Japan: Queen guitarist condemns dolphin hunting

http://www.thenational.scot/world/japan-queen-guitarist-condemns-dolphin-hunting.22762

BRIAN May has condemned Japan’s dolphin hunting, saying the slaughter of animals should end in the same way society has turned against slavery or witch-burning.

The Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner said: “Every species, and every individual of every species, is worthy of respect.”

May, in Tokyo for Queen’s sell-out concerts at Budokan arena, added: “This is not about countries. It’s about a section of humanity that doesn’t yet understand that animals have feelings too.”

Protesting against the dolphin hunt in the small Japanese town of Taiji, documented in Oscar-winning film The Cove, has become a cause for celebrities including Sting and Daryl Hannah.

Taylor McKeown, a silver medalist swimmer in the Rio Olympics, who has long been fascinated with dolphins, is now in Taiji to monitor the hunts.

Ric O’Barry, the dolphin trainer for the Flipper TV series and who stars in The Cove, started the protests against the Taiji dolphin kill, which depicts a pod of dolphins being herded into an inlet and getting bludgeoned to death, turning the water red with blood.

The hunters in Taiji and their supporters defend the custom as tradition, although eating dolphin is extremely rare in Japan. The Tokyo government also defends whaling as research.

May, who founded the Save Me Trust in 2009 to lobby governments on wildlife policy, said he opposes cruelty against all animals, including foxhunting and bullfighting. Both are also defended as tradition, but that is just an excuse, he said.

“I know Japanese people, so many. They’re decent, they’re kind, they’re compassionate, but they don’t know this is going on,” he said of the dolphin killing. “These are mammals, highly intelligent, sensitive creatures, bringing up their children like we do, and they are being slaughtered and tortured.”

Ignorance was bliss; time to go vegan

‘Lobsters have a long childhood, an awkward adolescence and feel pain.’
‘Lobsters have a long childhood, an awkward adolescence and feel pain.’ Photograph: Getty Images/Image Source

Iwas in the local fish shop buying my dinner when another customer in front held up two live lobsters that he had just bought. He needed some advice about what to do with them. “I’m going to boil one today,” said he, “but how long can I keep the other before I boil it? Will it last two days?”

There were the poor lobsters, held aloft, waving their arms about in a frenzy. Did they know what awaited them? Horrible. I suddenly remembered those Buddhist monks who saved hundreds of lobsters in July – bought them, carefully untied their claws and set them free again. They probably knew that lobsters “have a long childhood and awkward adolescence” and feel pain. So that cheered me up a bit – not all humans are greedy, heartless bastards. But it means no more lobsters for me, and perhaps I should cut out fish, too, and be a proper vegetarian. Or even a vegan, because once you start on this road, there’s no way back.

And it’s difficult, because I was brought up eating meat. Lovely tasty stews, roast dinners, bacon for breakfast, and shellfish. My mother cooked it all, in defiance of Jewish dietary laws and her own ferociously kosher mother. But those were more innocent and ignorant times, when we didn’t know about how dairy cows suffer, or eat such gigantic chunks of everything; when there was no Twitter, Facebook and endless campaigns against eating, boiling and torturing dogs, pigs and more or less anything that moved, and we just thought animals wandered freely around fields or spacious pens and didn’t miss their children, or mind being slaughtered, or feel anything much. And we didn’t yet know that the planet was almost totally buggered.

“This is a middle-class activity,” says Fielding harshly. “And remember, you live in Islington. People will mock.” Who cares? I’m not claiming to be saintly. I have lapses; I eat Olivia’s heavenly roast chicken, pretending to myself that I’m just being polite. Daughter’s making more effort than me, often turning to tofu. Perhaps the next generation will do better than us, and save the world. If they still have time.

Blumenauer Introduces Legislation to Reduce Unsafe, Inhumane Trapping

U.S. press release: For once the NRB listened to the citizens. There is a first time for everything.

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) introduced the Limiting Inhumane Federal Trapping (LIFT) for Public Safety Act, legislation to reign in unsafe and inhumane trapping on public lands and by public officials.

 

Countless pets and wild animals are injured and killed each year in body-gripping traps such as leg and foothold, Conibear, and snare traps. Despite the existence of viable non-lethal alternatives, body-gripping traps are used by federal agencies, state and local governments, private entities, and individual trappers to catch creatures for their fur, keep animals away from livestock and crops, and even for recreational purposes. Unfortunately, these traps often subject captured animals to excruciating pain for hours or even days, before they eventually die from dehydration, injuries, or predation, or when the trapper eventually finds them. Additionally, these traps are indiscriminate in their victims, and while intended for certain species or “problem animals,” they may capture – and even kill – companion animals if hidden along popular trails or waterways. Humans also risk being inadvertently caught in poorly placed traps, or attack from distressed captured animals they try to free.

