Hello world!

Tell FDA: No animal tests for sunscreen

Jo-Anne McArthur / NEAVS http://weanimals.org

From an email sent this week by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:

“In a proposed rule, Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use, FDA will require cancer tests which expose animals to very high doses of the sunscreen ingredients every day for two years, and other tests giving these chemicals to pregnant and lactating animals. The tests involve spreading chemicals on immobilized animals’ shaved skin every day. FDA may also require tests which involve force-feeding and injecting chemicals into the animals’ bodies. Following the testing, the animals would be killed and dissected.

“Despite the fact that these tests would kill tens of thousands of animals, FDA doesn’t mention whether it is even taking any steps to minimize the number of animals that would be used or to use data already available. This is at odds with recent FDA statements that the agency seeks to reduce and replace animal tests wherever possible.

“The animal tests won’t make sunscreen products safer and may delay the approval of newer, more effective sunscreen ingredients. FDA should require human-relevant, nonanimal tests that evaluate a chemical’s potential to damage DNA, increase cell growth, activate hormones, and suppress immunity. When combined with what is already known about a chemical, such tests provide useful information that can better protect consumers from harmful ingredients.

“Please comment on the proposed rule to urge FDA to use nonanimal methods instead. We have provided text for you, but feel free to use your own words. 

“After commenting, please share this alert with your friends and social networks. We need as many people as possible to voice their opposition to these tests.”

Tuesday Deadline: Tell USDA to Stop Bad Breeders

Pasado’s Safe Haven Outreach Manager Brenna Anderst sent this email alert last week:

TAKE ACTION HERE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) *automatically* renews breeders’ Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licenses every year, EVEN if a breeder fails to meet the incredibly low USDA licensing standards.This means that puppy mill operators can stay in business without any worries of enforcement.  

The USDA recently released a proposal to fix its abysmal licensing system. However, the proposal has two key problems: 1) It doesn’t stop bad breeders from getting or keeping a license and 2) It indicates that the USDA plans to keep withholding basic information about the breeding industry from the public. Will you lend your voice to help the countless animals trapped in puppy mills, hidden from public view? 

The comment period for this new proposal ends May 21st – so please act now!  PLEASE TAKE 2 MINUTES and tell the USDA that they need to redraft the Animal Welfare Act licensing requirements and do more to enforce the animal welfare laws that protect innocent animals.  

Your voice matters RIGHT NOW! And it only takes 2 Minutes!

TAKE ACTION HERE

Tell Tenino, WA to say ‘no’ to June 1 circus

Photo by Jo-anne MacArthur, WeAnimals.org

The city of Tenino, Wash., near Olympia plans to host the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus at a city park on June 1.

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus uses wild animals such as big cats as part of their acts and have received numerous citations from the USDA,
including:

  • Not having a complete diet plan for big cats.
  • According to a court docket, a different tiger cub died before Culpepper & Merriweather had the animal seen by a veterinarian
    for refusing to eat. The necropsy showed that the cause of death was a widespread E. coli infection and bacteria in the blood.
  • A female tiger named Delia delivered three cubs after mating with her sibling. Culpepper & Merriweather did not know that Delia was pregnant until about 10 days before she gave birth and did not
    have her examined by a veterinarian.

Please contact Tenino’s mayor and city council and politely request that they not welcome a circus that uses animals.

Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier: (360) 264-2368, mayor@ci.tenino.wa.us

Tenino City Council members:

Animal cruelty is not entertainment, as a recent expose by the Humane Society of the United States found. Its reporter, Karen E. Lange, sums up the situation well: “Without expert knowledge of tigers or training methods, many in the crowd probably feel they’ve seen a fun show: happy, if somewhat lazy, tigers performing for meat treats. Distracted by the excitement of live tigers and by the trainer’s spiel, they have missed troubling signals—the way the trainer’s assistant used a heavy metal pole to prod the tigers to move, the way the “Royal Bengal” leapt from the trainer when he jabbed the meat treat pole at the ground, as though shocked by an electric current. They have not seen what animal behavior experts who watch the same show readily do: a man using threats of pain to coerce wild animals into doing tricks.”

It’s abusive to the animals and can be dangerous for spectators, according to the report.

Gov. Inslee: Veto This Mountain Lion Bill!

AThe Mountain Lion Foundation just posted this urgent alert:

HB 1516 has passed the Washington State Legislature and would require the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to select hound hunters to train their dogs by chasing cougars, bobcats, or bears. 

