We don't have to abuse animals for entertainment
Orca Shows and Breeding Banned in California
SeaWorld San Diego pledged to stop breeding orcas and conducting theatrical shows. Now it’s the law.
The End of Thailand’s Tiger Temple
May 31, 2016
Wildlife officials in Thailand have seized some of the more than 100 tigers held at a Buddhist temple in response to allegations of mistreatment of the animals.
Six tigers were tranquilized and removed Monday from Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, which is known as “Tiger Temple,” according to animal-welfare advocates. The temple is a popular tourist spot in Kanchanaburi province, where visitors are allowed to play with tigers and cubs and even take selfies with them. Government officials plan to clear the temple of all tigers, and will spend the next week removing the remaining 131 animals. The tigers will be transported to government sanctuaries elsewhere in the country.
For years, former temple workers and animal-welfare groups have alleged that the tigers have been abused—beaten, fed poorly, and housed in small concrete cages with limited time outside. Some conservationists say the monks have illegally bred and trafficked the animals. Temple officials have denied the allegations.
SeaWorld's orcas will be last generation at parks
The killer whales currently in SeaWorld's care will be the last generation of the mammals enclosed at the water parks, according to a company announcement posted on its website.
"Why the big news? SeaWorld has been listening and we're changing. Society is changing and we're changing with it," the company said. "SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guest(s) to take action to protect wild animals and wild places."
In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Joel Manby, SeaWorld's president and CEO, called the situation a "paradox."
"Customers visit our marine parks, in part, to watch orcas," he said. "But a growing number of people don't think orcas belong in human care."
He announced that the company is partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to advocate for ocean wildlife protection.
The company says the end of the controversial breeding program is just one of changes it is hailing as "historic."
It will also introduce new "natural orca encounters" instead of the old theatrical shows.
Read more about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation https://www.ringlingelephantcenter.com/about-cec/
Like the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ringlingelephantcenter/timeline
In Cecil's honor
July 31, 2015
US Senators Introduce 'CECIL' Act After Outcry Over Killed African Lion
New bill aims to prevent Cecil's hunter from importing his trophy
Four Democratic senators announced Friday that they will introduce a bill named for the beloved Zimbabwean lion Cecil, who was killed by an American trophy hunter earlier this month.
The Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act would extend current U.S. import and export restrictions on animal trophies to include species that have been proposed for listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Current law provides protection only for species whose status on the list has been finalized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and it can take over a year for the agency to complete an assessment.
Democrats Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) are co-sponsoring the legislation. Click here to read the full text of the bill.
“Cecil’s death was a preventable tragedy that highlights the need to extend the protections of the Endangered Species Act," Menendez said in a statement on Friday. "When we have enough concern about the future of a species to propose it for listing, we should not be killing it for sport." In a similar statement, Blumenthal called the hunting of endangered species "a reprehensible and repugnant act."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already proposed adding the African lion to the list of species covered by the Endangered Species Act, but the agency has yet to finalize the designation. The CECIL Act would ensure that species under consideration for protection are automatically covered by the tightest import restrictions on sport hunted trophies.
In the case of Cecil, this would mean that the Minnesota dentist who shot and killed the lion, identified as Walter Palmer, would need a special permit directly from the U.S. secretary of the interior in order to import a trophy of Cecil from Zimbabwe to the United States.
According to news reports, Palmer left Cecil's carcass in the Zimbabwean bush, taking with him only the animal's skin and head, ostensibly to have them mounted into a replica trophy for display.
The death of the 13 year-old African lion has sparked global outrage, and prompted a request by the government of Zimbabwe to have Walter Palmer extradited to the country to face potential poaching charges.
On Friday morning, U.S. authorities said they were in contact with Palmer, who faces questioning over the circumstances of Cecil's death. The lion was reportedly lured outside of its protected habitat for Palmer to shoot with a bow. The hunter and his guides then stalked the injured animal for nearly two days, before finally shooting it with a gun.
Other legislation has also been introduced in response to Cecil's killing. In New Jersey, lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the import of endangered or threatened species through any of the three regional airports managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- Newark Liberty, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
Great gains for the Calgary Stampede
July 9, 2015
Tuf Cooper disqualified from the Calgary Stampede for mistreatment of horse
Rodeo champion from Texas tossed for 'mistreatment of livestock;' believed to be a 1st for rodeo
A Texan calf roper has been disqualified from the Calgary Stampede for "aggressively using his rope on his horse."
