Never Kill an Albatross

by George Monbiot

In just seven years 30% of Africa’s savannah elephants have been wiped out. The other African subspecies, the forest elephant, has crashed by more than 60%since 2002. Perhaps this month’s resolution to ban domestic sales of elephant tusks will make a difference, but governments have done so little to restrain the international trade that illegal ivory and other wildlife parts are still sold on the surface web, rather than the dark web.

Last month the whale shark was classified as endangered. Some are still hunted for their meat and fins, and it seems that the revolting practice of live finning – slicing off the fins, then dumping the shark overboard to die slowly – continues. Most are killed as bycatch, in nets used to catch other species, especially tuna. Some fishing boats use whale sharks as markers (tuna tend to congregate under large objects), and deliberately cast nets around them.

Their decline – whale shark numbers have halved or worse in 75 years – reflects the global loss of ocean life. Since 1996 the fish catch has fallen by a million tonnes a year, as stocks are exhausted. Sieving the seas for what remains, fishing fleets will trigger the collapse of entire ecosystems.

Fishing also accounts for what has happened to the bird with the largest wingspan, the wandering albatross – whose population has fallen by about 30% in 11 years. Again, the tuna fishery is the principal threat, in this case through the use of baited longlines. The albatrosses dive for the bait, get hooked and drown.

albatross corpse rotting away to reveal the rubbish it’s consumed
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An albatross corpse rotting away to reveal the rubbish it’s consumed. Photograph: Alamy

Another cause is their junk food diet: the plastic they eat, then feed to their chicks through regurgitation. The photographs taken by Chris Jordan on Midway atoll of the albatross corpses rotting away to reveal the rubbish they contain are a synopsis of our treatment of the living world. However far we travel, our impacts precede us.

A week ago the status of the eastern gorilla, the world’s largest primate, was changed from endangered to critically endangered: it has declined by 70% in 20 years. Its habitat, in central Africa, has been ripped apart by logging, mining and farming, and the gorillas are hunted for meat. All the great apes are now either endangered or critically endangered, in the case of orangutans largely as a result of palm oil production. What does it say about us that we are prepared to drive our closest relatives towards extinction?

The great acceleration towards a bare, grey world is also reflected in this week’s State of Nature report, which shows that over 10% of the remaining species in the UK are now threatened with extinction.

Last week we learned that one-tenth of the world’s wild places, forest and savannahs, and other lands in which human impacts are not obvious, have been lost – de-wilded – in the past 25 years. The trajectory suggests that there could be almost none left by the end of the century.

These should be among the central issues of our age. Yet we treat these losses as sad but peripheral, though we commission them through the things we buy. Elephants, rhinos, lions, polar bears, the great sharks, turtles, condors, whales, rainforests, wetlands, coral reefs: they are all the bycatch of consumerism. We assert both the right to consume – whatever we want, however we want – and the right to forget the consequences.

Flying to Bratislava or Bermuda for a stag weekend, shopping trips to New York, driving our gas guzzlers 300 metres to school, buying jetskis, leaf blowers and patio heaters, furnishing our homes with rare wood, eating tuna, prawns and salmon without a thought as to how they were produced: these ephemeral satisfactions, to judge by the reactions when you question them, occupy a sacred and inviolable space. The wonders of the living world, by contrast, are dispensable.

People who would never dream of killing an albatross or a whale shark are prepared to let others do so on their behalf, so that they may eat whatever fish they fancy. People who could not bring themselves to gut a chicken are happy to commission the disposal of entire ecosystems.

The act of not seeing is sanctioned and normalised, while attempts to explain the consequences are treated as abnormal and impertinent. On the Guardian’s website you can read about the global collapse of tuna populations – then, in a recipe published the following day, learn how to prepare a tuna salad, without a word about the implications.

Such cultural norms, positioning us as consumers first and moral beings either second or not at all, grant the disposal of the living planet its social licence. They allow us to compartmentalise, to be conscious of the issues when there is little that we can do about them, and to forget them at the moment when we have the capacity to act (or to refrain from acting). This is the safe space we establish for consumerism.

The costs cannot be computed in financial terms. There is no price that can capture the awe aroused by a whale shark, the deep being of an elephant herd, the way in which your heart soars with the albatross as it mounts a column of air, the gorilla’s fathomless gaze. The albatross hangs around our necks with a weight that defies calculation.

We were here: is this how we choose to be remembered? It is true that we existed: you can see it in the pulse of extinction. Are we to use our gift of life to snuff out other life forms? What will you leave behind, except your contribution to thePacific garbage patch?

fishing boat works amid garbage in Manila Bay, the Phillipines
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‘What will you leave behind, except your contribution to the Pacific garbage patch?’ – a fishing boat works amid garbage in Manila Bay, the Phillipines. Photograph: Erik de Castro/Reuters

I believe we can do better, that we can position ourselves as just one participant in a world of wonders, blessed and cursed with higher consciousness, but using that capacity to embed ourselves within its limits.

