As we all know fireworks begin tomorrow night. But did you know that on July 4th more pets go missing than any other holiday? In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for shelters, and I'm not talking about adoptions. Please keep your pets inside, (cats included as well as other pets such as rabbits, ect.), and when they are taken outdoors keep an eye on them at all times and keep them le...ashed at night when you let them out to do their business. Keep animals in a calm room farthest from doors and windows. Keep their routine in tact, things such as feeding at the normal time will give a sense of stability. Turn on the TV or stereo to mask the loud booms. (But remember, loud tv's and stereos hurt their ears, so keep the volume to a decent, calm and considerate level) The calmer you are, the calmer they will be. When having cookouts, keep pets safely away from grills and do not let your guest feed them from their plates. Keep all charcol and lighter fluids away from pets. And above all DO NOT TAKE YOUR PETS TO SEE FIREWORKS! They do not understand what it is. To them its nothing more then screaming people in an overwhelming crowd with loud scary noises. During this holiday when we are celebrating our freedom, PLEASE keep your pets free from harm and safely at home. Have a wonderful and safe 4th!
Fingers Off the Trigger: Zambia Cancels All Trophy Hunting Licences (Africa Geographic)
A brighter day could soon come for Africa's animals. Please click the link for the article.
BREAKING: L.A. City Council has Banned the Sale of Commercially Bred Puppies (From Last Chance For Animals)
"THIS IS A LANDMARK VICTORY FOR THE ANIMALS AND GROUNDBREAKING LEGISLATION PASSED THE THE L.A. CITY COUNCIL!!!!!!
Los Angeles City Council approved a new city ordinance on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, that will ban the sale of mill animals in any pet store in Los Angeles. The ordinance includes dogs, cats and rabbits and institutes a 3-year ban, which if violated can incur a misdemeanor count and fines ranging from $250 to $1000, depending on how many times the offense has been committed. Any dogs, cats or rabbits sold at a pet store must be obtained from shelters or rescues when the ban goes into effect. This ban, which takes effect six months from the effective date (not yet released) will help decrease the growing number of shelter animals in Los Angeles. In 2011, approximately 500,000 animals were euthanized in Los Angeles County at taxpayer's expense totalling an estimate of $50,000,000.
LCA began the fight against puppy mills 20 years ago in Elko, Nevada where LCA's undercover investigation exposed a puppy mill whose dogs had turned to cannibalism to survive. Starting in 2008, LCA put the pressure on Los Angeles county pet store owners, convincing 12 stores to stop selling dogs from puppy mills and shutting down four other puppy mill stores.
Four LA Pet Stores Shut Down from LCA's Puppy Mill Free Store Campaign
In 2004, 12 years after LCA's first puppy mill bust in Elko, Nevada, and hundreds of protests, boycotts and rallies later, LCA launched the annual Puppy Mill Awareness Day (PMAD) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania which has now grown to Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas. PMAD continues to gain traction across the nation as more and more people are becoming aware of the plight of puppy mill dogs.
A puppy originating from a puppy mill takes the place of an adoptable companion animal in a shelter that may never get adopted. In 2011, approximately 500,000 animals were euthanized in Los Angeles County and the ban will counter that sad statistic.
"We are thankful to LA City Council member Paul Koretz for his courage and tireless dedication to this issue. There is tremendous abuse going on in these puppy mills--this ban sends a powerful message to other cities and we're not going to stop until this Nation is puppy mill free," said LCA's DeRose.
LCA has led several investigations into puppy mills and continues to make it a top priority. In 2008, LCA teamed up with Cesar Millan to investigate the operations of World Kennel USA, a puppy mill in Lancaster, California, which resulted in the rescue of over 300 dogs and a full expose of the puppy mill business and its shocking realities on National Geographic's The Dog Whisperer .
To learn more about the greed and misery of puppy mills and what you can do to stop them, visit www.banpuppymills.com."
Evacuation Shelters and Other Common Sense
Almost all of the evacuation shelters are allowing your pets. Please call ahead and make sure, but please please DO NOT leave your pets behind. Please visit the HSUS Twitter for complete listings at www.twitter.com/HumaneSociety (you do not need a twitter to view the site) In the event of power outages, if you use candles, please use common sense and keep them away from anything your pet could bump or knock over. To lessen your pets anxiety, keep them in an interior room. And above all, everyone from the coast to my home here in Ohio that are being affected by this, please stay safe. The thoughts and prayers of OVFA are with you all and your pets. Much love, OVFA
"Follow these steps to help your ferals safely through stormy weather. Hurricane Sandy will soon be bringing gale-force winds and torrential rains to the East Coast. The brunt of the coming "Frankenstorm", an unusual mix of a hurricane and a winter storm - is expected to hit New York and New Jersey, creating extremely hazardous conditions across the region.
Free-roaming cats are vulnerable in severe weather but there are things you can do to protect them: To keep shelters and feeding stations dry, raise them off the ground. Wooden shipping pallets are ideal for this purpose.Shelters and feeding stations located in areas that may flood should be moved to higher ground.Tie shelters and feeders to permanent structures (like a fence) to anchor them, or wedge tightly into a secure space.Be careful about placing heavy objects on top of shelters to keep them in place as these may pose a danger in high winds.To keep rain from driving in, position shelters so openings face a wall, or the entrances of two shelters face one another, no more than a foot apart.Put out a supply of extra food while the weather remains calm, in case you're not able to return for a few days.If your feeding stations aren't enclosed, you can place a bowl of dry food in a plastic container in a corner of the cats' shelter. This also allows the cats easy access to food during the storm. Do NOT put water in the shelter.Compile a list of the cats in your colony including descriptions and photos. After the storm, if any cats have been displaced, this information may help locate them.Use caution when returning to the colony site. Brances and other debris are dangerous and may continue to fall for several days in the aftermath of the hurricane."
Animals Are NOT PR!
Celebrities and public figures have been known to do all sorts of outlandish and crazy things to be in the public eye and to gain fans, but no act is as disgusting, disrespectful, and heartless as using animals. Whether it be carrying one to events, wearing them for shock value, or claiming a love for them that doesn't truly exist, it is flat out horrible. Animals are just as alive with red blood flowing from their hearts, with oxygen filling their lungs, and a brain that feels emotion and thinks, just like us. We should treat them with the respect they deserve and not use them as a ploy to get fans or votes. One such celeb comes to mind when I think of this. This person claims to love animals, claims to hate seeing them hurt, but turns around and tells people to eat them for health and beauty and tells people to wear leather as a staple in their wardrobe to be sexy. This is not a love for animals. Either this person is extremely uneducated on the fact the animals they are consuming in fact are animals and the leather they promote is in fact cow, or they are using them for their gain.
Bottom line, NO animal, humans included, should be used for fame and status or fashion. And a person that does this is nothing more than a publicity hog with no heart and no conscious. If by some chance it is simply a lack of AR education, please, before you claim it, learn it. The meat and leather industries are by far some of cruelest tortures we put our co-inhabitants through. To promote these industries is simply becoming an accomplice to torture.
Celebs and public figures, Get a heart! Get an education! And get original. Use your talent and brain to get your fame, not an animal!
Herds Pay Last Respects to The Elephant Whisper (The Homestead Survival)
(Photo courtesy of The Homestead Survival)
"Journey To Pay Their Respect - The Elephant Whisperer A true story that will deeply touch your soul!!!!!!! PLEASE go ahead & SHARE!
"An amazing occurrence happened in South Africa when 31 elephants made a “Journey To Pay their Respect.” How did they know? Something that is greater and deeper t han human intelligence informed them that their hero – the man who had saved their lives and many other animals – had made his transition from this earthly world. d. Lawrence Anthony (1950 – 2012), a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller "The Elephant Whisperer", bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during the US invasion in 2003. On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.
Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend'. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to reach his South African House. Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way.
Walking slowly – for days – they made their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat in the wild bush to his house. Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years! But yet they knew where they were going and they seemed to know why they were going to Lawrence’s home. The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their human friend who had saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything.
After honoring Lawrence Anthony in the only way they could - in this touching and memorable tribute to the man who had saved them and many other animals around the world – these sentient creatures had proven they are wiser and more compassionate than the human race will ever be or ever realize. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home. . . .
By: Jeff Mullan"
Costa Rica: 1st Latin American Country to Ban Hunting (MSN.com)
"Costa Rica will soon become the first country in Latin America to prohibit hunting, a move that will likely be made official within the week. The country welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually, many of whom come to traipse through jungles and chill out on palm-fringed Pacific beaches. Those visitors will no longer, however, be allowed to hunt giant turtles, jaguars or pumas, which have all been pursued in the country for sport and trophies. Costa Ricans supporting the measure says the ban is a matter of straightforward economics: "If we destroy the wildlife, the tourists are not going to come anymore," said one environmental activist."
Religious Leaders Unite to Help Stop Slaughter (World News)
Religious leaders are the latest recruits in the war by conservationists against those slaughtering thousands of elephants and rhinos across Africa each year. The World Wildlife Fund on Friday announced a partnership with various religious groups — some of which are themselves fueling the crisis by allowing religious artifacts to be made from ivory.
"Halting wildlife trade is a moral issue," Dekila Chungyalpa, WWF’s Sacred Earth program director, said in a statement announcing the partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.
The partnership was sealed Thursday night inside Kenya's Nairobi National Park, where three dozen religious leaders from nine African countries gathered amid rhinos, zebras, buffalo and ostriches all within site of the skyline of Kenya's capital.
Standing before a pile of charred elephant ivory as dusk covered the surrounding savannah, Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders grasped hands and prayed. The remains were from a 1989 burn of confiscated ivory that Kenya set on fire to draw attention to the slaughter.
"We are the ones who are driving God's creatures to extinction," said Martin Palmer, secretary-general of the Britain-based alliance. "We are the ones who can change the way Africa works."
Poachers are escalating their assault on Africa's elephants and rhinos, and conservationists warn that the animals cannot survive Asia's high-dollar demand for ivory tusks and rhino horn powder. Some wildlife agents, customs officials and government leaders are being paid off by what is viewed as a well-organized mafia moving animal parts from Africa to Asia, charge the conservationists.
Moreover, poachers can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a rhino horn or elephant tusk. That money represents far more than they could earn after years of labor in the typical village job.
"Faith leaders are the heart and backbone of local communities," Chungyalpa noted. "They guide and direct the way we think, behave and live our lives," she said, adding later: "I think this is the missing piece in conservation strategies... WWF can yell us much as we want and no one will listen to us, but a religious leader can say 'This is not a part of our values. This is immoral.'"
It's not known what kind of impact religious leaders may be able to make, but Mike Watson, the chief executive of Kenya's Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, said he and other conservationists will take any help they can get.
Lewa saw one of its rhinos killed by poachers last week. The park had never suffered a rhino poaching death before 2009; it's had five of its rhinos killed since then.
"We know for a fact that one of the demands for ivory is religious icons in the Far East, and if pressure can be brought to bear to reduce that demand both locally here in Kenya through assistance by religious leaders, and overseas, it can only be a good step," he said. "It might take generations. If religious leaders can some way speed that process up, all well and good, but all efforts need to be on the table."
The significance of religious icons was underscored by National Geographic magazine, which in its October issue traced how Catholics in the Philippines and Buddhists in Thailand make up part of the demand for ivory.
Chungyalpa said WWF is working with Buddhists to try to educate Asian consumers about ivory and rhino horn powder. Yao Ming, the oversized basketball star from China, visited Kenya last month to raise awareness and make a film called "The End of the Wild," she noted.
The poaching numbers are grim. The number of rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa has risen from 13 in 2007 to 448 last year, WWF says. Last year saw more large-scale ivory seizures than any year in the last two decades, it added. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed by poachers each year.
Chungyalpa compared the effort to enlist religious leaders in the anti-poaching fight to how religious pressure helped end the era of apartheid in South Africa.
"There has to be a rising up of moral outrage," she said. "This is the spirit we're after."
Do You Have An Itchy Dog?
I know a lot of dogs and a lot of dog parents and th most common complaint is itchy skin. The linked article provides a ton info for the most common causes.
For your pet, an emergency can be something much less dramatic than a hurricane or earthquake. For them, anything (for instance, icy roads or a sudden health emergency) that keeps you from getting could create a problem. If you are prepared for these everyday emergencies, you'll be in better shape if a large disaster strikes.
That's because an evacuation order may come, or a natural disaster may strike, when you're at work or out of the house for any reason. The HSUS recommends the following actions to make sure your pets are taken care of when you can't be there: Find a trusted neighbor and give her a key to your house or barn. Make sure this person is comfortable and familiar with your pets. Make sure the neighbor knows your pets' whereabouts and habits, so she won't have to waste precious time trying to find or catch them. Create a pet emergency/disaster kit and place it in a prominent place where your neighbor can find it. If the emergency involves evacuation, Make arrangements well in advance for a trusted neighbor to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with him/her, knows where your animals are likely to be, knows where your disaster supplies are kept and has a key to your home.Ask if your pet sitting service will be available to help, but discuss this well in advance.
Every member of your family should know what he or she needs to take when you evacuate. You also need to prepare supplies for your pet. Stock up on non-perishables well ahead of time, and have everything ready to go in the event of a disaster at a moment's notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily.
If you reside in an area prone to certain seasonal disasters, such as flooding or hurricanes that might require evacuation, create a kit to keep in your car.
In your pet disaster kit, you should include:Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. (It's good to include a pet first-aid book.) Cat litter box, litter, garbage bags to collect all pets' waste, and litter scoop. Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. (Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time while you are away from home.) Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth as well as other special items. Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them (and to prove that they are yours) in case you and your pets become separated . Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress. Information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items, and household bleach.
Because evacuation shelters generally don't accept pets (except for service animals), you must plan ahead to make certain your family and pets will have a safe place to stay. Don't wait until disaster strikes to do your research.
Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size, and species. Inquire if the "no pet" policies would be waived in an emergency. Make a list of animal-friendly places and keep it handy. Call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home Look for pet-friendly hotels online:
Check with friends, relatives or others outside your immediate area. Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals or just your animals, if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to house them at separate locations. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in disaster emergencies; include 24-hour telephone numbers.Don't forget ID
Your pet should be wearing up-to-date identification at all times. Add your current cell phone number to your pet's tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—if your pet is lost, you'll want to provide a number on the tag that will be answered even if you're away.
Increase your chances of being reunited with a lost pet by having him or her microchipped.
When you evacuate, take your pets
The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you when you evacuate. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. Animals left inside your home can escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.
Even if you think you may only be evacuating for a few hours, take your pets. Once you've left, you'll have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets.
Leave early—don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely with your pets. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, they may tell you to leave your pets behind.
Look for pet-friendly hotels online (see "Find a safe place ahead of time" above).
Even if you think you may only be gone for a few hours, take your pets. When you leave, you have no way of knowing how long you'll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets.
Leave early—don't wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely with your pets. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind. If you don't evacuate, shelter in place
If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Be sure to close your windows and doors, stay inside, and follow the instructions from your local emergency management office. Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say there may be a problem. Keep pets under your direct control; if you have to evacuate, you won't have to spend time trying to find them. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.If you have a room you can designate as a "safe room," put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet's crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door, or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.Listen to the radio periodically, and don't come out until you know it's safe.After disaster strikes, what next?
Planning and preparation will help you survive the disaster, but your home may be a very different place afterward, whether you have taken shelter at home or elsewhere.Don't allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes and keep cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, they could escape and become lost.Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
Savvy Gorillas Destroy Traps in Rwanda (TakePart.com)
"Young gorillas are getting the last laugh over poachers in Rwanda: they’ve managed to dismantle dangerous snares in the forest, National Geographic reported.
Constructed to trap antelopes and other animals, thousands of rope-and-branch snares are hidden in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Endangered mountain gorillas are sometimes caught in these traps, and while the adults can generally free themselves, younger apes have a hard time.
Trackers go through the forest every day to pull apart any snares they find, in the hopes of protecting these gorillas. And on July 17, tracker John Ndayambaje was moving in on a snare when a silverback gorilla named Vubu grunted for him to stay back. All of a sudden, Ndayambaje saw something surprising: two juvenile gorillas running toward the trap to dismantle it.
Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Karisoke Research Center, told National Geographic that the apes likely knew the traps were dangerous, since silverbacks had been caught in them before.
These traps consist of tying a noose to a branch and bending the branch downward, then using a bent stick or rock to weigh the camouflaged noose to the ground. When an animal prods the rock, the branch is released and the poor critter is trapped in the noose
The 4-year-old gorillas, Rwema and Dukore, ran to multiple traps, breaking the branches, and freeing the nooses quickly—making park coordinators suspect that this is not the first time they had managed such a task.
