June 20th marks the 1st International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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On June 20th (that’s a week from this Saturday, folks), In Defense of Animals will be holding the first-ever International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ for short).

IDA describes IDAEZ as

a global event aimed at bringing mammoth attention to the plight of elephants in zoos and ending their suffering. On Saturday, June 20th, pro-elephant advocates will turn out en masse at their local zoos, holding outreach events and demonstrations to educate the public about the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, impoverished zoo pens where they are suffering and dying prematurely.

Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom of intensive captivity results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing. […]

The elephants need your help! By participating in this event, you become part of a global community of pro-elephant advocates joined together on June 20th to end the suffering of elephants in zoos. We urge you to organize or join an event at your local zoo, write letters, educate your friends and family. It’s all about taking action. United, we are a powerful force for change!

Backed by an army of public relations personnel, the zoo industry has been largely successful in convincing the general public that zoos work for the public good: breeding endangered animal species which might otherwise go extinct; fostering in children a love and appreciation for nature and its inhabitants; throwing their weight behind sundry conservation efforts so that, one day, animals need not live in captivity for their species to survive. This is a lie.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Friends of Kinship Circle Updates, June 2009

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – KinshipCircleInfo [at] accessus.net
Date: Sun, Jun 7, 2009 at 9:31 AM
Subject: Pig Massacre, Cat Labs, Black Market Asia Film…[Friends Of Kinship Circle]
To: “3) KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY”

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE, 6/7/09
http://friendsofkinshipcircle.wordpress.com

* KINSHIP CIRCLE DOES NOT WRITE OR RESEARCH THESE ALERTS.
* QUESTIONS? CONTACT ALERT WRITERS. PLEASE DO NOT HIT REPLY.

IN THIS ALERT:

1. Egypt: Mass Pig Slaughter During Swine Flu Panic
2. Stop Texas Tech’s Senseless Torture Of Cats
3. Support New Film On Illegal Trade In Wild Animals
4. Shield Polar Bears From Deadly Global Warming
5. End “Jumps Racing” Carnage For Good
6. Shocking Elephant Abuse Video From Greek Circus
7. Brookfield Zoo Elephant Deserves Safe Haven
8. Check Out Karen Dawn’s Blog
9. 50+ Years In A Lab – Save Elder Chimps From Hell

(More below the fold…)

SHARK is holding Coke responsible for animal cruelty; are you?

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

SHARK is still tugging at Coke’s pull-tab, as the megacorp continues to insist that it “will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals” – this, while sponsoring rodeos.

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Here’s SHARK’s latest alert; you can read previous alerts here.

———————–

Dear Friends,

I want to make this real easy for you to find because I want you to call Coke again, Coke’s number is: 800-438-2653.

William McMullen, a dedicated activist in Michigan, has learned that rodeo sponsor Coca-Cola now has a special “Alert” on its “Frequently Asked Questions” section of its website. This means Coke is getting a lot of complaints about the rodeo issue.

Here’s the link that will allow you to see this for yourself: Coca-Cola’s Alert

Here is Coke’s latest statement:

‘Does The Coca-Cola Company sponsor rodeos?’

“Coca-Cola cares about the welfare of animals and supports their proper treatment. That is why the Company and our U.S. bottling partners will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals and provide ready access to quality veterinary care to protect the animals’ health and safety.”

This statement is a damnable lie, and the company knows it. It is both unbelievable and repulsive this corrupt company is going to such lengths to outright lie to its own customers. Coke sponsors numerous cruel rodeos across the country that maim and kill animals. SHARK has been proving for 16 years that rodeo humane rules are a farce, and that rodeo animals are regularly injured and killed. Even the rodeo industry admits this by refusing to release animal injury and death reports.

(More below the fold…)

SHARK: Bloodless Bullfighting Coming to America

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Excerpted from SHARK’s May 5, 2009 e-newsletter:

Bloodless Bullfighting Coming to America

More Bull and Horse Abuse in Las Vegas

SHARK has been notified that the company Don Bull Productions (in cooperation with Protamex) is going to organize bloodless bullfights in the South Point Arena in Las Vegas. These bullfights are going to take place on September 14th and 15th, as well as in December 2009, September and December 2010. For more information, click here.

We are told that the bulls are dressed with a Velcro “cape” designed to catch the harpoons (which have no points, but a tip also of Velcro). The concern is that these bullfights might be bloodless, but real toreros such as ‘El Cordobes’ (who kill bulls during other events) take part in them, and both bulls and horses are subjected to stress and injuries during such events. We also have a strong suspicion that the bulls used during these events are going to be killed in Mexico, during a regular bullfight or in the slaughterhouse.

We cannot let these events happen in Las Vegas, because the bullfighting industry is losing ground in the ‘real’ bullfighting countries Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and is now trying to export these events to other countries.

The last thing we need in this country is more animal abusing events.

What You Can Do:

Contact the South Point Arena, the mayor of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and ask others to do the same. Las Vegas has plenty to offer and doesn’t need to abuse animals for entertainment.

