Urge President Obama to end the Navy’s deadly assault on whales

From NRDC.org:  How many whales have to die before the Navy reins in its use of dangerous sonar and explosives during routine training and testing exercises?

Just recently, beaked whales mass-stranded and died — for the fourth time — on the beaches of Greece during U.S. Navy joint exercises offshore. Experts are alarmed that the region’s beaked whale populations are being decimated.

As Commander in Chief, President Obama can end the Navy’s deadly assault on whales right now with one stroke of his pen. But that is unlikely to happen unless hundreds of thousands of us make our voices heard loud and clear.

Tell the President to intervene immediately and direct the Navy to put vital whale habitat off-limits during routine training.

The Navy estimates it could kill nearly 1,000 marine mammals over the next five years during training and testing with sonar and explosives. There will be more than 13,000 serious injuries, such as permanent hearing loss or lung damage.

The National Marine Fisheries Service — the agency charged with defending marine mammals — has not delivered on its promise of protective action. Instead, it has authorized the Navy to inflict an unprecedented level of harm on whales and dolphins.

It’s time for the Commander in Chief to lay down the law.

Please tell President Obama not to allow the military killing of marine mammals on his watch. Call on him to put marine mammal habitats off-limits to sonar and explosives — for good.

Plastic in Our Oceans

images

Another reason to bring your own bag to grocery store:

…estimates show that in the next 20 years there could be a pound of plastic for every two pounds of fish in the sea...

From Ocean Conservancy

Last week, I spoke to a packed room at the U.S. State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference. This landmark event, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry, brought together international government leaders, expert scientists, and global activists like Leonardo DiCaprio to discuss the future of our ocean.

My message was simple: The avalanche of plastic reaching our ocean is as destructive as it is unnecessary. It can be stopped.

Plastics can kill animals like sea turtles, seals, and whales [not to mention, thousands of sea birds]. Once in the ocean, much of the plastic breaks into bite sized pieces animals are eating those pieces, along with the toxic pollutants that plastic adsorbs.

If we do not respond, estimates show that in the next 20 years there could be a pound of plastic for every two pounds of fish in the sea.

In rapidly growing countries, plastic consumption is outpacing waste management. Travel to places like the Philippines, and you’ll see houses built up right to the water’s edge. With no alternative in place, inevitably waste ends up in rivers and streams, and water becomes invisible below a sea of trash.

I believe we have a solution to stop the avalanche but not without your help, and we have to act fast.

We must stop trash at its source — before it enters the ocean. To do that, we need to work with companies and governments in industrializing countries to build critical waste management systems. If we do, we can keep trash out of the ocean and provide billions of people the sanitation they deserve.

At Ocean Conservancy, we are launching a major campaign to work with the most innovative international companies and make this happen.

Sea Shepherd Founder to Bill Maher: ‘If Oceans Die, We Die’

 

http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/08/sea-shepherd-bill-maher/

| April 8, 2014

You can always expect to see Captain Paul Watson on the front lines of the battle to conserve and protect marine ecosystems for wildlife. He and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been doing it for nearly 40 years.

A late-night, cable television got the chance to learn more about Watson’s mission during the most recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. He discussed some of his biggest enemies—Japanese whalers—and his joy regarding last week’s International Court of Justice ruling that Japan’s “research whaling” is illegal. It marked a big moment for Watson, who says he has been labeled an “eco-terrorist” for years.

“I’m not an eco-terrorist—I don’t work for BP,” he said to a round of applause from the studio audience.

Paul WATSON, Brigitte BARDOT

Back in February, chapters of Watson’s organization hosted “World Love for Dolphins Day” demonstrations in large cities, calling for an end to brutal dolphin hunts in Taiji, Japan’s killing cove.

Watson has also been jailed for his cause. He was arrested two years ago in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for ship traffic violation as he exposed an illegal shark finning operation on Guatemalan waters run by a Costa Rican company.

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Japan mulls over Pacific research whaling

Japan is considering whether to conduct research whaling in1625686_10153991126600648_6519826837941566402_n the northwestern Pacific Ocean later this month as planned.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in March that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic cannot be recognized as serving research purposes in its current form.

