Los Angeles Bans Animal Traps that Grip or Snare

In a victory for animal rights, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban traps that grip or snare foxes, coyotes, and other such animals in the city, labeling such traps as inhumane.

 

The new rule disallows commercial trappers from using any traps that grip or snare the animals in any way. However, such traps can still be used for mice, rats, and other small rodents.

 

Cage traps that utilize a locking door can still be used by commercial trappers, which will allow many to stay in business.

 

The city’s Department of Animal Services will also create measures that ensure locking door traps are not used inhumanely, in instances such as keeping a locked animal caged for hours in summer heat.

 

Wildlife protection groups applaud the decision, saying that the banning of such traps will prevent suffering and it will keep other animals safe.

 

The impetus behind banning such traps was the fact gripping or snaring devices often do not actually kill the animal, but leave it to suffer.

 

In addition to eliminating suffering, banning such traps will ensure that pets are not accidentally injured or killed by snare or grip traps.

 

Trapping groups in Los Angeles did not offer any public comment on the ban, however, the president of a local wildlife management service told city council earlier in the year that revolving door traps are not an efficient way to catch coyotes.

 

Animal rights group around the country, including PETA, offered support for the ban, which may prompt other cities in the United States to propose such bans in their respected councils.

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Hunter pleads not guilty to starting massive California wildfire

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/13/us-usa-california-fire-idUSKBN0GD01O20140813

(Reuters) – A California hunter pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges that he started a massive wildfire on the edge of Yosemite National Park last summer after building an illegal campfire.

Keith Matthew Emerald, 32, entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Fresno almost exactly a year after prosecutors say he sparked the Rim Fire, which scorched 260,000 acres on public and private land in and near the park.

Emerald, who lives near the area burned by the fire, is charged with setting timber afire, leaving a fire unattended, violating campfire restrictions and giving a false statement to a government agency. He is expected to be released from custody after his $60,000 bail is posted.

Federal prosecutors say Emerald built a fire in the remote dry brush of Stanislaus National Forest, where temporary campfire restrictions were in effect because of drought, while on a bow-and-arrow hunting trip last August.

Embers from the campfire reached parched branches overhead and sparked the devastating wildfire named after the Rim of the World lookout spot nearby.

The flames scorched 402 square miles, destroyed nearly 100 structures and cost more than $127 million.

“The Rim Fire was one of the largest in California history and caused tremendous economic and environmental harm,” said Scott Harris, a U.S. Forest Service special agent in charge of the area where the Rim Fire took place. “While those harms cannot be undone, today we have brought criminal charges relating to the cause of that fire.”

Rescuers airlifted Emerald from the burning forest about an hour after the wildfire began, according to court documents. Emerald initially told investigators that he did not set fire to anything during his trip.

Federal prosecutors say that Emerald lit a campfire and then lied about it to investigators. If convicted of all four counts, he faces a maximum sentence of six years in prison and $510,000 in fines. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 14.

Emerald’s attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Jennifer Chaussee from San Francisco; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)

 

California Water District Allowing Wildlife to Die

I saw a reservoir at a wildlife area outside Reno, Nevada a few years ago where livestock “growers” had drawn the water down so far that all the fish were left high and dry. The white pelicans were trying to make use of them, but the stranded fish were too big to swallow and the birds were just choking on them…

Action Alert from All-Creatures.org

FROM

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
June 2014

ACTION

NOTE: California’s diary industry is one of the largest in the nation. Producing one gallon of milk uses 1,000 gallons of water! Priorities?!

SCVWD officials have informed PETA that wildlife are not a priority and that the drought is being used as a pond-cleaning opportunity.

wildlife California drought dairyPlease tell Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) officials to allocate water to reservoirs, ponds, and creeks for wildlife immediately and/or relocate animals to areas with sufficient levels, if possible.

Beau Goldie
Chief Executive Officer
Santa Clara Valley Water District
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118-3686
fax (408) 266-0271
bgoldie@valleywater.org

Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors
5750 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118
fax (408) 266-2897
board@valleywater.org

INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Because of extreme drought conditions, water levels have dropped significantly in many Central California creeks, reservoirs, and ponds, resulting in turtles, fish, and other aquatic animals slowly suffocating. Yet instead of assisting these animals, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) is reportedly moving water OUT of key reservoirs and allowing numerous percolation ponds to dry up!