Nonetheless, it was still a jaw-dropping moment, and we’re just reveling at the gorillas’ ingenuity.
Score one for the apes."
ARAMARK to Eliminate Gestation Crates (HSUS)
"ARAMARK, a world leader in professional services, today announced it plans to eliminate all pork from animals bred using gestation crates in ARAMARK’s U.S. supply chain by 2017. The announcement by ARAMARK was made in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation’s largest animal protection organization.
ARAMARK and HSUS have been collaborating to put in place a plan that would address gestation crate issues by working with the company’s suppliers to eliminate the utilization of crates within their supply chains. In addition to major food companies addressing this issue, nine states have also passed laws banning gestation crates, including states like Colorado, Ohio and Michigan.
“ARAMARK is proud to stand in partnership with other industry leaders and supply chain partners to transition away from gestation crates in a timely fashion,” said Kathy Cacciola, ARAMARK’s Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability. “We’re committed to operating responsibly and addressing key issues, including animal welfare, throughout our supply chain and business, and this commitment helps move the entire industry toward the elimination of gestation crates.”
To meet this goal, ARAMARK has asked its primary pork suppliers to develop plans for reducing, and then eliminating gestation crates. Working with the suppliers, ARAMARK will then take steps to provide gestation crate-free pork throughout its supply chain by 2017.
In addition, ARAMARK will begin immediately to require new supplier contracts for pork to provide a plan that addresses how they will phase out gestation creates to meet these important goals.
Gestation crates confine breeding pigs 24 hours a day during their four-month pregnancy, Pacelle said. Many farmers, animal scientists, consumers and companies in the food service industry are working to phase out gestation crates and provide more humane breeding environments."
Shark Numbers a Sad Reality
I have been a lover of sharks since my very early childhood. I remember a day when a 20ft great white wasn't such a rare find to researchers. It's amazing how quickly that has changed with the biggest threat being soup. Sharks need our help and they need it now! Please watch the linked video: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=ySowHT8QvQ0 (warning for sensitive viewers, there are graphic images)
11 Animals More Likely To Kill You Than Sharks
Here's an interesting article for those who believe sharks to be man eating killers intent on consuming anyone who ventures into the water. Bet you didn't know you are far more likely to be killed by a cow. Check out the link for the complete list.
California Assembly Committee’s Passes Legislation to Prohibit Bear and Bobcat Hounding (HSUS)
"The Humane Society of the United States applauds the California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee for voting 8 to 4 to pass Senate Bill 1221, sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, to enact a moratorium on the inhumane and unsporting practice of bear and bobcat hounding. S.B. 1221 passed the California Senate by a vote of 22 to 15 in May. It fell one vote short of passage at a committee hearing last week, and passed today on a reconsideration vote.
Hounding involves fitting dogs with high‐tech radio devices that allow bear and bobcat trophy hunters to monitor the dogs' movement remotely. Dogs are released to chase frightened wild animals often for miles, across all types of habitat, including forests, private property, and into national parks. Dogs pursue their target until the exhausted animal climbs a tree to escape or turns to confront the dog pack. The trophy hunter then kills his cornered prey, often shooting the animal off a tree branch at point-blank range.
“Hounding is inhumane to the dogs and wildlife, and violates the hunting principle of fair chase. This legislation makes California as humane as Montana was in 1921 when that state banned bear hounding,” said Senator Lieu, “I am grateful to Chairman Huffman and the committee for voting through this legislation.”
“Hounding bears and bobcats is an inhumane practice inconsistent with the values of Californians. These values matter when it comes to hunting and hounding is a relic,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for The Humane Society of the United States, during his testimony to the committee in support of S.B. 1221 at last week’s hearing. “Thank you to Chairman Huffman and the members of the committee who voted to close a major loophole in California’s otherwise strong animal protection laws.”
At the bill’s initial hearing on June 26, the committee also discussed conceptual framework for amending S.B. 1221 to allow the California Fish and Game Commission, with a four-fifths majority, to revisit the prohibition on bear and bobcat hounding following an extensive study of hounding, and if the findings revealed no significant harm to target and non-target wildlife, dogs, and the public, including property owners and animal shelters.
Committee members voting today to pass S.B. 1221 were Chairman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, Assemblymembers Bob Blumenfield, D-San Fernando Valley, Nora Campos, D-San Jose, Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, Ricardo Lara, D-South Gate and Mariko Yamada, D-Davis.
Voting against S.B. 1221 were Assemblymembers Linda Halderman, R-Fresno, Bill Berryhill, R-Stockton, Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, and Brian W. Jones, R-Santee.
Facts:Fourteen states—including Montana, Colorado, Washington, Pennsylvania and Oregon—allow bear hunting but prohibit hounding. Montana’s wildlife management officials consider prohibiting hounding a feature of the state’s “fair chase” principles.A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. in 2011 reveals that 83 percent of California voters oppose allowing packs of dogs to chase and kill bears – with 75 percent of voters saying they would support a statewide ballot measure to end this trophy hunting method that puts bears, dogs and other wildlife in jeopardy of serious harm, suffering and death.S.B. 1221 would make California the 15th state to prohibit the hounding of bears and the 14th state to ban the hounding of bobcats.Dogs can be struck by vehicles, die from dehydration or as a result of violent confrontations with wildlife, and many are abandoned, which puts a strain on local animal shelters.S.B. 1221 is co-authored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, Senators. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco and Leland Yee, D-South San Francisco and Assemblymembers Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys, Mike Eng, D-Monterey Park, Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada-Flintridge, Jose Solorio, D-Anaheim and Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.Thousands of Californians including wildlife advocates, ranchers, hunters and landowners have written or called in support of S.B. 1221, as have dozens of animal protection, wildlife rehabilitation and animal sheltering organizations including The HSUS, Sierra Club California, ASPCA, State Humane Association of California, the Bear League, and Wildcare.The HSUS conducted an analysis of California Department of Fish and Game law enforcement reports from 2007-2012 and found more than 500 incidents related to illegal hounding activities and bear and bobcat poaching. The poaching incidents included houndsmen killing bears to illegally sell parts of the animals on the black market, houndsmen trespassing, poaching bear cubs, hounds attacking livestock and cruelty to hounds. Many of the poaching incidents were also associated with narcotics charges and other illegal activity by houndsmen with prior felony convictions."
California Department of Fish and Game Approves Petition to Protect Gray Wolves Under California Endangered Species Act (Courtesy of Center for Biodiversity)
After dealing many web issues I am proud to announce the relaunch of our website. Completely redesigned for our faithful and loyal supporters. Thank you all for bearing with me through this absence. and as always, be a voice for animals!
From OVFA in Regards to Zanesville Tragedy
It breaks my heart to have to write this. Though things like this have always been possible and in the animal rights world we realize this everyday, I still feel shocked and can't seem to wipe the tears from my heart. The images will haunt me forever and will eternally remain a reason for the existance of OVFA.
"A tear dries quickly when it is shed for the troubles of others." ~ Cicero Thank you to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Wilds, and all of the other organizations that did their best to save the animals in Zanesville Ohio. And Thank you to the Columbus Zoo for rescuing the remaining live animals and housing them. Its hard to think that so many want to shut down a place that in the last few years has a nice record of rescuing, housing, and providing exceptional care for numerous animals orphaned and in need. And blessed be the innocent souls lost in this tragedy. Their lives were not in vain. A Bill ignored by our goverment is now being pushed and will hopefully prevent this from ever happening again.
To our supporters and friends, I ask that you not blame the police officers that were only doing their job. As I watched this unfold, I saw the people who protect us with tear filled eyes and broken hearts for having to become hunters. I also ask that you not lay blame on the Columbus Zoo or Jack Hanna whom I also saw with teary eyes and shaken to the core. These people wanted to help the animals, to save their lives, but that was sadly not an option. Once again, remember that the remaining live animals are being housed and cared for by the Columbus Zoo and Mr. Hanna is working tirelessly to pass laws to prevent this kind of tragedy. We will keep you posted as to any changes in the laws. As always, thank you all for your support.
Sincerely, Sabrina Hinkle, Founder
Latest On The Zanesville Ohio Animal Tragedy (From NBC4i)
By: Denise Yost "ZANESVILLE, Ohio -- Six animals rescued from a Muskingum County farm are being cared for at the Columbus Zoo and the official search is over.
A grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys are all that are left of the 56 animals kept by Terry Thompson at the 73-acre farm at 270 Kopchak Road in Zanesville.
Thompson freed the animals from their cages before committing suicide Tuesday evening.
Autopsy results show Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The coroner said that Thompson also had a bite wound to his head area and that the bite wound is consistent with that of a large cat or tiger.
The farm housed animals including Bengal tigers, mountain lions, grizzly and black bears, primates and wolves.
Six black bears, two grizzly bears, nine male lions, eight lionesses, one baboon, three mountain lions, 18 tigers and two wolves were killed by authorities.
Six animals were caught and transported to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: one young grizzly bear, three leopards and two Celebes macaques (a breed of monkey). Those animals are doing well, eating, active and being evaluated by zoo staff.
The sheriff said one monkey is unaccounted for, but the search is over.
Lutz said they believe the monkey may have been killed by one of the lions or tigers.
There were chicken parts and bones near Thompson's body in the driveway and it is believed that he may have been feeding the animals before he died.
Zoo veterinarians are keeping the surviving animals quarantined for now.
Thompson's wife, Marian, still owns the animals but Sheriff Matthew Lutz said she is working closely with Jack Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus zoo to determine what is next for the animals.
Marian has been invited to visit the animals at the zoo, but she cannot take them home.
Thompson was just out of prison and, according to family friends, came home after a year and a day to a farm that had been poorly kept, animals that had not been cared for properly and to discover that his wife was leaving him.
Tiffany Cook has been a friend of the family for 12 years.
"He was an odd character, but that was Terry. That was Terry. We knew he was the odd one out of the whole bunch. That's what set him aside from everybody else," she said.
Thompson was an Air Force Vietnam veteran and it was when he came back from the Vietnam War that many saw a change.
"The war changes people a little bit, see. And I don't know if he got ahold of agent orange working on him or what but he was really different when he came back from Vietnam," said Fred Polk, a neighbor.
If he was known for anything around his sprawling farm, it was the animals. He would feed the roadkill he would collect nearly every day.
"A lot of times, you'd see him in a pick-up truck with deer carcasses in the back. It was roadkill," said Aaron Kopchak, a nearby resident.
Thompson went to a gas station in the area with a bear in tow Monday, just 24 hours before the incident began.
"He just bring in a small black bear to me, brings it on a leash, brings in animals all the time," said Jerry Carpenter, an acquaintance.
Then there was his prison sentence on federal gun charges
"He felt how the animals felt when he was in prison and I think that and having the wife leave and everything come out, he just snapped," Cook said.
Cook also said Thompson was the kind of person who would give anyone the shirt off his back. She said he truly loved the animals.
The incident has brought attention to Ohio's exotic animals laws.
There are no real regulations banning or forbidding owning exotic animals. But Lutz said he spoke to Gov. John Kasich about the need for those regulations.
"From our conversation, I understand there's a task force already formed and listening to him and Jack Hanna, they thought they were about six weeks away from having some guidelines, restrictions, laws … to deal with these types of animals," Lutz said.
State Rep. Debbie Phillips of Athens proposed legislation Thursday to ban private ownership of large, exotic animals.
The bill closely mirrors the expired executive order by former Gov. Ted Strickland in January.
It permits existing owners with federal licenses to keep their animals, but requires they register them with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources."
BREAKING: New Vision for The National Wildlife Refuge System (From Defenders of Wildlife)
By James Navarro
"BREAKING: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sets a course for conservation in new vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife’s president and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, welcomed the Obama administration’s effort to frame a new conservation vision for the more than 150 million acres that make up America’s National Wildlife Refuge System.
The new vision document released by the Interior Department today gives refuge officials a roadmap for managing these special conservation lands to address emerging threats and challenges such as climate change that weren’t considered in 1999 when the last refuge system vision statement was put in place.
The following is a statement from Defenders’ President, Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s updated vision for the National Wildlife Refuge System will help ensure that it continues to anchor the conservation of our nation’s wildlife heritage in the face of the rapid transformations in the environment and in our society. Climate change was not a central concern in wildlife management when the last refuge vision statement was developed in the late 1990’s, but it certainly is a major concern today. This new vision reflects that shift and charts a course for enhanced wildlife conservation in the 21st century.
“While the vision lights a way forward, the success of the document will be measured each day in the field, wildlife refuge by wildlife refuge. It’s up to all of us — conservation groups, ranchers, farmers, hunters, anglers, communities, and federal and state land management agencies — to ensure that this vision becomes a reality.It’s up to all of us — conservation groups, ranchers, farmers, hunters, anglers, communities, and federal and state land management agencies — to ensure that this vision becomes a reality.
“This means working together to add new lands to the refuge system that promote the conservation of a wide diversity of wildlife; to ensure that refuges have the financial resources needed to protect wildlife and provide a high-quality experience for all Americans; and to adapt and modify the way we manage refuges to protect wildlife and habitat from the impacts of climate change.”
Some Good News for Cheetahs? From National Geographic
"In September, Big Cats Initiative grantee Dr. Gus Mills shared preliminary results from the Kgalagadi Cheetah Project. Mills is using photo identification, radio collaring, DNA testing, and tracking to document the behavioral ecology and conservation biology of cheetahs in the Kgalagadi (Kalahari) Transfrontier Park in southern Africa. Little is known about cheetahs in arid regions like the Kalahari and the study is an important step in promoting their conservation. Among the preliminary findings is some good news—Kalahari cheetahs cubs have lower mortality rates than their cousins in the Serengeti. BCI grant work is made possible in part by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation"
PRECEDENT SETTING WIN FOR THE ANIMALS! (Last Chance For Animals)
WEHO COUNCIL BANS SALE OF FUR APPAREL!
SEPTEMBER 20, 2011
"Greetings! West Hollywood, CA saw a precedent setting victory for the animals, at 1:15am Tuesday, 9.20.11, when its city council voted 5-0 to pass a ban on the sale of fur apparel. Following in the footsteps of the humane minded council who voted for the animals in 1989 and passed Resolution 558 proclaiming WeHo a cruelty free zone, the council made this historic vote and put their foot down against the barbaric fur trade. This historic vote makes West Hollywood the first city in the nation with such a ban, proving that West Hollywood is truly a cruelty free zone.
Thank you to all of LCA's tireless supporters who protested, sent letters, made calls, and came out to support the vote. With everyone's help we were able to help pass this monumental ban. Please keep showing your support by writing to the council to thank them for taking this step, especially to John D'Amico for introducing the ordinance. Let them know that although you support their historic vote you are against vintage fur and yard sales being exempt from the ban as these loopholes will be exploited and go against the idea of the ban." Contact information:
City of West Hollywood
8300 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Mayor John J. Duran
Mayor Pro Tempore Jefferey Prang
Council Member John D'Amico
Council Member John Heilman
Council Member Abbe Land
Campaigns Department Last Chance for Animals 310-271-6096 x27 Campaigns@LCAnimal.org
BREAKING NEWS: AZA Ends "Free Contact" Training Methods at Zoo's
In defense of Animals has announced a ground breaking decision by the AZA to end use of 'Free Contact" training in AZA accredited zoo's by September 1, 2014. This is an amazing announcement for elephants as it will put an end to the use of the Ankus or "Bullhook". This is one step closer to bettering the lives of captive animals. On behalf of the elephants, Thank you AZA.
Willie, a 20 year old male Sumatran Orangutan passed away late Tuesday night. Willie was a beautiful and intelligent boy. He will always hold a special place in our hearts here at OVFA. Goodbye Willie.
House bill would make sex with animals a felonyThursday, June 30, 2011 03:07 AM By Josh Jarman THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
"You can love your pet, just don't love your pet.That's the message of a new House bill introduced yesterday that would make bestiality, or sexual relations with animals, a felony offense in the state. The bill was prompted by the arrest of a Shelby man earlier this month after authorities said he adopted a dog from the Richland County Animal Shelter so he could have sex with it.Peter Bower, 31, pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. He has a pre-trial hearing set for July 15 in Shelby Municipal Court and is facing a maximum of nine months in jail and $1,750 in fines if convicted.Richland County Dog Warden Dave Jordan said Bower's case is the first instance of bestiality he's dealt with, and he was shocked to discover that the state has no laws on the books specifically addressing sexual conduct with animals. He said 30 states in America have such laws.
