(CNN)A Southern California teen had a rude awakening when an outdoor nap turned into a bear attack.
May 7, 2020
by ptirawildlife <https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/author/ptirawildlife/>,
posted in Uncategorized
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has detected the
state’s first cases of a potentially crippling hoof disease in two
Roosevelt elk from a resident herd in Del Norte County.
Treponeme-associated hoof disease (TAHD) – commonly referred to as “elk
hoof disease” – can cause deformed, overgrown and otherwise damaged hooves.
The lesions and resulting deformities are painful and lead to limping,
lameness and even death as observed in other states. When the disease is
severe, elk may become too weak to graze, fight off other infections or
TAHD was first identified in elk from Washington state in the 1990s, but
much remains unknown about the disease. Currently, there is no known cure
TAHD has been documented in elk in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Recent
detections in Oregon’s Douglas County
<https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2020/04_April/040820.asp> were previously
the closest to California. TAHD gets its name from a bacterium, *Treponema* sp.,
that is associated with this disease, but other pathogens also may play a
role. Scientists at Washington State University who are experienced with
TAHD confirmed the disease in the two Roosevelt elk from Del Norte County.
It is unknown what impact TAHD may have on elk populations in California or
other states. California is home to three subspecies of elk – Rocky
Mountain elk, Roosevelt elk and tule elk – that together inhabit
approximately 25 percent of the state. In other states, both Rocky Mountain
and Roosevelt elk have contracted TAHD. To date, there are no known cases
of TAHD among tule elk.
While the disease appears to be highly infectious among elk, there is no
evidence that it affects humans. Still, hunters who harvest an elk
exhibiting signs of deformed or damaged hooves should exercise caution and
practice safe hygiene when processing, cooking and consuming the meat.
Hunters also are encouraged to submit hoof samples to CDFW from suspect elk.
CDFW will be working with natural resource agencies in other western states
and academic partners to increase surveillance for TAHD in California, plan
management actions and facilitate research.
The general public can assist CDFW’s efforts by reporting any elk that
appears to be limping, lame or have abnormal hooves via CDFW’s Wildlife
Investigations Lab disease and mortality reporting website:
Additional information on elk hoof disease is available at the following
– Washington State University’s webpage on TAHD:
– Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s webpage on TAHD:
– Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fact sheet on TAHD:
Dr. Brandon Munk <Brandon.Munk@wildlife.ca.gov>, CDFW Wildlife
Investigations Lab, (916) 358-1194
Peter Tira <Peter.Tira@wildlife.ca.gov>, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858
THE FACTORY farming industry has had enough of Direct Action Everywhere, the controversial animal liberation activist group.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the powerful agribusiness trade group, along with its local affiliates, has pushed for aggressive policing and prosecutions of Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE. Now, records obtained by The Intercept show that the California Farm Bureau worked behind closed doors to limit legal exemptions that DxE has long claimed provide protections for its work.
DxE, which is based in Berkeley, California, has waged a provocative campaign of civil disobedience in recent years, staging actions that the group calls “open rescues,” in which volunteers brazenly walk into meat plants and seize animals, many of which are facing slaughter, often ferrying them to medical tents erected outside the facility or to local veterinarians.
The actions, which have included rescues at meat and egg plants over the last two years in Sonoma County, have seized headlines and drawn national attention to the organization’s cause — while mobilizing opposition within the factory farming industry. DxE has claimed that its actions are protected under an obscure section of state law, California Penal Code §597e, which authorizes individuals to enter pounds to provide nourishment for neglected animals.
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In DxE’s view, the statute allows legal entry into an area in which animals are confined if the animals have been deprived of food and water for over 12 hours. The group consulted with Hadar Aviram, a professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, to develop a modern legal interpretation of §597e, which was originally passed in the 1870s and has rarely been cited in court. In DxE’s view, any commercial animal agriculture site constitutes a pound, given that the term simply refers to a facility for confined animals, a standard that is reflected in eight states with similar statutes.
That argument has enraged the animal agriculture interests throughout California, which have leaned on authorities to take a more aggressive response to DxE.
“In my view, what they are doing is bordering on terrorism involving the use of illegal practices to push their points of view,” said Tawny Tesconi, executive director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, an affiliate of the California Farm Bureau Federation, in an interview with KSRO radio host Pat Kerrigan. Following an action in which hundreds of DxE activists entered an egg farm in Petaluma to free chickens and care for them in medical tents set up around the facility by the group, Tesconi called for farmers to “work more closely with law enforcement and the DA’s office to provide the tools they need to fully prosecute actions like this.” (The police, notably, euthanized many of the chickens, which were found by veterinarians to be starving and unable to walk from being bred in sheds with thousands of birds.)
