It’s Hard to Be Ethically Consistent While Tap-Dancing on Eggshells

My objection to hunting, trapping and seal clubbing is colorblind as well as culture-blind. I oppose cruelty to animals, no matter who is doing the shooting, trapping or clubbing. A victim doesn’t suffer any less because of the ethnicity or cultural beliefs of their executioner. An animal’s right to a life, free from harm, trumps anyone’s right to exploit or kill them.

Over the weekend I received the following question, which I’ll attempt to answer below…


Dear Mr. Robertson,

I was wondering your opinion on the subject of animal rights vs. the rights of indigenous people. What do you think about hunting by Native American tribes, or the hunting of seals by the Inuit? Also, of course, the various other tribes around the world that have their culture based off of hunting. What do you think about their participation in hunting, trapping, etc?


Hmmm, one of those questions…one of those I-wouldn’t-touch-that-with-a-ten-foot-pole kind of questions. Do I risk being called a hypocrite, or “culturally elite?” I could spend all day tip-toeing around this—tap-dancing on egg shells—but here’s an answer just off the top of my head:

My objection to hunting, trapping and seal clubbing is colorblind as well as culture-blind. I oppose cruelty to animals, no matter who is doing the shooting, trapping or clubbing. A victim doesn’t suffer any less because of the ethnicity or cultural beliefs of their executioner. An animal’s right to a life, free from harm, trumps anyone’s right to exploit or kill them (unless someone is literally starving to death and has no other options, which is not the case for most who hunt, trap, club seals, harpoon whales or trade in bushmeat).

Why oppose the Japanese or the Faeroese for slaughtering dolphins or pilot whales and not the Makah for killing grey whales, or even the Inuit for hunting bowhead whales? We’re all part of the species, Homo sapiens, and our ancestors all used to live by hunting and trapping. For better or worse, we’re all moving forward technologically, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t all move forward in our treatment of non-human animals.

That’s my humble opinion, anyway. It might not be popular, but it’s ethically consistent.

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson


Florida shooting suspect had a history of…killing animals  

by  William Wan, Kevin Sullivan and Julie Tate, The Washington Post

Published 9:16 pm, Thursday, February 15, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. — The killing began with the squirrels. As a fourth-grader,
Nikolas Cruz would try to bloody them with his pellet gun. Then he started
going after chickens.

By the time Cruz was a teenager, he was sneaking into his neighbors’ yard
across the street and trying to get his dogs to kill their baby potbelly

One resident watched him take long sticks to rabbit holes, ramming them down
as hard as possible to kill any creatures trapped inside.
Instagram posts and photographs, including one showing a gun’s laser sight
pointed at a neighborhood street. Another appeared to show a dead frog’s
bloodied body.

But no one – not those who feared him nor those who sympathized – glimpsed
the full malevolence brewing inside Cruz’s heart until Valentine’s Day, when
police say he walked into a suburban south Florida high school and carried
out one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.

z-Guns-12615785.php> Florida shooting suspect had a history of explosive
anger, depression, killing animals


Winter Olympics shines spotlight on dog meat trade in South Korea


2.5 million dogs are bred each year in South Korea for human consumption.
Combating the dog meat trade in Korea
2.5 million dogs are bred each year in South Korea for human consumption.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – As the Winter Olympics approach this week, figure skater Meagan Duhamel still shudders to think the dog she rescued from South Korea might have ended up on someone’s dinner plate.

Duhamel, a Canadian, is a contender with Eric Radford in the pairs competition and heads to Pyeongchang in search of gold, as well as another dog that she can save from slaughter.

Nami Kim, a prominent campaigner based outside Seoul,

Nami Kim, a prominent campaigner based outside Seoul, has sent more than 1,200 rescued dogs to the United States through her Save Korean Dogs program.

Eating dog meat is common and legal in Korea, as well as many parts of Asia, and is mainly eaten by older people. Dotted around the country are thousands of restaurants serving “gaegogi” dishes that, according to folklore, have strengthening and medicinal properties.