He received an anonymous email tip shortly after Bower adopted a Shepherd-mix from the shelter, with links that led to bestiality websites containing photos showing Bower having sex with animals, Jordan said. That led to a search warrant of Bower's apartment, where more evidence was uncovered.Jordan said the websites he visited during his investigation revealed an online community of people who used the Internet to connect with others and share their stories of "romance" with their companion animals."It's just a very dark world they live in," Jordan said. "I hope this law sparks the remaining states to adopt something similar."He said everything needed to convict Bower was included in online postings.The bill would make having sex with animals, helping others to do so or knowingly permitting such behavior a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine, said one of its sponsors, Rep. Jay Goyal, D-Mansfield."Like many of my fellow Ohioans, I was appalled that such an act is currently legal in our state," Goyal said in a news release. "This is something I find repulsive and has the potential to be seriously damaging to animals that are violated."Rep. Jeff McClain, R-Marion, co-sponsored the legislation, which contains provisions to allow a judge to send someone convicted of the crime into counseling and prohibit them from owning pets again.The bill should be taken up by the House after members return from summer recess, the lawmakers said."
Big Cat Initiative: Little Kitties Saving Big Cats
OVFA is a proud supporter of the Big Cat Initiative by National Geographic. All of my life I have had an undefined love for these mesmerizing creatures, both big and small and to see such a wonderful campaign made my heart smile. For $5 your cat will be posted on the National Geographic website and your small donation will go to help big cats in the wild.
As surprised as I was to read such a thing, it turns out that its not uncommon as the article states. Cats, among several others, have been killed horrifically for 1000's of years due to fear of witchcraft. It's a sad reality that animals must be tormented because of superstition, religion and fear.
The 4th of July is a great time for families and friends to get together and celebrate America's independence, but it's not so great for your pets. Animals are overcome with anxiety during this holiday. Loud booms from firework displays and neighborhood celebrations can send a pet over the edge. In fact, the week of July 4th has the largest rise in lost pets then any other time of the year. Please leave your pets home in a safe and secure area. Here is an article with tips from the HSUS: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news/2010/06/july_fourth_pet_safety_tips_062810.html
We would like to apologize for the lack of updates to the website. There were numerous techical difficulties and we were completely reliant on our networking community sites. Fortunately, all has been resolved and we are back up and running full time. Thank you for your patience and your continued support!
Goodbye Baby Misha
Baby Misha, a 1 year old west lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo has died. She will be missed terribly by all who had the pleasure and honor of interacting with her. A necropsy will be preformed to find her exact cause of death. Goodbye little angel.
For the full story of little Misha's hard life please click the link:
CoCo, a 40 year old Asian bull elephant passed away on Wednesday. I grew up seeing CoCo and I'm heartbroken at this loss. He was never thought of by us at OVFA as simply an animal at a zoo, he was more of a life long friend. Our condolences to the staff at the Columbus Zoo and our hearts go out to CoCo's family, Connie, Phoebe, Bohdi, and Beco. CoCo will be missed immensely.
Columbus Zoo Gorilla Dies
LuLu, a 46 year old gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium passed away on Monday. LuLu was a cherished friend of all who looked upon her and will be deeply missed. Our condolences to the staff at the Columbus Zoo.
South Korea Buries A Million Pigs Alive - Contact Government Officials (From IDA)
"Due to a massive outbreak of foot and mouth disease, South Korea killed a million pigs by burying them alive. Counties with a case of foot and mouth are unable to export the animals or meat, so the South Korean government decided to throw the animals into mass pits for a slow, cruel death. This horrible act is in violation of international guidelines on humane culling, which the South Korean government endorsed five years ago. Please contact the South Korean Government:
Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Duk-soo Han, Ambassador, 2320 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: 202-939-5663/5660; Fax: 202-342-1597; email: email@example.com (this email is directed to their Public Relations.) And here is an online forum to communicate issues of concern to the Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea Han Duk-soo: http://www.dynamic-korea.com/embassy/meet.php.
Prime Minister's Office (PMO): Chung, Un-Chan, Prime Minister, Central Government Complex, 55 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea, 110-760. Tel: +82-2-2100-2114 +82-2-2100-2114.
Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF): Chang, Tae Pyong, Minister, Government Complex Gwacheon, Jungang-dong 1, Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Tel: +82-2-500-1501 +82-2-500-1501. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org."
Ohio Governor Orders Ban On Exotic Pets (from NBC4i By Associated Press)
"Exiting Gov. Ted Strickland banned new exotic pets Thursday in one of the few remaining states without such a restriction, and allowed existing pets to be kept only under tough new rules.Though Strickland's emergency executive order is only effective for 90 days, Gov.-elect John Kasich said he saw no immediate reason to reverse it after he takes office Monday.
Ohio was one of fewer than 10 states remaining where wild pet ownership was virtually unchecked.
Strickland's order called for a ban on the future ownership, breeding, sale, trade or barter of wild animals "that are dangerous to human health and safety." People who already own exotic pets will now have to register them with the state and will be barred from breeding or selling their boas, chimpanzees, tigers, bears and other wild animals.
The order fulfills Strickland's end of a deal brokered by his administration with the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups and Ohio's agribusiness industry. The agreement prompted the Humane Society to withdraw a ballot issue containing a litany of restrictions on pet ownership and treatment and livestock care.
In a statement, he said the agreement "will keep Ohio's vital agriculture industry profitable while appropriately updating animal care standards."
"This rule will help protect Ohioans from deaths and serious injuries caused by attacks from dangerous wild animals held in private ownership," he said.
In August, an animal trainer in Lorain County was mauled to death in a well-publicized attack by a black bear. The animal was properly registered under existing Ohio law.
But the state has some of the nation's weakest restrictions on exotic pets and among the highest number of injuries and deaths caused by them, an Associated Press review last year found.
Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacelle commended Strickland's order in a statement Thursday.
"Dangerous wild animals do not belong in the backyards and basements of private citizens," he said. "It's bad for the animals and dangerous for people. This emergency order is good for Ohio, and we look forward to seeing it implemented in the months ahead."
As an emergency measure, Strickland's order is temporary - running through March 6. However, Kasich said Thursday that he supports the ban in concept.
"We don't want exotic animals here where somebody's bringing something in and then some neighbor gets hurt. So we'll look at it," he said during a news conference announcing three new cabinet directors. "It sounds reasonable, but just let me take a look at it. I would be inclined to say we should continue it."
The Humane Society had threatened to revisit its ballot issue if terms of its deal with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and other agriculture interests weren't met by Dec. 31. The measure would have placed restrictions on the crating and care of livestock that raised concern among farmers. Instead, farm groups spearheaded creation of a state livestock care standards board that is now up and running and hammering out standards with input from both sides.
It requires owners who want to keep exotic pets they have now to register the animals by May 1, and once a year after that. It exempts certain zoos and animal preserves from the ban on ownership, breeding and sale.
The ban will be carried out by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife."
Crush Bill Signed Into Law
President Obama finally signed H.R. 5566 today. It is now law! Thank you President Obama! Please see the story below for the Bill in it's entirety.
HR 5566 Amended By Congress (Finished Bill Below)
H.R.5566 — Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 (Engrossed Amendment Senate – EAS)
‑HR 5566 EAS
In the Senate of the United States,
September 28, 2010.
Resolved, That the bill from the House of Representatives (H.R. 5566) entitled `An Act to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit interstate commerce in animal crush videos, and for other purposes.’, do pass with the following
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010′.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:(1) The United States has a long history of prohibiting the interstate sale, marketing, advertising, exchange, and distribution of obscene material and speech that is integral to criminal conduct.(2) The Federal Government and the States have a compelling interest in preventing intentional acts of extreme animal cruelty.(3) Each of the several States and the District of Columbia criminalize intentional acts of extreme animal cruelty, such as the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, or impaling of animals for no socially redeeming purpose.(4) There are certain extreme acts of animal cruelty that appeal to a specific sexual fetish. These acts of extreme animal cruelty are videotaped, and the resulting video tapes are commonly referred to as `animal crush videos’.(5) The Supreme Court of the United States has long held that obscenity is an exception to speech protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.(6) In the judgment of Congress, many animal crush videos are obscene in the sense that the depictions, taken as a whole–
· (A) appeal to the prurient interest in sex;
· (B) are patently offensive; and
· (C) lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.(7) Serious criminal acts of extreme animal cruelty are integral to the creation, sale, distribution, advertising, marketing, and exchange of animal crush videos.(8) The creation, sale, distribution, advertising, marketing, and exchange of animal crush videos is intrinsically related and integral to creating an incentive for, directly causing, and perpetuating demand for the serious acts of extreme animal cruelty the videos depict. The primary reason for those criminal acts is the creation, sale, distribution, advertising, marketing, and exchange of the animal crush video image.(9) The serious acts of extreme animal cruelty necessary to make animal crush videos are committed in a clandestine manner that–
· (A) allows the perpetrators of such crimes to remain anonymous;
· (B) makes it extraordinarily difficult to establish the jurisdiction within which the underlying criminal acts of extreme animal cruelty occurred; and
· (C) often precludes proof that the criminal acts occurred within the statute of limitations.(10) Each of the difficulties described in paragraph (9) seriously frustrates and impedes the ability of State authorities to enforce the criminal statutes prohibiting such behavior.
SEC. 3. ANIMAL CRUSH VIDEOS.
(a) In General- Section 48 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`Sec. 48. Animal crush videos
`(a) Definition- In this section the term `animal crush video’ means any photograph, motion-picture film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that–`(1) depicts actual conduct in which 1 or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 and including conduct that, if committed against a person and in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, would violate section 2241 or 2242); and`(2) is obscene.
`(b) Prohibitions- `(1) CREATION OF ANIMAL CRUSH VIDEOS- It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly create an animal crush video, or to attempt or conspire to do so, if–
· `(A) the person intends or has reason to know that the animal crush video will be distributed in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce; or
· `(B) the animal crush video is distributed in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce.`(2) DISTRIBUTION OF ANIMAL CRUSH VIDEOS- It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, market, advertise, exchange, or distribute an animal crush video in, or using a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce, or to attempt or conspire to do so.
`(c) Extraterritorial Application- Subsection (b) shall apply to the knowing sale, marketing, advertising, exchange, distribution, or creation of an animal crush video outside of the United States, or any attempt or conspiracy to do so, if–`(1) the person engaging in such conduct intends or has reason to know that the animal crush video will be transported into the United States or its territories or possessions; or`(2) the animal crush video is transported into the United States or its territories or possessions.’
`(d) Penalty- Any person who violates subsection (b) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 7 years, or both.
`(e) Exceptions- `(1) IN GENERAL- This section shall not apply with regard to any visual depiction of–
· `(A) customary and normal veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices;
· `(B) the slaughter of animals for food; or
· `(C) hunting, trapping, or fishing.`(2) GOOD-FAITH DISTRIBUTION- This section shall not apply to the good-faith distribution of an animal crush video to–
· `(A) a law enforcement agency; or
· `(B) a third party for the sole purpose of analysis to determine if referral to a law enforcement agency is appropriate.
`(f) No Preemption- Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt the law of any State or local subdivision thereof to protect animals.’.
(b) Clerical Amendment- The item relating to section 48 in the table of sections for chapter 3 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:`48. Animal crush videos.’.
(c) Severability- If any provision of section 48 of title 18, United States Code (as amended by this section), or the application of the provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the provision and the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
111th CONGRESS 2d Session
BREAKING NEWS FROM HSUS
The Senate Unanimously Approves Bill to Crack Down on Animal Crush Videos - now it's back to the House! Fingers Crossed!
New Legislation Against Crush Videos
ALDF announced new legislation today (9-28-10) to stop animal crush videos and are asking that we all contact our Senators to help push it through. Heres the full story with a link to find your Senator:
New Hope For Traveling Elephants (Story from IDA news alert)
"USDA Creates Special Monitoring Team
IDA has been loudly critical of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weak inspection and enforcement actions regarding elephants in traveling shows. And thousands of our supporters have repeatedly expressed outrage over the agency’s failure to protect elephants who have been routinely subjected to abuse, neglect and life-threatening conditions.
We are pleased to report that the USDA has received the message loud and clear that elephants need greater protection. The agency recently announced the formation of a special team of veterinarians to inspect traveling elephant exhibitors throughout the country. This is an important step toward improving the agency’s ability to regulate exhibitors and to identify health and welfare problems earlier.
According to the USDA, the elephant inspection team has the experience and skills needed to monitor the care and handling of traveling elephants. The agency expects that the team will allow for more inspections, quicker response to complaints, and the heightened ability to identify - and, presumably, act on – violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
The team's ability to quickly, efficiently, and productively conduct compliance inspections should improve efforts to hold exhibitors accountable for following AWA requirements.
IDA applauds the USDA for the formation of this special team, which brings hope that elephants in traveling shows will be more closely watched and their exhibitors held accountable for following AWA requirements. However, IDA will continue to closely monitor these elephants, file complaints when violations are discovered, and take any action necessary to protect their health and welfare.
One more symbol of the rising global demand for rhino horn and its devastating effect on rhinoceroses in both Africa and Asia: The Guardian reports that the female white rhino in South Africa's Krugersdorp nature reserve has been killed by poachers--who used a tranquilizer gun, fired from a helicopter, to bring down the animal, prior to hacking off its horn, leaving it to bleed to death and orphaning its young calf in the process.
A private airport near the 1500-hectare reserve may have been the launching point for the attack. Japie Mostert, chief game ranger at Krugersdorp: The exercise takes them very little time. They first fly over the park in the late afternoon to locate where the rhino is grazing. Then they return at night and dart the animal from the air. The tranquilizer takes less than seven minutes to act.
They saw off the horns with a chainsaw. They do not even need to switch off the rotors of the helicopter. We do not hear anything because our houses are too far away. The animal dies either from an overdoes of tranquilizer or bleeds to death.
Rhino Horn Worth More Than Gold Rhino poaching is at a fifteen year high as demand for the horn--still used in Traditional Chinese Medicine despite being officially removed from the pharmacopeia--continues to rise. At the end of last year, rhino horn trades for about $1610 an ounce, more than gold.
The southern white rhino population is listed by the IUCN as near-threatened, and is the most abundant rhino population in the world. By contrast the northern white rhino is considered critically endangered or extinct in the wild, with well under 10 individuals left.
Total African rhino population--including the 3,000 or so black rhinos left in the wild--have been reduced from an estimated 65,000 animals in the 1970s to about 18,000 today.
45 pelican chicks from the Gulf sent to Miami (Miami Herald)
MIAMI -- (AP) -- Dozens more brown pelicans affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have been relocated to a sanctuary in Miami.
The 45 pelican chicks had been treated at the Fort Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Center in Buras, La. They were transferred this weekend to the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station at 1279 NE 79th St.
The birds range in age from 5 weeks to 10 weeks old. Officials said Sunday that the pelicans will remain at the Miami center until they can fly and be released into the wild.
The BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.
Since then, federal officials estimate between 88 million and 174 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.
Turtle Eggs relocation begins transported to Kennedy Space Centre (ABH News)
"Desperate attempts are on to save turtles nests along the Florida beach are on full swing. People are trying to remove turtle’s eggs that are present hidden in their nests buried in the sands of the Florida beach. There is a great threat posed to an entire generation of the turtles that are already very less in number. The idea is to relocate them before the hatchings occur; if not so they will emerge from their eggs and walk into the oil at the beach and be surely killed.
The annual breeding of the turtle’s is in danger this year because of the oil spill contaminating the beaches and the sea water with the oil slick. This is a very delicate job and requires a lot of careful works as the eggs are the size of a golf ball and leathery to touch. Their death is certain in the oiled Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are relentlessly working so that the nests are located in the sands of the beach, it is then dug out and the eggs removed after being in place for 50 days. The eggs from the one foot deep nest are placed in the in two coolers and loaded onto a FedEx temperature-controlled truck. From here the eggs are transported to a warehouse at Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre where they will be incubated. They are maintained at a temperature of 85 degrees and the hatching should be expected in about 10 days.Hopes are high that the eggs will finally hatch there and this happens the hatchlings will be released into the Atlantic Ocean.
The center has a long and tiring amount of work to do. There are about 800 nests across Alabama and Florida that will be dug up, that will mean a total of 70,000 eggs will be transported.
The plan was organized by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Even though the eggs can die out even from the stress of being moved out but still it will have a better rate of survival.