Behind closed doors, the California legislature moved last summer to redefine §597e, adding language to the code that explicitly exempts factory farms. The legal shift received virtually no attention or substantive legislative debate. The legislation that made the change was sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, whose bill, AB 1553, was presented as a “technical, nonsubstantive” change that required a lower threshold of scrutiny. The bill sailed through committee and was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last June.
DxE strongly disputes that the bill was merely a technical change and was shocked to discover the discreet push to amend the code. “Over one hundred activists have relied on §597e to protect them from politically-motivated prosecutions,” said DxE co-founder Wayne Hsiung, who is also a former visiting law professor at Northwestern School of Law. “We’ve obtained dismissal or diversion of charges in dozens of cases where people were trying to give aid to starving animals.”
The California Farm Bureau denies promoting the bill, despite disclosures showing that the group lobbied on the Fong bill. “The California Farm Bureau did not actively advocate on the legislation, either for or against,” wrote Dave Kranz, a spokesperson for the California Farm Bureau. “We did take part in technical discussions about the bill and potential impacts to California agriculture, as was correctly disclosed.”
Fong’s office and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The California Farm Bureau’s claim that the group acted merely as a neutral observer, and did not seek to limit the scope of §597e, appears unlikely given the group’s advocacy over the last year.
Robert Spiegel, a lobbyist with the California Farm Bureau in Sacramento, spoke at the Flamingo Resort & Conference Center in Santa Rosa last May to explain to farmers in Sonoma County how his organization had worked to respond to the threat posed by animal rights activists.
During his remarks, Spiegel referenced the interpretation produced by Aviram on behalf of DxE and informed the group that California Farm Bureau’s “senior legal counsel as well as other individuals in our operations” produced a counter-memo to dispute Aviram’s arguments. DxE shared a recording of Spiegel’s remarks and, using a records request, obtained a copy of Spiegel’s memo, which had been sent to the Sonoma County district attorney’s office as well as to other prosecutors in California.
The memo attempts to dispute DxE’s rationale for its use of §597e by claiming that even if animal farms are “pounds,” the group may not claim there is an “imminent threat” if they rely on past video evidence of abuse or deprivation.
Far from taking a neutral stance, the memo strongly suggests the California Farm Bureau’s lobbying team took an active role in shaping the interpretation of §597e.
Around the country, animal agriculture interests have worked carefully to criminalize similar forms of activism around factory farms, including hidden camera investigations. The Intercept previously obtained emails showing a bill signed into law in Idaho that provided criminal penalties for filming animal abuse at factory farms had been quietly authored by a dairy lobbyist — one of many so-called ag-gag laws enacted around the country. A federal judge later overturned most of the statute. Farm Bureau groups have worked to enact similar laws in Missouri, Iowa, Utah, and other states.
The California Farm Bureau wields significant influence in state politics. The group spends upward of $600,000 a year peddling influence in Sacramento with a team of eight in-house lobbyists, according to disclosures.
In 2018, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, responding to a wave of open rescues, brought in a national farm industry group known as the Animal Agriculture Alliance to host seminars for farmers on how to push back against future DxE activism. The group has promoted ag-gag laws and in more recent years sought to pressure law enforcement to view animal rights activists as terror threats. The alliance relies on financial support from the American Farm Bureau, the California Farm Bureau’s national affiliate, as well as the National Pork Industry Foundation.
“The Farm Bureau wants to change §597e because it knows that factory farms routinely allow animals to starve to death,” added Hsiung. “It’s the result of a system that has operated in secrecy, and ruthless pursuit of profit, for decades.”
The ban devastated fishermen, but on January 1, regulators will reopen an area roughly three times the size of Rhode Island off Oregon and California to groundfish bottom trawling — all with the approval of environmental groups that were once the industry’s biggest foes.
The rapid turnaround is made even more unique by the collaboration between the fishermen and environmentalists who spent years refining a long-term fishing plan that will continue to resuscitate the groundfish industry while permanently protecting thousands of square miles of reefs and coral beds that benefit the overfished species.
Now, the fishermen who see their livelihood returning must solve another piece of the puzzle: drumming up consumer demand for fish that haven’t been in grocery stores or on menus for a generation.
“It’s really a conservation home run,” said Shems Jud, regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund’s ocean program. “The recovery is decades ahead of schedule. It’s the biggest environmental story that no one knows about.”
The process also netted a win for conservationists concerned about the future of extreme deepwater habitats where bottom trawlers currently don’t go. A tract of ocean the size of New Mexico with waters up to 2.1 miles deep will be off-limits to bottom-trawling to protect deep-sea corals and sponges just now being discovered.