Mr. Oscar B. Goodman
Mayor of Las Vegas
City Hall, Tenth Floor
400 Stewart Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 229-6241
Fax: (702) 385-7960
email the Mayor, click here
Mayor’s website

Website Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (official tourism authority): www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas/index.jsp
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Attn. Board of Directors
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 702-892-0711
Fax: 702-892-2824
LVCVA’s website

South Port Equestrian and Events Center: www.southpointeventscenter.com
South Point Arena
Attn. Steve Stallworth, director general
9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89189
Hotel Phone: 866-796-7111 toll free
Hotel Fax: 702-797-8001
Equestrian and Events Center Phone: 702-797-8005
South Port’s website

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Kinship Circle: Friends of Kinship Circle Alerts, 4/13/09

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – KinshipCirclePrimary [at] accessus.net
Date: Mon, Apr 13, 2009 at 9:31 PM
Subject: We Are Their Hope [Friends Of Kinship Circle, 4/13/09]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

4/13/09: We Are Their Hope
http://friendsofkinshipcircle.wordpress.com

* KINSHIP CIRCLE DOES NOT WRITE OR RESEARCH THESE ALERTS.
* QUESTIONS? CONTACT ALERT WRITERS. PLEASE DO NOT HIT REPLY.

IN THIS ALERT:

1. Recent Kinship Circle Alerts Are A Click Away
2. Pound Seizure & Humane Euthanasia
3. Save Stu – Wrongfully Impounded Since 9/15/05
4. New England Animal Rights Workshop 6/13/09
5. Party To End Puppy Mills On 4/19/09
6. Urge Portugal City To Become Anti-Bullfighting
7. We Are Their Hope: World Lab Animal Liberation Week
8. Vegans Take On The “3 Peaks” Challenge

(More below the fold…)

On mares, wet nurses and shared exploitations.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Photo via ImaginaryGirl

A few weeks ago, Jennie at That Vegan Girl wrote about a little-known practice of the horse racing industry in which genetically “undesirable” mares are made into “nurses” for the offspring of “thoroughbred” mares and stallions. When “prize” mares are prevented from nursing their foals themselves, they’re of more use to breeders, as they can be impregnated sooner. More babies = more product = more money. And it’s always about maximum profit, right?

In addition to severing the mother-child bond between the “prize” mare and her foal, this practice has even graver consequences for the “nurse” mare and her child. Remember – in order to produce milk, females must first produce a baby. So what happens to the “nurse” mare’s foal, the one for whom the “nurse” mare’s milk is actually intended?

Jennie explains:

The Jockey Club, which is the official governing body of Thoroughbred racing (the kind you see in the Kentucky Derby) does not allow embryo transfer or artificial insemination of horses. In order to have a baby every year, a mare must be re-bred directly after foaling, which means that she must be shipped to the stallion for breeding directly after having her own baby. It’s a process that usually takes three to four weeks in whole, and the foal is too delicate (and valuable!) to travel with his mother. Plus, if she nurses her own foal, she’s not going to come back into heat and thus cannot conceive. Since her whole purpose is to give the breeder potentially valuable offspring, she must be rebred, and since she cannot nurse her own foal and fulfill her “purpose”, a “nurse mare” is brought in.

In order to give milk, female animals generally need to be pregnant and have given birth (the oxytocin secreted during birth allows lactation to begin). In the “nurse mare” industry, like the dairy industry, the newborn foals become the byproducts of milk production. The nurse mares are generally horses of “lower quality” who are otherwise healthy and good milk producers. They are bred to inexpensive stallions for the sole purpose of being able to provide milk to the potential racehorse foals. But wait, you ask… what about their own foals? If you’re unfamiliar with horses, you might think she, like a human wetnurse, gets to nurse both her baby and the other mare’s baby. That doesn’t seem so bad, you might think. Not bad enough to provoke yet another horse “sport” related rant at least. However, if you are familiar with horses, you know that mares rarely produce enough milk to support two foals (one reason why twins are such a problem) and that you’d have to give the mare a substantial amount more feed and that the whole process would require extra attention, extra money. Since the point is to make the “valuable” foal grow up strong and healthy, and the extra foal has no “value”, there’s no chance that the mare’s real baby will get a share of her milk anyway, so what then?

Traditionally, these foals are killed.

That’s right. Like dairy calves, these sentient “byproducts” are killed because they’re not worth keeping alive. It’s not that you couldn’t. You could (and rescues do) keep them alive on formula. However, on large farms, there tend to be a large number and these farms are concerned not with life, but with their bottom line. It is time consuming and not cheap, per say, to do. So they kill them. Why? On the off chance that the foal that their mother nurses will fetch money at auction or win on the track or become a superstar stud (25% chance he will, 75% chance he’ll go to slaughter too). Because their mothers’ are more valuable pregnant than being able to properly bond with their children.

(By the by, this is but a small part of Jennie’s post; you should go read the entire piece, because it’s excellent. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you get back!)