Japan also carries out research whaling in the northwestern Pacific, including waters off the country’s coast.

This year’s activities are scheduled to start off the coast of Ishinomaki City, northeastern Japan, on April 22nd. There are plans to conduct it farther out into the northwestern Pacific next month.

The court’s decision does not directly cover Japan’s research whaling in those areas.

But the government thinks the court’s ruling could be applied to those waters depending on methods used, including the number caught.

The concern is prompting the government to assess its research procedures. It plans to decide as early as next week whether to go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific.

Some in the government claim that it should conduct the Pacific research whaling as planned. But others argue that Japan could be sued again if it continues the program without due consideration to the court’s ruling.

Apr. 10, 2014  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140411_03.html

Sea Shepherd Applauds the World Court for Protecting the Whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/2014/03/31/the-whales-have-won-icj-rules-japans-southern-ocean-whaling-not-for-scientific-research-1569

The International Court of JusticeThe International Court of Justice
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked. The news was applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

Representing Sea Shepherd in the courtroom to hear the historic verdict were Captain Alex Cornelissen, Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Global and Geert Vons, Director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands. They were accompanied by Sea Shepherd Global’s Dutch legal counsel.

The case against Japan was heard by the ICJ in July of last year to decide whether Japan is in breach of its international obligations in implementing the JARPA II “research” program in the Southern Ocean, and to demand that Japan cease implementation of JARPA II and revoke any related permits until Japan can make assurances that their operations conform with international law.

In a vote of 12 to 4, the ICJ ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.

A minke whale spyhops in the middle of iceA minke whale spyhops in the middle of ice
Photo: Sea Shepherd
Prior to the verdict, there had been some speculation that the ICJ would not permit the hunting of endangered fin and humpback whales, but it would compromise and allow the hunting of minke whales. However, it has been Sea Shepherd’s contention all along that — no matter the species — no whales should be killed, especially in a sanctuary. Sanctuary means “a place of refuge or safety; a nature reserve” where animals are protected. To allow killing in an internationally designated sanctuary is to make a mockery of international agreements made by those countries who established the sanctuary in 1994. At that time, 23 countries supported the agreement and Japan was the only IWC member to oppose it.

Even the Ambassador from Japan to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae, during a public meeting in Los Angeles in December 2013 attended by representatives of Sea Shepherd USA, had this to say about whales and whaling: ”As an individual, I like whales and if you go out and see the whales, there is no reason for us to kill this lovely animal. But it’s history and it’s politics, I would say. There are a small number of Japanese people still trying to get this won. But mainstream Japanese are not eating whale anymore.” At the same meeting, Ambassador Sasae stated that Japan will abide by the ICJ ruling.

Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae

Read the transcript here

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s international volunteer crew stood on the frontlines in the hostile and remote waters of Antarctica for eight years and then Sea Shepherd Australia took up that gauntlet for the last two years and will keep confronting Japanese whalers in Antarctica until we can once and for all bring an end to the killing in this internationally designated “safety zone” for whales. Over the years, Sea Shepherd has been the only organization to directly intervene against Japan’s illegal commercial whaling conducted under the guise of research, with their claims of research globally questioned. Indeed, Sea Shepherd has been the only thing standing between majestic whales and the whalers’ harpoons, as these internationally protected species — many of them pregnant — migrate through Antarctic waters each year.

“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global.

“Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books,” he said.

“Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan has continued to claim the lives of thousands of the gentle giants of the sea in a place that should be their safe haven,” said Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson. “Sea Shepherd and I, along with millions of concerned people around the world, certainly hope that Japan will honor this ruling by the international court and leave the whales in peace.”

Sea Shepherd Global will have the ships prepared to return to the Southern Ocean in December 2014 should Japan choose to ignore this ruling. If the Japanese whaling fleet returns, Sea Shepherd crew will be there to uphold this ruling against the pirate whalers of Japan.