FedEx has provided the transport free of cost. which BP will be asked to pay for the special coolers, manpower and other expenses associated with the plan which would have otherwise costed the federal government, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and private partners hundreds of thousands of dollars"
Wolves Earn Reprieve as Hunt Is Halted (CBD)
For Immediate Release, July 2, 2010 Contact: Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463 Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495 Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343, ext. 210
Wildlife Advocates Celebrate Short-term Victory for Endangered Wolves
PORTLAND, Ore.— In response to a lawsuit by four conservation groups challenging the legality of a state-sponsored hunt of two of Oregon’s 14 endangered wolves, Wildlife Services voluntarily agreed today not to kill any wolves in Oregon for at least four weeks. The conservation groups asserted that the federal wildlife-control agency did not follow appropriate steps in carrying out the thus-far unsuccessful hunt. The groups claimed that had the agency done so, they would have found the continued hunt was inappropriate and unnecessary. Wolves are responsible for six livestock deaths this year but none in nearly a month.
Ultimately, it was the state of Oregon that authorized the ongoing hunt. The groups are in the process of filing a claim against the state for breaking its own rules and the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.
“Oregon’s struggling wolf population has been given a reprieve,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “With a mere 14 wolves in the state, killing two has a big impact. We’re glad this won’t be happening — at least for now.”
“Most Oregonians value native wildlife and were saddened to see the state violate the trust we put into the wolf conservation plan,” said Rob Klavins, Roadless Wildlands Advocate for Oregon Wild. “With only 14 wolves and one breeding pair in the state, killing wolves should be the option of last resort. We expected better and are disappointed it took a court action to do the right thing.”
The state’s wolf plan was developed in 2005 and is currently under a mandated five-year review. Conservationists have asked for some changes and clarifications to ensure wolf recovery and reduce conflict. They raised concerns earlier this week when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife relaxed rules defining chronic depredation, thus making it easier to kill wolves. The rule change came despite an ongoing public review process. The plan does allow for killing depredating wolves, and last year, two Oregon wolves were killed in response to depredations on private lands. Despite the harsh measures allowed by the plan, some interests have argued for gutting it and taking management decisions away from professional biologists.
“Oregon is big enough for both wolves and people,” said Sean Stevens of Oregon Wild. “We honored the good-faith efforts made by all the stakeholders in developing the wolf plan. But when the agencies entrusted with its implementation began breaking their own rules, and the governor failed to act, we had no choice but to take them to court.”
The reprieve only lasts until July 30 and could resume if further chronic depredations occur.
“Living with wolves and wildlife is part of living near the big wild places in the West,” concluded Josh Laughlin, campaign director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Today’s news buys a bit of time for Oregon’s budding wolf population, yet it remains critical that the Oregon wolf plan is properly followed in the future to allow for a successful recovery and less unnecessary conflict.”
The kill order stems from recent livestock depredations by wolves in Wallowa County. In May and early June, six cattle deaths were confirmed as wolf depredations. For comparison, in 2005 — the year the wolf plan was created — domestic dogs killed 700 sheep and cows in Oregon, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. No new livestock depredations have occurred since June 4.
According to the groups, Oregon’s wildlife agency is violating the wolf management plan by issuing the kill permits when damage is not presently occurring, the wolves are not on the land where damage is occurring, and multiple carcass dump piles were left on ranch lands resulting in “unreasonable circumstances” attracting wolves to the area. Had Wildlife Services conducted the proper environmental analysis, the agency would have realized that wolves pose no current depredation threat and hunting them is inappropriate. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has also failed to document how efforts by ranchers to avoid depredations through nonlethal means were “deemed ineffective,” or to document unsuccessful attempts to solve the situation through nonlethal means — both requirements of the plan.
Oregon is currently home to a confirmed population of 14 wolves in two packs, both in northeast Oregon. The Imnaha pack of 10 is led by wolf B-300. Another pack of four wolves located in the Wenaha wildlife unit was caught on film for the first time earlier this spring. The Oregon wolf plan is currently undergoing a mandated five-year review process. With a current population of fewer than 14 confirmed wolves, conservationists are working to fully fund the wolf plan and empower biologists to make decisions regarding the state-listed endangered species.
Agreement Reached in Gulf to Prevent Sea Turtle Burning Deaths (CBD)
For Immediate Release, July 2, 2010 Contact: Miyoko Sakashita, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 658-5308 or email@example.com Settlement Forces BP to Rescue Sea Turtles Before Oil Slicks Set on Fire
NEW ORLEANS— An agreement reached today among conservation groups, BP and the Coast Guard will ensure measures to rescue sea turtles from the surface before setting fire to oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement came as a result of a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Legal Defense Fund.
“Endangered sea turtles need all hands on deck to work toward saving them from this terrible oil spill,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s great news that BP and the Coast Guard have agreed to take steps to rescue turtles and prevent them from burning.”
The agreement came moments before the start of a legal hearing sought by conservation groups to resolve the threats to turtles posed by intentionally set fires intended to burn off spilled oil in the Gulf. BP and the Coast Guard agreed to develop a protocol ensuring no endangered sea turtles will be killed during burn containment practices. Conservation groups also want more assurances that qualified scientists and observers will be present at every burn to ensure that all turtles will be identified and removed before burns take place.The lawsuit, filed earlier this week, sought a temporary restraining order against BP to prevent the killing and harming of sea turtles.
In an effort to contain the massive oil spill, BP is conducting “controlled burns,” that involve using shrimp boats to corral the oil by dragging together fire-resistant booms and then lighting the enclosed “burn box” on fire. The “burn boxes” are approximately 60 to 100 feet in diameter. Endangered sea turtles, including Kemp’s ridleys, that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico are also being caught in the corrals being created by BP. This fact has been confirmed by Obama administration wildlife officials at the National Marine Fisheries Service. The turtle burning was exposed by shrimp boat captain Michael Ellis, whose comments were videotaped.
As of July 1, 594 stranded sea turtles had been collected dead in the Gulf area since the oil spill. Of those, 441 were dead when they were found and 153 were alive. Many more have likely been injured or killed but not found.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans by the law firm Meyer Gliztenstein & Crystal of Washington DC on behalf of Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Legal Defense Fund.
BREAKING NEWS: Landmark Ohio Animal Welfare Agreement Reached Among HSUS, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Gov. Strickland, and Leading Livestock Organizations (HSUS)
Phase-out of extreme confinement systems for breeding pigs and veal calves; immediate moratorium on battery cage construction and other animal welfare reforms to be implemented; Gains in the making on puppy mills, cockfighting and exotic pet trade
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A deal struck between The Humane Society of the United States, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Ohio agriculture leaders and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio on a raft of issues, reforming industry practices and improving prospects for adoption of critical legislation in other areas. The agreement puts a hold on a planned factory farming initiative on the fall ballot.
"I'm grateful to Governor Strickland and his administration for their outstanding leadership on these issues," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. Pacelle appeared with Gov. Strickland and Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher at a press conference to announce the agreement. "This agreement moves us forward on all of the components of the proposed ballot measure as well as other important advances for animals, too. I look forward to working with the Legislature and the Livestock Care Board to see these reforms adopted."
The agreement includes recommendations from all of the parties for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Care Board, the Legislature, and the Governor to adopt the following provisions:A ban on veal crates by 2017, which is the same timing as the ballot measure. A ban on new gestation crates in the state after Dec. 31, 2010. Existing facilities are grandfathered, but must cease use of these crates within 15 years. A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens. A ban on strangulation of farm animals and mandatory humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured animals. A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter. Enactment of a legislation establishing felony-level penalties for cockfighters. Enactment of legislation cracking down on puppy mills. Enactment of a ban on the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.
"Ohioans should be proud that our state will be implementing these meaningful animal welfare reforms, and I am extremely grateful to all the Ohio animal advocates who gathered signatures to make this day possible," said John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society and president of the board of directors of Ohioans for Humane Farms. "Although I am a bit disappointed that action on battery cages will be delayed due to the compromise reached today, I still consider this a great victory for Ohio's animals and animal advocates."
"These reforms represent important progress for farm animals and other animals in Ohio, and we're grateful to all our volunteers in Ohio who worked so hard to make this happen," said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary.
Ohio is one of only 11 states that do not have a felony law against cockfighting. The relatively meager penalties have made the state a safe haven for cockfighters from nearby states, and hampered law enforcement efforts to crack down on the illegal activity. The legislation, H.B. 108, passed the House and is awaiting a vote in a Senate committee.
The HSUS reached the agreement with the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural commodity groups on the same day Ohioans for Humane Farms would have delivered more than 500,000 signatures to the Secretary of State. The group gathered enough signatures to put an anti-factory farming measure before Ohio voters in November.
"We are grateful to the Ohio volunteers who put tremendous energy towards the effort to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot," said Pacelle. "Their effort led to this agreement that moves the ball forward on all those reforms while leading the state to address other serious animal welfare concerns and avoiding a costly and contentious campaign."
Restraining Order Sought to Stop BP From Burning Turtles (Center For Biological Diversity)
Restraining Order Sought to Stop BP From Burning Turtles: Lawsuit Asks Court to Halt BP Oil Burning Until Endangered Sea Turtles Are Saved
NEW ORLEANS— The Center for Biological Diversity joined shrimp-boat captains and conservation partners in a lawsuit filed in New Orleans to halt BP oil-burning operations immediately until the safety of sea turtles can be ensured. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order against BP for violating its lease under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
The lease that governs BP’s operations requires the company to comply with all environmental “statutes and regulations.” BP’s actions in killing and otherwise harming and harassing endangered sea turtles constitute flagrant violations of its lease with the United States. Killing or harming endangered sea turtles is a violation of the Endangered Species Act.
“The spill was tragically timed for sea turtles that are nesting in the Gulf right now,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “Newly hatched sea turtles are swimming out to sea and finding themselves in a mucky, oily mess. News that BP has blocked efforts to rescue trapped sea turtles before they’re burned alive in controlled burns is unacceptable.”
In an effort to contain the massive oil spill, BP began using “controlled burns,” that involve using shrimp boats to create a corral of the oil by dragging together fire-resistant booms and then lighting the enclosed “burn box” on fire. The “burn boxes” are approximately 60 to 100 feet in diameter. Endangered sea turtles, including Kemp’s ridleys, that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico are also being caught in the corrals being created by BP. This fact has been confirmed by Obama administration wildlife officials at National Marine Fisheries Service. The turtle burning was exposed by shrimp boat captain Michael Ellis, whose comments were videotaped.
“This is the most inhumane thing I have ever heard, to light that oil when sea turtles are out there trying to escape it,'' said Carole Allen, Gulf director of Turtle Island Restoration Network in Houston, Texas.
“BP is burning turtles alive and it is cruel, heartless and a crime we can't and won't allow to continue,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Sea turtles were critically endangered before BP created America's worst environmental catastrophe, and every effort possible must be taken to rescue endangered turtles from this oil spill. BP needs to reverse course and help double our efforts to rescue sea turtles, not prevent their recovery.”
As of today, officials have collected 436 dead sea turtles in the Gulf area since the oil spill. Many more have likely been injured or killed but not found. In addition to the Kemp’s ridley, four other threatened and endangered sea turtle species are found in the Gulf of Mexico: greens, loggerheads, hawksbills and leatherbacks. They rely on areas throughout the Gulf of Mexico for nesting, reproduction, feeding and migration. All of these turtles are at risk from poisoning from oil and careless controlled burns.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans by Meyer Gliztenstein & Crystal of Washington, DC on behalf of Turtle Island Restoration Network, the Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Suit Against BP for Burning Endangered Sea Turtles Alive (ALDF)
Immediate Protection Sought for Wildlife Being Illegally Killed in Gulf Clean-Up Efforts
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
NEW ORLEANS - The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), along with the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Turtle Island Restoration Network filed suit in federal court today against British Petroleum America, Inc., British Petroleum Exploration & Production and British Petroleum PLC (“BP”) for burning critically endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws. As part of BP’s efforts to contain the massive oil spill that continues to devastate the Gulf of Mexico, BP is using “controlled burns” whereby oil is corralled by fire resistant booms dragged through the water by shrimp boats and then lit on fire. Endangered sea turtles, including the Kemp’s ridley, one of the rarest sea turtles on Earth, are caught in the gathered oil and unable to escape when the oil is set ablaze.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by ALDF along with the other animal protection and conservation groups after notice was given to BP on Monday of its ongoing violations of federal law and the groups’ intent to sue. Under the suit, the plaintiffs have charged BP with violating the federal Endangered Species Act and the terms of its lease with the United States government for the Deepwater Horizon facility, which lease requires BP to comply with all federal environmental laws. The plaintiffs have asked the court to prevent BP from continuing to engage in burning activities in the Gulf of Mexico which kill or injure endangered sea turtles. The plaintiffs have also filed a Temporary Restraining Order seeking an immediate halt to the burning until, at a minimum, mechanisms are implemented that will prevent any additional sea turtles from being burned alive. BP could engage in controlled burns without killing turtles by removing as many turtles as possible from relevant areas before allowing them to be burned alive; to date, BP has taken no such measures.
“Our phones have been ringing off the hooks with calls from citizens outraged to learn that BP is burning alive some of the most critically endangered turtles on Earth,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “This catastrophic spill has already devastated the habitat of countless animals. BP needs to stop illegally killing protected wildlife and take responsibility for a clean-up effort that addresses this environmental disaster while staying in full compliance with animal protection laws.”
The plaintiff groups are being represented by the Washington, D.C. based public interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal. ALDF was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing interests of animals through the legal system. A copy of the complaint is available upon request.
Groups file suit, accuse BP of violating Endangered Species Act (al.com)
MOBILE, Ala. -- A coalition of animal rights and conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, accusing BP of violating the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws.
The lawsuit contends that through "controlled burns" in the Gulf of Mexico -- which involves oil being corralled by boom and then lit on fire -- are fatal to endangered sea turtles, according to a news release announcing the federal suit. The creatures are unable to escape the boom and are then "burned alive," Animal Welfare Institute President Cathy Liss said in the release.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by AWI along with the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Animal Legal Defense Fund.
"While cleaning up the catastrophic oil spill is critically important, so too is doing it in a way which doesn't destroy wildlife in a flagrantly unlawful manner," Liss said.
Wildlife officials to move thousands of sea turtle eggs to Florida's east coast (al.com)
Federal wildlife officials plan to move tens of thousands of sea turtle eggs from oil-plagued beaches along the northern Gulf to Florida's east coast, where the reptiles would hatch in a controlled environment and be released into the Atlantic Ocean.
Made public over the weekend, the 10-page plan details the procedure for digging up as many as 50,000 ping-pong-ball-sized eggs from some 800 nests in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, packing them into sand-filled Styrofoam coolers and transporting them via plane to a Florida facility.
"This plan is painful to everyone," said U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spokeswoman Bonnie Strawser, who is stationed at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores. "We don't think it's a perfect plan, but it's better than losing 100 percent of them."
The plan's authors with the Fish & Wildlife Service make clear in a companion document that they are pursuing the unprecedented relocation with trepidation.
There are "definite, but unquantifiable risks" involved in handling the threatened and endangered species' eggs and "mortality beyond natural levels must be expected," but the current situation in the Gulf requires extraordinary and previously unthinkable measures, the Wildlife Service said.
"In developing this plan we realized early that our expectations for success must be rooted in the knowledge that doing nothing would most likely result in the loss of most, if not all, of this year's northern Gulf of Mexico hatchling cohort," government scientists wrote.
About 70 turtle nests are laid on Alabama's beaches each year between late spring and the end of September. As of Monday, 16 had been laid in Baldwin County along with one on Dauphin Island, said Mike Reynolds, director of the Share the Beach program, in which volunteers comb the beach each morning looking for the tell-tale tracks mothers make when they waddle up the beach to nest.
Discovering nests the morning after they're laid is crucial because the relocation plan calls for eggs to be excavated between the 51st and 53rd day of incubation. The length of time turtle eggs take to incubate varies depending on climate factors, but eggs generally hatch between 55 and 75 days after they are laid.
By allowing the eggs to stay in the sand as long as possible, scientists are hoping that the turtles will still develop what is known as their natal imprint that drives their instinct to return to the beaches from which they emerged to reproduce, Strawser said.
Some studies suggest that hatchlings acquire this sense of home while still in their eggs, Strawser said.
The Fish & Wildlife Service also noted in its plan that while turtles born on the northern Gulf and those from the Atlantic have minor genetic differences, currents have been known to carry Gulf turtles into the Atlantic.
Some scientists estimate that as few as 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive to reproductive age 10 to 20 years after they hatch. Documents show that federal scientists ran their plan past numerous experts and several state agencies in recent weeks. And an opinion emerged that with such long odds already facing young sea turtles, it was less risky to move them to the Atlantic than to allow them to waddle into almost certain death facing them in the Gulf.
Even if a hatchling were to avoid oil at water's edge, the rafts of rough seaweed, or sargassum, that they float in and feed upon during their formative years are likely to be fouled by oil.