 

“We’ve seen too many concerning examples of wild animals suffering and pets falling victim to body-gripping traps. It’s disgusting such inhumane traps are so widely used,” said Representative Blumenauer. “With many effective non-lethal methods that can be used in place of these cruel traps, the federal government should not and cannot continue to endorse their use.”

 

Wildlife Services, a federal agency notorious for its secrecy and use of inhumane animal management techniques, is responsible for the death or capture of thousands of animals per year in cruel body-gripping traps, often used as a first resort. Wildlife Services also advises and enters into contracts and cooperative agreements with state and local governments, as well as with private entities, to kill animals using these traps. Other federal agencies, too, allow or use body-gripping traps to control animal species – too often without attempting or requiring more humane and non-lethal control options first.

The LIFT for Public Safety Act acknowledges the inhumane nature of body-gripping traps and takes a two-pronged approach to severely restricting use of these traps to protect public safety and reduce animal suffering:

 

  • First, the bill prohibits officials and contractors of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior – including Wildlife Services and agencies like the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish & Wildlife Service – from using or recommending the use of these inhumane traps.
  • Second, it prohibits use of these traps on land managed by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior, such as National Forests, Bureau of Land Management land, and National Wildlife Refuges.

 

The legislation contains limited exceptions for certain lands, the protection of endangered species, and the control of invasive species, while promoting transparency and requiring use and documentation of non-lethal methods first.

Stop the Slaughter of the Profanity Peak Wolves!

Tell Governor Inslee — Stop the Slaughter of the Profanity Peak Wolves!

20,381 SUPPORTERS
25,000 GOAL
In early August, two members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack were brutally gunned down by helicopter sharpshooters in northeast Washington. The fallen included the pack’s matriarch, whose death could destroy this wolf family.

The wolves were killed by the state on behalf of livestock operators who run their cattle on public land in wolf territory. The killings occurred after the pack was confirmed to have preyed on three calves and a cow and three other stock losses were deemed probable wolf kills.

There is strong science showing that killing a breeding animal like the Profanity Pack’s matriarch may lead to a splintering of the pack and cause increased conflicts with livestock.

The Profanity Pack wolves were killed to satisfy the demands of a politically connected minority of cattle interests that want to operate America’s public lands like a publicly subsidized feedlot.

Authorities have finally suspended their hunt but say they will reinitiate efforts to kill wolves if more livestock conflicts occur. Take action — tell Washington Governor Jay Inslee to prevent the slaughter of any more members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack by ordering non-lethal measures if further conflicts arise.

Kill Bill 205, not cormorants

Draconian bill will send Ontario’s cormorants back
to the brink of extinction

On May 18, 2016, Ontario <http://tracking.etapestry.com/t/32187921/1197279304/71603365/0/54980/> MPP Robert Bailey introduced Private Member’s Bill 205, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Act (Double-crested Cormorants) 2016 that, if passed, would allow the uncontrolled hunting and trapping of Double-crested cormorants by anyone for any reason.

Bill 205 ignores science and instead is based on myths and misunderstanding. It’s an attempt to slip into existing legislation what many may incorrectly see as an innocuous amendment, but one that will set the stage for the wholesale slaughter of cormorants across the province and drive them back to near extinction.

Bill 205 passed quickly through second reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Legislative Assembly. The Bill must be stopped in its tracks and should not be called for consideration and debate by the Committee.

Remarkably, while the regressive Bill 205 sits active in the process, a US federal court just ended cormorant culling in 24 eastern US states saying that there was little scientific basis for it.

Briefing notes on this bill can be read by <http://tracking.etapestry.com/t/32187921/1197279304/71603368/0/54980/> clicking here.

For more than 10 years, Animal Alliance of Canada, Born Free Foundation, Zoocheck, Earthroots and other groups have been working to gain protections for cormorants. These unfortunate birds have been scapegoated for everything from water pollution to environmental destruction to the decimation of fish populations.

All of these claims are false.

Double-crested cormorants are native Ontario birds that have repopulated parts of their former range and they fulfill a valuable ecological role. Not only do they benefit biodiversity, they help generate healthy fish populations and should be considered a integral component of Ontario’s natural heritage.

But irrational hatred of cormorants runs deep and special interest, anti-cormorant groups would like nothing more than to see Bill 205 passed. They must not succeed. It may be cormorants on the proverbial chopping block now, but if it can happen to one, who might be next?

Take Action Today to Stop Bill 205!

Contact your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and tell them you strongly oppose Bill 205. Urge them to do everything in their power to make sure the Bill is stopped dead in its tracks.

