Opposing Cruelty: Dolphin Slaughter Protest 9/3/08

Why Chimps Don’t Belong in Circuses

Some of the best fun you can have is reading blog posts from the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, where the chimpanzees and humans together create heartwarming, inspirational — and often educational — photos and stories. Thank you to sanctuary co-director Diana Goodrich, who recently wrote this post about chimpanzees and circuses, and generously gave her permission for us to republish it here:

An eight-year-old chimpanzee named Chance has been in the news lately. Chance is owned by the Rosaire family and has been used in entertainment for his entire life. He has appeared in commercials, television shows and movies, including The Wolf of Wall Street.

The reason Chance and the Rosaires have been in the news recently is due to this footage that PETA obtained of Chance performing with a leash around his neck.

Jody and Burrito

Jody and Burrito

Thirty years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for chimpanzees to appear in circuses and roadside zoo performances. In fact, Jamie, Burrito, and possibly Jody were all used as performers before their years as biomedical research subjects. They lived with trainers and were made to perform in order to entertain people.

Thankfully, we have learned a lot about the nature of chimpanzees over the years and, as a society, we’ve begun to question the appropriateness of using intelligent, social animals in this way. More and more people agree that whales belong in the ocean, not in small aquariums, that elephants shouldn’t be used as props for people to sit on, and that chimpanzees should not be raised by humans and taught to perform tricks just to amuse us.

The Rosaire family has been in the circus business for multiple generations, so it’s understandable that they are stubbornly holding on to their way of life and their views of exotic animals that many, if not most, people have reconsidered.

They argue that they are providing sanctuary for the animals in their care, and they even have legal nonprofit status and the word “sanctuary” in their name Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary.

Certainly, anyone who is familiar with true sanctuaries would immediately realize that putting a chimpanzee on a leash and having people pay to view him perform an act is a circus, not a charitable sanctuary, and that those entities have very different missions. But for those not as familiar, I’m not surprised that the Rosaires have their defenders.

Jamie and Burrito

Jamie and Burrito

It may be true that the Rosaires feel love for the animals in their care, but that doesn’t mean the animals are being afforded the life that they should or could have in an accredited sanctuary.

For more information on the Rosaires, see this page, and for how to distinguish between roadside zoos and sanctuaries, read this from CSNW and this from the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance and share with others.

When you see chimpanzees on television, in movies, or pictured on greeting cards, stop to consider what kind of a life that chimpanzee has. Exotic animal circuses survive only because people continue to pay to see animal performances. There are fewer and fewer chimpanzees being used in entertainment because fewer and fewer people think that they should be used in this way.

We hope the chimpanzees who remain in the entertainment business in the U.S. will be able to experience a different way of life someday, like Jamie, Burrito, and Jody, where the focus is on providing them with hundreds of choices that allow them to be who they are as chimpanzees and where their best interests are the top priority.

Jody, Jamie, Annie and Foxie

Jody, Jamie, Annie and Foxie

What Not to Tell Your Kids About Zoos: National Geographic Leads the (Wrong) Way

National Geographic has published a “Family Field Guide” to lying to your children about zoos.

Personally, I take this as a sign that the zoo system is crumbling, when children are asking hard — but obvious — questions and a major organization dedicated to the environment and wildlife wants you to lie to them.

“No matter how innovative the spaces are, seeing wild animals in enclosures can be hard for children,” the post acknowledges. Rather than paint a pretty picture about releasing animals back into the wild (hmmm) and breeding programs (not a pretty picture at all!), how about some honesty regarding the fact that these animals are caged for our pleasure and, for some people, to alleviate human guilt about the extinction of so many animals in the wild.

Children have a lot to teach us about what’s right and wrong when it comes to animals. Maybe parents should be following their lead when it comes to zoos.

Ruby Roth writes children’s books that address these sorts of issues. One called “V Is for Vegan” is particularly wide-ranging and goes beyond animals used for food to talk about zoos and circuses and other forms of entertainment that persecute animals.

WA Is Killing Wolves For Ranchers Using Public Lands — Again

After targeting the Smackout Wolf Pack earlier this summer, Washington wildlife officials now are killing the Sherman Pack. The wolves’ crime? Killing livestock that ranchers graze on federal land.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s the third time the state has killed wolves for Diamond M Ranch, whose owner told The Seattle Times, “We don’t raise the cattle to feed wolves. We raise them to feed the heart of America.”