"Everyone agrees this has to be done," Reynolds said. "You can't let them go out there to get exposed to the oil."
More than 150,000 Call on BP and Federal Officials to Stop Burning Endangered Sea Turtles Alive (Center For Biodiversity)
SAN FRANCISCO— More than 150,000 people today called on BP to stop burning alive endangered sea turtles in the chaotic clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. They also called on the federal government to put an immediate end to this gruesome practice. CREDO Action and the Center for Biological Diversity will deliver petitions with more than 150,000 signatures to those overseeing the cleanup and urge BP to stop blocking efforts to rescue sea turtles from such a horrific death.
“The worst environmental disaster in U.S. history gets grimmer and grimmer,” said Center Oceans Program Director Miyoko Sakashita. “Hundreds of species in the Gulf are being killed or harmed by the toxic oil, but the plight of the Kemp’s ridley is particularly heartbreaking since it had been poised to become an endangered species success story. Now, once again, the species is moving toward extinction.”
A boat captain who had been leading efforts to rescue the sea turtles reported that BP blocked his crews from entering the areas where the animals were trapped, effectively shutting down the rescue operation and condemning the ancient creatures to being burned alive.
BP is using “controlled burns” in an attempt to contain the spill. Boats create a corral of oil by dragging together fire-resistant booms and then lighting the enclosed "burn box" on fire. If turtles are not removed from the area before the fire is lit, they are burned alive. The same Sargassum seaweed mats that are collecting oil also draw sea turtles, which use them for food and shelter. Unfortunately, that leaves turtles, particularly young ones, vulnerable to being oiled and burned.
Anyone responsible for killing the endangered turtles is liable for criminal penalties that could include prison and civil fines of up to $25,000 per violation. “As a result, BP perversely has a financial incentive to allow the endangered turtles to burn rather than allow them to be rescued from the burn boxes before the containment fires are lit,” says Becky Bond, political director of CREDO Action. “Blocking the rescue of these ancient creatures is tragically indicative of the clean-up response as whole.”
Background As of today, at least 429 sea turtles have been found dead in the Gulf, and many more have likely been hurt or killed but not found. The Kemp’s ridley had been driven toward extinction by egg poaching and fisheries bycatch, particularly in trawls and gill nets. While some egg poaching still exists, it has been significantly reduced.
In addition to the Kemp’s ridley, four other endangered sea turtles are found in the Gulf of Mexico: green, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback sea turtles. They rely on areas throughout the Gulf of Mexico for nesting, reproduction, feeding and migration.
Of the five species of sea turtles present in the Gulf, Kemp’s ridleys rely most extensively on this area. They nest on the beaches, feed in shallow waters and migrate throughout the Gulf.
Other species in the Gulf include the extremely threatened Atlantic bluefin tuna, which gather in the area to breed this time of year, and sperm whales, which inhabit deepwater areas in the northern Gulf. Seabirds, sharks, whales and other marine mammals are also at risk from the oil, while fisheries and other businesses will suffer ill effects for years to come.
HR 5566 passed to stop crush videos. Below is the Bill:
To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit interstate commerce in animal crush videos, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) The Federal Government and the several States have a compelling interest in preventing animal cruelty.
(2) Each of the several States and the District of Columbia criminalize intentional acts of animal cruelty.
(3) The clandestine nature of certain acts of animal cruelty allows the perpetrators of such crimes to remain anonymous, thus frustrating the ability of Federal and State authorities to enforce the criminal statutes prohibiting such behavior.
(4) These criminal acts constitute an integral part of the production of and market for so-called crush videos and other depictions of animal cruelty.
(5) The creation and sale of crush videos provide an economic incentive for, and are intrinsically related to, the underlying acts of the criminal conduct.
(6) The United States has a long history of prohibiting the interstate sale of obscene and illegal materials.
(7) Animal crush videos appeal to the prurient interest and are obscene.
SEC. 3. ANIMAL CRUSH VIDEOS.
(a) In General- Section 48 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`Sec. 48. Animal crush videos
`(a) Prohibition- Whoever knowingly and for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain sells or offers to sell, or distributes or offers to distribute, an animal crush video in interstate or foreign commerce shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
`(b) Rule of Construction- Subsection (a) does not prohibit the sale, distribution, or offer for sale or distribution, of any visual depiction of--
`(1) customary and normal veterinary or agricultural husbandry practices; or
`(2) hunting, trapping, or fishing.
`(c) Definitions- In this section the term `animal crush video' means any obscene photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, or electronic image that depicts actual conduct in which one or more living animals is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, or impaled in a manner that would violate a criminal prohibition on cruelty to animals under Federal law or the law of the State in which the depiction is created, sold, distributed, or offered for sale or distribution.'.
(b) Clerical Amendment- The item relating to section 48 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 3 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`48. Animal crush videos.'.
Whale Protection Remains Intact At International Meeting (NRDC)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press contact:Jessica Lass, 310-434-2317 or 202-468-6718 (cell) If you are not a member of the press, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our contact pageWhale Protections Remain Intact at International MeetingBan on Commercial Whaling Upheld, Pro-Whaling Compromise Postponed
AGADIR, MOROCCO (June 23, 2010) -- In a move welcomed by conservationists and pro-whale countries around the world, the International Whaling Commission today announced that it would postpone a compromise proposal that would have legalized commercial whaling. This move is a dramatic turnaround from years of secret, closed-door negotiations that led to the compromise proposal -- a proposal that would have sacrificed the quarter-century old ban on commercial whaling in an attempt to rein in Japan, Iceland and Norway’s annual killings.
NRDC believes the whaling moratorium to be one of the 20th century’s most iconic conservation victories. It has saved hundreds of thousands of whales since it took effect in 1986.
The Commission left the agenda item open, so the compromise proposal could be revisited later this week. It is more likely that the Commission will postpone any further discussions of a compromise until its next plenary meeting.
Following is a statement from Taryn Kiekow, staff attorney with NRDC’s marine mammal protection program:
“I’m cautiously optimistic. If the pro-whaling compromise is indeed off the table, that will be a huge victory for the whales against terrific odds. The Commission tasked with protecting these mammals has shown great leadership by refusing to adopt a proposal that could have led to the extinction of some already endangered and threatened species.”
“Still, it is not enough that the decision is delayed. The International Whaling Commission must reaffirm its dedication to the preservation and protection of whales around the world. Now is the time to push for the conservation of whales -- without trading away the moratorium. Every day marine mammals face new attacks from entanglement, ship strikes, and pollution. It was reckless for the Commission to even consider sanctioning their slaughter at this time.”
“What’s being called a ‘compromise’ wasn’t one at all -- it was a capitulation to pro-whaling interests at the expense of the whales. It would have legalized commercial whaling without seeking any end to it. Legitimizing commercial whaling would have rewarded Japan, Norway, and Iceland -- which have continued to kill tens of thousands of whales despite the moratorium -- for their years of flagrant defiance of international law.”
Japan, Iceland and Norway have killed roughly 35,000 whales since the moratorium was introduced in 1986. In Japan’s case, the killings have been justified under the guise of “scientific research.” Prior to the 1986 whaling moratorium, roughly 38,000 whales were killed annually (between 1945 and 1986), compared with an average of 1,240 whales killed per year after the moratorium (1987 onwards).
ROCKPORT, Texas — Two U.S. Coast Guard cargo planes brought 62 brown pelicans to Texas on Wednesday for the largest release to date of pelicans rehabilitated after being contaminated in BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The pelicans arrived at the Aransas County Airport and were expected to be released after a short drive to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, about 175 miles south of Houston, U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Nancy Brown said.
Officials released 38 brown pelicans at the refuge Sunday. The increasing numbers indicate "we're starting to see success in our rehabilitation," Brown said. A Northern Gannet, another seabird, was also expected to be released Wednesday.
The refuge was chosen because it has the coastal habitat the pelicans need and was already home to a population of brown pelicans, she said.
There is no guarantee that the new pelicans will stay put. They could fly back to Louisiana or take up residence elsewhere on the Texas coast.
Oil-drenched pelicans had become one of the iconic images of the BP spill. The deep-sea well has released from 67 million to 127 million gallons of oil since an explosion killed 11 people on the rig April 20.
Bird Numbers For Gulf Spill (International Bird Rescue Research Center)
Oiled bird numbers: 724 captured alive, 924 collected dead: Day 63 at Gulf blown well
Infuriating Press Release From The Center of Biodiversity
For Immediate Release, June 18, 2010
Contact: Michael Robinson, (575) 534-0360
Feds Issue Permit to "Take" Jaguar and Ocelot: Arizona Game Department Allowed to Kill More Endangered Felines
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity has learned that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit on June 14 to the Arizona Game and Fish Department allowing the state agency to “take” jaguars and ocelots, which can include killing, injuring or otherwise harming the rare felines. The permit was issued 15 months after Arizona Game and Fish killed the last known jaguar in the United States, an animal called Macho B.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service is legalizing what an Arizona Game and Fish contractor did illegally in 2009,” said Michael Robinson of the Center. “Both agencies are back to denying science and pretending that jaguars and ocelots are disposable.”
The new permit, issued June 14, authorizes intentional capture of both a jaguar and an ocelot to affix a radio collar, as well as unintentional take of both species in the course of seeking to capture other animals. The permit requires submission of plans to minimize the likelihood that jaguars or ocelots will be injured or killed. The plan for intentional take must be reviewed by the respective recovery teams for each species; a jaguar recovery team has not yet been appointed but will be as a result of a Center lawsuit. But in planning for the possibility of an unintentional jaguar capture, the Jaguar Conservation Team — an interagency group chaired by Arizona Game and Fish — could approve standards even before a recovery team is appointed.
“The Jaguar Conservation Team served as a cheerleader for capture of jaguars before Macho B’s sad and unnecessary death,” said Robinson. “It would be a mistake to let this group watchdog Arizona Game and Fish.”
In September 2009, the Center sued Game and Fish based on the threat of future unpermitted jaguar captures. Despite this suit and an investigation by the Interior Department’s inspector general that found the state agency lacked the necessary permits to capture jaguars, the agency has maintained that it does not need a permit to take additional jaguars. This untenable position is now superseded by issuance of the new permit.
“Jaguars and ocelots help maintain the balance of southwestern wildlands,” said Robinson. “These beautiful and very rare animals deserve much more consideration and protection from the federal and state agencies that should be their guardians.”
Dog-Fighting DNA Database Breaks New Ground In Crackdown on Animal Cruelty (ASPCA Press Release)
“Canine CODIS” Technology Unveiled by ASPCA, Humane Society of Missouri, Louisiana SPCA & University of California, Davis
NEW YORK--The nation's first criminal dog-fighting DNA database has been established by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) and the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA), and will be maintained at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. Known as the Canine CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), the database is designed to help the criminal justice system investigate and prosecute dog fighting cases and address the growing problem of dog fighting using 21st century technology.
"Dog fighting is a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise that leads to the cruel treatment and deaths of thousands of dogs nationwide every year," said Tim Rickey, the ASPCA's Senior Director of Field Investigation and Response. "This database is an unprecedented and vital component in the fight against animal cruelty and will allow us to strengthen cases against animal abusers and seek justice for their victims."
Rickey, the former Animal Cruelty Task Force Director at HSMO, Kathryn Destreza, the ASPCA's Southeast Regional Director, Field Investigation and Response and formerly Director of Humane Law Enforcement for the Louisiana SPCA, and Dr. Melinda Merck, the ASPCA's Senior Director of Veterinary Forensic Sciences and the nation's premier forensic veterinarian, collaborated to create the database, working with Dr. Randall Lockwood, the ASPCA's Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty Initiatives and Training.
"This database will connect investigations across the country and internationally, creating multi-jurisdictional collaboration," said Ms. Destreza, who presented on the Canine CODIS at the recent Veterinary Forensics Conference in Orlando, Fla. "It's another tool we can use toward the elimination of dog fighting."
Dr. Merck, who testifies as a forensic veterinary expert for animal cruelty cases around the country, added, "Juries expect forensic science to support the evidence that's presented to them, and animal cruelty cases are no exception. This database breaks new ground in supplying that evidence for dog fighting investigations."
The Canine CODIS contains individual DNA profiles from dogs that have been seized during dog-fighting investigations and from unidentified samples collected at suspected dog-fighting venues. The HSMO provided the 400 original and initial samples of dog DNA collected from dogs that were seized last July during the nation's largest dog-fighting seizure ever, a multi-state raid led by Mr. Rickey that followed an 18-month investigation by federal and state agencies.
The database is similar to the FBI's human CODIS, a computerized archive that stores DNA profiles from criminal offenders and crime scenes and is used in criminal and missing person investigations. DNA analysis and matching through the database will help law enforcement agencies to identify relationships between dogs, enabling investigators to establish connections between breeders, trainers, and dog-fight operators. Blood collected from dog fighting sites will also be searched against the Canine CODIS database to identify the source.
"The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory has one of the largest sample databases in the world," said Beth Wictum, Director of the Forensics Unit of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory in UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine. "This is important for estimating the rarity of a DNA profile. The Canine CODIS database is unique because it includes many more DNA markers than are normally tested, and that provides greater power when calculating match probability or assigning parentage."
"When these cases come to trial, it's important to make your strongest case," she adds. "DNA evidence not only establishes links between owners, breeders, and dog fighting sites, it tells a story. We can tie blood spatter on pit walls and clothing, or blood trails found outside of the pit, to a specific dog and tell his story for him. We become the voice for those victims." How the Canine CODIS Database Works
DNA samples from animals have been used in forensics investigations for over 15 years to help solve criminal investigations. In some cases, the animal may be related to the suspect, the victim or the crime scene. In other cases, the animal itself is the victim or perpetrator.
In dog-fighting investigations, the dogs' inner cheeks are swabbed to collect DNA in their saliva at the time they are seized. These swab samples are then submitted to UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory for DNA testing. Law enforcement agencies also collect DNA at suspected dog-fighting venues in samples of blood, saliva, tissue, bones, teeth, feces and urine. These unidentified DNA samples can be submitted to the laboratory at UC Davis for analysis and archiving in the database.
When an agency submits a sample to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, the DNA is analyzed and the Canine CODIS database is then searched for corresponding DNA profiles. In the event the database search locates a match for the submitted DNA, the lab will notify both the agency that submitted the new sample and the agency that submitted the existing sample. The Canine CODIS database is only available to law enforcement agencies; analysis is part of the cost of testing. Dog Fighting Statistics
Although there are no official statistics, the ASPCA estimates that there are tens of thousands of people involved in dog fighting in the United States. Dog fighting is a federal crime, as well as a felony offense in all 50 U.S. states. For more information, visit http://www.aspca.org/dogfighting
Beached whale found near Long Island (CNN)
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) -- A 25-foot dead whale washed ashore on New York's Jones Beach Island on Thursday morning, a New York State Parks official said.
George Gorman, director of recreational services for New York State Parks, told CNN that officials believe it's a humpback whale.
Jones Beach Island is a barrier island bordering the south of Long Island and a popular recreational spot for New Yorkers.
The New York State Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Program -- a branch of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation that rescues and rehabilitates marine animals -- was called to examine the whale and remove it from the beach.
Riverhead officials estimate that the animal weighs 20 to 25 tons.
The group is moving the animal out of the path of the incoming tide with a tractor. An necropsy will be performed Friday and then officials will determine where to bury the remains.
The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome (New York Times)
By CHARLES SIEBERT
"...In addition to a growing sensitivity to the rights of animals, another significant reason for the increased attention to animal cruelty is a mounting body of evidence about the link between such acts and serious crimes of more narrowly human concern, including illegal firearms possession, drug trafficking, gambling, spousal and child abuse, rape and homicide. In the world of law enforcement — and in the larger world that our laws were designed to shape — animal-cruelty issues were long considered a peripheral concern and the province of local A.S.P.C.A. and Humane Society organizations; offenses as removed and distinct from the work of enforcing the human penal code as we humans have deemed ourselves to be from animals. But that illusory distinction is rapidly fading..."
Canine Flu Vaccine Received Approval (examiner.com)
"NOBIVAC® CANINE FLU VACCINE GRANTED LICENSE BY USDA
Roseland, N.J., June 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — The first vaccine against canine influenza virus (CIV), Nobivac® Canine Flu H3N8, has been granted a full license by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service through its Center for Veterinary Biologics. Licensure follows evaluation of use of the vaccine by veterinarians since May 27, 2009, when a conditional license was awarded. Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, the global leader in veterinary biologicals and developer of the novel vaccine, announced the full approval today.