We cannot wait for governments or schools or the media to deliver a new environmental ethics. Join the groups trying to defend the living planet; learn about the consequences of what you do; demand – from friends, from parents, from yourself – a better way of engaging with the world. By living lightly we enrich our lives.

George Monbiot will answer questions on this issue in a live Guardian Q&A on Friday, from 10-11am, BST. Post questions now (below), or join us on the day. He will answer questions on any aspect of the problem, but is particularly interested in opening a discussion on consumerism and its ethics.

These Sloths Need Our Help Immediately!!

Shocking news broke two days ago that the Sloth Sanctuary Costa Rica has allegedly been mishandling, abusing, and otherwise neglecting sloths. Further, the “sanctuary” has been confining sloths in small pens and using them for photo opportunities, rather than rehabilitating them and releasing them back into the wild.

Click here and sign our petition today demanding the Costa Rican government investigate the allegations made by the Sloth Sanctuary’s former veterinarians. 

Only the Costa Rican government can intervene and assist in the rehabilitation and release of the animals currently confined at the Sloth Sanctuary compound. They must take immediate action to ensure the health and well-being of the ever-increasing number of sloths that are captive there.

Please sign today and demand the Costa Rican government take action!

For the animals,
Carrie LeBlanc, M.A.
Executive Director
CompassionWorks International

623-ft vessel hits object, grounded in Columbia River

http://koin.com/2016/03/21/623-foot-vessel-grounded-in-columbia-river/

Sparna hit submerged object

The motor vessel Sparna, a 623-foot Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier sits aground in the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Wash., March 21, 2016.

The motor vessel Sparna, a 623-foot Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier sits aground in the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Wash., March 21, 2016.

ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) – Multiple agencies are monitoring a 623-foot merchant ship that has become grounded in the main shipping channel of the Columbia River.

The motor vessel Sparna, a 623-foot Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier sits aground in the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Wash., March 21, 2016.

The motor vessel Sparna, a 623-foot Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier sits aground in the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Wash., March 21, 2016.

The U.S. Coast Guard says “Sparna” went aground at 12:16 a.m. on Monday in a narrow part of the river near Cathlamet, Wash. It reportedly hit a submerged object.

The vessel took on water in void spaces, but the fuel tanks were not damaged, the Coast Guard said.

“The positive news so far is that responders have not observed any oil in the water,” said Capt. Dan Travers, Coast Guard Captain of the Port for the Columbia River.

The Sparna is fully loaded with grain and was heading west in the Columbia River, towards the ocean, with a river pilot still on-board when it ran into trouble.

The Sparna is weighed down with 218,380 gallons of high sulfur fuel and 39,380 gallons of marine diesel. Two tug boats are on scene to keep the Sparna stabilized, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology and Oregon Department of Environmental along with other state and county agencies are on scene monitoring the situation. They say the Coast Guard will need to approve a salvage plan.

The vessel isn’t blocking the navigation channel so it is open to other vessels.

Cathlamet, Wash. is about 1.5 hours from downtown Portland.

December auto sales soar 9% in record year

[It seems some folks aren’t getting the message about climate change…]

by Nattan Bomey and , USA TODAY 7:08 p.m. EST January 5, 2016

Automakers posted a solid 9% sales gain in December, an exclamation point that sealed 2015 as the biggest sales year ever for the industry, they reported Tuesday.

All told, automakers sold 17.47 million new vehicles for the year, Autodata reported, besting the previous record set in 2000 by 68,138 vehicles. Low gas prices, cheap credit, low unemployment, soaring consumer confidence and warm weather fueled a rush into showrooms in December.

“The U.S. economy continues to expand, and the most important factors that drive demand for new vehicles are in place, so we expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist, in a statement.

Meanwhile…

Porter Ranch Methane Leak Spreads Across LA’s San Fernando Valley

http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/15/porter-ranch-methane-leak-spreads/

It now looks like the catastrophic Porter Ranch gas leak, which has spewed more than 83,000 metric tons of noxious methane for nearly three months, has spread across Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander called on the Southern California Gas Co. to extend residential relocation assistance to residents in Granada Hills, Chatsworth and Northridge who live near the Aliso Canyon gas leak above Porter Ranch. These residents reported symptoms related to the exposure of natural gas such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and respiratory problems.

porterranchgasleakmap
The researchers have developed the Valley’s first comprehensive map of methane exposure. Photo credit: HEET

More: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/01/05/auto-sales-2015/78302038/

 

 

 

Have Denialists Reached Their Carrying Capacity?

by Jim Robertson

Denial seems to be the fallback position for those who don’t understand a particular science and/or have a political motive not to believe said science. Lately we’ve been hearing much about the denial of anthropogenic climate change, but willful ignorance can be employed for everything from evolution to overpopulation.

Generally speaking, denialists want to hold humans harmless of something they’re clearly responsible for, whether it’s having a carbon footprint—or a literal footprint. But no one is innocent of the ultimate crime of being born a human. (An aberration. An abnormality. An irregularity. A meat-eating monkey.)