Tuf Cooper was disqualified for the remainder of the rodeo Wednesday on the grounds of "mistreatment of livestock."
A video of the run shows Cooper striking his horse with his rope while pursuing a calf, which he then fails to lasso.
"The six judges, along with Calgary Stampede officials, unanimously made the decision to disqualify Cooper after seeing him repeatedly and aggressively using his rope on his horse during the run," said Kristina Barnes, a spokeswoman for the Stampede, in an email.
"The Calgary Stampede takes its animal care protocols very seriously and enforces them among anyone who handles animals on Stampede Park, whether its staff, volunteers or competitors."
Barnes said it's believed to be the first time a competitor has been disqualified from the rodeo for that type of infraction.
Cooper is a champion tie-down roper who has earned more than $1 million US during his rodeo career by the time he turned 23, according to the Calgary Stampede's website. His father is Roy "Super Looper" Cooper, a world rodeo champion.
July 8, 2015
Calgary Stampede chuckwagon drivers fined over horse death
2 drivers will be out of pocket $5,000 for their roles in Monday night crash
Driver error is being blamed for a chuckwagon crash that resulted in the death of a horse at the Calgary Stampede for the second time this year.
The incident happened Monday night when driver Shane Nolin's wagon "bumped" into the lead horse of B.J. Carey's team. It is the first time the chuckwagon safety committee, formed in 2008, has ruled two drivers at once have been responsible for a crash.
One of Carey's horses was badly injured and had to be euthanized on Tuesday. The nine-year-old thoroughbred, named Schuster, suffered an injury to a joint above the hoof called the "coffin" joint. The owner and a veterinarian discussed surgery, but concluded that a full recovery was slim and that the horse would not have a normal, healthy life.
Nolin has been fined $5,000. Carey was assessed a $5,000 deduction from the $10,000 he would have received in compensation for his lost horse. Both wagons finished the race.
"Although driver error is rare, we know that the stampede, the two professional associations and the drivers themselves are working together to ensure these incidents are not repeated," said Stan Church, chair of the chuckwagon safety commission in a news release.
A chuckwagon incident on Saturday night was also a result of driver error and a horse involved also had to be euthanized.
The Calgary Stampede called the incidents "regrettable" and is working to ensure chuckwagon drivers are running a safe, clean race, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Calgary Humane Society spokeswoman Sage Pullen McIntosh said any animal death is upsetting.
"We certainly hate to see that. We wish that those high-risk rodeo events didn't exist. I know they've taken quite a few measures to try and reduce some of the injuries and concerns," she said.
More than 50 horses have died in chuckwagon races in the past 20 years.
Good news for circuses
Ringling Bros. Circus To Phase Out Elephant Acts
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, one of the United States' most famous circus companies, will eliminate elephants from its shows in the coming years, The Associated Press reported.
Ringling Bros. and other circuses have been under scrutiny from animal welfare groups for their treatment of elephants and other animals.
In 2014, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others reached a settlement with Feld Entertainment to end a longstanding legal battle over unproven allegations of elephant mistreatment at the circus. The groups paid almost $16 million to cover Feld's legal costs for the 14-year litigation.
In late 2011, Feld Entertainment reached a $270,000 settlement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act occurring between 2007 and 2011. The settlement allowed the company to avoid admitting any wrongdoing or USDA violations. "Animal care is always a top priority at Ringling Bros.," Kenneth Feld said at the time.
The penalty was the largest to date in the Animal Welfare Act's four-decade history, according to Mother Jones, which reported on the alleged violations after a yearlong investigation. Each violation carried a maximum fine of $10,000, meaning the USDA was likely citing the company for at least 27 violations. Mother Jones' investigation revealed elephants were "whipped with bullhooks, trapped in train cars filled with their own feces, and chained in place for a good part of their lives."