Nearly one million doses of the vaccine have been sold to veterinary clinics and shelters throughout the U.S. during the past year. The USDA approval confirms the safety and effectiveness of Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8, which has been shown to significantly decrease the signs, severity and spread of CIV infection. The vaccine has also been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of lung lesions. The Company has submitted data to the USDA on field experience that shows the vaccine is well-tolerated. Adverse events reported since the 2009 approval are comparable to those seen for other canine vaccines.
Steve Shell, Companion Animal Business Unit Head, said, “We are pleased the USDA has confirmed the value of this important vaccine for canine health. Animal care practitioners have welcomed its availability. More than 9,000 small animal practices across the U.S. have the vaccine in clinic. Though not considered a core vaccine, Nobivac Canine Flu is commonly recommended by veterinarians for at-risk social dogs, i.e., those regularly receiving Bordetella vaccination because they are frequently in contact with other dogs.”
CIV is a highly contagious respiratory disease in dogs caused by an influenza A virus, H3N8. In 2004, Cynda Crawford, D.V.M., Ph.D., University of Florida, Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, and Edward J. Dubovi, Ph.D., Professor of Virology, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, along with their colleagues, were the first to discover that the spread of the respiratory disease in the general dog population was caused by CIV.
“Like influenza vaccines used in other species,” said Dr. Crawford, “the canine influenza vaccine does not prevent infection; however, it significantly reduces clinical disease and the risk for pneumonia, and vaccinated dogs shed much less virus so they are less contagious to other dogs. Vaccine-induced protection is not only important to the health and welfare of individual dogs, but also decreases the likelihood of an influenza outbreak in a population if most of the dogs are vaccinated.”
According to Terri Wasmoen, Ph.D., an immunologist and senior director of Biological Research for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, “The vaccine is useful not only against CIV but also in helping control a complex of potentially serious canine infectious respiratory diseases that may be secondary to CIV.”
Dr. Ronald D. Schultz, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, recommends vaccination for dogs at risk: “In general, any dog that is in a closed room with other dogs for at least six hours or more can be considered at risk, particularly those that are boarded frequently, go to dog shows, dog day-care and training classes or are in shelters.”
“Other dogs that may be at risk include those in rescue groups and those that travel with families, particularly to endemic areas, are housed in breeder facilities or belong to animal healthcare personnel,” said Dr. Crawford.
Cases of canine influenza have been identified in 33 states and the District of Columbia. During 2009-2010, outbreaks occurred in shelters, kennels, dog day-care centers, veterinary clinics and other facilities in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Connecticut and Virginia.
Dr. Dubovi, an expert on CIV diagnostic testing, cited the cost of treatment, the potential for serious secondary infection and the increasing overuse of antibiotics as reasons for vaccination. “I would much prefer to prevent viral infections with the vaccine than treat a secondary infection with antibiotics,” he said.
The vaccine was developed in response to the growing threat posed by the virus as well as to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) 2006 call for the development of a vaccine against the spread of the disease. The AVMA stated: “There is urgent need for an effective canine influenza vaccine to improve the health and welfare of animals and reduce the financial impacts of canine influenza.”
Nobivac Canine Flu H3N8, made from inactivated virus, is intended as an aid in the control of disease associated with canine influenza virus infection and is administered by subcutaneous injection in two doses, two to four weeks apart. It may be given to dogs six weeks of age or older and can be given annually as a component of existing respiratory disease vaccine protocols to ensure more comprehensive protection."
More Worry For Captive Orcas: Taima Dies Giving Birth
An orca at Seaworld Orlando has died giving birth. Sunday Taima, Tilly's mate, Died while giving birth to a stillborn baby. Taima was 20 years old and has given birth successfully 3 times in the past. Surely this will once again fire up animal rights activists and more pushing for the wild release of all captive whales will start, again. What we must face when our emotions take over, is reality. These animals can not simply be released into the wild. It is a very complicated situation, and the best interest of the whale should first and foremost, not our emotions. Before you jump the gun, take some time to research orcas in the wild. you'll see what I'm talking about.
Pelicans, Back From Brink of Extinction, Face Oil Threat (NY Times) 6-5-10
"FORT JACKSON, La. — For more than a decade, the hundreds of brown pelicans that nested among the mangrove shrubs on Queen Bess Island west of here were living proof that a species brought to the edge of extinction could come back and thrive. The island was one of three sites in Louisiana where the large, long-billed birds were reintroduced after pesticides wiped them out in the state in the 1960s.
But on Thursday, 29 of the birds, their feathers so coated in thick brown sludge that their natural white and gray markings were totally obscured, were airlifted to a bird rehabilitation center in Fort Jackson, the latest victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Another dozen were taken to other rescue centers.
Six more pelicans were brought here on Friday, and as visitors to the center looked on, the birds huddled together in makeshift plywood cages and, in their unnatural stillness, looked as if the gooey muck had frozen them solid. The 29 pelicans brought in Thursday were being treated in hot rooms by workers in protective clothing.
“The pelicans are in dire trouble,” said Doug Inkley, a senior scientist with the National Wildlife Federation, who worried that the oil spill could put an end to the bird’s recovery in Louisiana.
The images of oil-covered birds — pelicans, northern gannets, laughing gulls and others — are eerily reminiscent of the Exxon Valdez disaster 21 years ago, and have in recent days have become the most vivid symbol of the damage wrought by the hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil that have poured into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20. Since the spill, 612 damaged birds had been cataloged as of Friday, most dead but some alive and drenched in oil, federal officials said.
Yet the brown pelican, because of its history of robust recovery in the face of extreme peril, has a special significance for the public.
The birds were once so common on the coastline here that they grace the state flag. They were frequent companions for fishermen, who shared their waters and admired their skill at spotting fish from afar and diving from great heights to scoop them up in their bills.
At the turn of the 20th century, observers estimated the brown pelican population in Louisiana at close to 50,000. But by 1961, no nesting pair could be spotted along the state’s entire coast, according to LaCoast, a Coast Guard Web site. Like another subspecies of the brown pelican found in California, the local birds had been hard hit by DDT and other pesticides, which acted to thin the shells of their eggs. The eggs were crushed when the adults sat on them. (DDT was banned in the United States in 1972.)
In 1968, Louisiana took birds from a surviving Florida colony and reintroduced them along the state’s southern coast in three spots. One was Queen Bess Island, which had been the site of one of the last breeding pairs before extinction, said Kerry St. Pé, program director of the nearby Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.
Still, the birds struggled, threatened this time by the loss of their habitat. The local wetlands, hurt by levees in the Mississippi that blocked sediment from flowing downstream and by canals cut by oil companies looking to lay pipe, were sinking into the gulf at an astonishing rate. Queen Bess was going under as well until 1990, when a coastal restoration project financed a rock barrier around the island, which stabilized it. The pelican colony began to flourish and the birds’ offspring helped repopulate the coastline, Mr. St. Pé said.
Last year, the birds were officially taken off the endangered species list. But the oil spill, experts said, could change that. Like all birds, pelicans are very sensitive to oil, said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the National Audubon Society’s Louisiana Coastal Initiative. It prevents them from regulating their body temperature when it gets on their feathers, she said, and in Louisiana the pelicans are subject to overheating. The oil can also poison the fish the pelicans feed on and seep through the shells of pelican eggs, killing the embryos.
The potential for damage was frighteningly apparent at the rescue center set up here by the International Bird Rescue Research Center with BP and federal and state officials. All day Thursday, oiled birds, including the 29 brown pelicans, arrived at the makeshift veterinary emergency room built in a hangar on a former military base. They were carried from Coast Guard helicopters in dog kennels and cardboard boxes with air holes punched in them.
Most of the birds were so thoroughly coated in crude that they could not stand up. Some were stuck to the floor of their cages. Workers wiped off thick globs of oil with towels, then gave them fluids and fed them a fish slurry.
The pelicans were placed in plywood pens covered with blankets. The next morning, workers began to clean them using hot water and Dawn, a mild dish detergent.
So far, even the most heavily oiled pelicans have survived. Had they not been treated immediately, however, they would have almost certainly drowned or died of starvation or exposure, according to a veterinarian with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The birds at the rehabilitation center, said Sharon Taylor, a veterinarian here, represent a lucky few — far more are certain to die in the wild.
“A lot of them will just disappear into the environment,” she said. “We will probably only find a very, very small percentage of what’s been impacted out there.”
Still, she worried that because there are so many large rookeries nearby, far more pelicans would soon be headed to the center. “Tomorrow or tonight we could get a hundred pelicans, we could get a thousand pelicans,” Ms. Taylor said."
(John Collins Rudolf reported from Fort Jackson, La., and Leslie Kaufman from New York.)
Legal Settlement Will Protect Seven Penguin Species at Risk From Global Warming and Fisheries (Center for Biological Diversity) 6-4-10
For Immediate Release, June 4, 2010 Contact: Catherine Kilduff, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 644-8580 Todd Steiner/Teri Shore, Turtle Island Restoration Network, (415) 663- 8590 x 103/104
SAN FRANCISCO— A federal judge yesterday approved a settlement that requires the federal government to finalize protections for seven penguin species under the Endangered Species Act. The court-ordered settlement results from a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) challenging the Obama administration’s failure to finalize its determination that these penguins warrant Endangered Species Act protection due to threats from climate change and commercial fisheries.
“Penguins are poster children for the devastating effects of climate change,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney. “The Endangered Species Act provides a springboard for protecting penguins and our planet.”
In 2006, the Center filed a petition to list 12 penguin species under the Act. In December 2008, the Interior Department proposed listing seven of those penguins as threatened or endangered – African, Humboldt, yellow-eyed, white-flippered, Fiordland crested, erect-crested, and a population of the southern rockhopper penguins – while denying listing to emperor and northern rockhopper penguins despite scientific evidence that they are also threatened by climate change and commercial fisheries.
“Industrial fisheries and ocean warming are starving the penguins. Longlines and other destructive fishing gear entangle and drown them,” said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of TIRN. “Finally the government is throwing penguins a lifeline to recovery by protecting them under the Endangered Species Act.”
Today’s settlement guarantees protections for the seven penguin species the Interior Department proposed for listing; the Center and TIRN also intend to file suit against Interior for denying protections to emperor and northern rockhopper penguins. Warming oceans, melting sea ice, and fishery harvests have wreaked havoc on penguins’ food supply: Krill, an essential nutrient for penguins, whales, and seals, has declined by up to 80 percent since the 1970s over large areas of the Southern Ocean.
The Endangered Species Act listing will protect penguins from multiple threats, raise awareness of their plight, and increase research funding. The Act also has a key role in managing greenhouse gas pollution by compelling federal agencies to analyze and reduce the impact of the emissions generated by their activities on listed species.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 260,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is an environmental organization working to protect and restore endangered marine species and the marine environment on which we all depend. Headquartered in California, with offices in Texas and Costa Rica, TIRN is dedicated to swift and decisive action to protect and restore marine species and their habitats and to inspire people in communities all over the world to join us as active and vocal marine species advocates. For more information, visit www.SeaTurtles.org and www.TIRN.net
Wonderful News About Asiatic Lion Numbers!
Many of you know that I am a huge advocate for Asiatic Lions which were dwindling quickly. I am all smiles after reading the report below from Gir National Park. There is hope for a dying for a dying specie!
"Officials have declared the final results of the count of total numbers of Asiatic Lions in the Gir National Park/forest which was taken up in two phases between April 24 and April 27 2010. According to the survey, at present there are 411 lions in this forest, indicating a healthy growth rate of 13%. In the year 2005, the growth rate was just 7%. This increase in growth rate can be mainly attributed to decades of conservation work by the forest department of Gujrat.
The Saurashtra region of Gujarat is the only abode of Asiatic lions today. They once roamed across the entire southwest Asia and were great tourist attraction. However due to an increase in hunting and natural deaths in the late 1960s, only about 180 of these had survived in Gir National Park. “The lion census in three districts of Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and some parts of Porbandar has been counted to 162 mature females, 97 mature males and 152 cubs. The number of female and young lions is quiet encouraging and the male to female ratio is a very good indicator for future prospects of these animals”, said Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.
A lot of planning was done prior to the beginning of the counting process. According to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Mr. R.V. Asari, the lion habitat in the four districts of Saurashtra had been mapped and divided into seven regions which were further divided into 28 zones and 100 sub-zones to make the counting process easy and foolproof. “It is understood that every animal would need to drink water at least once in 24 hours”, said Asari explaining how the system of counting could be error free. “Even if a group lion moves away from the water hole, their movement can easily be tracked by the next beat enumerator”, he further elaborated.
Restricted to only an area of 1,410 Km sq, these majestic animals were counted using advanced methods to reduce the margin of counting errors. The special features of this lion census was use of a GPS (Global Positioning System) and digital cameras to actually photograph them. “These are best for real time tracking and enumerating of the big cats”, said the state principal secretary of forest and environment, Mr. S.K Nanda.
Praising the Gujarat model of wildlife management, the union environment and forest minister of India, Mr. Jairam Ramesh said “the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s work to reintroduce tigers in Gujarat has been successful”. Further, an unnamed official has been quoted as saying, “We have developed expertise in not only conservation of the wild cats through community protection for wildlife but also introduced wildlife crime management system”.
The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India.The Gir National Park, was established on 18th September, 1965, as a Forest Reserve, primarily to conserve the Asiatic lion. For more information visit http://www.indiawildliferesorts.com/ "
House Bill 70 Passes (Thoughts Fur Paws)
"We all are familiar with this one – the Ohio Puppy Mill Bill. Sponsored by Rep. Gerberry it passed the House and is on its way to Senate. The “Puppy Mill Cruelty Bill” specifically prohibits cruel treatment of a companion animal by an owner of a kennel, including cruelty and depriving the animal of food, water or shelter, and makes it a felony of the fifth degree. An Ohio Puppy Mill
This Bill is ALL OVER the Internet: simply Google “Ohio Puppy Mill Bill” and a huge list of pet blog posts and animal welfare site articles will pop up with additional information and updates, as well as opinion pieces and petitions. For Ohio Puppy Mill Bill articles on ThoughtsFurPaws, type the same thing into the Search Bar on the bottom right of this page.
**This is perhaps the most FAVORED of all of Ohio’s animal welfare legislation right now. If you haven’t already, sign the petition here please."
In warehouses now converted to emergency wildlife centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama, highly trained workers are caring for wildlife impacted by the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.
By Memorial Day, 832 animals had been brought in to these special emergency centers operated by the two officially designated oiled wildlife response groups: International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and Tri-State Bird Rescue.The oiled animals are usually very stressed and exhausted. They can’t fly, they can’t swim, they lose their waterproofing and so they lose their insulation. Many are hypothermic. Most are exhausted.
Seventeen of the birds were treated and released away from the spill area. Sadly, though, it was too late for the vast majority of the animals—561 birds, 244 sea turtles, and 27 mammals collected along the Gulf Coast had died before they could be removed from the toxic environment. Among sea turtles collected so far, only 17 were alive. Veterinarians are doing animal autopsies—called necropsies—to determine whether the animals were victims of the oil spill. Documenting this wildlife mortality is critical as the enormous environmental crisis unfolds.
At the emergency center in Fort Jackson, La., IBRRC director Jay Holcomb knows all too well what to expect: He has lead more than 200 oil spill responses since 1988.
"T o prepare for an oil spill that currently has no foreseeable end in sight,” he said, “I looked at the closest experience I had to something like this. That was the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.”
“Similarly, that spill covered vast areas of ocean and threatened many bird species. To prepare for large numbers of birds, we set up oiled bird rehab centers that would work for small amounts of birds and expand to thousands if needed. “Trained Wildlife Specialists On Hand
Debra Parsons-Drake, The HSUS’s senior director for its animal care centers, has been touring the Gulf coast emergency wildlife care operations. She says the four centers have sufficient staff from IBRRC and Tri-State, as well as enough of their trained workers available right now.
“We are fortunate that highly trained, skilled, and experienced oiled wildlife specialists are on the ground right now in the Gulf region,” Drake said. “All the people they have trained over the years are ready, willing and able to respond. We could not ask for better people handling the rehabilitation efforts.
In the event that volunteers are needed, The HSUS has facilitated the required OSHA safety training for 190 National Disaster Animal Rescue Team volunteers. Additionally, about 65 HSUS staffers have taken the training, mostly those from the SPCA Wildlife Care Center in Southeast Florida, The HSUS’s largest wildlife care center. Hundreds of the center’s community volunteers also took the training.
“We are ready, if needed, to deploy quickly,” Drake said. Ready, Watching and Waiting
At the Wildlife Care Center, clinic operations director Dr. Stefan Harsch is ready to help. The facility, which operates as a trauma center for South Florida’s extensive wildlife menagerie, is prepared to share staff and resources if needed. The center’s staff could be called upon later to assist in stabilizing affected animals. .