Earthrace Conservation, applauds International court verdict on Japanese whaling

Pete Bethune, Earthrace Conservation, applauds International court verdict on Japanese whaling.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague today (Monday, 31 March 2014) found in favor of Australia and New Zealand in the court case against Japan’s so-called Research Whaling in Antarctica.

Earthrace Conservation founder Pete Bethune, who was at the court for the original case in June 2013 and today to hear the verdict, said, “I am absolutely thrilled. Today will go down in history as a great day for whales, for conservation and for justice.”

Minke%20whale%20creative%20commons%20Smudge9000%20on%20flickrHe said, “The verdict makes Japan’s Research Whaling program, which has killed many thousands of whales in the name of science, illegal. It also halts any likely copycat programs from the likes of Russia and Korea which had the decision favored Japan had been expected to introduce research whaling programs of their own”.

Bethune had his boat, the Ady Gil, destroyed when it was run over by a Japanese security vessel in Antarctica in January 2010. He then spent five months in a maximum-security prison in Japan after he illegally boarded the vessel that had nearly taken the lives of himself and his crew.

This period saw such intense public outcry over research whaling, that the Australian government announced it was taking Japan to the International Court of Justice. Bethune remembers the day when he heard the news in prison. “I went down to meet my lawyer, and the first thing she said to me was Australia had taken the court action against Japan over whaling. I burst into tears. I was optimistic that any decent judicial system would find against Japan, and to finally see it become a realityis amazing.”

Bethune always felt that Japan’s case was weak. “They used a loophole in the original IWC regulations that allowed for nations to conduct their own research-whaling program”, he said.

“Japan argued the court had no jurisdiction to decide what legitimate research was, and that Japan could choose its research programs as it liked. They also presented some of their research findings, although none but the most one-eyed would accept them as being valued by the Scientific-community”.

The verdict is binding for all three countries and cannot be appealed. Japan has little choice now but to cease their whaling program in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Bethune spoke to several senior Japanese delegates after the verdict was announced and says they indicated that while they were very disappointed with the outcome, they would abide by the ruling and not go back to Antarctica.

According to Bethune, the one drawback with the court case is it only addressed Japan’s scientific whaling program in Antarctica. The verdict has now made this illegal, but it still leaves Japan free to continue with research whaling in the Northern Pacific.

Bethune said, “I have no idea why Australia and New Zealand left the Northern Pacific out of their case. If the research program in Antarctica is illegal, then by definition so is the program in the Northern Pacific but it will require another court action to make this illegal also.”

Bethune now feels that his actions back in 2010 were not in vain and hopes that in some small way what happened to him contributed to today’s verdict.
“I lost my boat, spent five months in prison for peacefully protesting against what has now been confirmed as illegal activities, and was paraded around in Japan as a dangerous criminal which was difficult to take at the time. If all that was even a small part of the means to this happy ending, then I’m bloody happy to have gone through it all.”

Stop the Apocalypse—Now

It all started (or should I say, ended) back in 1998 when the Makah tribe was preparing to hunt a grey whale off the Washington coast. Like many people who grew up during the 1960s and ‘70s, I was taken with the idea of returning to a more primitive lifestyle, in “harmony with Nature” as I believed the American Indians surely were. I even spent a summer in the southeast Oregon desert, studying “Aboriginal life skills” of the Paiute people of the Northern Great Basin. It was the same survival course (taught by the same instructor) that Jean M. Auel later took as research for her “Clan of the Cave Bear” book series.

But I began to think that not all tribal people are cut of the same loincloth as the Makah made preparations to kill their NMFS quota of five whales to use for ceremonial and unspecified “commercial purposes.” You may remember the media frenzy surrounding the issue and the animal activists, including Captain Paul Watson at the helm of a Sea Shepherd ship, as well as devoted land protesters whom my wife and I supported and joined whenever we could. Unfortunately, despite months of protests and pleading, the tribe’s rag-tag whaling crew (aided by the federal government) was successful in killing a young female whale with a bullet from a highly untraditional high-powered 50 caliber rifle.