SCVWD officials have informed PETA that wildlife are not a priority and that the drought is being used as a pond-cleaning opportunity. Now it’s your turn to weigh in!


Thank you for everything you do for animals!

 

CA Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests Moves Forward

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests Moves Forward

Last week’s California Fish and Game Commission got a lot of press attention for the Commission’s decision to add the gray wolf to the state’s Endangered Species list, but another decision by the panel has so far slipped under the radar: an agreement to move forward on a ban on wildlife-killing contests in the state of California.

A push to ban such contests has been sparked by public reaction over the last several years to the annual Coyote Drive in the Modoc County town of Adin. Public support for a ban would seem to be strong. Of public comments received as of mid-March by the Fish and Game Commission, 12,896 supported a ban, while eight opposed one.

The ban has been moving through the commission’s somewhat lengthy rule-making process since February, but a Wednesday agreement by the commission would make sure the ban applied to all animals currently targeted by organizers of wildlife killing contests.

At some earlier point in the commission’s “sausage-making,” the language of the proposed ban was edited so that it would only ban killing contests focusing on coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. On Wednesday, the Commission agreed to strip that specific language out in the final version of the rule.

According to Project Coyote who has been pushing the commission to consider a ban for several years, founder Camilla Fox, that agreement brings the proposed rule back into line with the original intent of the state law that covers wildlife contests. That law, Section 2003 of the Fish and Game Code, actually already bans wildlife killing contests in the state, saying that “[I]t is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of any game birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians in an individual contest, tournament, or derby.” But the rule adds a loophole, subsection D, which exempts contests from the ban if the total prizes offered total less than $500.

“This loophole contravenes the intent of section 2003 which is to eliminate any prize or other inducement as an reward for the taking of wildlife,” said Fox in her testimony before the Commission Wednesday. “A simple rule to eliminate this loophole will rectify this issue and remove such incentives for the mass killing of wildlife.”

Fox urged the Commission to strip the language limiting the ban to coyotes, foxes, and bobcats from the proposed rule, and the commission agreed.

“Killing contests are not a proper way of introducing youth to the outdoors,” replied Commissioner Richard Rogers. “I know, for I am an Eagle Scout. There was no killing involved in developing in me my love of nature.”

The commission is expected to make a final decision on a ban later this year.

Breaking News: Wolves Protected in California

Huge news out of California today: The state wildlife commission just protected wolves under the state Endangered Species Act.

Today’s decision is the culmination of years of work by the Center, sparked by the arrival of wolf OR-7 in California in December 2011.

The timing couldn’t be better. Just hours before the commission’s decision, it was confirmed that OR-7 had pups in southern Oregon — a sign that this once-lone wolf is now establishing himself as a resident of the area, including Northern California.

This exciting win wouldn’t have happened without your thousands of letters, phone calls, trips to rallies and generous donations to our Predator Defense Fund.

We knew it would be an uphill climb when we filed our petition to protect wolves in California in February 2012, but there was no other choice: If these expanding wolf populations were going to survive, they’d need protection from guns and traps.

Today’s decision opens a new chapter in the history of wolf recovery in America. It ensures that California, where there’s plentiful wolf habitat, will provide a safe haven for wolf families like the one OR-7 just started.

We know it won’t be long before the howl of wolves, silenced in California for nearly a century, will be heard there once more.

Thank you from all of us at the Center for Biological Diversity

copyrighted wolf in water

California Animal Rights Groups Offer $10,000 Reward for Pelican Slasher

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/california-animal-rights-groups-offer-10000-reward-for-pelican-slasher/

Apr 29, 2014

By Laila Kearney(Reuters) – U.S. animal rights groups are offering a $10,000 reward for information on a person who apparently mutilated a California brown pelican this month in a case that has drawn widespread public attention.

California brown pelicans are a threatened species that is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The pelican, named Pink after the colored band on its leg, was found in the city of Long Beach with a severed throat pouch, the International Bird Rescue (IBR) organization said in a statement.