In talking about the special needs of oiled wildlife, Harsh said, “The oiled animals are usually very stressed and exhausted. They can’t fly, they can’t swim, they lose their waterproofing and so they lose their insulation. Many are hypothermic. Most are exhausted.”
Harsch said he worries it might be too late for many of the birds and other wildlife who call the Gulf Coast home. He suspects there are many pelagic birds—like gannets—who have landed on the Gulf to feed, and never surfaced. After contamination, they lose their buoyancy, their power to fly, and, eventually, their lives.
“They might not be washed to shore; they might just be gone,” he said. “What we’re seeing is only the tip of the iceberg here. What’s going on in the ocean, nobody knows.”
For now, Harsch, and others like him, can only wait and worry.
The HSUS has offered to take de-oiled birds for long-term rehabilitation at the center and to take any birds in need of prolonged care. Marine mammals and other native wildlife would be taken by other groups specializing in their care.
“We will have everything in place here. All of the vet staff has been trained, and we are ready if they ask us,” he said. “We have to wait and see and hope for the best. Right now, we are just watching, but we are prepared."
House drops 'vicious dog' label for 'pit bull' (The Toledo Blade) 5-31-10
"By JIM PROVANCE BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF COLUMBUS - A ''pit bull" would no longer be deemed an inherently vicious dog by virtue of its existence under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Ohio House Thursday. The measure now heads for the Senate, which is unlikely to deal with the issue before lawmakers recess for the summer next week.
"I'm offering this amendment to ensure that we're not capturing, impounding, and terminating an animal simply based on its breed," said Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon).
"It is unjust to punish owners by taking their pet even if they have raised a well-behaved, family friendly dog," he said.
Rep. Matt Szollosi of Oregon says a 'pit bull' could still be labeled vicious if it exhibits behavior warranting that designation.
Zoom | Photo ReprintsNo lawmaker spoke out on the floor against the amendment, which was added to a bill increasing penalties for animal cruelty.
The amendment passed 86-10, and the final bill went on to pass 93-3.
The measure would drop the reference to a "breed that is commonly known as a 'pit bull' dog" when defining what constitutes a "vicious dog," a provision that has been in Ohio law since 1987. Ohio is the only state that has a breed-specific law.
Ownership of a vicious dog triggers restraint, muzzling, and liability insurance requirements. Toledo's ordinance also limits such dogs to one per household.
Mr. Szollosi noted that a ''pit bull" could still be labeled vicious like any other dog if it exhibits behavior warranting that designation.
State law considers a dog to be vicious if it, without provocation, it has killed or seriously injured a person or killed another dog.
Two of the 10 negative votes on the amendment came from northwest Ohio Reps. Bruce Goodwin (R., Defiance) and Jeff Wagner (R., Sycamore). Rep. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay) supported the "pit bill" amendment, but opposed the final animal-cruelty bill.
Mr. Wagner noted that he was influenced by recent committee testimony from former Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon and a representative from Franklin County in opposition to repealing the breed-specific law.
Mr. Skeldon, who retired after a backlash over the Lucas County pound's high dog-euthanasia rates, had testified on behalf of the Ohio Dog Warden Association.
"Both testified that these dogs have the highest rate of attacks and that this law should be kept intact," Mr. Wagner said.
"I care more about people's rights not to be bitten than a dog's right."
The animal-cruelty bill was scheduled for a vote Wednesday but was pulled from the lawmakers' calendar after Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova) announced her intent to offer the "pit bull" amendment.
Her similar bill had received two hearings, but has remained stuck in committee as similar prior efforts to repeal the law had.
"Although my own 'pit bull' legislation has remained idle for months, I am pleased that this issue will finally be addressed by the House majority, regardless of whose name is on the bill at the end of the day," Ms. Sears said.
Mr. Szollosi said he used the extra day to work his caucus for support. Of the 10 "no" votes, seven were Democrats and three were Republicans.
Rep. Dennis Murray (D., Sandusky) said he once opposed repeal of the law, but has since changed his mind.
"I don't like 'pit bulls,'•" he said. "I have no idea why anyone would want one. But I don't like lima beans either, and I don't know why anyone would want to eat them."
Supporters of the bill, including "pit bull" owners, have argued that the term "pit bull" was too broad and too subjective based on a dog's appearance. They argued that "pit bulls" are not inherently vicious but are made so by abuse, neglect, or malicious training.
But opponents of the repeal have cited the attraction of the animals to those involved in dog-fighting and drug dealing, people who sometimes use them as shields between them and law enforcement.
The Ohio Supreme Court in 2007 upheld the constitutionality of the state's current breed-specific law and Toledo's related ordinance, saying statistics have backed up the state's contention that the ''pit bull" is more likely to do more damage when it attacks and is more likely to prompt police to discharge their firearms."
Landmark Shark Protection Bill Becomes Law in Hawaii(From HSUS) 5-31-10
"Groups praise Hawaii lawmakers for enacting groundbreaking shark protection measure
HONOLULU— The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and Shark Allies praised Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and other lawmakers for passing a law to protect sharks from being killed to supply the market for shark fins. Gov. Lingle signed S.B. 2169 late yesterday.
The law prohibits the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins and fin products, including shark fin soup, and closes major enforcement loopholes in existing law. Shark-finning involves cutting off the fins of sharks then throwing the shark back into the ocean, often while still alive, only to drown, starve or die a slow death due to predation from other species. Numerous species of shark are threatened or endangered, with some species on the brink of extinction due to the cruel and exploitive shark fin industry.
S.B. 2169 was championed by Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kahuku, La'ie, Ka'a'awa, Kane'ohe and Rep. Angus McKelvey, D-Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Maalaea, Kihei. In addition to sharks' critical role in preserving our ocean's ecosystems, Sen. Hee and the native Hawaiian community emphasized that sharks are considered Hawaiian deities, also known as "aumakua", and protectors of the oceans. The bill takes effect on July 1 of this year. The prohibition on the retail sale of shark fin soup and fin products takes effect on July 1, 2011.
"Thanks to the tremendous efforts of Senator Hee, Representative McKelvey and thousands of supporters both locally and worldwide, Hawaii has become the nation's leader in shark and ocean protection by enacting this unprecedented measure," said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The HSUS.
"With the passage of this bill, Hawaii has set an example for the rest of the country, if not the world, to follow. Other states are already looking to emulate Hawaii's law in the coming years," said Stefanie Brendl, founder and director of Hawaii-based Shark Allies.
Facts:Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year simply to supply the wasteful demand for shark fin soup. Shark populations cannot sustain current slaughter rates.Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and the entire ocean's ecosystem.Unlike other fish species, sharks produce few pups, and thus, many species are endangered and/or threatened due to the fin trade.The U.S. Congress is currently considering the Shark Conservation Act, which would crack down on the lucrative and abusive practice of shark-finning and close critical loopholes in the federal law to improve enforcement, such as requiring boats to land sharks with their fins still attached."
Birds Involved In Oil Spill To Be Released Back Into The Wild Sunday 5-30-10
A CNN report released Sunday afternoon stated that birds that were rescued from the gulf coast oil spill will be released back into the wild Sunday. Rescuers cleaned and rehabilitated A northern gannet and brown pelicans after finding them covered in oil. The birds will not be released into the area of spill, but will instead will be taken to a refuge off of Tampa Bay Florida. This is not the last of the animal rescues in this disaster. With 12,000-19,000 barrels of oil spewing from hole 5,000 feet below the surface, there will certainly be more lives to be saved and sadly more lives lost.
(Brown Pelican eggs in Lousiana marshland covered in oil)
2 Bills To Fight Crush Videos 5-29-10
Along with H.R. 5092 we have H.R. 5337 in the fight to stop crush videos. Representative Gary Peters introduced the "Animal Torture Prevention Act of 2010" on May 21, 2010. The law is aimed at stopping the creation, sale's and distribution of ALL depictions of extreme animal cruelty. When doing a comparison of the two Bills there is a difference! We at OVFA are still disappointed in seeing that religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, and artistic value are the exemptions, though de minimis, but we are overwhelmed with joy that there is now a Bill that could be in place to stop all genres of animal cruelty photos, films, and recordings. If H.R. 5337 passes one of our biggest worries will be set aside, "Animal Blood Art". With two Bills on the floor to stop this sick and twisted torture fetish we expect to have our faith renewed in putting a stop to it for good as well as many other cruelties. Let's keep our finger crossed that H.R. 5337 passes! We will keep you posted. For your own comparison please see the links below.
Plaintiffs With Fins? The Legal Rights of Oil Spill’s Animal Victims (Wall Street Journal)
By Dionne Searcey (The Wall Street Journal)
A story in The Seattle Times today about an Exxon Valdez survivor, an otter that had been sickly for years after being rescued from the slick in Prince William Sound (spoiler alert: it’s a sad ending), got us thinking. Do the wildlife victims of the current oil spill in the Gulf have any legal rights?
The short answer: not really.
There are no laws that exist simply to protect animal interests. U.S. law protects animals as property. That means laws designed to protect animals exist only to protect the interests of their owners or the public, say animal activists who specialize in animal law. And some animals are entirely exempt from the laws.
“Most of the wild animals affected by the BP spill do not have any legal protections at all, and there is no penalty that can be imposed for suffocating them with oil, destroying their habitats and otherwise harming them,” said Justin Goodman, a representative of PETA.
The Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act have protections in place for the dolphins, whales and sea turtles that live in the Gulf. But the Minerals Management Service has approved oil exploration without the permits required by the two acts. The Obama administration is the target of lawsuits over this.
The Department of Interior says on its website the BP oil spill has prompted the agency to improve and strengthen reviews of drilling procedures required under the two acts.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys aren’t exactly holding back when it comes to trying to reel in new oil spill clients. And we’ve written about the creativity of animal rights attorneys when it comes to finding ways to protect our furry brethren. It’s not a stretch to think that these lawyers will sift through local animal cruelty statutes to examine whether they can pin spill-related animal deaths and injuries on what they may say is BP’s negligence.
This week the Defenders of Wildlife and the Southern Environmental Law Center sued BP, noting the Endangered Species Act prohibits the “take” of endangered species. The ESA defines “take” as meaning “to harass, harm, pursue…or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.”
The Defenders note government wildlife agencies have interpreted “harm” as meaning “an act which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife” and may include “significant habitat modification or degradation.”
BP did nore repond to a request for comment.
Orphaned "Moon Bear" Cubs "Mothered" by Scientists
Unedited Transcript From National Geographic
It’s springtime in the Russian Far East, and two scientists have begun to raise three orphaned Asiatic black bear cubs.
This cub is about 3 months old.
Asiatic black bears, also known as ‘moon bears’ because of the distinctive crescent-shaped stripe across their chests are a vulnerable species…mostly due to habitat loss and hunting for body parts.
Though protected in most parts of its range, hunting is still legal in both Japan and Russia.
During traditional Russian bear hunts, hibernating bears are dragged from their dens and shot. If it’s a mother with cubs, the babies are often left to die.
This experiment, partly funded by the National Geographic Society, is an ongoing project designed to help bolster the falling Asiatic bear population.
By protecting these orphans, the scientists, Sergey Pizyuk and Liya Sagatelova, hope they’ll be able to rejoin life in the wild—helping to ensure another generation survives.
They provide supplemental feeding and protection from predators , just as a mother bear would.
But otherwise, the scientists teach the cubs nothing. Inborn behaviors like foraging, social skills, and defensive behaviors are developed entirely on their own.
The scientists purposely minimize their contact with the cubs—they never play or talk with them. This is done to preserve the bears’ natural wariness of humans.
Ear tags mark these bears as part of the project, reducing the risk they’d be killed by hunters.
By late fall, the cubs are sluggish, fat and ready to hibernate. By the time they awaken in spring, they’ll hopefully be ready to survive on their own.
"Rep. Combs Hopes Legislation Helps Prevent Another "Masterpiece Case"
COLUMBUS -- State Representative Courtney Combs (R-Hamilton) announced today the Ohio House voted to pass his legislation, House Bill 55, which is aimed at addressing animal cruelty.
“The Masterpiece case really brought the issue of animal cruelty in Ohio to light,” Combs said. “House Bill 55 realizes the seriousness of abusing innocent animals and creates consequences for these actions that were long overdue."
House Bill 55 would increase the penalties of cruelty to animals, require mandatory evaluation and possible therapy for minors who torture or abuse animals, and allow judges to include pets in court protection orders issued in domestic violence cases.
Last February, a three-month-old baby alpaca named Masterpiece was stolen from a farm in Butler County by two teens and one adult. According to police reports, Masterpiece was suspended in the air and severely beaten and tortured until it died. The story received national attention and was a driving force for this reform.
“Constituent outcry over this issue has been overwhelming,” Combs said. “I’m pleased that both sides of the aisle were able to agree on the importance of this legislation and the ramifications it has on reducing violence now and in the future.”
Combs’ bill now moves onto the Senate for further debate."
"If you've been keeping tabs on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, you've probably been wondering how exactly you can help.
Well, for those of you with furry, four-legged flatmates, it can be as easy as sweeping the floors and collecting all that errant fur and hair.
So how exactly can hoarding pet fur help with cleaning up one of the worst environmental disasters in recent memory? Enter Matter of Trust, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that's been accepting donations of non-filthy pet fur and human hair since 1998 to craft oil-absorbing hairmats -- described as "flat square dreadlocks" -- and hair-stuffed containment booms made from recycled pantyhose.
These hairy contraptions are effective at soaking-up oil and they don't require any new resources ... just stuff you'd normally trash (or compost) unless you're into, umm, stockpiling fur.
I must say, sending along fur to Matter of Trust via Excess Access is an eco-ideal spring cleaning mission for folks with critters around the house.
In addition to pet owners, groomers and salon owners can get involved too by sending in bulk shipments of hair/fur. In fact, as of Tuesday, 400,000 pounds of hair was en route to the Gulf Coast.
Alabama hairdresser Phil McCrory came up with the hairy idea while watching news reports on the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, according to the Matter of Trust website.Video: Hair being used in oil cleanup
As a hair professional, he knows how hair is attracted to oil-- and why humans need to shampoo their hair regularly. The oil clings to the hair but is not absorbed by it. That makes hair a good, natural cleaning aide.
Matter of Trust says they've opened more than a dozen warehouses in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida where the hair is shipped. Hundreds of volunteers stuff the hair and fur into nylons which are then tied together to form tubes or booms. The booms are used to surround, contain and aid cleanup of the oil spill.
What is needed, how to send it:
• Clean hair from human heads -- can be straight, curly, dyed, permed, straightened
• Every type of fur, horse hair, wool waste and feather is fine
• Make certain there is no garbage -- metal or paper -- in with the hair/fur
• Washed nylon stocking (even with runs)
• Place in separate plastic garbage bag, put inside of separate boxes labeled debris-free hair/fur or nylons
Wildlife Advocates File Suit to Protect World's Most Endangered Whale
For Immediate Release, May 25, 2010 Contacts: Andrea Treece, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x306; email@example.com Kristen Eastman, The HSUS, (301) 721-6440; firstname.lastname@example.org Sierra Weaver, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-3274; email@example.com Regina Asmutis-Silvia, WDCS, (508) 451-3853; firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON— Litigation filed today in federal court seeks to expand habitat protections for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale to include the whale’s nursery, breeding and feeding grounds. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
Despite being listed under the Endangered Species Act more than three decades ago, the North Atlantic right whale’s population still numbers only around 350 individual animals, making it one of the world’s most endangered whales.
“Each year, more whales are found wrapped in fishing gear or mortally wounded by ships,” said Sharon Young, marine issues field director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Every whale – and every square mile of protected habitat – counts when the population is so low.”
The lawsuit challenges the National Marine Fisheries Service’s failure to respond to the groups’ 2009 legal petition seeking expanded critical habitat for the species under the Endangered Species Act. By law, the agency is required to take action on such a petition within 90 days.
“Critical habitat protections have a proven track record of helping endangered species to survive,” said Andrea Treece, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The North Atlantic right whale is on the edge of extinction, and further delay of habitat protection may seal the species’ fate.”
The groups’ petition seeks expanded protection for calving grounds off of Georgia and northern Florida, protection for critical feeding habitat off the Northeast, and protections for the migratory route between calving and feeding grounds. In areas designated as critical habitat, the federal government must take special precautions to ensure that activities such as oil drilling, commercial fishing, military training, and vessel traffic will not diminish the value of the habitat in a way that will impair the recovery of the species.