Painting Courtesy Barry Kent McKay

Painting Courtesy Barry Kent McKay

Wasted Lives and Roadside Zoos

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=5669&more=1

08/11/16

by Barry Kent MacKay

Recently, I revisited Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park: a roadside zoo just outside the small town of Orono, Ontario. I had not checked it out in a couple of decades. It opened in 1983.

It’s neither the best nor the worst of its kind. When I sent photos I had taken to Rob Laidlaw of Zoocheck, he replied, “When I look at the images, it just strikes me how absurd and wasted the lives of the animals are living in those cages in Orono; a purposeless and hopeless existence.”

That perfectly expressed my own views. Scattered about the grounds are a series of cages and enclosures in which the usual assembly of animals commonly seen in zoos are imprisoned, without a jungle in sight. There is also a pet cemetery, a motel-like bed and breakfast accommodation, a tiny cafeteria, and a souvenir shop.

The zoo offers a “Safari Zoo Camp experience” each summer. It grandly promises to “protect and conserve the natural world by offering the public engaging wildlife education programs and experiences with animals to help foster the necessary awareness, knowledge, skills and confidence to live in an environmentally friendly way.”

Photo: Barry Kent MacKay

I climbed the “wolf tower” to peer down into an enclosure where some wolves remained, mostly hidden in the weeds. One was pacing in the classical stereotypic manner of confined zoo animals. By pre-focusing my camera at the spot where he was briefly visible, I got a few mediocre snapshots. This is definitely not how wolves act in the wild.

The sign for the European kestrel misidentified him as a female and contained a mishmash of information on that species and the markedly different American kestrel—while doing nothing to protect either species.

Until she read the sign on the cage, I overheard a lady say that the mountain lion, puma, and cougar were all the same species. I guess that’s education.

Photo: Barry Kent MacKay

My concern is that these places make people think that what they see in such facilities is somehow “normal” for the animals they imprison. The parrot on the t-bar, the lemurs jumping on a hanging spare tire and begging for grapes, that owl up in the corner of her cage, or the pacing tiger… This is what they’ll know of each species.

This is not what animals are like, so isolated from the realities they evolved to inhabit. And yet, in or near towns and cities across the continent, I fear that too many people see these facilities as normal components of our own society: the animals serving to amuse us, where we “ooh” over white lions, or gasp at how big a boa constrictor can grow, or laugh at the antics of a squirrel monkey.

Rob calls the last century and a half that the modern zoo has existed the “sanitization and acceptance” period, wherein wild animals in cages are increasingly seen to be perfectly normal… while the spaces they naturally inhabit continue to decline. Sadly, I think he’s right.

Keep wildlife in the wild,
Barry

Tigers Are Being Drugged and Punched for Photos … How is This Allowed?!

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/why-are-we-using-tigers-for-photo-props/

by Kate Good

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We all grew up knowing tigers as the quintessential “King of the Jungle.” These awe-inspiring big cats captivated us with their gorgeous stripped coat, gorgeous eyes, and terrifyingly beautiful teeth. Sadly, despite our fascination and admiration, we are rapidly losing these animals. It is estimated that the world’s tiger population has declined 95 percent in the past century alone. Like many other species, these animals are endangered by dwindling habitat and human development, but tigers also face a host of other horrific problems. The illegal wildlife trade is the key driver of tiger extinction.

Tigers have gone from being viewed as a majestic and vital wild species to nothing more than a lucrative commodity. We’ve watched the rise of “tiger cub” selfie attractions in the U.S. and across the world and the fact that there are currently more captive tigers in U.S. backyards, kept as pets, than there are in the wild, speaks to how we’ve diminished these creatures. But it seems that this exploitation of tigers is not even the worst form that exists.

This photo from Paul Hilton features a captive tiger at Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in China. At this facility, tiger are drugged and restrained so tourists can take photos “punching” the animals.

Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village is one example of a commercial tiger facility where animals are bred, put on display for tourists, and killed to make tiger bone wine – a product that is rumored to “increase sex drive.”

In China, there are as many as 200 operating tiger farms, some of which disguise themselves as “sanctuaries” for the tigers, but they’re really glorified safari parks where animals are forced to perform tricks. In many farms, when the animals are not being used for performances, they are “speed bred.” After a mother gives birth, her cub is immediately taken away – likely to be used as a selfie prop – so that she can breed again as soon as possible. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, tiger farms have a reproduction rate of 1,000.

Hilton explains in the photo caption that there are currently 2,000 tigers living at Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village and their tiger wine, which is primarily sold over the internet, is known as the “best in China.”