Officials use traps and shoot wolves both on the ground and from helicopters. After becoming extinct here in the 1930s, wolves began to migrate to the area following a resurgence in Yellowstone National Park.

Only six cattle were killed by wolves last year, the Times reported.

Fourteen conservation groups told Fish & Wildlife they didn’t like its secrecy in the Smackout Pack killings. Others oppose the killings but are afraid to speak out. It’s no wonder, after the disgraceful way Washington State University went after one of its own researchers for doing so.

Please let your voice be heard! Call or write to the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife know that ranchers need to live with that small amount of loss if they’re going to graze on public land:

Director Jim Unsworth:

director@dfw.wa.gov

306-902-2200

Eastern Region Director Steve Pozzanghera:

2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, WA 99216-1566

509-892-1001

teamspokane@dfw.wa.gov

Help Decide the Fate of Mountain Goats on the Olympic Peninsula

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/

Olympic National Park officials will host four open houses regarding the fate of the peninsula’s hundreds of mountain goats. There’s one at the Everett Public Library’s auditorium at 5 p.m. on Aug. 16 and at Seattle Public Library’s Douglass-Truth Branch at 5 p.m. on Aug. 17.

If you can’t attend, please read recent coverage about the plan, which is available in full here, and send your comments to park officials.

It’s called the “Draft Mountain Goat Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement.” (Someday I’d love to see an EIS regarding humans!). Concerns about the goats are ecological — the Olympic Mountains are not their traditional territory — and involve safety, following the 2010 killing of a hiker by a mountain goat. Moving and killing the goats appear to be the main options, with no mention of contraception, just as officials ignored that option when they planned to kill hundreds of goats in the Olympics in the ’90s.

The comment period is open until Sept. 29, but please don’t wait to comment. Thank you!

 

Photo by Wingchi Poon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wingchi) Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

WA Killing Wolves Again. Please Write to Fish & Wildlife Director.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington state is again killing wolves to protect cows that ranchers graze on public parkland.

It comes in the wake of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission proposing to let hunters bait wolves, even though the state has 800 or fewer wolves and could drop below 150 if the proposal becomes reality, Project Coyote estimates. Hunters and trappers in Idaho already may kill up to 10 wolves per person each year, and IDFG regularly kills wolves accused of killing “livestock.”

The campaigns against wolves are relentless and monied.

Please write to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth to ask for more humane ways of dealing with the issue ranchers are having. Maybe they shouldn’t be grazing their animals on public lands?

Here’s Director Unsworth’s email address: director@dfw.wa.gov.

 

 

Orcas: Vanishing Icons of the Pacific Northwest

Photo: Christopher Michel, Creative Commons

Photo: Christopher Michel, Creative Commons

By Molly Jordan

When you think about Orcas in the context of Animal Rights, there are a few individuals who immediately come to mind. Regardless of when you joined the movement, undoubtedly you have heard of the captive Orca at Miami Seaquarium, Lolita—or Tokitae, as she was originally named, which is a native Coast Salish greeting meaning “nice day, pretty colors.” She has spent nearly half a century living in abysmal conditions in captivity despite decades of activism, outreach, demands, and sea sanctuary plans to bring her home. If you’re like me, “Free Lolita” has been part of your activism toolkit for as long as you’ve been involved with speaking on behalf of captive cetaceans worldwide. Tilikum became a household name when in 2010 he killed a trainer at SeaWorld in Florida and then again in 2013 upon the release of the documentary film Blackfish, which exposed to the world many of the evils of captivity for these incredibly intelligent, social creatures. If you haven’t seen this powerful film, please find a friend with Netflix and watch it. It will give you a great overview of why captivity is so cruel.

Something the film touches on is the story of how Tilikum came to be in captivity and the dark history of the captive era in Washington State. n conversations about Orcas and other marine mammals, I’m often struck by people’s assumption that if they are living free in the wild and are protected from being hunted, they are safe. Tragically, this is far from the actual truth. While the Nnorthern and Ssouthern Rresident killer whale populations are now somewhat protected from human greed within U.S. and Canadian waters, we are still at significant risk of losing these iconic pods within our lifetime.

The Pacific Northwest observes June as Orca Awareness Month and offers educational opportunities to learn more about our Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) and the three challenges they are facing today: toxic waters, lack of food supply, and ocean noise.

The SRKW are often cited as some of the most contaminated marine mammals in the world, because of human activities that pollute the Salish Sea. Contaminants in Puget Sound come from agricultural runoff, litter, pesticides, marine debris, and other sources. Fish absorb contaminants, which are then passed on to Orcas and other marine life who eat these fish (and to humans who consume fish). Scientists have speculated contaminates have been a factor in the decline of live calf births among female killer whales of reproductive age, most notably with the recent death of Lulu, one of the only remaining whales left in the United Kingdom resident pod. Without healthy reproductive females bearing healthy calves, the chance that these pods will survive long term is dismal. The toxic environment also could be a contributing factor to the fact that  almost all calves born during the Orca baby boom are males. There hasn’t been a surviving calf birthed in K-Pod since 2011.

One of the most critical dangers facing our SRKW right now is an extreme lack of their preferred species of salmon:chinook. Both the Northern and Southern Resident killer whale populations are unique fish-eating mammals. While our neighborhood whales eat a small variety of other salmon species, they depend on healthy chinook salmon runs for more than  80 percent of their diet, and thus for their survival. These residents should not be confused with their thriving mammal-eating relatives who regularly inhabit our waters and who are often referred to as Bigg’s killer whales or “transients.”

Overfishing is a global problem that tremendously affects our local SRKW. Lack of healthy and abundant fish stocks in the ocean leads to the whales slowly starving, more in some years than others. Another literal barrier preventing healthy chinook salmon runs in the PNW are the intact Lower Snake River Dams. One organization, Dam Sense, is working solely on bringing down these dams. It has an abundance of information about why this is crucial to the survival of the Chinook salmon and the SRKW. I saw a screening of the film Dam Nation, and it really opened my eyes to how severe an issue this is for ecosystems around the country. Bringing down the dams is just one way to help, along with not consuming salmon, and educating the people in your life about these issues.

Marine life worldwide and right here at home also face oceanic noise pollution. I was in a workshop last year where I saw the film Sonic Sea. The main takeaway, outside of the startling statistics about shipping traffic, is the simple fact that while oceanic noise pollution is a dreadful modern experience for marine life, it is also human caused and can be reversed simply by stopping the action that makes the noise. Unlike pollutants which can live in an environment well beyond our lifetimes, noise can be reduced and eliminated in marine environments by taking the cause of the noise out of the ocean! This is easier said than done, but it is possible to make even small contributions if you engage in marine vessel travel. Lime Kiln State Park has been noted as the best place to see Orcas in the wild from the shore – and believe me, it is! I have been mega fortunate to have seen them twice in just three short years of calling Washington State home, and it has truly been a magical experience. These sightings have involved several days of picnics and patience as you wait and see if that day will be the day they choose to swim by. Sadly, the ocean noise in the Salish Sea becomes all too apparent when your relaxing day on the bluffs is interrupted by the constant and annoying vessel noise from passing boats and container ships. If they are that loud and annoying to our human ears on land, just imagine what it is like for those whales who call these  waterways home.

When advocating for animals, I try to learn about the specific motivations and history behind how a mainstream practice came to be (you can apply this to learning about human-based oppressions, too). When you sit down to comb through any of the materials I have presented here, I encourage you to follow the money trail to understand how, even decades after the last Orca was captured in Washington State, human greed and global commerce continue to contribute to the demise of these stunning creatures. A few of the books I recommend as a starting point are Puget Sound Whales for Sale, The Lost Whale, and Into Great Silence. They will all break your heart in various ways, but I have been endlessly inspired to learn more and do more on behalf of those who still need our voice. None of us can individually save the world, but we can all do small things every day to make this planet better. Now, more than ever, it’s important to help our fellow humans and nonhuman animals in whatever big or small way we can to ease the burden or struggle of those with whom we share this world.

When I moved to Washington State, I was happy to have so many tremendous resources available that are working toward the ultimate survival of these beloved whales. I have been able to hear some pretty amazing speakers and to meet others working on behalf of these whales and other marine life. Attending lectures also offers the opportunity to ask these organizations how they are crossing the intersections with other human- and animal-based oppressions. We know, as animal advocates, that much of our work crosses the boundaries of single issues. Having dialogue with caring individuals can help us bridge the gap between caring about iconic species like Orcas and caring about animals deemed unworthy of any protections, like chickens.