Sadly, “Yabis” (as a Makah elder and lone whale hunt detractor named the whale) could not be saved. The media, of course, defended the kill to the death, comparing the tribe’s right to shoot a whale with their own right to eat unlimited hamburgers. They did their darnedest to convince readers that the road to political correctness was through backing the tribe’s revival of their cultural tradition of killing whales. And besides, who wants to give up their hamburgers anyway?

Well, I for one. I finally saw the hypocrisy of objecting to hunting while continuing to eat farmed animals. From then on we vowed not to be complicit in the unnecessary taking of lives—150 billion a year, at last count. Up until then I had been a meat eater and an occasional fisherman. But from that moment on, I hung up my rod and reel and swore off meat and dairy, never once looking back.

Yet, I know dyed-in-the-faux-shearling vegans whose solid anti-animal abuse stance melts away like a sno-cone on a hot summer day at the first hint that an animal abuser is of aboriginal decent (not that any human being is really “native” to the America’s—some just arrived sooner than others). I may seem obstinate, but I don’t believe a prayer, a chant or any other song and dance makes an animal suffer less or end up any less dead if they were killed by a Native American.

Yet, some people buy into the notion that the mistreatment of a non-human by a native is some sort of spiritual event. Whether elk or bison, fish or whales, a killing that would normally be frowned upon is a joyous occasion when perpetrated by a tribal member. While anyone who holds to their ideals is somehow considered a “racist,” it’s the animal advocate who looks the other way as certain people do the killing who’s the real discriminator.

Shocking as it sounds, the Yellowstone bison are equally exploited fenced-in on a ranch on reservation land as they would be anywhere else in Montana; a deer or elk ends up every bit as injured or dead when shot by a tribal hunter as by the average American sport hunter; tribal gill nets do as much damage to a struggling salmon as those set out by non-Indian commercial fishermen, and a 50 caliber bullet rips into a whale with the same destructive force, no matter who pulls the trigger.

Yes, I used to be a meat-eating fisherman. I changed my ways after allowing myself to absorb facts like, “humans slaughter 6 million animals per hour!” and “20,000 more will die in the time it takes you to read these sentences!” That’s a Holocaust of farmed animals every 60 minutes! And that’s not counting fish, lobsters, shrimp, oysters, clams, krill or other sea life.

Call me a zealot, but when you realize there’s an apocalypse of animals happening right now, you want it stopped, once and for all, and by all—no exceptions.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Court Finds Feds Violated Endangered Species Act in Pacific Northwest When Authorizing Navy Sonar

Southern Resident killer whale with calf

Photo by NOAA

[I can relate to the severity of this is of particular issue since my hearing has been permanently damaged by loud anthropogenic, electronic and/or mechanical noises. Over the years I’ve developed tinnitus–a permanent ringing in the ears which can increase in volume and potentially drive the sufferer crazy or even suicidal. I can imagine that this is the kind of thing that’s happening to marine mammals, who depend on their sensitive hearing for navigation and communication, when they strand themselves onshore.

There are no tests that I know of to show whether whales and dolphins are suffering from tinnitus-like hearing damage, so the navy will likely ignore this problem as long as they can get away with it.

I’ve found dolphins, sea lions and whales stranded on the beaches of Washington and Oregon, and it’s certainly possibly that these strandings are the result of the navy’s ungodly loud and disruptive sonar testing.]

———————————–

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/zsmith/court_finds_feds_violated_enda.html

A federal court has found that the government violated the Endangered Species Act when permitting Navy training activities in the Northwest Training Range Complex—a California-sized training area extending from Washington’s border with Canada down to Northern California.  The decision requires the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to reassess its permits to ensure that the Navy’s training complies with the Endangered Species Act’s requirements for the area’s endangered Southern Resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, fin whales, sei whales, sperm whales, and Steller sea lions.  The government can no longer ignore science—that is developing at a brisk pace—showing that the Navy’s use of sonar is more harmful to whales and dolphins than previously thought.