But there is still hope – Governor Jay Inslee [who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination on a climate platform] can veto HB 1516!

Cougars need your help now. The bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk. 

Please ask Governor Inslee to VETO HB 1516 by contacting him at his official message page or by phone at (360) 902-4111.  

Here’s why:

The people of Washington believe that individuals should take personal responsibility to coexist with cougars.

With 63% of voters approving Initiative 655 in 1996, the people of Washington prohibited hunting bear, cougar, bobcat, and lynx with dogs.  

WDFW’s own 2008 Cougar Attitude Survey showed overwhelming citizen support for these two statements:

  • “Livestock and pet owners who live in cougar habitat should be held responsible for taking steps to secure their animals” (93%); and
     
  • “Individuals living near cougars should be held responsible for taking steps to minimize the chance of human/cougar conflict” (90%).

Let’s not needlessly train a new generation of hound hunters!

Ask the Governor: Why now? In Initiative 655, the Fish and Wildlife Commission was authorized to allow the use of dogs to hunt or pursue black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx onlyif there was a public safety need; to protect livestock, domestic animals, and private property; for scientific purposes; or to protect endangered species.

We believe that no such new need has been established.

It has not been demonstrated scientifically that additional hounding of mountain lions will provide livestock producers with better protection for domestic animals, or people with greater safety. Washington’s relatively rare cougar conflicts are far better managed using less dangerous techniques.

This legislation is an excessive overstep. It is unreasonable to sanction harassment and possible death by hounds given all the threats cougars face with a human population that is growing exponentially, and alongside increasing competition with wolves to survive in less and less wild habitat.

Hounding is inhumane.

Hounds kill cougar kittens, and cougars often injure or kill hounds (Lindzey et al. 1992, Logan and Sweanor 2001, Elbroch et al. 2013).

Mountain lions are caused significant stress by hounding (Harlow et al. 1992, Bryce et al. 2017).

Hounds also chase, stress and change the behavior of other wildlife species including deer and other ungulates (Hristienko and McDonald 2007, Grignolio et al. 2011, Mori 2017), as well as putting pets and livestock at risk.

Please, take action immediately:

Ask Jay Inslee to VETO HB 1516 by contacting him at the Governor ‘s official message page or by phone at (360) 902-4111. 

Hounding is not necessary. It’s clearly against the will of Washington voters. Hounding causes stress, injury and death to both wild and domestic animals. There’s no upside to this bill.

Please be respectful and clear in all communications. Discourteous communications reflect poorly on advocates for wildlife and the conservation community.

There’s more YOU can do!

  • Forward this message to your friends and family in Washington State and ask them to contact Governor Inslee as well.
  • Help keep this issue in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper.

Sexual Harassment in Our Animal Rights Community

AR Harm-Free Community

May All Beings Be Free From Harm

When the news of Harvey Weinstein’s behavior became public, we on the NARN board were not surprised. While sexual violence can be committed or experienced by individuals of any gender, men in positions of power particularly seem conditioned to believe that they can do whatever they want to womxn and femmes and get away with it. Sexual harassment, intimidation, abuse, and rape are committed by men in positions of power everywhere, and men in power in animal activism are no exception.

The animal rights movement, though filled with some of the most caring, compassionate people, is not immune to the effects of rape culture and misogyny. In fact, numerous men in positions of power within the animal rights movement have perpetrated sexual harassment and abuse on their fellow activists. Too often their victims are silenced through threats of legal action, bullying, and/or shame. The abusers’ behavior is excused, disbelieved, or dismissed because of name recognition and/or because these abusers are “such good activists.”  It can be hard to get folx to talk about the sexual exploiters because it makes our movement look bad.

What is truly bad for our movement, however, is the continued tolerance of abuse and abusers. Many womxn and femmes don’t feel safe in our movement because, in lieu of accountability, abusers are often rewarded and survivors are rarely believed when they speak out. We have cultivated an atmosphere of fear, silence, and tolerance. Many of us find it difficult to believe that vegan animal rights activists can also be misogynists or perpetrators of sexual violence, but these things can and do happen.

For far too long this behavior has been tolerated and it has absolutely been damaging to our movement and the people in it. We understand that it can be difficult to know what to do when perpetrators and their defenders hold such positions of power, but thankfully more people are beginning to have these difficult conversations. NARN believes in the right of all beings to live free from harm, and that includes those who would be victims of sexual violence or harassment within our movement.   