“Not all fishermen are rapers of the environment. When you hear the word ‘trawler,’ very often that’s associated with destruction of the sea and pillaging,” said Kevin Dunn, whose trawler Iron Lady was featured in a Whole Foods television commercial about sustainable fishing.
A unique history
Groundfish is a catch-all term that refers to dozens of species that live or on, or near, the bottom of the Pacific off the West Coast. Trawling vessels drag weighted nets to scoop up as many fish as possible, but that can also damage critical rocky underwater habitat.
The groundfish fishery hasn’t always struggled. Starting in 1976, the federal government subsidized the construction of domestic fishing vessels to lock down U.S. interests in West Coast waters, and by the 1980s, that investment paid off. Bottom trawling was booming, with 500 vessels in California, Oregon and Washington hauling in 200 million pounds of non-whiting groundfish a year. Unlike Dungeness crab and salmon, groundfish could be harvested year-round, providing an economic backbone for ports.
But in the late 1990s, scientists began to sound the alarm about dwindling fish stocks.
Just nine of the more than 90 groundfish species were in trouble, but because of the way bottom trawlers fished – indiscriminately hauling up millions of pounds of whatever their nets encountered – regulators began focus on bottom trawling. Multiple species of rockfish, slow-growing creatures with spiny fins and colorful names like canary, darksplotched and yellow eye, were the hardest hit.
“We really wiped out the industry for a number of years,” Pettinger said. “To get those things up and going again is not easy.”
In 2011, trawlers were assigned quotas for how many of each species they could catch. If they went over, they had to buy quota from other fishermen in a system reminiscent of a carbon cap-and-trade model. Mandatory independent observers, paid by the trawlers, accompanied the vessels and hand-counted their haul.
Fishermen quickly learned to avoid areas heavy in off-limits species and began innovating to net fewer banned fish.
Collaboration pays off
Surveys soon showed groundfish rebounding – in some cases, 50 years faster than predicted – and accidental trawling of overfished species fell by 80%. The Marine Stewardship Council certified 13 species in the fishery as sustainable in 2014, and five more followed last year.
As the quota system’s success became apparent, environmentalists and trawlers began to talk. Regulators would soon revisit the trawling rules, and the two sides wanted a voice.
They met more than 30 times, slowly building trust as they crafted a proposal. Trawlers brought maps developed over generations, alerted environmentalists to reefs they didn’t know about, and even shared proprietary tow paths.
Last year, regulators approved a plan to reopen the 17-year-old Rockfish Conservation Area off Oregon and California, while banning future trawling in extreme-depth waters and making off-limits some habitat dubbed essential to fish reproduction, including a large area off Southern California.
“A fair number of fishermen thought it was a good deal and if it was going to happen, it was better for them to participate than not,” said Tom Libby, a fish processor who was instrumental in crafting the agreement. “It’s right up there with the best and most rewarding things in my career — and I’ve been at it 50 years.”
Some groups, like Oceana, wanted even more protections from bottom trawling, which it calls the “most damaging fishing method to seafloor habitats off the West Coast.” In a news release, the group emphasized that the agreement it did get safeguards 90 percent of the seafloor in U.S. waters off the West Coast.
Now, efforts to revive demand
Even so, with fragile species rebounding, trawlers could harvest as much as 120 million pounds a year, but there’s only demand for about half that much. That’s because groundfish have been replaced in stores by farmed, foreign species like tilapia.
A trade association called Positively Groundfish is trying to change that by touring food festivals and culinary trade shows, evangelizing to chefs and seafood buyers about the industry’s rebound and newfound sustainability. They give out samples, too.
“We are treating this almost like a new product for which you have to build awareness — but we do have a great story,” said Jana Hennig, the association’s executive director. “People are so surprised to hear that not everything is lost, that not everything is doom and gloom, but that it’s possible that you can manage a fishery so well that it actually bounces back to abundance.
Violators face misdemeanor charges that carry fines of up to $1,000.
The annual closure of the Children’s Pool for harbor seal pupping season started on Sunday.
The beach area will remain closed through May 15, 2020.
The Children’s Pool was opened in 1932 after Ellen Browning Scripps paid for a seawall to built so that inexperienced swimmers can enjoy the beach. Seals started to use the relatively calm water of the beach to rear their pups in the 1990s.
The city started closing the beach in 2014 after environmentalists complained that people were disturbing the marine mammals. The California Coastal Commission issued a permit allowing the beach to close to protect the seals.
A group advocating for beach access called Friends of the Children’s Pool sued the city arguing that the closure violated the California Coastal Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.
A lower court sided with the group but the issued was resolved in the city’s favor last year when an appeals court reversed the decision, allowing the city to close the beach for 5 1/2 months each year.
The state of California is currently on fire in several locations. As a result, residents are having to deal with blackouts and evacuations. The wildfires are a result of high winds – and they’ve already ravaged hundreds of acres of land, destroyed dozens of structures, and injured at least two firefighters. Of course, the human residents aren’t the state’s only affected victims. As reported by ABC 10, displaced cats and dogs rescued from the blaze are desperately in need of safety and homes.
Over the weekend, the Kincade Fire blazed through Sonoma County located in northern California. As a result, the local animal shelters had to evacuate. The Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) stepped in and took in the 20 dogs and 22 cats who were in need of shelter. Now, the SPCA is asking people to adopt pets.
“These animals were all in [the Humane Society of Sonoma County’s] care or already available for adoption prior to the fires, so there is no risk these animals were originally displaced by the fires,” the Sacramento SPCA posted to a Facebook post.
The pets looking for homes range in age, from little kittens to a 19-year-old cattle dog mix named Ace. The SPCA will be updating more information on their website about each animal, they’re just waiting for all of them to receive their medical check-ups. For now, you can visit the nonprofit’s adoption page and see what information is there.
Adopting vulnerable pets rescued from natural disasters is always one way of helping a community deal with the aftermath. However, the animals in California aren’t the only ones needing loving forever homes.
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will be the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products and the third to bar most animals from circus performances under a pair of bills signed Saturday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The fur law bars residents from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023.
Animal rights groups cheered the measure as a stand against inhumane practices. The proposal was vigorously opposed by the billion-dollar U.S. fur industry, and the Fur Information Council of America has already threatened to sue.
It follows Newsom’s signing of legislation that makes California the first state to outlaw fur trapping and follows bans on sales of fur in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare, and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” Newsom said in a statement. “But we are doing more than that. We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames.”
The fur ban doesn’t apply to used products or those used for religious or tribal purposes. And it excludes the sale of leather, dog and cat fur, cowhides, deer, sheep and goat skin and anything preserved through taxidermy.
It could mark a significant blow to the fur industry that makes products from animals including mink, chinchillas, rabbits and other animals. The U.S. retail fur industry brought in $1.5 billion in sales in 2014, the most recent data available from the Fur Information Council.
Fashion designers including Versace, Gucci and Giorgio Armani have stopped or say they plan to stop using fur.
Under the California law, there is a fine of up to $1,000 for multiple violations.
Animal rights groups have said animals may be subject to gassing, electrocution and other inhumane actions to obtain their fur.
Advocacy group Direct Action Everywhere said it’s working with activists to pass similar bills in cities nationwide, including Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, and it’s optimistic California’s law will spur action.
“Ordinary people want to see animals protected, not abused,” said Cassie King, an organizer with the Berkeley-based group.
Opponents of the legislation have said it could create a black market and be a slippery slope to bans on other products.
The ban is part of a “radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step to other bans on what we wear and eat,” spokesman Keith Kaplan of the fur information council said in a prior statement. He further said fake fur is not a renewable or sustainable option.
California joins New Jersey and Hawaii in banning most animals from circus performances.
The law exempts domesticated dogs, cats and horses and does not apply to rodeos.
State officials say at least two circuses that include live animals were scheduled to perform in California this year. At least 18 circuses don’t use animals, including Cirque du Soleil.
At first, critics warned the proposal was too broad and would impact county fairs, wildlife rescues or rehabilitation organizations. In response, lawmakers narrowed the definition of circus to include “a performance before a live audience in which entertainment consisting of a variety of acts such as acrobats, aerialists, clowns, jugglers, or stunts is the primary attraction or principal business.”
The law includes penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation.
Democratic Sen. Ben Hueso authored the measure, arguing wild animals in circuses endure cruel training and near-constant confinement.
The Southwest California Legislative Council opposed the law, saying it will prevent people from being able “to experience the thrill of a circus performance featuring beautiful, well-cared-for animals.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals lauded both new laws.
“Today is a historic day for animals in California, including those who have been whipped into performing in circuses, or skinned alive for their fur or skin,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement.
The head of the Human Society of the United States also praised the law about fur products.
“The signing of AB 44 underscores the point that today’s consumers simply don’t want wild animals to suffer extreme pain and fear for the sake of fashion,” said Kitty Block, the group’s CEO and president. “More cities and states are expected to follow California’s lead, and the few brands and retailers that still sell fur will no doubt take a closer look at innovative alternatives that don’t involve animal cruelty.”