“The ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has shown that industrial activities in the ocean can affect not only the animals themselves, but the entire environment in which they live,” said Sierra Weaver, attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “A similar catastrophe off the east coast of Georgia or Florida could make uninhabitable the only place on earth that right whales give birth to their young. The government must consider such risks when deciding if and where to permit these types of activities.”
The primary threats to imperiled right whales are ship strikes, entanglement in commercial fishing gear, habitat degradation, rising noise levels, global warming, ocean acidification and pollution.
“In an increasingly busy ocean, the survival and recovery of the North Atlantic right whale depends on the protection of its essential habitat areas,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist for Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.
BackgroundThe lawsuit was filed in the District of Massachusetts federal court in Boston. The North Atlantic right whale population was decimated by centuries of commercial whaling, and despite being protected since 1970, has not recovered. Scientists estimate that if current trends continue, the population could go extinct in fewer than 200 years. The whales, reaching 55 feet in length, migrate from their calving grounds off the southeastern United States to their feeding grounds off the northeastern United States and Canada. Adult female right whales reproduce slowly – they give birth to one calf every four years and do not reach reproductive maturity until age eight. Fishing gear entanglement and vessel strikes have killed or seriously injured at least 18 right whales since 2004.
Officials say 600 animal species threatened by oil spill (From Asiaone)
"NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - More than 600 animal species are threatened by the expanding oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, officials say.
Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the threat affects some 445 species of fish, 134 birds, 45 mammals, and 32 reptiles and amphibians.
Among the birds, the biggests fears center on the brown pelican. State biologists Robert Lover said the graceful state bird of Louisiana lays eggs on the coastal islands and may be ingesting fish contaminated with oil.
Similar threats may face the piping plover, royal tern and sandpiper.
For amphibians and reptiles, Kemp's Ridley, a severely endangered sea turtle, is seen as threatened because its migration for the nesting season, which has begun, is cut off by the oil slick. Alligators, frogs and sea snakes face threats as well.
Sea mammals in peril include the bottlenose dolphin, manatee and various whales. But land mammals including coyotes, raccoons and foxes could also see their habitat polluted.
Many species of fish and crustaceans also face obvious threats in a region that has a huge fishing industry. They include the bluefin tuna, red snapper, tarpon and cobia along with crabs, shrimp and oysters."
Victory: Nestlé gives orangutans a break -- From Greenpeace
"Over 23,000 Australians recently contacted global food and beverage giant, Nestlé, asking them to stop using palm oil linked to rainforest destruction.
Today, we have fantastic news. Nestlé announced it would stop using all products that come from rainforest destruction..."
Click the link to read the rest of this wonderful announcement!
Probing the link between slaughterhouses and violent crime -- Article from thestar.com
"...More than a hundred years later, a University of Windsor researcher may have proven the literary classic right. Criminology professor Amy Fitzgerald says statistics show the link between slaughterhouses and brutal crime is empirical fact..." From article on thestar.com
To read the rest of this fascinating article click the link: (WARNING: article contains 1 graphic image)
This is a great article from ASPCA. When it gets to that time of year where summer storms are on the horizon here in Ohio, I start to worry about the safety of the animals myself and family care for. Whether it be tornados, huricanes, or terror threats, ASPCA covered all the steps you need to keep your pet safe!
"What If Disaster Strikes? Emergency Planning for Pets
As Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the current tragedies in the Gulf Coast region and Tennessee illustrate, disasters come in all shapes and sizes. Even with the aid of disaster response teams, homes and families were devastated by these destructive events—and many evacuees lost their companion animals.
With hurricane season just around the corner, the ASPCA reminds you to help keep your family intact by creating an emergency evacuation plan. Even if you don’t live in an area that’s known for dangerous weather, please take the following simple actions before you’re forced to confront a catastrophe.
Have an Evacuation Plan in Place Plan for the worst-case scenario. Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible, make sure all your pets are wearing proper identification and consider your evacuation route ahead of time. Download our Ready Pets brochure Ready Pets brochure (pdf) on pet-friendly evacuation for more information.
Arrange a Safe Haven Don’t leave your pet behind if you’re forced to evacuate. Find out if there are emergency animal shelters in your area. If not, these steps to keep your pet safe.
Pre-Pack an Emergency Kit Prepare a “go kit” of essential pet supplies before disaster strikes, and make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is. The kit should be clearly labeled, easy to carry and should include items such as a pet first aid kit, recent photos of your animal companion and any medications on which his health depends.
Choose a Designated Caregiver Consider who you’d like to act as your pet’s temporary caregiver should you not make it home in time to retrieve your pet. Make sure the person you choose agrees to take on the responsibility, has a key to your residence and has spent time getting to know your animal companion.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium made the right decision to not sponser the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circuses visit to Columbus Ohio this year. This is one big step in the right direction! Thank you Columbus Zoo!
Crush Video Bill H.R. 5092
To truly stop crime you must first think like a criminal in order to perceive what his/her next move could be. 50% of the time you will be right. What the new Bill H.R. 5092 to prohibit crush videos is lacking is definitely the thought process of a criminal mind and honestly that scares me to death.
To amend section 48 (relating to depiction of animal cruelty) of title 18, United States Code, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. ANIMAL CRUSH VIDEOS.
(a) In General- Section 48 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`Sec. 48. Animal crush videos
`(a) Prohibition- Whoever knowingly sells or offers to sell an animal crush video in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
`(b) Rule of Construction- Nothing in subsection (a) shall be construed to prohibit the selling or offering to sell a video that depicts hunting.
`(c) Definitions- In this section--
`(1) the term `animal crush video' means any visual depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, or electronic image, which depicts animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, or impaled, that--
`(A) depicts actual conduct in which a living animal is tortured, maimed, or mutilated that violates any criminal prohibition on intentional cruelty under Federal law or the law of the State in which the depiction is sold; and
`(B) taken as a whole, does not have religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value; and
`(2) the term `State' means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.'.
(b) Conforming Amendment- The item relating to section 48 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 3 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`48. Animal crush videos.'.
All is well and good until they get to this part: "`(B) taken as a whole, does not have religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value; and"
Let's divide these and think like a sicko for a moment.
religious: There are religions that do sacrifice animals
scientific: How many will use the need to find out if things like these really does sexually satisfy a pervert. After all, in lab testing, colleges have actually filled fish tanks full of booze to see which the fish prefer, all in the name of science.
educational: US verses Stevens was fought on the grounds that he claimed his dog fighting videos were educational. He won!
journalistic: When we first started this issue, I mean the second go round in 2009, I could hardly find any photographs of this. Now today, with animal rights groups posting the videos and photos to make a point, it doesn't take but a second to find more horrifying images then any freak could want. They don't care that we do this to stop the torture. They will see it as an opening. Will there be articles and documentary videos about the horrors of crush videos sold to creeps in the name of journalism? Probably.
historical: Well how are they going to teach other sickos about it if they don't use history?
And artistic: I can see it now. "How dare you stifle art! Even though it happens to be the blood of an animal that was crushed and filmed." At a point in 2000 there was a crush film maker that was not only selling the videos, but the bloody high heels. What gruesome art to be displayed in one's home.
The truly sick people that do this and get their jollies off from watching it will find a way unless our government puts a halt to it completely. This Bill is specific to Crush Videos and there should be absolutely NO exceptions! There is no religious, no scientific, no educational, no journalistic, no historical, and certainly no artistic need for a video that tortures and crushes an animal! No exceptions. If this is all we can hope for to lessen the cruelty, then so be it and OVFA backs it completely, but we will not fool ourselves by thinking this is the end. We're ready for the next fight.
Justice Denied: Crush Videos
On April 20, 2010 the Supreme Court ruled against banning the sells of animal cruelty videos calling the statue "overbroad". The court is expected to uphold a narrower statue banning the distribution of these kinds of videos. The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Legislative Fund are urging congress to speedily give law enforcement what they need to crack down on the distributors of crush videos by passing H.R. 5092 which is designed to end the
“…intentional crushing, burning, drowning and impaling of puppies, kittens and other animals for the depraved purpose of peddling videos of such extreme acts of animal cruelty for the sexual titillation of viewers.” As stated in a release from The Humane Society of the United States,
For those who do not know what a "crush video" is, it's a sadistic torture fetish. A woman in stiletto heels, and someimes bare feet, is seen mutilating and crushing small animals such as, rodents, kittens, puppies, birds, and even small monkeys with her feet for the sexual pleasure of a viewer. For more on this subject please see our article titled "Crushed By Justice" in the "From The Founders" section which can be found on the left side of your screen.
During a campaign recently, through research of my own I found that another group is bending the truth in some cases to push foward petitions and letters. They have at least in one scenario claimed a that an issue was nothing like the truth and used persusive wording to get signatures. This is not a needed tactic and is instead dishonest and one the ways animal rights avtivist have gotten a bad stereotype. I myself am outraged! The true stories alone are enough to get us fired up and ready sign, there is no need to lie. For legal purposes I can not give the name of the group, but i can say that this ins't the first time they've been accused of this. My advice to you is research before you sign or send any money to anything. If a group is giving names of parties involved or locations Google it first. You may get very surprised, or ask someone you trust and you know is honest such as another group. If they don't have a problem with it, then there may be something lacking in the story. Fortunately, I have contacts in this particular case and found out the truth. Please be careful!
Dealing With Scammers
I recently went through some issues with a possible cash scammer using an injured cat to get money. At first I thought the story I was given was completely legit and tried to help the best I could from a distance. I was contacted about an injured animal and asked for advice. The way this person stated their case, I thought the animal had been hit by a car or something just as bad and was literally dying in her living room as I typed. I told this person to take the animal to an emergency vet asap. I was told the vet said they would kill the animal if this person didn't pay up front. I'm not for sure about this next bit of info, its simply what I've heard and I am looking in to it, but I was told a vet is required to check any found animal for a microchip and to hold the animal unless it is literally dying right there, for a specified time to see if anyone claims the animal. I was told the same is true with shelters. Cruelty investigations and animals that are taken by authorities because of severe medical needs are of course an exception.This person said they didn't have the money and that the animal would meet the same fate at an humane society so they wanted a good person or a rescue. The story goes on, but eventually this person began to ask for specified amounts of money and their story began to change and of course, I began to wonder if I had a scammer on my hands. Heres a little advice to keep you safe in this kind situation. When someone comes to you with a hurt animal and wants your help, DO NOT offer money. Instead tell them the obvious, shelters, ER vets, police, ect. and ask them questions. Tons of questions!!! If you can think of it, make them answer it. If they have a problem answering your questions, then there could be a problem with their story! If they do answer the questions, keep talking to them, but ask some of the questions again. Maybe word them differently. If the answer is different, the story most likely isn't true. If at first they want a rescue or someone to take the animal, and then later refuse your suggested place. Theres a problem. If they give you a phone number or address to a vet, shelter, their home, ect ect. check them out. Look it up first. DO NOT just call the number given and trust thats it right. Many scammers have had friends answer phones and give a story to look legit. Ask for photos of the animal and video if possible. If they refuse then theres something up. If the first thing they mention is money, let your minds red flag wave. Use common sense! If they give procedure prices, call and ask a vet or 2 or 3. You may get very surprised at what a procedure like an amputation really cost! The story given to me was $220 for an amputation. When a vet was asked, the price was actually $800-$900. Thats a pretty big difference. If a vet actually was charging that little, I'd be worried about what kind of vet I was taking the animal to. And lastly, if you're ever uneasy, try puttting them in contact with a group like mine and take yourself completely out of it. Chances are they will suddenly disappear.
Great News For Cully And Stormy
I just received word from our friend Cully that Stormy was adopted on Nov. 20th. Congratulations Stormy! And great work Cully!
Help Cully Find Stormy A Home
This is "Stormy", who was named because he started living in my storm drain on 6-9-09. Stormy and I immediately hit it off. He would follow me around like a puppy, always happy for some food and some affection. When it started raining every day, I would open the garage door to give him shelter. He desperately wanted in my house, but wasn't at all happy about my three other cats so I asked a friend who owns a vet hospital to give him a room while I searched for Stormy's "Forever Home".
While at the hospital, it was learned that Stormy is FIV+, which is a virus that lessens his immune system. FIV+ cats can live long, healthy lives with responsible medical checkups - ie, when he gets a cold, take him in immediately so they can treat him immediately. He is currently healthy. Every single Vet/Tech at the hospital has raved about his charming personality! He is Best Friend material through and through. I am willing to drive Stormy anywhere in the country to give him a loving home. Because of his FIV+ status, which can be transfered only from cats to cats through deep bite wounds, it is highly suggested that Stormy be the only cat or with other FIV+ cats. He prefers the company of humans anyway! Give Stormy a loving home and he will reward you for your kindness. His loyalty is completely endearing. He is a great conversationalist. And he has a confidence about him not common in many cats. Please see the videos of Stormy here:
Over on the OVFA Myspace weekly question, there was a bit of controversy and debate about the use of choke, pinch and shock collars. I thought it would be best to address this issue on a broader scale.Though in many minds, both self taught and professional, these torture devices are looked at as wonderful tools that save pet lives. Much to the contrary that is wrong and the proof is in the name of them, CHOKE, PINCH, SHOCK. These devices are meant to hurt the animal to teach it a lesson. Examples for all 3:
Choke : Your dog pulls while you walk him, your choke collar reaction is yank the leash. By yanking the leash the collar tightens and chokes the dog. Though many dogs don't show a sign of pain with the yank, they are hurting. In fact in many cases it has been proven that choke collars do damage to the dogs larynx, causes headaches, cause back problems and can even do damage so badly, (even in an experts hand), that it can kill the dog. What you are doing is essentially strangling your dog. It is also fact that these collars DO NOT always release, potentially staying wrapped tightly around the dogs neck and causing severe damage or even death.
Pinch : These collars are much like choke collars in the sense that they tighten with your pull. But they have metal prods that close on the dogs skin pinching the flesh between them. Your dog pulls as you walk him and you give the yank. The metal prods then close on the skin and pinch, causing painful injuries under the skin that you can't see. Day after day, dog pulls, you yank, collar pinches creating even more damage.
Shock : Your dog runs off with your child's toy. The dog thinks its play time as you and your child run around the house in an unknowing game of chase. You get fed up and as the dog continues to play, you push a button that sends a high voltage current through the animals body. Not only does it hurt the dog and can cause issues with the nervous system, but you've now made your playful and fun dog associate pain with play time with you. Why? Because you got fed up and tired. Shock collars hurt dogs, not train them.
These collars do more harm then they could ever do good. In this day and age there is no reason to use such barbaric training methods. The alternatives are simple, lots of positive reinforcement and lots of patient love. The problem is, people are growing lazier by the day and don't want to take time away from themselves to be a positive pet owner or we get so caught up in the reality that is life that we don't want to take the time that positive reinforcement training would take. Not only do our pets suffer horribly from our vices, but so do we. We lose out on the very reasons we have a pet in our lives, love and friendship. There are so many safer, happier, and more humane ways to train your dog. Before you reach for the choker, the pincher or the shocker, won't you please give them a try?
4th of July, Not Fun For Animals!
Every year pets get lost when their owners take them to see fireworks. I personally think these owners need a reality check. YOUR DOG DOES NOT CARE ABOUT NOR DOES IT WANT TO SEE FIREWORKS! THIS IS NOT FUN FOR A DOG! Animals have very sensitive hearing and things that are simply loud to us humans are torturous to your dog. Fireworks displays are not a place for animals. This 4th, do your friend a favor and leave him or her at home! But remember, that doesn't mean that your pet will be happy and loving the day like you while indoors. Even within the walls of your home your pet will still hear and fear the loud pops of the fireworks displays and your neighbors pyro. Each animal is individual, so talk to your vet about ways you can reduce your pets stress on our day of independence. But please, I can't beg you enough. Leave your pet at home!
OVFA invited to visit Maryland zoo!
As most of my supporters already know, I've been contacting Zoo's in hopes to learn more about their programs and training tools. My efforts have paid off! First, The Indianapolis Zoo gave me a warm invite to see first hand how the keepers care for their elephants and to speak with them. Next to reply was Busch Gardens in Tampa. I could not have been happier with their response. Here's part of their response.
"The elephants here are at Busch Gardens are cared for and managed through a protected contact system. Which means our keepers have the ability to get up-close with the animals and build strong relationships with them, but it's through a barrier system that prevents direct one-on-one contact. This system keeps our keepers safe and there is never a need for an ankus. Our elephant training program is solely based on positive reinforcement and the results are truly amazing."
Now, I have been invited to visit the Maryland Zoo for a meeting with their Curator/Elephant Manager. The date is set for November. As I continue to hear from Zoo's I'll keep you posted and will be sure to add photos and the interviews to the site.