As an animal rights organization, we also want to tell survivors doing this work that we believe you and we know it’s not your fault. It is–and will continue to be–our responsibility keep NARN events free of misogyny, harassment, and abuse. In the past, NARN has given corrective counseling for subtle, unintended violations and has refused to host or work with men who are known to be sexual harassers and abusers.  These values remain at the heart of our mission, and we are committed to continuing to do better.

As a part of our commitment to keeping all activists safe in our community, we are currently drafting and documentating a formal harassment and violence policy. (If you want to know more about how to address or prevent these issues in AR work, subscribe to our email here to find out about our next animal activism training). If you have any concerns that you would like to address to the Board, please contact us here or reach out to any specific board member you feel comfortable with.

Additionally, if you have ever experienced any kind of sexual harassment or abuse while working or volunteering within the animal welfare and/or vegan movement, resources for reporting, and other support, can be found here. We also encourage you to consider participating in this confidential online survey being conducted by, an activist and author, Dr. Lisa Kemmerer to assess the prevalence of these situations within the community.

If you’re a man or someone who is masculine-identifying in the AR movement—even, and especially, if you see yourself as one of the “good guys” who would never exploit womxn and femmes–we encourage you to talk to other men in the movement about sexual violence and misogyny. Start conversations, hold each other accountable, interrupt sexism, speak up, believe womxn, and use your privilege to examine your own behavior and to reduce and prevent harm to all beings.

For further information on this topic, author Carol Adams has some great insights in this Bearded Vegans podcast interview. Her book The Sexual Politics of Meat is still relevant reading today, and her website offers many other links, resources, and discussion points. Additionally, Critical Resistance provides a plethora of resources for activists and activist communities, addressing harm, accountability, and healing on their website.

In Solidarity with #Charlottesville

Anti-Racist Animal Rights Organization

In the wake of the white supremacist violence at Charlottesville and across the country, NARN stands by its mission statement, which calls for for an end to the suffering of all sentient beings–both non-human and human. Because we believe the liberation of all creatures is interconnected, we also call on the animal rights community as a whole to find the empathy and compassion in our hearts and use it to show up, speak out, and get active in opposition to oppression.

We stand in solidarity with folks like Dr. Breeze Harper and Food Empowerment Project  in committing to “fight against white supremacy and in a way that is more than cosmetic and “integrates [that commitment] into [our] organizational goals and values.” We urge folks to think about the US-based animal rights organizations they know of and work with and hold them accountable. As Dr. Harper says:

Let them know that they cannot be neutral about the white [supremacist] elephant in the room (and that ‘room’ is a white settler nation called the USA in which the logics of white supremacy were its foundational CORE values and still operate today– from the logic of neo nazis to the logic of white savior complex to the logic of racial profiling to the logic of gentrification to the logic of tracking in K-12 education to the logic of engaging in missionary language when campaigning about animal rights and veganism).

In that spirit, we offer the following personal reaction to what happened in Charlottesville from one of our long-time volunteers (see below). We hope you will not only take it to heart but take action (see this link for suggestions on how to do that in an animal rights context and beyond). Like we say at NARN, show up, speak out, and get involved. It cannot wait another moment.

In solidarity,

Board of Directors
The Northwest Animal Rights Project

 

I had this idea in my head when I became veg as a kid–that people became vegetarian or vegan because they widened their circle of compassion and empathy beyond people that were like them to include people that were less like them and then to include individuals that were non-human. Once I found an activist community, it didn’t take me very long to realize that racism, sexism, and other “-isms” exist in the animal rights movement as well. In fact, it can be quite rampant.

Even knowing this, it somehow still hurts worse when people in the animal rights community perpetuate hate speech, violence, or are silent about others who do. There’s still a part of me that expects that vegans and animal rights activists will understand that those of us who are different than they are still have a right to live as freely as they do. That same part of me still expect vegans to be people who, when they see injustice, they do something about it instead of turning the other cheek. They speak up–not just for non-human animals, but for the human animals, too. To give a more specific example: Part of me expects them to speak up when family or friends say things that perpetuate violence against people of color.

Yes, I am frustrated by people who would stand next to me while I fight for animals, yet disappear when attacks are directed at me or other people of color. It was incredibly frustrating to have another animal rights activist tell me that if I want to feel “safe,” I should leave animal activism and do human rights activism instead. I am able to continue to do this work, because I know people like this are not the whole of our movement.