Some still cling to the denial that tobacco (or meat) can cause cancer. Others just don’t care. Many would probably balk at the analogy that humans are a cancer to the Earth.

Historically, it was deniers of the obvious–gravity, astronomy and evolution (literal flat-Earthers)—who we heard the most from. Today’s deniers still include a few who question the “theory” of gravity, evolution and other realities.

But few have gone so far as to call for a de facto book ban as Laurie Mazur did recently in a Los Angeles Times op-ed entitled, “China drops its ‘one-child’ policy, now let’s ban the ‘population bomb’,” featuring the irrational statement, “Let’s be clear: slowing population growth is not a panacea for the challenges of the 21st century.” I’m sure biologist Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 book she attacks in her article, would challenge that statement. Let’s be real: slowing our population growth is the only lasting remedy, assuming we care about the rest of life on Earth at all.

Has Ms. Mazur ever heard of the term carrying capacity? In Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s 1996 book, Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, they write in answer to the naïve notion that there is no overpopulation:

“To understand how fallacious this statement is requires recognizing that overpopulation can be reached very quickly by exponentially growing populations in situations of seeming abundance. There is overpopulation when organisms (people in this case) become so numerous that they degrade the ability of the environment to support their kind of animal in the future. The number of people Earth can support in the long term (without degrading the environment)—given existing socioeconomic systems, consumption patterns, and technological abilities—is called the human carrying capacity of the planet at the time. And carrying capacity can be exceeded without causing immediate effects obvious to the untutored observer. ‘Overshoots’ commonly occur in nature with all kinds of organisms. A population has an ‘outbreak,’ grows far beyond its carrying capacity, consumes its resources (for animals, usually food), and crashes to a size far below the previous carrying capacity.”

Homo sapiens has never been a light-touch or low-impact type of creature. Once you realize that, it’s easier to believe they’re overpopulated and have been actually changing the planet’s climate. Whether or not our species has peopled the Earth to the point of saturation, the denialists have undeniably reached their carrying capacity.

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Save New Mexico’s Last Free-flowing River

http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=17376

Gila River, New Mexico Originating in America’s first designated wilderness area, New Mexico’s Gila River is an ecological treasure that deserves long-term protection. Its riparian forests are home to one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in the country, and its waters teem with fish. A dammed and diverted Gila would mean significantly less water in the river — a deadly blow to the area’s outdoor economy and wildlife, and a story we’ve seen written across the Southwest too many times.

After three previous failed attempts to dam and divert the Gila, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and local New Mexico CAP Entity are pushing forward with a Gila River diversion project yet again.

But fortunately at least one major hurdle still lies ahead: The New Mexico CAP Entity and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell must sign off on an agreement by Nov. 23.

Take action below — sign our petition urging Secretary Jewell to save the Gila River by refusing to sign this agreement. The area’s long-term water needs can be met by other proven means — through conservation, groundwater management, water recycling and watershed restoration. 

Dear Interior Secretary Sally Jewell,

We, the undersigned, urge you to protect New Mexico’s last free-flowing river from harmful water diversions. Rather than continuing to rely on wasteful dams and diversion projects of the past, we must develop better strategies that use our precious water resources more efficiently, while preserving the health of the rivers so critical to our state’s quality of life, recreation, economy and wildlife.

As you know the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and the local New Mexico CAP Entity are currently considering a large diversion project authorized by the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) to take Gila River water and pump it over the Continental Divide to farms and urban areas. This is the fourth attempt to dam and divert this iconic southwestern river, and the current plan is fatally flawed, just like its predecessors.

The Gila River is a biological gem and deserves long-term protection. A diversion would harm the Gila’s endangered fish and birds as well as the outdoor recreation opportunities that depend on the river’s health. Moreover, this diversion would be extremely expensive — costing more than $1 billion and forcing taxpayers and water users to finance the more than $900 million that will not be covered by the AWSA federal subsidy. Using tax dollars to destroy a river and then pay for a project that is unaffordable is not in the public interest.

The good news is an expensive Gila River diversion is unnecessary. Southwest New Mexico’s water needs can be met cost effectively by using water more wisely through such measures as municipal and agricultural conservation, sustainable groundwater management, water recycling and watershed restoration.

Please support non-diversion alternatives for meeting southwestern New Mexico’s future water needs, and save the Gila River once and for all.

Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

Introduction

There are a number of local, state, national and international organizations that publicly concern themselves with caring for animals and protecting the environment. Some have their foundations a century ago or longer (such as Audubon Society in the late 1800s), while others are relatively new to the scene (such as Love Canada Geese in 2005). Among these groups are several that clearly state their opposition to any form of hunting (particularly the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting), while others publicly align themselves with hunters (including The Wilderness Society ). Some organizations have chosen to maintain a neutral or “apolitical” stance with regard to hunting, or take exception to particular types of hunting or targets of hunting (such as Defenders of Wildlife, which focuses much of its effort on ending aerial hunting of wolves) but typically do not address the broader ecological impact of hunting.