Also Saturday, Newsom signed legislation aimed at helping protect horses from slaughter. The law requires public and private auction yard operators to post new signage, maintain sworn statements and post identifying information online starting Jan. 1.
It is key to ensuring California’s horse population isn’t illegally sent to slaughter, said the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria
(CNN)A mountain lion known for crossing the Los Angeles 405 freeway was struck and killed by a vehicle early Saturday morning, according to National Park Service (NPS) Ranger Ana Beatriz.
More than 40 wild burros have been found shot and killed along the Interstate 15 near the Nevada state line, Federal officials said on Friday, and they’ve offered a reward of up to $18,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
It is one of the largest killings of its kind on public land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Southern California, officials said.
A total of 42 wild burro carcasses with gunshot wounds have been found in various states of decomposition near the freeway corridor through the Clark Mountain Herd Area managed by the Needles field office of the BLM.
“We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths,” said William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s Deputy Director for policy and programs, “and we welcome the public’s help to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.”
Details about the ongoing investigation were scarce. However, BLM officials said the burros, including several juveniles, were shot in the neck with a rifle.
Some were brought down while drinking water in the Halloran Springs area.
Animal protection organizations said they were outraged by the slaughter and have contributed thousands of dollars to the reward.
“It’s a travesty that these animals would be gunned down,” said Grace Kuhn, spokeswoman for the nonprofit American Wild Horse Campaign. “There’ve been isolated incidents before over the years, but nothing on this scale in memory.”
“It’s all so unbelievable,” she added. “Crazy. Hostile. Cruel.”
Burros are not native to the West’s deserts, but they became some its most valued resources: sure-footed in rugged terrain, capable of carrying heavy loads long distances, and withstanding extremes in temperatures of cold and heat.
In the 1920s and 30s, they were turned loose and replaced by Model-A Fords and other vehicles. Since then, they have multiplied without restraint with few predators to check their numbers.
With populations that doubled every four to five years, they’ve managed to survive by feeding on the sage and wild growth of the Mojave Desert.
By the 1950s, wanton slaughter of wild burros in California’s desert and mountains had reached such proportions that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pressed for legislation to protect the creatures from trigger-happy hunters.
One killing ground was Homewood Canyon, near Trona, about 240 miles northeast of Los Angeles, where the SPCA officials in 1953 reported a shocking scene: Over an area of 50 acres, they found 50 burro carcasses. Only a few had bullet holes in the head, indicating that most had been left wounded where they fell.
Today, the animals are protected from capture, branding, harassment or death under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which considers them an integral part of the natural system of public lands managed by the BLM.
Violations of the act are subject to a fine of up to $2,000, or imprisonment for up to one year, or both, for each count charged.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the WeTip hotline at (800) 782-7463 or visit http://wetip.com.
NEEDLES, Calif. (KTVU) – A reward of more than $50,000 is being offered, after dozens of protected wild burros have been found shot and killed in California’s Mojave Desert.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said since May, 42 wild burro carcasses have been found along a 60 mile stretch of Interstate 15 from Halloran Springs, California to Primm, Nevada.
BLM officials said the donkeys had been shot in the neck. Some were killed near watering holes, where they were drinking.
“In many instances, the person or persons appear to be shooting at the burros from a distance,” said BLM spokeswoman Sarah Webster. “The weapon is believed to be a rifle.”
The burros being targeted are from the Clark Mountain Herd Area of the Mojave Desert, which before the shootings, had a population of about 120 burros, according to Webster, who added that these animals were and are in good health.
The BLM is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deaths.
Others have come forward to contribute to the reward fund.
On Monday, the Humane Society said an anonymous donor from its burro protection initiative, the Platero Project, donated $32,500.
The American Wild Horse Campaign, Return to Freedom, and The Cloud Foundation have also joined in the efforts to stop the killings, offering $2,500, $5,000 and $1,000 respectively.
“We’re very glad the BLM is taking this sick crime seriously,” said The Cloud Foundation’s director, Ginger Kathrens. “The burros belong to the American people and are beloved symbols of our nation’s history and pioneer spirit. They deserve to be protected.”
Killing a protected burro is punishable by a $2,000 fine and a year in jail.
The animals are federally protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The law designates wild, free-roaming horses and burros as integral parts of the natural system of public lands and aims to protect the animals from capture, branding, harassment and death, according to the BLM.
“America’s public lands belong to all of us,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom, adding, “These cruel and hostile acts against federally protected animals strike at the heart of everyone working so hard for their protection and for humane, non-lethal solutions to management concerns.”
Anyone with information about the killings is urged to call the federal WeTip hotline at 800-782-7463 (800-78CRIME), or visit the crime reporting website here.