“It is just sad because when the world is watching the Olympics little is known or spoken about the (Korean dog meat trade),” Duhamel told USA TODAY Sports. ”There are hundreds of dog meat farms tucked away and nobody is talking about this. The buzz will be about the Olympics.”

More: Go behind the scenes at the 2018 Winter Olympics Athletes Village

More: Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic dreams driven by need for speed

According to The Associated Press, restaurants “nearly in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium” are still selling dog meat meals. According to the Humane Society International, around 2.5 million Korean dogs are killed for their meat each year.

The Korean government, realizing the issue is sensitive for foreigners, has offered money to restaurants if they stop serving dog meat during the Games and has requested that signs advertising the meals be covered up or removed.

“This is an Olympics story,” Marc Ching, a Bay Area activist who founded the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, said. “I am half Korean. Koreans are very proud of hosting the Olympics. Why this has to be tied to the Olympics is that the government itself is actually paying to hide this from the world. Maybe if … they just said ‘this is part of our culture,’ it would be different.”

In this photo from December, dog meat menus that explained

In this photo from December, dog meat menus that explained the dishes in English, Chinese and Japanese, are seen at Young Hoon Restaurant in Pyeongchang.

Animal rights activists claim that dogs, as well as cats, in the meat trade are subjected to horrific conditions and insist nothing is being done to end the practice. That is despite Korean President Moon Jae-in being a dog lover who recently adopted a pet saved from a dog meat farm. Campaigners are determined to use the Olympics to raise awareness and hope that support from athletes and international pressure may spark a change in legislation.

However, it is a difficult subject and, perhaps understandably, some athletes prefer not to speak out about something that is both culturally sensitive and controversial.

More: Vomiting illness spreads at Winter Olympics

More: Go behind the scenes at the Athletes Village

“Every country and every culture has different traditions and we are always respectful of those,” American ice dance skater Alex Shibutani said. “I can’t speak too much because I’m just not familiar with their culture.”

According to Ching, the issue is less about the consumption of dog meat, and more about the stomach-turning practices that are used to slaughter the animals.

“In Korea they usually put a noose around the dog’s neck and take them out back, hang them and beat them,” Ching said. “Another method is they just smash their head open. Sometimes they do electrocution. They shock them and burn them or de-fur them. With electrocution many times they are still alive. It is terrible.”

In many parts of Asia, dogs are often tortured and beaten before they are killed as it is believed that the adrenaline makes the meat more tender. Korean farmers defend their right to keep dogs packed in cages and to treat them as any other animal being raised for human consumption.

“How can we sell (them) when we’re training and communicating with them individually?” Kim Sang-young, president of the Korean Dog Farmers Association told the Hankyoreh news site. “They’re just livestock. We raise them with affection so they don’t suffer, but the purpose is different.”

On Monday, USA TODAY Sports sent a message requesting comment to the official press office email account of the Pyeongchang organizing committee and to Nancy Park, spokesperson and director of international media relations for the 2018 Olympic organizing committee.

USA TODAY Sports received a reply from the news desk of the organizing committee, with its “official statement on dog meat consumption.”

The statement read: “We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea. This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the Games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any Games venue.”

Ben, a rescue from South Korea, was fostered by the

Ben, a rescue from South Korea, was fostered by the Peck family in Irvine, Calif.

Pets stolen for meat

Nami Kim, a prominent campaigner based outside Seoul, has sent more than 1,200 rescued dogs to the United States through her Save Korean Dogs program. Several have been fostered by a family in Irvine, Calif., Lana Chung Peck, her husband Kevin and their two young children.

Chung Peck said that the mental scars of mistreatment run deep. When the dogs first arrive they are often unaccustomed to positive human interaction. That was the case with their current foster, a Jindo named Julie.

“She would be frightened of anything in front of her,” Chung Peck said. “Any human, any dog, any sudden movement.”

“At first the dogs who come are almost feral,” Kevin Peck added. “They don’t want to walk, don’t want to be touched. But within weeks they are almost like a puppy.”

Four years ago, dog protection became a major issue during the Winter Olympics, with the plight of the strays of Sochi touching the hearts of visitors. Gus Kenworthy, a slopestyle silver medalist in freestyle skiing, rescued several animals. So did members of the United States hockey team. Kenworthy did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The Korean dog farming industry tries to draw a distinction between dogs as pets and dogs as food, but Ching says some dogs that end up in restaurants are stolen from family homes. Ching has rescued dogs from slaughterhouses and found microchips embedded in them.

He also highlighted the enduring popularity of “gaesoju,” a potion manufactured by boiling a dog whole, in a pot mixed with herbs. Ching says that because the dog’s intestines are not removed, fecal matter remains inside them. He and Nami Kim also say that dogs are kept in such poor conditions that many of them are dying and terribly sick.

“It takes a truly disgusting mind to treat dogs in this way,” renowned dog trainer and author Tamar Geller, who trained Oprah Winfrey’s pets, said. “Receiving such cruelty is not just a torture of a dog’s body but also its mental state. Some of these animals know nothing but fear from the start to the end of their lives.”

Olympics highlight issue

Internationally, the issue of Korean dog meat has not been widely publicized. The Olympics, however, has a habit of bringing things to the fore.

“It’s an industry that – even in Korea – the vast majority of the population is against,” actress and animal rights campaigner Pamela Anderson said via email. “Removing the signs is great but I’d like to see them remove the restaurants altogether. If you’re visiting Korea for the Olympics, they do have some great vegan restaurants.”

Duhamel, meanwhile, is focused on trying to achieve her Olympic ambition but hopes that her stance will encourage more people to adopt. Olympic visitors may also be able to volunteer to transport dogs back to North America, such as Duhamel is doing with Toronto-based Free Korean Dogs.

At first she thought her current dog’s name Mootae, had some symbolic significance as he had been rescued by a Buddhist monk. In actual fact, Mootae just means “not big.”

The issue, for those who care about it, is anything but small. Duhamel is deeply conscious of Korea’s cultural differences, even though “it is so removed from our reality.”

But eventually the matter bothered her so much that she decided to take action. And whether she wins gold or not, she will be taking something precious back home.

View|9 Photos
Olympic flame begins journey from Greece to South Korea for 2018 Games


Originally Published 5:15 a.m. PST Feb. 7, 2018

Updated 7:08 a.m. PST Feb. 7, 2018

Animal People and Sexual Misconduct

As revolting as the revelations about some HSUS officials are, those who
recently resigned or were let go did at least bring farmed animals as
individuals with feelings and intelligence into mainstream focus for the
time in HSUS history. This is not to excuse anything, but to say that a
in HSUS leadership and workplace conduct may not mean that the organization
now show more progressive leadership on behalf of farmed animals and
veganism. I
worry it will revert to its more traditional programs and attitudes even if
offensive office behavior is eliminated.

As for sexual harassment of women and worse, while women rightly object to
treated as objects whose bodies may be physically assaulted and
disrespected by
men, this experience, magnified a trillion times over, is precisely what
chickens and pigs and cows and all farmed animals, “laboratory” animals,
animals, “entertainment” animals and others endure endlessly at the hands
of our

If we are outraged that certain male employees in our movement have
their female colleagues physically and professionally, we had better stand
and be counted for our nonhuman animal victims for whom interspecies sexual
assault and every form of intimate, repulsive violence perpetrated by human
beings against them and their bodies is their experience of being alive in
flesh. Veganism is not a superficial “food choice.” It is ethical activism
behalf of the most profoundly, helplessly victimized beings on the planet.

Animal agriculture is now, and always has been, rooted in violating the sex
organs, mating choices, and reproductive processes of helpless animals.
“breeding” animals – the very word breeding – is an obscenity. We cannot
to care about animals while obscenely consuming their muscles, their nursing
mother’s milk and their eggs, or suggesting to others that these
obscenities may
be practiced “humanely.”

As animal advocates, we must amplify the animals’ voices and be their
Voice: “ME

For a comprehensive look at interspecies sexual assault of farmed animals
business and pleasure, please see and share my article Interspecies Sexual
Assault: A Moral Perspective

Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.

View this article online

Animal Rights: Remedy to Trumpism

By David Cantor

The Trump presidency is proving as destructive, troubling, and demoralizing as anticipated by anyone respectful of the Constitution, of human beings and other animals, and of the living world.  Increasing animal abuse is the overarching trend: intensifying injustice and assaults on human beings, reversing constraints on our species’ destruction of the living world (the Biocaust), and reinvigorating the animal-abuse and disease-spreading industries driving climate breakdown, toxic pollution, and other sources of misery.

So the needed response is not just protesting and resisting Trump, voting for candidates who oppose Trumpism, and urging people to act “humanely” at the personal level.  Our opposition must advance the total paradigm shift needed to reduce animal abuse by undermining the full range of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice.  One easy thing to do: Read and share with your officials and potential candidates Responsible Policies for Animals’ two-page political background paper “Governing for Life: How Officials Can End Animal-Abuse Policy, Annihilation of Nature, and Resulting Human Misery by Upholding the Constitution and Its Stated Values.”

Animal abuse has never been reduced in more than 50,000 years.  The Animal-Abuse Revolution generated, thousands of years ago, tyrannical governance such as the American Revolution has only begun to eradicate.  That ongoing Enlightenment-, justice-, and equality-based Revolution is widely faltering due to infiltration and cooptation by consumer-capitalism, its global mind-management endeavor (public relations), and the ascendance of the weapons industry.  Ubiquitous access to powerful weapons enables dangerous human enemies to appear the most pressing problem.  But the Animal-Abuse Revolution is the root of weapons manufacturing as well as most human misery.

Regulation of capitalism irks the most aggressively dominant, the greediest, and the most conscience-challenged tycoons even while many of their peers accept or even praise it.  Deregulation, the centerpiece so-called 2017 “accomplishments” the Trump administration boasts of, sounds abstract and legalistic.  But it means removing the already-mild restraints on what nonfeeling, amoral, nonliving corporations and industries and their dependents can do to human beings and other animals.

The primary endeavor of the radical right is to permanently free capitalism from democracy – as Nancy MacLean puts it in Democracy in Chains.  So the people won’t be able to decide what corporations and industries can do to the living world, including “us” and Earth’s other beings.  As Joel Kovel shows in The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World, capitalism is primarily a war on the living world.  Trump brazenly bullies the human world toward tyranny to overcome human self-interest, our innate affinity for nonhuman animals and the living world (biophilia), and the values stated in the Constitution: liberty, justice equality, defense, tranquility, and the general welfare.

A problem with treating even the best Democratic candidates and their platforms as the solution to the Trumpian project is that the Democratic Party, too, is an engine of capitalism and the Biocaust.  It’s not just that Democratic candidates and officeholders, too, receive donations from big money; it’s that they accept the basic humanist-extremist premises that only human beings are innately entitled to a chance at a fulfilling life; our pursuit of fulfillment needn’t take other beings’ experience or ecological value into account; our species’ population explosion, its rampage over Earth, and its impacts on other animals and the living world are self-justified; and dividing “the pie” among humans is their only responsibility.  Democrats need coaching such as RPA’s above-mentioned background paper provides.

The first Earth Day, in 1970, taught us that our species must reduce its “footprint.”  Since then, both major parties have failed to lead humanity toward the needed change, succumbing with little resistance to capitalism’s war on the environmental movement and animal advocacy – as Sharon Beder shows in Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism.

Many Democrats rail against the gross inequality among humans that steadily grows, undermines democracy, increases human misery, and generates protest and rebellion.  But none publicly acknowledges that animal abuse in its full scope, dating back more than 50,000 years – all that humans do to each other, and to and with other animals and their natural homes – is the root of the pre-Constitutional tyranny Trump labors to restore and the misery from war, disease, poverty, and demagoguery which the Constitution enables us to overcome if we exercise vigilance and perpetually and fully exercise our rights as policymaking citizens.

Creating needed lasting change entails thinking independently, not following politicians’ framing of the agenda, their public-relations campaigns, or the news industry’s reflexive rehashing of them.  We must assess policy through experience and books, educating our representatives and candidates.  Most politicians, though well-meaning, are not particularly well educated or informed beyond conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is generated by an industry-government-university-media complex in service to humanist extremism that omits other animals’ interests and thus the living world we all depend on, which unfortunately rapidly collapsing.

With three plant or animal species going extinct per hour, human health and wellbeing steadily worsening, violence and transportation and infrastructure disasters frighteningly constant and ubiquitous, sea levels rising, hurricanes and wildfires intensifying, ocean life nearly gone, and human industry abusing all animals on Earth, including humans – obviously a new paradigm is needed.  Tweaking the old one won’t work.  In his 2017 manual On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder urges us to avoid screen-based media versions of reality, informing ourselves through books in order to assess the validity of what special interests and opinion-mongers foist on us electronically.

As long as only human beings are deemed persons – beings worthy of respect, equal treatment, and a chance at fulfillment – they will continue to suffer needlessly along with all of Earth’s other animals.  Because the abuse humans rationalize inflicting on nonhuman animals by denying their personhood and their worthiness of consideration generates nearly all human misery.  That counterintuitive reality is explained in many items at this website.  But how do we get the public and its officials to act based on reality?  I’ve spent my three decades as a full-time animal advocate – when I wasn’t investigating and protesting atrocities and being arrested for civil disobedience – learning the origins, causes, and nature of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice and implementing campaigns to strike at their roots.  Results and recommendations for action pervade this website.

Passionate, dedicated, and skillful pursuit of solutions to superficial problems without addressing roots of the problems describes most animal, environmental, public-health, and vegetarian advocacy of recent decades.  Good work that doesn’t address root causes explains why misery and threats to life itself continue increasing and intensifying: The roots continue generating the problems we wish to solve; they keep reappearing the way grass grows tall after mowing.  Responsible Policies for Animals’ website, literature, and lectures focus the roots of the big problems Trump intensifies but by no means causes.  RPA’s campaigns ask us to act with long-term persistence rather than briefly express ourselves and lament the lack of results.

In 2018, make the vision of equal rights of all animals the basis of your mainstream political activities.  I’m glad to assist you.  By educating authorities, we not only can undermine Trump’s effort to intensify the Biocaust; we can put our species on the new trajectory all living beings desperately need us to embrace.

Animal agriculture is choking the ​Earth and making us sick. We must act now

Cows at a farm in western Taiwan.
 ‘Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.’ Photograph: David Chang/EPA

Our collective minds are stuck on this idea that talking about food’s environmental impact risks taking something very intimate away from us. In fact it’s just the opposite. Reconsidering how we eat offers us hope, and empowers us with choice over what our future planet will look like. And we can ask our local leaders – from city mayors to school district boards to hospital management – to help, by widening our food options.

On Monday and Tuesday, the city of Chicago is hosting a summit for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy to discuss climate solutions cities can undertake. Strategies to address and lower food’s impact should be front and center.

Animal agriculture is choking the Earth, and the longer we turn a blind eye, the more we limit our ability to nourish ourselves, protect waterways and habitats, and pursue other uses of our precious natural resources. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. It also uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

On top of this, eating too much meat and dairy is making us sick, greatlyincreasing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, several major cancers (including breast, liver and prostate) and obesity. Diets optimal for human health vary, according to David Katz, of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, “but all of them are made up mostly of whole, wholesome plant foods”.

So what gives? Why can’t we see the forest for the bacon? The truth can be hard to swallow: that we simply need less meat and dairy and more plant-based options in our food system if we’re to reach our climate goals.

Still from Avatar.
 ‘The Avatar movie set had plant-based menus.’ Photograph: 20th Century Fox/Everett/Rex Features

This can start with individual action. Five years ago, our family felt hopeless about climate change, and helpless to make meaningful change. But when we connected the dots on animal agriculture’s impact on the environment, coupled with the truth about nutrition, we took heart because it gave us something we could actually do.

To create change at the scale needed, this will take more than individual choice – we need to get climate leaders on board about the impact of food. Cities and counties have used their buying power to transition fleets from diesel to electric, and we need to do the same with how we purchase food. We have done this in our own community, moving the lunch program of Muse School, in Calabasas, California, and the Avatar movie set to plant-based menus. Scaling up initiatives like these can make a big difference: if the US reduced meat consumption by 50%, it’s the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road. We think that’s damn hopeful.

Decision-makers on all levels can make it easier for us to eat better, by expanding access to food options that are good for our health, affordable, and climate-friendly. Nationwide, cities and school districts have adopted food purchasing policies that include environment, health and fair labor standards. The city of Chicago is a recent adopter of this Good Food Purchasing Program, and so the solutions-focus of the summit is the perfect place to discuss how food can move us toward climate goals. In the same breath that we discuss fossil fuels, we should be talking animal ag, or we’re missing a big part of the problem – and a big part of the solution.

Yes, food is inherently personal. It’s the cornerstone of holidays, it fuels high school athletes and long workdays, and it nourishes nursing mothers and growing children. And yes, Americans love meat and cheese. But more than that, we love our majestic national parks, family beach vacations and clean air and water for our children and grandchildren.

As individuals, we can make choices on how to better nourish our families, and as citizens, we can encourage local leaders to make choices that will allow us to enjoy our land and natural resources now and in the future.

 James Cameron is a film-maker and deep-sea explorer. Suzy Amis Cameron is a founder of Muse School and Plant Power Task Force.



Maneka Gandhi warns against neglecting animals’ plight

Lucknow, Oct 28 (IANS) Union Child and Women Development Minister Maneka
Gandhi, who is a strong votary of animal rights, on Saturday said that the
time had come for the people to understand that they are ignoring the
plight of the animals at their own peril.

Here to attend an event on animals, their rights and the need to do
something for them, organized by Connect Lucknow, Gandhi said that there
were innumerable experiences, most for them sad, to explicitly warn the
people that even a speck in the animal world, if ignored or slighted, will
return to haunt and hurt mankind in a big way.

“Many a times if a stray dog bites someone, people would shout on ‘why
haven’t I died’ as if I have given birth to these dogs,” she said while
championing the cause of stray dogs, and urging people to be more sensitive
towards them, feed them and even give them shelter after sterilization.

Stressing how the animal kingdom and the human race are interlinked,
Gandhi, citing the example of cockroaches, rats, snakes and stray dogs,
said they were crucial to the eco system as they got rid of dirt, small
insects and mice.

“There is no city that can survive for a day if these dogs are killed…see
what happened in Surat (Gujarat) many years back. The municipal
commissioner got the stray dogs killed and thereafter there was outbreak of
plague,” she said.

Asking people to give up non-vegetarian food, plant more trees, be
compassionate to animals, provide funds to NGOs for animal shelters, she
also urged people to think of the bigger picture on how neglect of animal
rights could lead to a huge imbalance in life of everyone.

Should the Guggenheim have pulled controversial animal artworks?

“Last week New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announcedit would
be pulling three works from its next big exhibition, “Art and China
after 1989: Theater of the World.” It did so after angry criticism
from animal rights protesters that the works were — according to an
online petition that has attracted over 700,000 signatories —
“distinct instances of unmistakable cruelty against animals in the
name of art.””

“These works have outraged animal rights advocates: the campaign group
PETA fumed that “people who find entertainment in watching animals try
to fight each other are sick individuals whose twisted whims the
Guggenheim should refuse to cater to.
“Only a little more tolerantly, the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) declared that “the ASPCA
fully supports artistic expression, but strongly oppose any use of
animals in art or entertainment if it results in pain or distress to
the animals, which is clearly the case in this video,” referring to
“Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other” (2003).”


Inhofe Ends Pigeon Shoot, Animal Rights Group Celebrates

Inhofe Ends Pigeon Shoot, Animal Rights Group Celebrates

Posted: Aug 23, 2017 3:47 AM PDT Updated: Aug 23, 2017 5:00 AM PDT

Senator Jim Inhofe announced the end of his annual wild pigeon, a cause for celebration for an animal rights group. The outdoor fundraiser had been the target of a multi-year campaign by Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, which alleged the event was cruel.

In a series of emails obtained by the group, a staffer from Sen. Inhofe’s office wrote in January to Oklahoma Department of Wildlife game wardens, “I am happy to let you know that this year, and going forward, we are going to halt the ‘old world pigeon shoot.”

Another email read, “I know this event has caused some tension in the past, so I hope this move will allow us to rebuild those relationships.”

The shoot had come under criticism for allegedly using tagged pigeons that were hand thrown in the air, instead of hunting wild ones.

In a statement, Inhofe campaign spokesman Luke Holland said:

The Inhofe campaign has long held a very successful dove hunt event each year. In a few recent years, the event has included a pigeon shoot. This year we will not have that component of the event and will return to our traditional format; we expect it to be a record year and hope everyone who attends has a wonderful time.

Cockfights off as bird flu hits Pampanga

 / 05:19 AM August 23, 2017

GUAGUA, Pampanga — Rolando Regala went to a cockpit arena in Barangay San Roque here on Tuesday and learned there was going to be no “soltada” (derby) for the day. Holding a neighbor’s stag (7 to 8 month old game fowl) which was put in his care, Regala checked out the empty “gradas” (cockpit).

“‘Kristo’ (bet takers) like me won’t get to earn today, like last Saturday,” said the 40-year-old father of three. He earns around P1,000 during derbies on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from commissions handed out by winning players.

Regala’s source of income was affected when owners or operators of 16 cockpit arenas in Pampanga province complied with a local ordinance that banned all cockfights, bird exhibits and other sporting activities for two weeks as a precaution against the avian flu outbreak in San Luis

The ordinance cited the need to “prevent or lessen the possible adverse effect on the local economy, ensure public health, safety and general welfare of the people of Pampanga.”

“I understand why the cockfights have to be suspended. It’s good to be on the side of prevention,” Regala said.

To stave off hunger, Regala sent his wife and children to his in-laws. For the meantime, he planned to work as a parking attendant.

Around 200 bet takers in western Pampanga are in the same predicament.

Albert Celso, 44, borrowed money from relatives. “I hope the ban [on cockfights] won’t be extended to a month. We will die of hunger,” he said.

Victor Gopez has not earned the P400 he gets from each winning player as a “manari,” or one who installs blades on fighting cocks.

“I heard the bird flu outbreak in San Luis has been handled properly. It did not spread to game fowls so I think cockfights should resume,” Gopez said.

Gambling or hobby money not circulating in the local economy can amount to millions of pesos. The Bacolor cockpit arena alone draws as many as 1,000 players. If each player has P10,000 to bet, a cockpit loses P10 million for a day of derbies.

Also on the losing end are feed millers, food vendors, canteen operators, utility workers, “llamador” (bet listers), “kasador” (handlers of large bets) and matchmakers. Also affected were workers in “bularit” or illegal cockpits in villages.

For example, Amelita Ganzon, 67, was unable to earn P200 from selling cigarettes and coffee at the cockpit arena in San Roque.

Bacolor Mayor Jomar Hizon, also president of the Kapampangan Game Fowl Breeders (KGBA), said a general assembly on Aug. 20 showed that no stocks from his group’s 300 members had been infected by the avian flu. KGBA employs more than 900 people.

“But we realize this can ruin the entire cockfighting industry. We have to put in place standards in biosecurity,” said Hizon, who has been breeding fighting cocks since he was 17.

If each farm breeds 1,000 cocks sold at a minimum of P6,000 each, the 300 KGBA members could face losses of up to P180 million on birds alone, or even P500 million when expenses in breeding stocks, fees and operational costs are added, Hizon said.

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