The Navy’s use of mid-frequency active sonar can kill, injure, and disturb marine mammals.  The Navy and NMFS accept this fact, projecting 650,000 instances of injury and harassment to whales, dolphins, and porpoises over five years of activities in the Pacific Northwest.  Sonar has caused or been associated with multiple stranding events of whales and other marine mammals around the world.  NRDC and other concerned organizations (InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth Friends of the San Juans, and People for Puget Sound) challenged the Fisheries Service’s permitting of the Navy’s activities in the Pacific Northwest in January 2012.  With its ruling yesterday afternoon, the court found that the agency’s approval of the Navy’s activities ignored the best available science showing that marine mammals are far more sensitive to sonar that can cause hearing loss and other injuries.

As we’ve seen over the past decade in permit approvals, the Navy and NMFS have been working overtime to minimize the nature and extent of harm to marine mammals caused by the Navy’s use of sonar—twisting, turning, dodging, and simply ignoring evidence right before them.  Now, the science is catching up and exposing these machinations for what they always were: “ends justify the means” attempts to let the Navy continue with business as usual, unencumbered by any serious obligation to protect whales and dolphins from significant harms.  NRDC and our allies will continue to call on this agency to find ways to minimize harm to marine mammals from the Navy’s training.  This court ruling should remind NMFS that its preeminent obligation is to endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, not to applicants seeking to conduct harmful activities regardless of the consequences.

Save the Wolves: Support the Rights of All Animals

Make no mistake, I love wolves as much as just about anyone; yet some people practically worship them, putting them above any other species except perhaps whales and dolphins. To be sure, wolves are sacred, but there are folks who think of them as hyper-sentient—the great Northern furred land-dolphin, if you will.

I’m not for a minute denying wolves’ intelligence or adherence to an almost human-like social caste system, but I can’t get behind campaign slogans such as “Real hunters don’t hunt wolves.” I call bullshit on that. Real hunters hunt wolves, coyotes, elk, deer, prairie dogs, pigeons, pronghorn, bears, cougars, raccoons— anything and everything that moves or has ever moved. Hell, they’d probably hunt whales and dolphins if it weren’t for the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Most hunters just want a target and a trophy, they don’t really care what species it is.

Granted, some hunters are more sadistic than others, just as some serial killers revel in their victims’ suffering, while others dispatch their prey as quickly as possible—they’re only interest: harvesting a trophy corpse to have around, for whatever morbid reason. The most sadistic hunters are probably fueled by the fact that there are people out there who adore wolves while state laws still consider delisted wolves “property” like every other non-human animal.

Serial killers have been known to derive sick pleasure from taunting the families of their victims, calling them from prison to recount their murders. The same kind of thing likely goes on in the minds of sadistic wolf hunters who boast and post photos of their kills, knowing that some sentimental environmentalist or animal rightsists might come across one and be hurt or outraged by it. They’d love to know that one of us broke down, burned out or resorted to lethal action because of their post (as long as they weren’t on the receiving end of the action).

The wolf situation is unique among modern-day animal atrocities, in that it’s as yet perfectly “legal” for hunters and trappers to film themselves in action. In sharing them online, they’re banking on the fact that the general public is unmoved and apathetic. But I’d like to think that if factory farmers readily shared footage of their routine acts of animal abuse online, there would be a lot more vegans in this world.

For now, the only way anti-wolf sadists can be stopped is by eliminating them from the world of the living. But if you happen to reside in one of those backward states that have yet to implement a death penalty for wolf hunting, the best advice is to just ignore them like you would the taunts of any other bully. Meanwhile, keep petitioning Facebook and other social media outlets where their death porn appears. As long as animals, including wolves, are seen only as “property” by the powers that be, the people who run Facebook will feel entitled to allow anti-wolf evil to be spread throughout their pages and posts.

