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
It’s time to put animals atop your agenda for calls to Congress.
Congressman Don Young of Alaska has proposed House Joint Resolution 69 to stop the repeal of a ban on aerial hunting and other cruel practices. It would restore the practice of shooting grizzlies from airplanes in the National Wildlife Refuges of Alaska.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last August finalized a rule prohibiting this cruel form of hunting.
If it passes the House, it’s likely to pass the Senate and be signed by the President.
Please call now to make sure HJRes 69 is stopped! Phone calls are most effective.
Pramila Jayapal is the representative for Seattle: 202-225-3106.
To find your rep: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Here’s a fact sheet compiled by the Humane Society of the U.S.
Photo: Frank van Manen/USGS<br />
Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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.
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
Turkey butchering season has hardly passed, and already the down coat industry is warming up for an onslaught of holiday orders.
Although the vast majority of consumers say they dislike the use of fur, the company Canada Goose continues to use fur from trapped coyotes in its coats. It also fills the coats with plumage from geese that are killed for meat, in some cases having their throats slit while they’re alive.
Even the “ethical” trapping that Canada Goose brags about using allows coyotes to languish for 24 to 72 hours. In that time, mother coyotes sometimes chew through their limbs to escape. The traps also do not ensure a quick or painless end when the trapper returns.
“Humane” traps: No right way to do the wrong thing.
Despite Canada Goose’s claim that fur is the “only” choice for the hard, hard winters its customers endure, modern fabrics mean that warmer coats are available without killing animals. Synthetic materials also hold up to wet, humid weather.
Please tell Dani Reiss, CEO of Canada Goose, that it’s inhumane and completely unnecessary to use fur and plumage in his products — and that you’ll be spreading the word about the old-fashioned butchering still carried out for his company’s products.
Invite Mr. Reiss to come on into the 21st century, where we can let the coyotes keep their fur, and geese their plumage — and muscles.
Now is the time to push wildlife officials to use the permission they already have from a 2002 environmental impact statement that allows them to breach four dams on the lower Snake River. Those breaches would have a tremendous positive impact on salmon and orca populations in the Northwest.
Comments on the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement are being taken now — and the Snake River is part of that system.
Please comment here, encouraging them not to wait to breach these four dams. Salmon and orca need this help now.
Here are politicians to contact as well — you can just copy and paste your comment from the EIS page — and here’s an encouraging story about the sockeye, chinook and trout already making their way back to an upper watershed following the demolition of a dam blocking the Elwha River.
The Seattle City Council’s final Budget Meeting is tomorrow. Please come to speak out against funding the confinement of suffering animals. Ask the City Council to put the money toward parks programs, off-leash parks and under-served communities rather than more money for the zoo.
Also, please write an email with NO more money for the zoo in the subject line to: Council@seattle.gov
The City has a contract with the Woodland Park Zoo which mandates over $7 million dollars in annual payments. (King County pays the zoo $4.2 million annually). The 2017 budget includes an additional $1.8 million dollars to the Zoo through the Seattle Parks District. The City Council makes the Seattle Parks District’s funding decisions. This $1.8 million dollars is DISCRETIONARY and must be stopped.
The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and all in-person 2 minute (or less) comments will be heard. Sign-up sheets will be provided outside the entrance of the City Council Chambers. If you wish to speak, please sign up at 4:15.
What: Seattle City Council BUDGET meeting.
When: Tuesday, October 25 at 5:30pm
Public comment: Sign up at 4:15pm
Where: Seattle City Hall at 600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104. City Hall chambers on the second floor.
The office of Jim Unsworth, the director of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, responded to public concerns about the killing of the Profanity Peak wolf pack with the long email below.
Here’s a possible response — his email is email@example.com:
Dear Dir Unsworth,
Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and comprehensive response.
This part rings untrue: “Capturing wolves and placing them in captive facilities is also problematic. For one thing, live-capturing wolves is extremely difficult, especially in the rugged terrain of the Profanity Peak pack’s range. In addition, experience has shown that many wolves do not adapt well to captivity.”
Your department regularly captures wolves to collar them, including in the Profanity Peak Pack. At least one sanctuary offered to take them in. To learn more about sanctuaries, perhaps you should attend the Wolf Haven International event at Town Hall in Seattle next month.
In this case, it’s also concerning that you believe that the rancher(s) had taken appropriate measures. Although Washington State University has (inappropriately, I believe) disavowed its professor’s claim that the cattle were placed on top of the wolves’ den, the rancher himself is apparently acknowledging that the cattle were placed within a few miles of it. What do your guidelines say about that? Perhaps they should account for the fact that when this law was enacted more than a century ago, most ranchers lived near their cattle and that alone acted as a deterrent to the wolves.
Finally, while I realize cattle are technically property, perhaps you should reconsider calling them that. Aren’t the wolves in this case public “property” whose lives and well-being you should guard?
Thank you for your consideration,
Awesome vegan’s name here
Email from Dir. Unsworth’s office:
“The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received your message regarding the removal of wolves in the Profanity Peak pack and appreciates your concerns. The volume of comments we have received on this issue precludes responding to individual messages, but we welcome the opportunity to explain the department’s actions.
Many people who contacted WDFW suggested that the department should focus on conserving endangered wildlife, rather than protecting ranchers’ cattle. Conserving native species is indeed our first priority, but the department also has a legal obligation to respond to reports of property damage and public safety threats caused by wildlife. In fact, addressing these situations is essential to maintain and increase public acceptance of wolves, bears, cougars and other wildlife on the landscape.
Wolf management in Washington is guided by the state’s 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which addresses issues ranging from regional wolf-recovery objectives to strategies for reducing wolf depredation on livestock. The wolf plan was developed by WDFW in conjunction with the department’s Wolf Advisory Group (WAG), a diverse citizen panel including conservationists, ranchers and hunters. The state plan was adopted after an extensive public process and review, including consideration of over 65,000 public comments.
Earlier this year, the department worked with WAG to develop a new management protocol that established specific criteria for using lethal measures to stop wolves from preying on livestock when other measures prove ineffective. The protocol lays out specific conditions that must be met for taking lethal action, including a requirement that ranchers use preventive measures to protect their livestock.
In this case, both ranchers involved in the conflict with the Profanity Peak pack took proactive measures prescribed by the protocol and WDFW field staff to prevent attacks on their cattle. Yet, by the first week of September, the department had documented eight confirmed and five probable wolf attacks on grazing allotments in the Colville National Forest.
While ranchers can apply for compensation for those losses, state payments do not address the additional cost of protecting livestock or the disruption to ranching operations resulting from repeated predation by wolves.
Some people who contacted the department maintained that ranchers shouldn’t be allowed to graze their livestock on federal rangelands in the first place. Changing that century-old policy is beyond the department’s authority, and would require action by the U.S. Congress. So long as Washington ranchers can legally graze their livestock on public lands, WDFW has a responsibility to manage wolves in the eastern portion of the state where they were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2009.
Since then, the state’s wolf population has grown from five wolves to at least 90 today, increasing by approximately 30 percent per year. Most of that growth has been in the eastern section of the state, where 15 of Washington’s 19 wolf packs share the landscape with rural residents and ranching operations.
Unfortunately, WDFW’s options for relocating wolves to defuse conflicts are limited, especially if a pack has a history of preying on domestic animals. Studies show that many relocated wolves return to their original range, or resume attacking livestock in their new location.
Capturing wolves and placing them in captive facilities is also problematic. For one thing, live-capturing wolves is extremely difficult, especially in the rugged terrain of the Profanity Peak pack’s range. In addition, experience has shown that many wolves do not adapt well to captivity.
For these reasons, Washington’s wolf management plan concludes that “lethal control of wolves may be necessary to resolve repeated wolf-livestock conflicts.”
We at WDFW understand that the public is divided on this issue, and that many people are upset by the idea of killing wolves to protect livestock. Yet, eight states with growing gray wolf populations – Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – have found it necessary to use lethal measures as a last resort to manage wolf populations.
As gray wolves continue to reestablish themselves in our state, some conflicts with humans, livestock and other wildlife species are inevitable. WDFW is committed to the recovery of wolves, but recognizes that maintaining the support of people who live and work near this apex predator is essential to achieving that goal. Without their support, wolves will face a far less certain future in our state.
For more information about wolf management in Washington state, please see the WDFW website.”
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.
August 30, 2016
Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 779-9613, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003, email@example.com
Wolf Supporters to Rally in Olympia to Protest Killing of the Profanity Peak Pack
OLYMPIA, Wash.— Wildlife supporters, including several conservation groups, will rally Thursday at noon in Olympia to mourn the loss of Washington’s Profanity Peak pack and call on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to stop killing the public’s wolves on public lands to benefit the private ranching industry.
The agency has already killed six of the pack’s 11 members and aims to eradicate the entire pack, including five 4-month-old pups, for conflicts with livestock on federal public lands after a rancher moved his cattle directly onto the pack’s known den site.
What: Members of the public, including members of multiple conservation organizations representing thousands of Washington residents, will rally at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters to mourn the loss of the Profanity Peak wolf family and to send a clear message that state residents want the agency to protect Washington’s endangered wolves, not kill them on public lands to benefit irresponsible ranchers.
When: Noon to 2 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1.
Where: The sidewalk and parking lot in front of the main entrance to the headquarters building of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, at 1111 Washington Street, SE, Olympia, WA 98501.
Visuals: Attendees will hoist posters and banners with messages in support of ending wolf-killing for irresponsible ranchers; images of killed wolves will be displayed on the ground. Speakers will include Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity; Brooks Fahy, executive director for Predator Defense; Paul Ruprecht, staff attorney for Western Watersheds Project, and several citizen activists.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Northwest Animal Rights Network is a Pacific Northwest based animal rights organization which advocates for the rights inherent to all sentient beings to live a full life, to be free, and to not be used and exploited.
Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization working to protect native predators and help people to coexist with wildlife. Our efforts take us into the field, onto America’s public lands, to Congress, and into courtrooms.
The mission of Western Watersheds Project is to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and legal advocacy.
WildLands Defense: Working to inspire and empower the preservation of wildlands and wildlife in the West.