The emaciated bird’s throat was stapled, so it could feed, and it is now being taken care of in a small Los Angeles aviary. On Sunday, it had a three-hour surgery to repair the laceration and IBR said it would require many more operations and extensive rehabilitative care to fully recover.

“In my 40-plus years as a wildlife rehabilitator, I’ve seen too many of these horrible attacks against innocent animals,” IBR executive director Jay Holcomb said in the statement. “The public is sick of it too, and we hear their frustration.”

The IBR is offering the reward along with the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said is was investigating the possible crime, which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and a county jail sentence of up to six months.

 

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Miral Fahmy)

Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests in California

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  1. Petition by Project Coyote

 

Please join Project Coyote in calling on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CADFW) to prohibit predator killing contests statewide and to develop comprehensive regulations and policies to reform and modernize predator management in California.

Killing predators – or any wild animal- as part of a ‘contest’ ‘tournament’ or ‘drive’ is ethically indefensible, ecologically reckless, and contravenes new legislation (AB 2402) that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law requiring the Fish & Game Commission to use “ecosystem based management” and the best available science in the stewardship of California’s wildlife. Such wildlife killing contests have no scientific basis and degrade the reputation of the ethical sportsman of California.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please sign the petition and send the letter linked from here: http://www.change.org/petitions/ca-dept-of-fish-wildlife-f-g-commission-stop-coyote-killing-contest

California Delays Decision on Protecting Gray Wolf

copyrighted Hayden wolf walking

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/04/16/california-considers-protecting-rare-gray-wolf/

FRESNO (AP) – Advocates for the gray wolf in California will have to wait 90 days before learning if the animal will be listed as endangered, a state board decided Wednesday. Ranchers and state wildlife officials oppose granting the species legal protections.

The five members of the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to delay a decision so they can gather more public comments on protecting the species, which is showing signs of a comeback after being killed off in the 1920s.

State wildlife officials say they don’t support the listing because wolves haven’t roamed in California for decades and there’s no scientific basis to consider them endangered.

Wolves have been absent from California, so researchers have no way of measuring threats or the viability of the animal in the state, said Eric Loft, chief of wildlife programs for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Yet, the animal is iconic of the western landscape and California could easily become the home to functioning wolf packs within a decade, said Chuck Bonham, director of the wildlife agency.

He said he supports wolf conservation efforts but not listing it as endangered.

“You may hear we actually hate wolves,” he said, maintaining that wasn’t true. “We’re committed to the long-term prospect of the wolf.”

Advocates’ renewed interest in protecting the species started in 2011, when a lone wolf from Oregon – called OR-7 – was tracked crossing into California. The decision to list it or not has been under review for the last year.

The commission gathered in Ventura and heard from more than 60 members of the public, most of them in support of wolves but others in opposition.

Kirk Wilbur of the California Cattlemen’s Association, which is fighting wolf protections, said the state’s endangered species act is designed to help species at risk of going extinct. The wolf is experiencing the reverse, he said.

“The species is not at risk of disappearing in the state of California,” he said. “It is, rather, reappearing.”

Mike Williams, a cattle rancher in Ventura County, said wolves cause high stress on cattle, increase illness and weight loss, and kill valuable livestock.

“Wolves are beautiful animals,” he said. “But they’re also vicious, brutal and efficient killing machines and a threat to people, livestock and pets.”

The action in California stands in sharp contrast to the approach taken by other Western states that have successfully reintroduced the wolf to the point they are allowing hunts to reduce their numbers.

Nationally, wolves were near extinction not long ago. They were reintroduced with federal protections in the 1980s and ’90s.

Wolves now occupy large parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes.

Federal protections have ended in those two regions, and there is a pending proposal to lift protections across much of the remaining Lower 48 states.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity led the effort to protect California’s wolves.

She accused state wildlife officials of violating state law by attempting to keep wolves off the California endangered species list.

“The wolf should be on the list,” Weiss said. “And it should stay on the list.”

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Rally to Save California Wolves, Wildlife Set for Wednesday in Ventura

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-04-14-2014.html

Event Precedes State Fish and Game Commission Meeting

VENTURA, Calif.— Dozens of local residents and activists from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies will rally Wednesday morning in Ventura to voice their support for protecting gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act and for banning all wildlife-killing contests in California. Both issues are on the agenda for the California Fish and Game Commission meeting that will take place in Ventura later that morning.

And on Tuesday night, the Center’s Amaroq Weiss, one of the nation’s leading wolf conservation advocates, who has been at the forefront of wolf recovery efforts in the United States for the past 17 years, will give a public presentation on wolf conservation in California and beyond.

Wednesday, April 16 Rally:

WHAT: Citizens, including members of the Center for Biological Diversity, will rally on the sidewalk in front of the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel to send a loud message to the California Fish and Game Commission that Californians support full protections for wolves under the California Endangered Species Act and support banning all wildlife-killing contests in the state.

WHEN: 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., Wednesday, April 16 (Note: The public hearing starts 15 minutes after the rally ends, at 8:30 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel.)

WHERE: The sidewalk in front of the main entrance to the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, at 450 E. Harbor Boulevard in Ventura.

VISUALS and INTERVIEWS: Attendees will hoist posters and banners with messages in support of full state protections for wolves and banning wildlife-killing contests. Speakers (also available for interviews) will include Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity; Keli Hendricks, a California rancher who supports coexisting with native predators; Camilla Fox and Grant McComb, executive director and youth outreach coordinator for Project Coyote; Damon Nagami, senior attorney with the National Resources Defense Council; and Jim Hines, conservation chair for the Sierra Club – Los Padres Chapter.

Wolf Presentation, April 15:

WHAT: Biologist and former attorney Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity, will give a presentation about wolves and wolf conservation challenges.

WHEN: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 15

WHERE: City Corps Building, 77 N. California St., Ventura

The public and media are welcome to attend.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Animal traps that grip or snare are banned in L.A. as ‘inhumane’

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to ban traps that snare or grip coyotes, bears, foxes and other animals in the city, deeming such traps inhumane.

Under the new rules, commercial trappers cannot use traps that grip or snare any part of the animal, with the exception of traps set for rats, mice and other small rodents. Angelenos are banned from using any trap “that maims or causes the inhumane death or suffering of any animal,” the rules state.

Commercial trappers can still do business using other kinds of traps, which can include cage traps that involve a locking door.

However, the Department of Animal Services will also put forward regulations to ensure that such traps are not used inhumanely — for instance, by leaving an animal caged for a long time in the summer heat.

All traps “can be inhumane through negligent care or use, but snares, bodycrushing and body-gripping traps are inherently inhumane,” a council committee focused on animal welfare wrote in a report. Besides banning snare traps, “the Department is requesting the authority to establish reasonable rules and regulations regarding the use of humane traps and the treatment of the trapped animals.”

Wildlife protection groups say banning snare traps will prevent needless suffering and keep other animals safe. Trapping sounds “safe” to people, but there’s no guarantee that the targeted animal is the one trapped and killed, said Randi Feilich, the Southern California representative for Project Coyote. Pets can also fall victim to the snares, she added.

“If you’ve ever seen an animal trapped in one of these traps, you would never, ever allow them to be used,” said Skip Haynes of the wildlife protection group Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife.

Animal trapping groups did not speak at the Wednesday meeting, but Dan Fox, president of Animal Pest Management Services Inc., argued in an earlier letter to the council that cage traps were not effective in catching coyotes and that snare traps could be a humane option if used correctly. Experienced trappers consider whether other animals are in the area before setting traps, he wrote.

The new rules “will remove any efficient methods of trapping predator animals, and increase costs for residents without addressing the true issue” — people ignoring the existing rules, Fox wrote.

The ban was first proposed by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and seconded by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge.

“Mahatma Gandhi once said … a society can be judged by the way it treats its animals,” O’Farrell said before the Wednesday vote. “Colleagues, banning these cruel and sadistic torture devices to deal with our wildlife is the way to go.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-city-council-animal-traps-20140409,0,5874191.story#ixzz2yWoFGogR