Eventually common decency will prevail and violent anti-wolf/anti-animal sites will come under serious scrutiny, just as misogynistic sites recently have. We need to step up the pressure on Facebook and let them know that freedom of speech does not give one the right to victimize. Be sure to sign this petition and pass it on: http://www.change.org/petitions/facebook-executives-ban-sadistic-pages-of-wildlife-torture

Meanwhile, let’s fight for the rights and personhood of all animals, not just a chosen few.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

More Unsolicited Sentiments from a Compassionate Misanthropist

Yesterday’s blog post, “Man I Wish You Were Never Born,” took to task the whole of the human race for the fact that Homo sapiens doesn’t just kill other animals to fill their bellies, they destroy them in droves out of spite, to eliminate the competition…or just for fun. That post received across-the-board praise from readers committed enough to the cause to take a sober view of the only species ever to fly to moon, invent a god or cause a mass extinction.
But do I dare take it a step further and examine the origins of the overexploitation of non-humans when doing so means questioning the nearly universally-held tenant that certain groups of people shall remain blameless, even genetically incapable of wrongdoing? Well, just to prove that I’m an equal opportunity misanthrope and my compassionate misanthropy is colorblind, I’m going to come right out and say that contrary to popular belief, the hunting practices of stone-age people were extremely cruel and often had a staggering impact on wildlife populations.

Ever since the first hominid shunned our primate predecessor’s plant-eating lifestyle and sank its teeth into the flesh of another animal, our hairy fore-bearers have been scratching their heads, and armpits, trying to devise deadlier weapons than their neighbors. The simple, sharpened stick, later recognizable as the spear, reigned for over a hundred centuries before the atlatl propelled the human predator to a higher level of planetary destruction. With that new technology, localized over-hunting—then early mass extinctions—followed the spread of Homo sapiens to every corner of the earth. Later, of course, gunpowder unleashed a firestorm the likes of which the world had never known.

So, why bring this up? Why not let people have their illusions about their peaceful origins and the notion that any humans were ever harmonious in their animal exploitation? Because belief in fantasy only fuels the case for hunting and delays the day we finally move beyond it as a species.

Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham and author Dale Peterson address revisionist history in their 1996 book, Demonic Males: Apes and the Roots of Human Violence. In a chapter titled “Paradise Imagined” they write: “Many of us who…absorbed the ideas of anthropologists like Margaret Mead, find deeply comforting their evocation of paradise and their notion that human evil is a culturally acquired thing, an arbitrary garment that can be cast off like our winter clothes.” The chapter goes on to challenge this fallacy with examples of human ill-behavior throughout the ages and concludes with: “To find a better world we must look not to a romanticized and dishonest dream forever receding into the primitive past, but to a future that rests on proper understanding of ourselves.”

Some folks find it painful to accept that pioneering Paleo-Indians, the predecessors of Native Americans, actually drove aboriginal animals like horses over cliffs by the thousands and ultimately to an early extinction. Now, Washington’s Yakima tribe wants to send their wild horses (brought back to the continent and inadvertently released by early Spaniards) to modern-day slaughterhouses, like the introduced cows they raise on their reservations.

A Seattle news article entitled, “Yakamas Urge Feds to Consider Horse Slaughter,” quotes Yakama Nation Chairman, Harry Smiskin, who said in a March 29 letter to President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: “We don’t understand why it is OK to slaughter many animals in this country – certainly the White House and the USDA have meat on their cafeteria menus every day – but for some reason horses are considered sacrosanct.” One of the absurd excuses Smiskin presents for pushing horse slaughter plants is that they are a “humane” way to deal with unwanted horse herds. I’m sorry, but being crowded into a windowless building of an industrial slaughterhouse that reeks of blood and reverberates with the sound of saw blades cutting bone and the cries of terrified animals being butchered alive is anything but humane for domestic cows—let alone wild horses!

This is just the latest instance of an autonomous Washington State tribe undermining federal protections for animals. The Makah mocked the Marine Mammal Protection Act by blasting a grey whale to death with a 50 caliber rifle, the Colvilles instated the first and only wolf hunt in the state since wolves started to make a comeback and now the Yakimas are pushing back advancements made for wild horses.

Ironically, the captains of animal industry are using our politically correct attitudes toward Native Americans to further their agendas and squelch the perception that any other species besides Homo sapiens has intrinsic value. After all, only a misanthropist or an animal rights extremist would dare to question the stated objective of an American Indian.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved