American Public Roars After It Gets a Glimpse of International Trophy Hunting of Lions

http://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2015/07/cecil-lion-killed-by-trophy-hunter.html?credit=web_hpfs1-cecil-072915_id93480558

Cecil the lion is dead because Walter Palmer the dentist is a morally deadened human being.Featured Image -- 9991

The man traveled clear across the world – from the suburbs of Minneapolis into the pay-to-slay world of Zimbabwe, where dictator Robert Mugabe sells off hunting rights and other natural resources to the highest bidders – for the chance to kill the king of beasts. In this case, the victim was a lion who has been widely photographed and somewhat habituated to a non-threatening human presence in Hwange National Park. The hunt was a “guaranteed kill” arrangement, where Palmer paid about $50,000 to hire professional guides to help him complete the task. The local guides knew exactly what they were doing. In the dark of night, they lure a famed, black-maned lion from an otherwise protected area, with a dead carcass as bait. Palmer then stuck Cecil with an arrow.

Even though he’s used that weapon to kill countless other rare animals all over the globe – from leopards to black bears to Argali sheep – Palmer didn’t deliver a killing shot. He wounded the animal, and because he did it at night, I bet he didn’t have the courage to track the animal at that time. So he waited, while the lion tried to live minute to minute and hour to hour after receiving the stab wound from the arrow. At some point, Walter and the professional guides resumed the chase. It took them nearly two days to find him, and then they apparently shot him with a firearm. The killers then removed a radio collar nestled around his neck – because Cecil was also the object of a study by Oxford researchers. Some reports say they tried to disable the signal from the collar, unsuccessfully. The team took the customary pictures of the westerner guy standing atop a beautiful, muscled animal, and then they decapitated and skinned him, as keepsakes for Palmer’s global crossing in order to conduct a pointless killing.

The lion is one of Safari Club International’s Africa Big Five, along with elephants, rhinos, leopards, and Cape buffalo, and the idea of killing each of them motivates thousands of wealthy people to do it. It’s one of more than 30 hunting achievement and “inner circle” awards you can get if you become a member of Safari Club – including Cats of the World, Bears of the World, and Antlered Game of North America. If you win all of the awards, and there are plenty people who do, you have to shoot more than 320 different species and subspecies of large animals. In the process, you spend millions of dollars, in addition to spilling an awful lot of blood and spreading a lot of death.

Partly because of the dramatic decline in lion populations, and also to stop heartless and selfish people like Palmer from meting out so much pain and suffering, The HSUS and HSI filed a petition four years ago to protect lions under the terms of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Last October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to its credit, proposed a rule to list the lions as threatened.

The United States is the world’s largest importer of African lion parts as hunting trophies and for commercial purposes. Between 1999 and 2013, the United States imported about 5,763 wild-source lions just for hunting trophy purposes; and the last five years of this period averages to 378 wild-source lions per year. Worse, this number has increased in recent years. That’s a lot of Walter Palmers doing ugly things.

The Oxford University study Cecil was part of was looking into the impact of sports hunting on lions living in the safari area surrounding the national park. The research found that 34 of 62 tagged lions died during the study period. Of these, 24 were shot by sport hunters.

When we think of Bengal or Siberian tigers, we think of big cats nearing extinction. We should think the same way about lions, since their populations have been plummeting. They are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

For most of us, when we learn they are in crisis, we want to help — to protect them from harm, because we empathize with their plight.

But for one subculture in the U.S., when wildlife are rare, that means they want to rush in and kill them precisely because they can do something that few others can.  It’s like the rush of trophy hunters to Canada to shoot polar bears when the United States announced it planned to list them. “Let me shoot a polar bear before they are all gone!” They want to distinguish themselves from others who live in the world of competitive hunting.

Sadly, Cecil’s story is not unique – American hunters kill hundreds of African lions each year and are contributing to the steady decline of the species.  Today we sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which recently took steps to protect chimpanzees and African elephants, urging the agency to make final its regulation to upgrade the legal status of lions, to restrict people from trekking to Africa and bringing back their parts for no good reason. Not for food.  For vanity. For ego gratification. And because they are morally deadened.

Ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to protect African lions from extinction »

Editor’s note: This version has updated numbers on wild-source lions trophy-hunted each year.

Also from Wayne: Miss Cecil the lion? End trophy hunting

“I am Cecil”

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Every day we can make a choice to save animals who want to live just as much as Cecil did. https://www.facebook.com/veganoutreach

“…most the friends ive seen talking about cecil are meat eaters and it feels crazy that one animal being killed is outrageous because its “majestic”, “pretty” and “exotic” and yet another animals being killed in the thousands daily is totally fine” Emma Smithies

You’ll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans… Movie presentation of Speciesism: The Movie

0092572d2cbe2c03a26b53f318ec2232You’ll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans.

Speciesism: The Movie

Promoted by Jana Schmidt & Amoris Walker

Tuesday, August 11 7:00PM – 8:39PM

at Central Cinema
1411 21st Ave, Seattle, WA, US, 98122 (map)
$10.00 General

Speciesism: The Movie is a new species of documentary. It takes viewers on a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening adventure across North America, exposing the biggest secrets about modern factory farms, and asking the biggest questions about the belief that our species is more important than the rest. You’ll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans.

Go Tell it to Lady Gaga

Dear Grist,

Please remove me from your mailing list. Somehow I got sucked into subscribing to your newsletter, under the wrongful assumption that you folks actually cared about the Earth and its non-human inhabitants. Maybe some of you did at one time, but you’re being shouted-down and bullied by the unabashed flesh-eaters in the crowd.

I used to enjoy your articles on overpopulation and climate change, but lately you’ve been wasting my time (and yours) with campaigns urging the consumption of animals (as though meat-eating were a lost art in America; an important tradition in need  of a champion).

You may have started your backslide slowly with your eat-all-things-dead agenda, but lately you’ve been pushing meat like it’s going out of style. The last straw was when you started spelling-out the word “Meat” with the body-parts of your dead victims like something that serial killers Ed Gein or Jeffry Dahmer might have done.

But, whoever came up with this idea obviously modeled it after Lady-Gaga’s infamous and equally bad tasting “meat-dress.”

Lady Gaga meat dress part deux

Some Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was New to Activism

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FROM  All-Creatures.org

by Veda Stram
July 2015

Some things I wish someone had told me when I was new to activism. And some things I have learned the hard way and some things other activists have told me have helped their activism. And some questions I have found it useful to reconsider from time to time. Imagine a bowl of cherries. This is not about the cherries/animal activism in the bowl, but rather it’s about the bowl where all the cherries/animal activism live.

Please consider the below …and reconsider from time to time……

NEVER FORGET

It is a truly, amazing wonderful commitment to be an animal rights activist. It is truly something to be proud of. It can give you a life worth living.

Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” As committed animal rights activists we keep hoping that it’s not just a “small group,” but ya know what….it always has been and always will be a “small group.” THANK YOU for being a  part of that small group.

Animal rights IS the most important social justice movement because humanity’s relationship with other-than-human animals is at the heart of and impacts the quality of our food, air, land, water, medicine, holidays, surgeries, religion, affection, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, family relationships, fashion, festivals, companion animals, despair, ethics, morality, personal commitments, the importance of the impacts of our personal choices…and more.

People want to make a difference and are horrified when they realize that means they’ll have to BE different. Be prepared to be different, to become stronger, smarter and more effective…ongoingly. Animal rights and animal liberation demand that you be different than most people you will meet. How can you handle almost always being the “different” one in the crowd? Are you strong enough to be that? If not, figure out what it takes to build those strengths. The animals need committed activists, not fair-weather friends.

Be aware of the fact that the depth and breadth of animal abuse is beyond your personal comprehension. After over 26 years of activism, three or four times a week I learn of  three or four NEW horrors toward animals. You need to deal with the reality that you have NOT seen the worst. Brace yourself.

However much of your time and energy you devote directly to working for animal rights, this IS a life-time commitment. Long-term work may or may not result in long-term payoffs. You’re most likely in it for the long haul not as in a few weeks, but as in years and years and decades and decades. Be aware of and appreciate ANY good news for animals.

BALANCE / PERSONAL

Burnout, compassion fatigue, often result when activists have not managed themselves and managed their heartache, their despair, their personal circumstances. Make it a vital part of your activism to find out for yourself what YOU need to do to relax…to disconnect…to refresh yourself…to decompress.

Then DO IT. Schedule it. Do NOT sell out on yourself. You cannot make differences for animals or with people if you are depressed, sick, distracted, disconnected. Be intent on studying what activists have provided about ways to avoid burnout: read books, attend seminars, participate in online sessions, read blogs, search websites. LEARN from all social justice activists.

Reclaiming and reinvigorating your sense of humor is lifesaving. Satire is wonderfully powerful!

Manage your life! Deal with your finances so you can make the greatest difference for animals; don’t be another victim in your life because you aren’t taking care of yourself. It’s great to have the resources to donate to activism you respect and to be able to participate in conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. Providing sanctuary for yourself enables you to provide sanctuary for others….for human animals and other-than-human animals. The more solid your personal circumstances are, the more you will be able to deal from a position of strength.

How often do you NOT say or do something that you KNOW will make a difference for animals because you’re more concerned with being scared or concerned about looking like a fool or more concerned about being “precise” or “chic” or “cool” or “efficient”? When you DO sell out (which you will), forgive yourself and move on! You WILL mistake mistakes. All social justice activists have made terrible errors, and you will follow in their footsteps. Learn from their mistakes and YOURS mistakes and become a better activist.

There are people who can work undercover and document horrific abuses. If you’re not able or willing to do that, FIND what you can do, and do it. And do it well. Use the talents, skills, abilities, training, physical attributes you have and expand and strengthen them. Never diminish what YOU can provide by comparing it to what you think you should be doing or what somebody else is doing.

Let yourself be moved and touched by how much animals mean to you. Never diminish this deep-seated, profound appreciation. Let yourself be touched and moved by the differences you make with humans for animals and thank those people for letting you contribute to them.

Manage your relationships. Do you want to have personal relationships that strengthen OR diminish your commitments to animals? Tough decisions you may need to make in the next week or five or twenty years.

Absolutely take care of yourself in terms of what videos/images you see or horror stories you read. There may be times when you CAN see these and get fired up and get into action, and there may be times when you just cannot see these without becoming angry or debilitated and cannot get into action. Learn to do what works for you, what does not debilitate you and learn what keeps you in action. Do not martyr yourself…it helps no one.

Get on lots of lists so you get to know more about what millions of activists have done and are doing around the world so you can be educated and inspired and be of more use to animals.

Find a few activist friends/family to speak with confidentially (person-to-person or at least on the phone, not just online messaging) to keep empowering your commitments to animals, to keep yourself clear and moving forward, someone you can vent to and who can vent to you to release tension and maybe sometimes someone to laugh with which can be lifesaving, someone who can hear your pain and someone with whom you can share new ideas.

Ask for feedback about how you’re doing from activists you trust. Consider any advice you’re given and be willing to accept criticism. Be willing to CHANGE to make more differences for animals. And, you may not be the first one to notice that you’re about to burn out or if you’re in over your head.

DEALING WITH HUMANS

Never forget that MOST PEOPLE have no understanding of the depth and breadth of animal abuse. They have NO IDEA what we’re upset about. And if they do know, and do not want to change their thinking or their behavior, muster some compassion for them by remembering how you once were.

Always remember that you will be dealing with human beings and we are judgmental, and opinionated, and open-minded, and closed-minded and absolutely marvelous and complete assholes and everything in
between. And always remember that activists are human beings who are judgmental, and opinionated, and open-minded, and closed-minded and absolutely marvelous and complete assholes and everything in between.

Understand that YOUR “ah-ha” moment may resonate with some people AND your “ah-ha” moment may be absolutely meaningless to other people. The most important conversation you can have about making a difference for animals is always that person right in front of you at every moment.

Questions to consider and reconsider from time to time: Do you eat with people who eat animals? Do you allow people to bring animal food into your home? Maybe it’s time to stop attending family gatherings where animals are served.? Maybe you go to those events and bring vegan food? Maybe you get stronger about tolerating negative comments about veganism? THINK for yourself. And always be willing to change whatever choices/decisions you make about what you do in these kinds of situations. What criteria do you think are “the true” measures of being vegan? It’s important that you define that for yourself, and ongoingly relook and maybe change your criteria. Is someone really vegan who feeds dead animals to their companion animals? Invent your own definitions and criteria and stick to them and again, be willing to change them.

As you become more committed to animal rights/veganism, you may run into problems with friends, family and colleagues. A wise man once told me “Your friends are the people you agree with.” If your friends are not in agreement any longer about “food,” and if they’re unkind or unaccepting of your commitments, maybe it’s time for new friends. And, you’ll find that making a vegan statement in places where vegans are rare often has positive outcomes.

You may like some activists while disagreeing with their tactics, methodologies, ideologies; and you dislike some activists while agreeing with their tactics, methodologies, ideologies.

And just because you respect an individual’s or group’s tactics, strategies, methodologies, writings doesn’t mean you need to follow that individual or group blindly in everything they say, write or do…think for yourself.

Be prudent, be cautious, be authentic in your personal relationships; be careful about sexual liaisons that might cause you problems in the future.

Be responsible about what you say about other people’s activism; and be careful who you speak to about other people’s activism. If you don’t know what “loose lips sink ships” means, look it up.

Think carefully about demeaning or bashing other people’s activism; sometimes you may be justified and sometimes not. Just THINK about whether or not it’s a good use of your time in the moment. Understand that all actions and tactics are open to scrutiny and criticism regardless of who initiates or supports them. What looks like a great idea on the surface may be detrimental to animal liberation, while other things that appear to be harmful may indeed be just what is needed given current circumstances. As you gain more knowledge, your ability to analyze a campaign or an action will develop…Grant yourself time to LEARN and CHANGE.

PERSPECTIVE/JUDGMENT

If we “knew” that there were right things to do to cause animal liberation, we would all be doing those things wouldn’t we? There are as many options, choices and behaviors as there are people working to help animals. Consider all of them, try what you will and stay true to your convictions and respect other people’s evolution.

Be open to new thoughts, new tactics, new methodologies. Press yourself to think outside any box you ever believed in – you’ll need to THINK like you’ve never thought before; you’ll find new ways of viewing life and living daily.

Be willing to be wrong; you may be committed to a particular person or group or ideology or line of thinking or methodology for a month or two or 20 years and one day realize they are not as effective as you once believed. You can always take on new ideas and strategies. Trust yourself.

What do you use or refuse to use from an animal-advocacy organization or individual activist because they have quoted, endorsed, done, written, legislated something you disagree with? Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Other questions to deal with: What criteria do you think are “the true” measures of being vegan? It’s important that you define that for yourself, and ongoingly relook and maybe change your criteria. Is someone really vegan who feeds dead animals to their companion animals? Is someone really vegan if they are pro-choice? Is someone really vegan if they are anti-choice? Should vegans have children who may grow up to be non-vegans? Which politicians should vegans support? (etc., etc…)

Learn, study, delve into, question EVERYone and EVERYthing about all animal-related issues so you can be a solid, valid resource to help people make a difference for animals. You have to know more than the “other side.” If you are NOT certain about something regarding animal abuse issues, say “I don’t know” rather than make something up.

Be willing to be bigger than you ever believed you could be… think seriously about the people you admire and how you can be like them. If an activist you truly admire tells you that this course, or this technique, or this seminar or this entertainment made them better activists, believe them. Education will make you more effective and more knowledgeable. Don’t EVER think you will ever “know it all” because there are far too many animal abuse issues to be an expert in many of them. Gain a broad and thorough knowledge of ALL issues, not just those you’re most drawn to in the moment.

You cannot measure making a difference. There are no measures that can accurately reflect the impact you have on people in the moment. There is no way to know if what you said, did, wrote or handed out altered someone’s view or behavior toward animals. Your communication with them may be the next to the next to the next thing that turns their life around. Never forget which humans and which facts and realities you ignored and what justifications you used… until you didn’t.

DO NOT believe that because someone is “a vegan” or “an animal rights activist” that they’re automatically going to be in agreement with you on all social justice issues. How many people in your life have you agreed with about “everything”? Pick your battles.

Some activists think dealing with politics, politicians and legislators is one of the most important things to do to make a difference for animals. And some activists think dealing with politics, politicians and legislators is a huge waste of time. And other activists have varying opinions pro or con those two points of view. This is another example of the importance of learning about and respecting other activist points of view, methodologies and then choosing for yourself what actions to take.

There are several issues in the animal rights movement that cause divisiveness, contention, personal conflicts, and occasionally (like sports fans displaying unwavering loyalty to their home team) …open hostility. It is extremely smart and vital for YOU to be open and learn all YOU can about those issues from all sources. And be open to changing your points of view over time as you learn new things. Thinking these arguments through rigorously and then committing to and sharing openly what you’ve resolved about these issues will give you clarity and power dealing with humans and will really sustain your activism.

TO HAVE MORE VEGAN PRODUCTS WHERE YOU LIVE

Make a note of ALL the numbers under the bar code on your favorite vegan product. You don’t need to know the brand or product name, just that number makes it easy for ordering. Give that number to the ordering manager. Offering to buy a case of a product might increase your chances of getting it. Go into the store regularly and ask if they ordered it yet. Then go in and ask again. Be persistent! It’s about the animals. Once vegan products are in stores, people buy them!

Attack of the Ten Ton Babies

According to the timely July 14 article in the Washington Post by Erica Gies, “Having kids is terrible for the environment, so I’m not having any: The population explosion and climate change are linked. I want to do my part,” “An American woman driving a more fuel-efficient car, improving the energy efficiency of her house, recycling, and making similar lifestyle changes would save 486 tons of CO2 emissions during her lifetime, while choosing to have one less child would save 9,441 tons.” [Or 18.8 million lbs., whichever sounds worse.]safe_image

If you’re thinking of adding another baby to this morbidly over-crowded planet, please do the world a favor: don’t. Or at least think first of the other species your little monster love-child would crowd off the Earth.

Sure, you plan to raise it right; but there’s still an even chance the little bundle of joy will turn out to be the next Hitler, George W. or Ted Nugent rather than another Jesus, Einstein or Gandhi. The world needs more bison and prairie dogs, more moose, elk and wolves, more salmon, smelt and sea lions, more swans, snow geese and pelicans—more biodiversity—not another climate-warming, Earth-gobbling human baby.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Paul Watson Asks us to Redefine Intelligence

http://upliftconnect.com/humans-arent-intelligent-creatures-planet/

Cetologists observe, document, and decipher evidence that points to a profound intelligence dwelling in the oceans. It is an intelligence that predates our own evolution as intelligent primates by millions of years. – Paul Watson

I had a profound experience while kayaking in Hawaii this past winter with friends. We were visited by a whale and there is no doubt that this majestic being was coherent, aware of us, and enjoying our company as much as we were enjoying his. We put our snorkeling masks on and jumped in and could easily see the whale gently make eye contact with each of us. With one thrust of his tail he could have left in an instant but he stayed with us for over an hour.  A mammal with a brain bigger than ours and complex migration songs that change every year, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of thoughts could be going through his mind. The recent piece by  Dawn Agnos on UPLIFT about a conversation with a horse shows that emotional intelligence and empathy are a language that many animals understand. It was only recently that terms like emotional intelligence emerged and it is interesting to consider that there are many different kinds of intelligence.  Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd makes a good argument in a recent Facebook post that perhaps humans concept of intelligence is anthropocentric and lacking in breadth.

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Watson starts early in his essay with the bold assertion that, “Biological science is provoking us to shatter our image of human superiority.” Though indigenous wisdom has always considered humans a part of the circle of life rather than above it, that sentiment has almost been completely destroyed by generations of colonial indoctrination. The very roots of colonial indoctrination not only conclude that humans are superior to all other life forms, it also considers some humans as superior to others. Social Darwinism, a myth, was an effort to use science to validate the behavior of employing superior weaponry to oppress other humans. Though we owe much respect to western science we must also understand the cultural and religious backdrop from which this discipline emerged. We must also be willing to explore the assumptions within science if we are to evolve it.

Rupert Sheldrake attempted to do this during a TED Talk entitled, The Science Delusion and his presentations was banned. This is not to say that Sheldrake is right and all of science is wrong, that is too simplistic. It is merely an opportunity to open a dialogue about assumptions within science that the scientific community may or may not be willing to consider. I mention it in the context of considering the humble notion that humans may not posses the highest form of intelligence on the planet. If for no other reason than amusement, just open your mind and consider…

Mammals like us, who have been on the planet a whole lot longer than us, who also have larger brains than us, is interesting to reflect on. We humans pride ourselves on technology, on creating tools, gadgets and machines. Of course it is easy to consider that intelligence is based on technology. Then there is the idea of emotional intelligence which acknowledges a form of intelligence which is internal, can not be easily measured empirically but plays a major role in the success of an individual. Intuition, compassion, empathy are usually considered feelings, but these are skills, non-physical tools that we can use to ascend the social ladder. Meditation could also be considered a non-physical tool that changes our biology, reduces stress and opens the mind. We may be at the very beginning of understanding that tools do not need to be physical or easily measurable by traditional science in order to be valuable.

We willingly accept the idea of intelligence in a life-form only if the intelligence displayed is on the same evolutionary wavelength as our own. Technology automatically indicates intelligence. An absence of technology translates into an absence of intelligence.

Dolphins and whales do not display intelligence in a fashion recognizable to this conditioned perception of what intelligence is, and thus for the most part, we are blind to a broader definition of what intelligence can be.

Evolution molds our projection of intelligence. Humans evolved as tool-makers, obsessed with danger and group aggression. This makes it very difficult for us to comprehend intelligent non-manipulative beings whose evolutionary history featured ample food supplies and an absence of fear from external dangers.  – Paul Watson

Again it is important to recognize how this attitude has not only been applied to animals, but also to indigenous people historically. How we define intelligence is restricted to our definition of intelligence. Are we willing to broaden our definition of intelligence?

Intelligence can also be measured by the ability to live within the bounds of the laws of ecology — to live in harmony with one’s own ecology and to recognize the limitations placed on each species by the needs of an ecosystem. Is the species that dwells peacefully within its habitat with respect for the rights of other species the one that is inferior? Or is it the species that wages a holy war against its habitat, destroying all species that irritate it? What can be said of a species that reproduces beyond the ability of its habitat to support it? What do we make of a species that destroys the diversity that sustains the ecosystem that nourishes it? How is a species to be judged that fouls its water and poisons its own food? On the other hand, how is a species that has lived harmoniously within the boundaries of its ecology to be judged?  – Paul Watson

Watson gets very in-depth and cites the research which compares cranial capacity, and brain complexity between humans and sea mammals. At the very least this information is humbling. Paul Watson has given us a lot to think about, but probably the greatest gift in his essay can be summarized by this quote:

It’s not enough to understand the natural world, the point is to defend and preserve it. – Edward Abbey

Watson is not merely a philosopher, he puts his words and beliefs into action. For 35 years, Captain Paul Watson has been at the helm of the world’s most active marine non-profit organization – the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I highly recommend reading the entire essay which is available here.

To even consider that we are not superior to other species is delightfully humbling. It can restore a child-like sense of awe for life which also inspires a desire to preserve our environment. Our tools are wonderful, our science is also wonderful, but it should be used to celebrate and elevate all of life.  We must consider that the unconscious, disrespectful use of our tools and science can create unimaginable destruction for ourselves and other species. A healthy future includes humans who are aware of this and who live within the bounds of their ecosystem. We have the ability to create worlds or destroy ourselves. How do you want to live your life?

WORDS BY JACOB DEVANEY