

Let’s thank Rep. Appleton for publicly talking sense about this. Her number is (360) 786-7934, and her email address is sherry.appleton@leg.wa.gov.

Here are the other reps who signed the letter: Jessyn Farrell of Seattle, Strom Peterson of Edmonds, Judy Clibborn of Mercer Island, Cindy Ryu of Shoreline, Joan McBride of Kirkland, Joe Fitzgibbon of Seattle and Mia Gregerson of SeaTac.

Tell Your Lawmakers: Plant Milks Are Milk, Too

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.

Please Support These Bills to Limit Animal Trapping

Two bills in Congress would put limits on cruel animal trapping:

It’s also expected that the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) for Public Safety Act, which would ban traps on federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior and Wildlife Services, will be reintroduced.

Please call your representatives and urge them to support these bills.

The executive director of the Oregon nonprofit Predator Defense recounts a story in this Dodo post about a coyote he once found in a trap set by Wildlife Services, a branch of the USDA that kills tens of thousands of coyotes every year — including 76,963 coyotes in 2016 — by trapping, shooting, snaring and poisoning them. The coyote who Brooks Fahy found had been trapped for at least a week and was drinking water from melted snow next to him and eating small animals that someone — apparently his mate — had brought to him.

Sadly, the coyote was in too much pain to live and had to be euthanized. Fahy has seen animals who broke teeth trying to get out of traps, among many other horrors — but this is the animal he remembers most. The coyote died in 1992. Last year, 19,000 of the coyotes the government killed were caught — and often died — in leg traps.

Traps are cruel, bone-crushing torture devices. Animals suffer with agony in their legs, necks and other body parts for unconscionable lengths of time.

There are unintentional victims, too, including humans: “We have seen it happen too many times: a mountain lion cub caught in a leghold trap; a dog who breaks her teeth to the gum line in her panic to free herself from a trap; a boy rushed to the ER with a Conibear trap on his arm; a young man getting ensnared in a Conibear trap set near a park playground. These traps are cruel, archaic and terrifyingly indiscriminate, and they can be found anywhere,” Jennifer Place, a program associate at Born Free USA who specializes in trapping issues, told The Dodo.

 

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

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:

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