Purpose

This wiki is designed primarily with the objective of providing information for anyone interested in learning more about the specific views on hunting held by numerous purportedly pro-animal and pro-environment organizations. As with any wiki, it is intended as a work in progress, with the goal of encouraging collaborative efforts to add more information and more groups as new knowledge is found or developed. The initial outline is focused on identifying organizations that belong to three main groups as described above:

  • Organizations that publicly oppose hunting
  • Organizations that ally themselves with hunters
  • Organizations that are self-described as neutral, or oppose only limited types or targets of hunting

Within each group, organizations will be added as support for their group membership becomes available (whether as quoted on their websites, or confirmed by an official representative via documented communication), and anecdotes, examples, and other information related to each organization’s views on hunting will be used to develop a clearer view of where these environmental and animal organizations stand on hunting.

The Animals Voice[edit]

The Animals Voice is primarily a website and magazine-based publication launched in 1987, but its use as a tool by activists for networking and dissemination of information has given it a fair amount of heft in pro-animal communities. They support animal liberation, and are against recreational hunting, typically advocating a vegetarian lifestyle.

“The Animals Voice Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of The Animals Voice is to effect the liberation of animals. Through our online database of hard-hitting editorial and photography, resources and networking, as well as through our award-winning, international animal rights magazine, we have already proven our potential among activists and adversaries as being a powerful force in the changes necessary for the betterment in the living and dying conditions for animals around the planet. We promise to continue our work in globally networking activists and organizations, and in educating and enlightening everyone who visits or reads our material about the desperate plight of animals and what part they can do to cause animal liberation.”[1]

ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals[edit]

The ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866 and works to rescue abused animals and to support animal shelters nationwide. It was the first humane society to be established in North America, and is one of the largest in the world today. Henry Bergh believed that animals should be protected by the law, and the ASPCA has the legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals. While its primary focus has been on maintaining shelters and preventing the abuse of domestic pets, the ASPCA also has a strong policy against sport hunting.

From their website: “Because there is no guarantee that wildlife taken in sport hunting will be killed outright or spared the distress of pursuit and possible wounding and escape, the ASPCA is opposed to hunting animals for sport, even if the animals killed in this way are subsequently consumed. The ASPCA does recognize that wildlife management may be necessary in situations where animal and human interests collide, but urges that management strategies be nonlethal wherever possible and never include avoidable suffering or distress.”

Animal Aid[edit]

Founded in 1977, Animal Aid is a British organization that is against animal abuse and promotes a “cruelty-free lifestyle.” Their campaigns range from promoting vegetarianism and veganism to ending activities such as the “game” bird industry, fox hunting, factory farming, and animal experimentation.

From their website: “Animal Aid are opposed to all forms of animal cruelty – and we therefore strongly oppose hunting. Hunting with hounds has no place in modern Britain. It should have ended years ago along with cock-fighting, bear-baiting and dog-fighting. When animal cruelty is portrayed by some as a ‘sport’ to get pleasure from it debases society and promotes even more animal cruelty. It is not just foxes and other wildlife who suffer. Horses and dogs are also victims of hunting – viewed simply as ‘sporting accessories’ many sustain fatal injuries during the gruelling chase.”

Best Friends Animal Society[edit]

Best Friends was started in Arizona in the 1970s as a no-kill shelter that eventually grew into a large animal sanctuary, currently situated in Angel Canyon, Utah. They gained non-profit charity status in 1991 and provide a home to over 1,500 animals, and their primary goal is No More Homeless Pets, a community that is part of the larger Best Friends Network. They have a significant internet presence through this network, which provides news and information as well as a way for animal activists to connect both online and off. Their Animal Help staff responds to over 20,000 requests for assistance each year, and while their focus is on domestic/companion animals, they also have a strong anti-hunting stance, which was shared by Member Liaison Dori Jeurink:

“Best Friends is a no-kill organization, and we are dedicated to kindness towards all creatures. Therefore, we do not support activities that objectify animals, reduce their quality of life, or harm them in any way.” [2]

Born Free Foundation[edit]

Started in England in 1984 by the stars of the film Born Free, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, Born Free is “devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare.” Their goals include protecting endangered species, preventing animal suffering, establishing wildlife sanctuaries, and enabling people to live side by side with wildlife in their local communities without conflict. They are opposed to captive breeding, canned hunting, and trophy hunting.

From their website: “Whether its fighting the ivory trade and ‘sport’ hunting, opposing killing wild animals for ‘bushmeat’, or challenging the exploitation of wild animals in zoos and circuses, Born Free takes action on the front line for animals.”

Born Free USA (previously Animal Protection Institute)[edit]

API was co-founded in 1968 by Belton Mouras and Ken Guerrero, and Born Free USA was established in the United States in 2002 as a companion organization to the Born Free Foundation. Their mission statement is “to alleviate animal suffering, protect threatened and endangered species in the wild, and encourage everyone to treat wildlife everywhere with respect and compassion.”

Born Free USA has been involved in causes aimed to prevent funds earmarked for conservation from supporting hunting, opposing a Senate bill aimed at hunting conservation. Born Free USA “objects to this bill because it would fund projects related to hunting and habitat improvements for that purpose.”

Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese[edit]

Founded in 1993 to put a halt to the needless killing of Canada geese in Rockland County, New York, the Coalition is focused on nonlethal conflict resolution between humans and Canada geese, but publicly condemns hunting of other animals for sport as well. They also list other anti-hunting sites on their website.

The Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese is also actively involved in exposing the role wildlife agencies play in promoting hunting. Since wildlife agencies often rely on hunting license fees to pay managers’ salaries, and most agency managers are (or were) hunters, the primary motivation behind wildlife agencies’ supporting hunting is based on obtaining more resources, not “managing” wildlife.

From their mission statement: “We also work to expose how the economic infrastructure of government wildlife management actually perpetuates human-wildlife conflicts while simultaneously encouraging a bias that favors killing as a form of problem solving. We seek a complete renovation of this operating philosophy. Until such time, we advocate the use of humane, non-lethal methods to resolve or minimize the conflicts between Canada geese and humans.”

Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT)[edit]

Formed in 1997, CAFT is a grass-roots campaign against the fur trade in Great Britain.

“Although we only focus on anti-fur campaigns we are opposed to all animal cruelty / animal use, including all forms of hunting”[5]

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting (CASH)[edit]

CASH is a committee of Wildlife Watch, Inc. and its mission is “to accomplish what its name says in the shortest possible time.” CASH provides materials to effectively argue against different methods of hunting as well as other lethal methods of resolving human-wildlife conflicts (baiting, trapping, etc.). Member Peter Muller’s No-Cull website provides responses to common rationales used by hunters to “justify” deer hunting, including basic points to make as well as documents supporting anti-hunting perspectives:

Argument from Overpopulation[edit]

Some hunters argue that without hunting, wildlife populations will exceed “social carrying capacity.” In fact, hunted herds have been shown to demonstrate a greater percentage increase in population one year after a hunt than unhunted herds[6].

Argument from Ecological Destruction[edit]

Some hunters argue that “culling” deer populations is necessary to preserve plant life, or that “culling” predators is necessary to preserve prey species. However, many more factors are involved in environmental changes such as decreases in a particular plant species[7], from climate change to soil erosion, and hunting is more likely to contribute to imbalances in the ecosystem than to serve as a “corrective” for ecological change.

Argument that Overpopulation contributes to Car Collisions[edit]

Some hunters argue that if it weren’t for hunting, there would be even more wildlife-car collisions. In fact, more animals are on the move during hunting seasons, resulting in a consistent increase in collisions between wildlife and automobiles[8].

Argument that Overpopulation contributes to Lyme Disease[edit]

Some hunters argue that the more dense the deer population, the more rampant Lyme Disease will be. In fact, the population of ticks carrying Lyme disease is related to the population density of rodents rather than deer[9][10].

Argument that Non-Lethal Methods of Population Control are Impractical/Expensive[edit]

According to CASH, “Immunocontraception is relatively inexpensive and has worked successfully in parks and urban/suburban settings”No-Cull.

Compassion Over Killing (COK)[edit]

Paul Shapiro was a high school sophomore in Washington when he started Compassion Over Killing in 1995. While the primary goal of COK’s campaigns is the promotion of a vegetarian lifestyle and an end to animal abuse, focusing on an end to animal cruelty in agriculture, it does support an anti-hunting stance. Literature on the website describes hunting as a form of animal abuse and cruelty[11][12].

Friends of Animals[edit]

Founded in 1957, Friends of Animals “advocates for the right of animals to live free according to their own terms.” They are a strongly anti-hunting organization that also supports a vegetarian lifestyle. One of their main goals is to abolish hunting altogether, and they are “unequivocally against hunting and the destructive methods of ‘wildlife management’ that caters to, and fosters hunting. Hunting is an act against Nature on both moral and biological grounds.”[13]

According to Friends of Animals, hunting is cruel, deceitful, socially unjustifiable, and ecologically disruptive:

Hunting is Cruel[edit]

Hunting causes gratuitous pain to wild animals.

Hunting is Deceitful[edit]

Hunters try to disguise the reality of hunting with euphemisms such as “harvests,” “culls,” “wildlife management,” “bag limits,” “sport,” “game,” and many others.

Hunting is Socially Unjustifiable[edit]

It is an unnecessary waste of life and resources.

Hunting is Ecologically Disruptive[edit]

Hunting disrupts natural ecological dynamics. “Wildlife management” of deer in particular actually increases the number of deer, but alters the proportion of males to females since hunting almost solely targets male deer, and since hunters seek out “trophy” deer it is typically the strongest of the species that are killed.

The Fund for Animals[edit]

Cleveland Amory, an author and animal advocate, founded The Fund for Animals in 1967. In 2005, the Fund became part of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “The Fund has won landmark lawsuits to protect animals from hunting and trapping, and the organization is currently fighting for animals with the help of the Animal Protection Litigation section. This group of full-time attorneys, law clerks, and pro bono law firms are defending animals in federal and state courts from cruelty and abuse. The Fund’s current cases seek to protect endangered species, stop the abuse of circus elephants, keep national wildlife refuges safe for animals, and much more.”[14]

As an HSUS subsidiary, the Fund no longer has separate public positions. Fact sheets issued by the Fund for Animals before the merger are available on the Internet Archive.[15]

Sport Hunting is Ecologically Destructive[edit]

Hunters kill many endangered and threatened animals, including bald eagles, golden eagles, grizzly bears, Florida panthers, and whooping cranes. In addition, hunters annually position themselves along the migratory flyways and massacre, often indiscriminately, millions of ducks. Though some states are outlawing lead in bullets, many hunters still use toxic lead shot.

Hunting Disrupts Natural Selection[edit]

Individuals who would not normally have reproductive success will have it because hunters do not select the weakest animals as nature does. By often killing the ablest, hunters downgrade the quality of the gene pool.

State Wildlife Agencies Propagate ‘Game’ Species[edit]

On average, over 90 percent of funds go to “game” species projects, when non-game animals make up a majority of the ecosystem. State agencies also spend millions of dollars burning and clearcutting forests and stocking “game” animals. Finally, further funds are directed towards enforcing hunting regulations, providing hunter education courses, and building target shooting ranges.

Hunters Endanger Non-Hunters[edit]

Non-hunters are not safe walking in the woods during hunting season, have fewer chances to view wild animals, and are not given the same voice in determining how wildlife is treated. Although hunters make up less than 10% of the public, they are given an undue influence in determining wildlife and land “management” policies.

“For these reasons and others, The Fund for Animals opposes sport hunting and seeks a restructuring of state wildlife boards and commissions to ensure that all parties legitimately concerned about wildlife are proportionately represented.”

Global Anti Hunting Coalition[edit]

Founded by Anthony Marr in 2009, this brand-new organization currently has a myspace page and a blog, but is already being promoted by other organizations that oppose hunting, who are posting Mr. Marr’s 36-states-in-6-months Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #7 (CARE-7). “All groups and individuals opposed to hunting, trapping, and culling (including recreational hunting, trophy hunting, whaling, dolphin slaughter, seal massacre, wildlife population reductions, the illegal wildlife trade, the fur industry, etc.) can become part of this newly formed coalition, which has the capacity to significantly strengthen any local campaign by bringing the attention, people, resources, and pressure of our growing network of allies to bear on animal exploiters, torturers, and murderers. On December 9, 2009, with barely a week’s notice and with little backing behind us, we made a sizeable impact at Shawnee Mission Park in Kansas City by means of the Funeral Motorcade for the Deer, which garnered coverage by at least 2 TV channels, 2 newspapers and 2 radio stations.”[16]

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)[edit]

Founded in 1954, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We are America’s mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.”[17] The HSUS supports both local humane societies and a Human Wildlife Services program. Their campaigns target such activities as dogfighting and cockfighting, abusive puppy mills, factory farming, canned hunting, internet hunting, horse slaughter, dove shooting, pheasant stocking, bear trophy hunting, contest kills, poaching, fox pens, and the fur trade[18].

The Human Society’s policy statement on wildlife and hunting makes it clear that “The HSUS actively seeks to eliminate the most inhumane and unfair sporthunting practices, such as the use of body-gripping traps, baiting, use of dogs, pigeon shoots, stocking of animals for shooting, and fee-hunting on enclosed properties. Unfortunately, the welfare of animals may, on occasion, necessitate the killing of wildlife. When such killing is permitted, it must be used as a last resort, be demonstrably necessary, and be conducted by responsible officials, and the methods utilized must result in an instantaneous and humane death. The legitimate needs of human subsistence may also sometimes necessitate the killing of wildlife. In such cases, killing should be accomplished in a humane and non-wasteful manner. Individuals of endangered or threatened species must be protected from subsistence hunting.”

In Defense of Animals (IDA)[edit]

In 1983, veterinarian Elliot Katz began IDA — initially called Californians for Responsible Research — when he joined with others to take legal action against UC Berkeley for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Today, IDA campaigns against animal abuse in Korea, animals in entertainment, dissection, foie gras, fur, puppy mills, and vivisection, among other atrocities.

The IDA Wildlife Campaign includes literally dozens of anti-hunting campaigns, and IDA is a proponent of banning sport hunting, blood sports, trophy hunting, and aerial hunting. Their website includes non-lethal alternatives for coexisting with wildlife without conflict.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)[edit]

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was started in 1969 in New Brunswick, Canada by a small group of people who wanted to stop the the commercial hunt for seal pups in Canada. IFAW now has offices worldwide dedicated to several animal protection campaigns: providing emergency relief during disasters, ending commercial whaling, stopping ivory poaching, fighting the illegal wildlife trade, ending the seal hunt, helping dogs and cats, supporting humane education, and banning hunting with hounds.

While IFAW’s anti-hunting activities tend to be directed towards specific campaigns, such as ending trophy hunting of bears and banning canned hunting and captive breeding, they are generally against sport hunting, though there may be minor variations between international offices. The Animal Welfare Manifesto makes it clear that IFAW favors strong restrictions on trophy hunting and wildlife hunting as well as the banning of commercial whaling, elephant hunting, fox hunting with dogs, and seal hunting. In addition, James Isiche, the regional director of IFAW in East Africa, takes an anti-sport hunting stance[19]. IFAW does, however, work with more “apolitical” groups as well as state and federal wildlife agencies from time to time, so IFAW may be a borderline case for inclusion in the anti-hunting category.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA)[edit]

Founded in 1984 by Hollywood actor Chris DeRose, LCA began as an anti-vivisection organization using nonviolent strategies and “direct action.” LCA has expanded its campaigns to include protests against factory farming, the fur trade, animal experimentation, and animals in entertainment. They also campaign against pet theft, puppy mills, and animal fighting and promote animal sanctuaries, humane education, and vegan activism. Along with Compassion Over Killing and several other organizations, they are a member of the Coalition to Abolish the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

LCA’s statement of philosophy: “Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recognizes that animals have the ability to experience pain, and as such they deserve certain basic rights protecting them from pain caused by humans. LCA believes that non-human animals should not be subjected to suffering and exploitation by humans because alternatives exist for nearly every traditional ‘usage’ of animals. LCA opposes the use of animals for scientific curiosity, entertainment, clothing, and food. LCA recognizes the use of non-human animals in medical experimentation as both immoral and of questionable scientific validity due to the tremendous biological difference between species. LCA’s work advocates conscious and informed lifestyle decisions, and the organization is committed to disseminating truthful information about societal animal abuse to improve the treatment of animals.”

Although hunting is not one of LCA’s campaign areas, “Yes LCA is against hunting . . . If you go to youtube our founder Chris DeRose recently did a video asking President Obama to demand an end to all Whaling”[20]

Love Canada Geese[edit]

Love Canada Geese is primarily a website by Choo and Earl Rosenbloom, but is included here as it is also a source of information on Canada geese and humane (cruelty-free and non-lethal) methods of geese population control. In addition, many articles on the site address problems with hunting and non-lethal alternatives to wildlife “management.” According to Choo, “Love Canada Geese is definitely opposed to hunting of all animals” and “We need to get the message out there that hunting should be banned.”[21] The website also includes an article by Barry Kent MacCay that debunks several common Hunting Myths.

Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN)[edit]

Northwest Animal Rights Network was founded in 1986 as a Seattle-based animal rights organization concerned with ending animal exploitation in the food, entertainment, experimentation, and fashion industries. NARN’s campaigns include anti-cruelty litigation in Washington State, banning foie gras in Seattle, demonstrating against vivisection and animal experimentation, supporting activists in prison, and vegan outreach. NARN is also against factory farming, the fur trade, and the use of animals in entertainment such as circuses, rodeos, dog and horse racing.

While hunting is not one of NARN’s main campaign issues, according to Peter Keller (a member of the Board of Directors), “we are indeed against hunting. We recently partnered with the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition in the stance against hunting, and co-ordinated an action with them in their tour across the US and had a successful protest action with them to start off this years’ tour for them. In short, we oppose any violence taken against any animals, and hunting is an egregious form of it. We also work for the animals that are confined and tortured for the food, fashion, research, and entertainment industries, because we feel animals shouldn’t be used for those purposes”[22].

PREDATOR DEFENSE
Helping people & wildlife coexist since 1990
www.predatordefense.org

Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)[edit]

Founded in 1967, PAWS operates both an animal shelter and a wildlife rehabilitation center. Also known as People Helping Animals, PAWS devotes time to both companion animals and wildlife in its campaigns, and takes a very explicit anti-hunting stance. Their work is focused in Washington State, where they made a point of encouraging non-hunting citizens to participate in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2008 wildlife management survey, since “92% of those surveyed held hunting licenses!”[23]

PAWS operates a no-kill shelter, promotes spaying and neutering clinics, and led a campaign to ban the use of cruel traps on wildlife in 2000[24]. PAWS began wildlife rehabilitation in 1981. “Our goal is to return the animals to the wild with the best possible chance of survival. We do not keep any wild animals permanently in captivity, for display or for educational purposes.”[25]

PAWS also educates adults and children on how to peacefully co-exist with wild animals, works to pass legislation to protect wild animals in Washington State, and provides practical humane solutions for solving conflicts with wildlife. Their vision is for “this world to be a place where all people recognize the intrinsic value of animal life, are mindful of the impact of their daily behaviors and choices on animals, and consistently demonstrate compassion and respect” and their core beliefs include “the recognition and respect of the intrinsic value of animal life,” “the right of animals to be free from cruelty, neglect and abuse,” and “the preservation of wild species and their habitats.”

“Wild animals are best served by being allowed to live undisturbed in their natural environment. Wild animals should not be owned as household pets or property. Wild animals of any kind should not be used for commercial exploitation.”[26]

Royal Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) — Australia[edit]

The first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Australia was founded in Victoria in 1871. It joined with subsequently founded societies to become the Royal Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1923.[27] Its mission is to prevent cruelty to animals, and its campaigns include promoting cage-free farming, improving the treatment of dairy cows, promoting spaying and neutering of companion animals, banning duck hunting, opposing the live export trade of animals, and encouraging humane methods of animal control, among many others.

RSPCA Australia has clearly worded policies against hunting animals for sport as well as specifically against hunting wild animals for sport.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) — United Kingdom

More: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Environmental_and_Animal_Groups:_Views_on_Hunting

Fukushima Radiation in Pacific Reaches West Coast

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 00:00
Written by 
John LaForge By

John LaForge, Speakout

“[W]e should be carefully monitoring the oceans after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,” marine chemist Ken Buesseler said last spring.

Instead, the US Environmental Protection Agency halted its emergency radiation monitoring of Fukushima’s radioactive plume in May 2011, three months after the disaster began. Japan isn’t even monitoring seawater near Fukushima, according to a September 28, 2015, story in “The Ecologist.”

The amount of cesium in seawater that Buesseler’s researchers found off Vancouver Island is nearly six times the concentration recorded since cesium was first introduced into the oceans by nuclear bomb tests (halted in 1963). This stunning increase in Pacific cesium shows an ongoing increase. The International Business Times (IBT) reported last November 12 that Dr. Buesseler found the amount of cesium-134 in the same waters was then about twice the concentration left in long-standing bomb test remains.

Dr. Buesseler, at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, announced his assessment after his team found that cesium drift from Fukushima’s three reactor meltdowns had reached North America. Attempting to reassure the public, Buesseler said, “[E]ven if they were twice as high and I was to swim there every day for an entire year, the dose I would be exposed to is a thousand times less than a single dental X-ray.”

This comparison conflates the important difference between external radiation exposure (from X-rays or swimming in radioactively contaminated seawater) and internal contamination from ingesting radioactive isotopes, say, with seafood.

Dr. Chris Busby of the Low Level Radiation Campaign in the UK explains the distinction this way: Think of the difference between merely sitting before a warm wood fire on one hand, and popping a burning hot coal into your mouth on the other. Internal contamination can be 1,000 times more likely to cause cancer than the same exposure if it were external, especially for women and children. And, because cesium-137 stays in the ecosphere for 300 years, long-term bioaccumulation and bioconcentration of cesium isotopes in the food chain – in this case the ocean food chain – is the perpetually worsening consequence of what has spilled and is still pouring from Fukushima.

The nuclear weapons production complex is the only other industry that has a record of deliberate whole-earth poisoning. Hundreds of tons of radioactive fallout were aerosolized and spread to the world’s watery commons and landmasses by nuclear bomb testing. The same people then brought us commercial nuclear power reactors. Dirty war spawns dirty business, where lying comes easy. Just as the weapons makers lied about bomb test fallout dangers, nuclear power proponents claimed the cesium spewed from Fukushima would be diluted to infinity after the plume dispersed across 4,000 miles of Pacific Ocean.

Today, globalized radioactive contamination of the commons by private corporations has become the financial, political and health care cost of operating nuclear power reactors. The November 2014 IBT article noted that “The planet’s oceans already contain vast amounts of radiation, as the world’s 435 nuclear power plants routinely pump radioactive water into Earth’s oceans, albeit less dangerous isotopes than cesium.”

Fifty million Becquerels of cesium per-cubic-meter were measured off Fukushima soon after the March 2011 start of the three meltdowns. Cesium-contaminated Albacore and Bluefin tuna were caught off the West Coast a mere four months later; 300 tons of cesium-laced effluent has been pouring into the Pacific every day for the four and a half years since. On September 14, 2015, the Japanese government openly dumped 850 tons of partially-filtered but tritium-contaminated water into the Pacific. This latest dumping portends what it will try to do with thousands of tons more now held in shabby storage tanks at the devastated reactor complex.

Officials from Fukushima’s owners, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., have said leaks from Fukushima disaster with “at least” two trillion Becquerels of radioactivity entered the Pacific between August 2013 and May 2014 – and this nine-month period isn’t even the half of it.

The fact that Fukushima has contaminated the entirety of the Pacific Ocean must be viewed as cataclysmic. The ongoing introduction of Fukushima’s radioactive runoff may be slow-paced, and the inevitable damage to sea life and human health may take decades to register, but the “canary in the mineshaft” is the Pacific tuna population, which should now also be perpetually monitored for cesium.

Last November Buesseler warned, “Radioactive cesium from the Fukushima disaster is likely to keep arriving at the North American coast.” Fish eaters may want to stick with the Atlantic catch for 12 generations or so.

http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/33309-fukushima-radiation-in-pacific-reaches-west-coast