As the world’s wild tiger population goes extinct, these commercial facilities continue to churn out animals, born for the express purpose of making money. This is hardly the sort of existence owed to the tiger and we are frankly incredibly foolish to even think that this is permissible. Tigers play a vital role in our global ecosystem and as they are removed from the wild, their absence causes trophic cascades that eventually lead back to humans. We need to recognize that the tiger’s future is and always be intrinsically tied to our own. If we are content to let this species die out for the sake of aphrodisiac wine then we may as well go along with them.

But we do not have to accept this fate, instead, we can fight back and help this struggling species recover. There are countless individuals and organizations working to restore tiger habitat and shut down cruel facilities that exploit these big cats. You can help them by supporting the work of Panthera, WildAid, and WWF in partnership with the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation.

One of the best ways you can help save the tiger species is to NEVER visit a facility that holds captive tigers and puts them on display for profit. Many attractions pose as “sanctuaries,” but if you see opportunities to take photos with captive cats or they have breeding programs, chances are they are nothing more than money-making scams. Share this article and encourage to speak up for tigers as well!

We can collectively cause the extinction of the tiger or work together to save them. We don’t know about you – but we’re all for the latter.

Image source: Paul Hilton/Instagram

News from Project Coyote

The news was shocking – a coyote in Los Angeles, gunned down by a sniper on a residential street. As reported on July 1st in the Los Angeles Times, the gunman shot the coyote in the city’s Silver Lake neighborhood, in what the Times called an act of “coyotecide.”

As Los Angeles’s Animal Cruelty Task Force looks into the shooting, and the Department of Animal Services investigates, Project Coyote is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible.
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Our reward offer is helping to generate news coverage about this act of barbarity, while exposing the stark reality that coyotes are the target of so much hatred and violence and have no protections as afforded their domestic cousins.

Had the killer shot a domestic dog, it would be considered a felony under state anti-cruelty laws. 

Ironically, just last week Project Coyote’s Southern California Representative, Randi Feilich testified before the Los Angeles City Animal Welfare Committee in support of a proposed non-lethal coyote management plan being considered by the Committee. The plan emphasizes public education and coexistence. At the meeting, Feilich offered the support of our Coyote Friendly Communities program, which provides tools and expertise to peacefully live with coyotes and other wildlife.

Since the shooting, media coverage has increased public awarness of the cruelty suffered by coyotes and other wildlife, as well as the threat this poses to human safety.

Please help us prevent such senseless acts and help us change laws so that coyotes are no longer treated as vermin that can be killed in unlimited numbers. 

With your support we can continue to equip communities across the country with the information, support and tools they need to live peacefully with wild animals who also call this planet home.

donate now

Fur Sales On The Rise

Fur Sales On The Rise

July 5, 2016 by Leave a Comment

The News

There is a perception in the animal rights community that fur consumption is declining when, in fact, it is on the rise.

  • From 1990 – 2015, fur sales in the U.S. grew by approximately 50%
  • From 2013 to 2014, U.S. fur sales grew by 7.3%
  • In 2014, fur sales in the U.K. increased by 20%
  • From 2011 – 2013, global fur sales jumped by more than 50% – from $16 billion to $36 billion

According to the Fur Information Council of America (FICA), the largest U.S. fur association, the number of designers who use fur has dramatically increased, climbing from 42 in 1985 to approximately 500 today. FICA also asserts that 55% of the people who buy fur today are under 44, dispelling the myth that fur is primarily consumed by older people.

A 2015 article by the Guardian documented the rise of the fur industry.

A 2015 article published in the Guardian documented the rise of the fur industry.

“The fur industry’s statistics reflect what we’re seeing in the streets — that fur consumption is on the rise,” said Edita Birnkrant, Campaigns Director for Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy group. “For the sake of the animals, we have to organize and take a more aggressive approach on their behalf.”

Friends of Animals holds in store protests and puts up anti-fur billboards.

Friends of Animals holds in store protests and puts up anti-fur billboards.

The increase in fur sales can be attributed to many variables, including high demand from China; the use of technology to make fur suitable for warm climates; the growing use of fur trim; the increased use of fur in men’s clothing; the growing practice of dying fur; and the consumption of fur among celebrities with a large social media following. According to Mark Oaten, CEO of the International Fur Federation, “…with this increase in demand, farmers are deciding to invest more in fur farms and increase production.”

Dying fur and the growing use of fur trim has led to an increase in fur sales and by extension in the number of fur farms.

Dying fur and the growing use of fur trim have led to an increase in fur sales and, by extension, the number of fur farms.

While the animal rights community appears to be losing the war against the fur trade (despite occasional victories), some activists have responded to the increased prevalence of fur by engaging in more provocative anti-fur tactics…..

Continued: http://theirturn.net/2016/07/05/fur-sales-rise/