There are two vegan animal rights activists in the hospital right now who stood up against hate and were struck by that vehicle in Charlottesville. There are many of us, like them, that understand that fighting for human justice doesn’t have to take anything away from animals. Those people remind me that I am not alone–that I don’t have to choose. They remind me that it’s not some awful multiple-choice test of “who deserves the right to live?” a) myself & other people of color, or b) non-human animals.

I really ask those who care about animals but who remain silent against white violence in this country; the terrorism falling upon people of color in this country, to please reflect on the compassion and empathy that brought them to veganism in the first place. Then when you find that compassion and empathy, be willing to actually DO something with it. Use your voice, your vote, your privilege wherever you can to fight oppression and support ALL those who are impacted by it.

 

Please Share.

Learn/Do More:

Best Ways to Help the Victims of the Charlottesville Attack

The Charlottesville Syllabus

Teaching Resources in These Times

10 Ways to Fight Hate

Charlottesville organizers ask you to take these 8 actions

NARN Stands Against Patriarchy and All Oppression

Northwest Animal Rights Network is a volunteer-run organization that has been fighting for the rights of animals for more than 30 years. In that spirit, NARN believes in the fundamental right of all individuals–humans and non humans alike–to be free from harassment, exploitation, and oppression. When we are threatened, harassed, or attacked as activists, it can become dangerous or impossible to do our work.

For these reasons, NARN stands with local activist Zarna Joshi. After a charged Seattle City Council meeting related to the Block the Bunker issue, Joshi was sexually harassed by a bunker supporter. Rather than let it slide, she spoke out. As a result, for the last few months Zarna has been harassed, threatened with rape and death, and otherwise attacked. While Zarna’s abuse happened at a Block the Bunker event, we know that this kind of thing could have–and certainly HAS–happened at animal rights demos and events.

Let us be clear: Women and other oppressed/marginalized people absolutely retain the right to defend themselves from misogyny and harassment. NARN supports Zarna Joshi and anyone else who makes the choice to resist oppression. We believe this resistance and mutual support is absolutely fundamental to our work as activists

Please take the time to watch Zarna’s illuminating response videos below. To read more about what patriarchy is and how it affects our work and lives, check out this article Why Patriarchy Persists (and How We Can Change It). Be sure to scroll all the way to the end for 10 ways you can take action.

Update on Lolita: Records Show Dolphins Scrape Her Skin, Other Issues

Only if the orca Lolita faced “grave harm” would her captors at Seaquarium in Miami be deemed in violation of the Endangered Species Act, a judge ruled earlier this summer.

Apparently the fact that the dolphins with whom Lolita shares a small tank have scraped their teeth on her skin more than 50 times in one year does not constitute such harm. That and other signs of illnesss and misery were reported this week by The Seattle Times.

Lolita, who’s also known as Tokitae and was stolen as a young whale from the waters of Penn Cove in the Pacific Northwest, is 20 feet long. The tank she shares with the dolphins is 80 feet at its widest.

The PETA Foundation said it will appeal the judge’s ruling.

Cute Wolf Pup Video — Help Keep Them on the Endangered List

A federal judge has ruled that gray wolves should be reclassified as an endangered species. He called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to turn management over to Idaho and Montana but keep the endangered designation in Wyoming “at its heart a political solution.”

Now a Senate bill called the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act is attempting to override that ruling — and going further by allowing “predator control” on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.

Please ask Senators Maria Cantwell (202-224-3441) and Patty Murray (202-225-3106) to oppose this bill, which would be devastating to gray wolves and other wildlife.

Let’s Help Stop a New Aquarium in Mississippi

tursiops_truncatus_leaping

Photo: NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Like so many sea animals, dolphins were tremendously harmed when BP spilled more than 4 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant thinks that — and the fact that his state’s last aquarium was ruined by Hurricane Katrina — makes a new aquarium on the coast a good way to spend $17 million of the damage money the state is getting from BP. “The outdoor water feature includes a dolphin exhibit where visitors could feed and touch the animals,” according to the SunHerald in Biloxi.

Gov. Bryant is wrong.

“I used to work as a dolphin trainer at Marine Life in Gulfport, before it was washed away by Hurricane Katrina. I know first-hand that a new facility for captive dolphins is the last thing Mississippi needs,” according to an online petition to stop the new aquarium.

The public has already made clear that they don’t want to see orcas in captivity. Why would they want to see dolphins?

Please sign the petition above and write to Gov. Bryant letting him know the BP money should go to a more worthy project. Here’s his online contact page.