Bingo the giraffe tries to say goodbye to the circus
July 23, 2014
The giraffe slipped out of its enclosure at Barley's Circus in the town of San Nicolas de los Garza in central Mexico before heading down the road
Giraffe dies of cardiac arrest after escaping from circus
September 21, 2012
A giraffe shocked townspeople in Italy when it sprang free from a local circus and ran through the streets for four hours. Police managed to tranquilize it, but it died shortly after of cardiac arrest.
Animals have a long history of servitude under humans. They've been our food, our clothing, our transportation, our subjects for experiments, our helpers, our companions, our entertainment. Without animals civilized societies would not exist.
I focus on the exploitation of animals solely for entertainment purposes. This includes family-oriented rodeos and animal circuses. Ancient blood sports — bullfighting, dog fighting, cockfighting and the most vicious of all, bear baiting — are still common in some parts of the world. People may risk their own safety and lives for the thrill of the moment, but this is unnatural for animals, they do not volunteer for any of this treatment. No matter what people might gain from these events, the senseless cruelty breaks my heart.
We don't hear much about the animals that are abused in movie making. The Canadian documentary "Cruel Camera" gives a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. I suspect there is a lot more we don't know about.
Sadly I also have to add Thailand's Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi on the offenders list. "The Temple's popularity is based around claims that its tigers were rescued from poachers and live and move freely and peacefully amongst the temple's monks, who are actively engaged in conservation work," says CEO Dr Barbara Maas. "But this utopian facade hides a sinister reality of unbridled violence towards the Temples captive tigers and illegal trafficking of tigers between Thailand and Laos."
As for marine parks, we may not consider tiny aquariums crammed with aquatic animals for public viewing a form of cruelty. We don't stop to think that these creatures are placed in a living environment that is not natural or beneficial to them. It is all done for our pleasure and gain.
Perhaps it is the persistent belief that humans are superior to animals that makes us assume the right to exploit them. This is flawed logic. It makes more sense that a status of superiority is achieved when we treat animals respectfully. True, animals think differently from us, they do not get their thrills the same way we do. But they do not deserve to be abused because they are different from us.
In the news
January 2011: China Bans Animal Circus
September 2011: Bullfighting in Barcelona to end with Catalonia ban
August 2012: Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say
June 2016: The problem with zoos
In our day and age the moral argument that human life has greater intrinsic value than animal life is a cop-out excuse. The fact is we have become lazy toward our responsibilities. A Vancouver Sun article said, "Our moral failing allows cruelty to be casually entrenched. We have, at least, the obligation to face our role in determining the way animals are treated in an honest fashion and consider the standards we expect. Our wilful blindness also make it easy for government to avoid its responsibility."
Maybe I'm one of the few who is saddened by our acceptance of this type of brutality. Maybe as an animal lover and a pet owner I have a different perspective of human-animal relationship. Maybe because I see the potential in the human spirit I know we can do better.
Kudos to animal welfare groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , World Society for the Protection of Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,League Against Cruel Sports for their accomplishments. It seems the most effective way of protecting animals is pressure from these organizations to change the laws.
The Internet has allowed information to spread faster and wider than ever. Which has spawned the popularity and power of online petitions. The Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horse show was planned to return for the summer of 2012 but met with heated outrage from the public and The Humane Society of the United States. As a result the idea was quickly scrapped.
Former staff complaints to the media of animal suffering at the park resulted in the largest protest against Marineland held on August 18, 2012. And the publicity is continuing to grow.
So let's keep up the good work. Continue to promote awareness. And take a stand. Because if we don't speak out for the animals, who will.
VIDEO: The story of Marineland's Junior
- The story of Marineland's Junior
Cara Sands shares her story about Junior, an orca caught in 1984 off the coast of Iceland, which spent the last five years of his life in a concrete pool in the indoor barn facility at Marineland - mostly alone. Video by Pawel Dwulit.
Musicians Boycott SeaWorld
I'm glad to see that the documentary Blackfish -- about a captive orca at Seaworld -- has made a powerful impact. Several prominent musicians cancelled their performance at SeaWorld parks: the Barenaked Ladies, Martina McBride, Heart, Cheap Trick, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, and REO Speedwagon. Maybe it can put an end to captive whale programs.
What you can do: Boycott these activities. It's as simple as that. Vote with your dollar. Without your patronage they cannot survive.
What you should not do: Inflicting threats or harm on the people involved is a bad idea. Hostility is not an effective solution.
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