Some of my favorite organizations are: Orca Network, The Center for Whale Research, Cascadia Research Collective, The Whale Trail, The American Cetacean Society Puget Sound Chapter, and even Washington State Ferries! The M/V Tokitae is a ferry named in honour of our beloved whale who was stolen from her mother, Ocean Sun, in Puget Sound over 46 years ago. On the ferry walls is educational information regarding her capture and subsequent life of captivity as the lone Orca more commonly known as Lolita, so every single passenger riding that ferry can learn about her tragic plight.

I encourage you to do your own research and find organizations that align with your individual interests and ethics and learn more about the great work being done on behalf of humans and nonhuman animals in Washington State, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. Thank you to Northwest Animal Rights Network for providing a platform to share this information.

Other organizations that may be of interest are: Wild Whales, OrcaLab, the Orca Project, Orca Conservancy, Seal Sitters, the SeaDoc Society, Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative (SRKWCSI), Orca Salmon Alliance, The Whale , and the Langley Whale Center.

For more information regarding Northern and Southern Resident killer whale protections in Washington State and British Columbia as they pertain to our respective governments, please visit:

 

Circus Cats Need Our Help

Tomorrow is National Animal Rights Day — see you at Westlake! — but today is a day for helping the tigers. After going to Seattle Farmed Animal Save’s Vigil at the Enumclaw Live Animal Auction at 11 a.m., I’m headed to nearby Orting to protest the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus, which uses tigers in its show. Dammit.

Which brings me to today’s online action: The Animal Legal Defense Fund reported that Ringing Brothers applied for a permit through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to export its big cats (eight endangered tigers, six lions and a leopard) to a circus in Germany.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife is taking public comments — here’s the form.

And here’s a sample message:

The life of an animal held captive for entertainment is undeniably cruel. I was relieved to learn that Ringling Brothers would end its animals’ grueling cycle of confinement, chaining and forced performance.

Sadly, it appears that Ringling would rather make money on the transfer of its long-suffering cats — eight endangered tigers, six lions, and a leopard — back to more of the same in Germany.

After years of service in the circus, these cats should be allowed to live out their lives at a reputable sanctuary where they can experience the space, habitats, and peace they need and deserve.

Please make sure these threatened species are treated better than Ringling wants to.

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.

 

Senate Votes Tomorrow on Wildlife Refuge Hunting Bill

I’m reposting this from a month ago, because the Senate votes on it tomorrow. It already passed the House.

The House of Representatives voted last month to allow the stuff of wildlife snuff films to happen in Alaska’s 16 wildlife refuges: The denning of wolf pups, the killing of hibernating bears, the spotting of grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and the trapping of grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares.

Talk about turning back the clock — and turning the refuges into “game farms,” as retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer put it.

Top scientists had backed a ban on those practices last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying such killing would not increase moose and caribou numbers.

Don Young, the Alaskan representative who proposed this unsound legislation, said on the House floor that he has killed wolves in their dens. Bizarrely, he also argued that denning and hunting from the air don’t occur. Hmmm.

And he called it a states rights issuebut these are federal refuges.

Five Democrats voted with the Republican majority: Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Ten Republicans opposed the killing, including Dave Reichert of Washington. Here’s his number, if you’d like to thank him (it was House Joint Resolution 69): 202-225-7761.

And here are numbers for Washington’s Senators. Please ask them to block Senate Joint Resolution 18:

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

House Votes to Turn Wildlife Refuges Into Game Farms; Time to Call Senators

Shame. The House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow the stuff of wildlife snuff films to happen in Alaska’s 16 wildlife refuges: The denning of wolf pups, the killing of hibernating bears, the spotting of grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and the trapping of grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares.

Talk about turning back the clock — and turning the refuges into “game farms,” as retired Arctic National Wildlife biologist Fran Mauer put it.

Top scientists had backed a ban on those practices last year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, saying such killing would not increase moose and caribou numbers.

Don Young, the Alaskan representative who proposed this unsound legislation, said on the House floor that he has killed wolves in their dens. Bizarrely, he also argued that denning and hunting from the air don’t occur. Hmmm.

And he called it a states rights issue — but these are federal refuges.

Five Democrats voted with the Republican majority: Henry Cuellar, Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela of Texas, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Ten Republicans opposed the killing, including Dave Reichert of Washington. Here’s his number, if you’d like to thank him (it was House Joint Resolution 69): 202-225-7761.

And here are numbers for Washington’s Senators. Please ask them to block this legislation in the Senate. (Here’s a fact sheet from the Humane Society of the United States.)

Sen. Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Sen. Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441