(More below the fold…)

SHARK: Keep the pressure on Coca-Cola

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Update, 5/11/09:

In an email dated May 5, 2009, SHARK updates us on its campaign against Coke:

Coca-Cola’s Feeling the Heat

Keep Pressuring Coke About Sponsoring Animal Abuse

Thank you to everyone who has contacted Coke about its sponsorship of rodeo animal abuse. We appreciate all the responses you have been sending us from the Company.

Under intense pressure the Company is now issuing yet another form letter response. In bold is the relevant change.

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company, Mrs. Hunter. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Like you, The Coca-Cola Company cares about the welfare of animals and supports their proper treatment. That is why the Company and our U.S. bottling will not sponsor events or attractions that feature animals unless the event organizers have policies and procedures in place to support the humane treatment of animals and provide ready access to quality veterinary care to protect the animals’ health and safety. Additionally, the Company’s trademarks may not be used to promote an event or an attraction that violates local, state or national laws or is contrary to the Company’s policy and guidelines.

We hope we have addressed your concerns. If you have questions or comments in the future, feel free to contact us again.

Tom Barber
Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

Coke has a policy in effect that says:

“The Coca-Cola Company does not endorse or condone any practice of cruelty to animals, and the Company does not sponsor or promote events where there is a risk of physical harm to animals.”

Clearly, rodeos violate that policy.

They should have no presence in rodeos.

No matter how many times you have already contacted Coke, please contact them again. We have to remind them of their policy, and we have to keep discrediting their claims and exposing them. It is your calls, letters and e-mails that has them dancing around this issue.

Please let them know that you will not buy their products until they stop supporting animal abuse and will encourage others to do the same.

What You Can Do:

You can help the animals by sharing your thoughts about Coke’s insensitivity with the company’s CEO and President:

Muhtar Kent
President and CEO
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301
Phone: 770-989-3000
Toll Free: (800) 438-2653 (Get-Coke)

Please also send a separate letter to the same address to the Board of Directors at Coca-Cola.

Email Coke on their web form by clicking here.

Email Coca-Cola’s Corporate Responsibility Review directly at crreview [at] na.ko.com

Please forward any response you may receive from Coke to us at info [at] sharkonline.org, so we can keep track of what corporate lie(s) they are handing out at any given moment.

——————-

Excerpted from the latest edition of SHARK’s enewsletter:

SHARK wants to give a giant Thank You to everyone who took the time to contact Coca-Cola. We know that our letters and phone calls are having an effect. Coca-Cola is responding to our emails by sticking to their ridiculous story that they don’t support rodeo, but bizarrely, they then go into a lengthy defense of rodeo. We believe that this shows that Coca-Cola is feeling the pressure.

We are going to ask you to call Coke again and keep calling Coke this year until they withdraw their support of animal abuse and cruelty. A message needs to be sent to the corporate sponsors of animal cruelty that sponsoring animal cruelty will not be tolerated. PLEASE CONTACT Coca-Cola again or if you haven’t told them how you feel yet, please do so today! We need your support on this issue.

We also have one correction to make: E. Neville Isdell’s proper title is Chairman of the Board and Coca-Cola’s CEO is Muhtar Kent.

Please crosspost to everyone you know and to other organizations.

For more information visit: CokeCruelty.com

Contact Coke Today!

Call Toll Free (800) 438-2653 (GET-COKE)

Email Coke on their web form by clicking here: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/contactus/cokefeedback/index.html

Email Coca-Cola’s Corporate Responsibility Review directly at crreview[at] na.ko.com

Snail Mail:
Muhtar Kent, President & CEO
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301-1734

E. Neville Isdell, Chairman of the Board
The Coca-Cola Company
P.O. Box 1734
Atlanta, GA 30301-1734

Please also send a separate letter to the same address to the Board of Directors at Coca-Cola.

Please forward any response you may receive from Coke to us at info [at] sharkonline.org, so we can keep track of what corporate lie(s) they are handing out at any given moment.

SHARK offers proof of Coke’s rodeo love on their website, including this banner from the 2007 CFD Rodeo.

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If you’re going to endorse cruelty, the least you can do is have the backbone to stand behind your decision. If it’s such a PR nightmare that you’ve got to deny the sponsorship, then here’s an idea – withdraw your support!

(More below the fold…)

Horizontal Women, Redux

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

This is extent of interaction allowed between piglets and their mothers “living” on modern factory farms:

(More below the fold…)

The not-so-curious case of Santino the chimpanzee.

Friday, March 13th, 2009

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Santino the chimp with a stone in his hand. Photograph: PA

Many of you have no doubt already heard the story of Santino, a chimpanzee being held captive in a Swedish zoo who, in gathering rocks to throw at visitors to the zoo/prison, evidenced abstract thinking and planning for the future.

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A canny chimpanzee who calmly collected a stash of rocks and then hurled them at zoo visitors in fits of rage has confirmed that apes can plan ahead just like humans, a Swedish study said Monday. Santino the chimpanzee’s anti-social behavior stunned both visitors and keepers at the Furuvik Zoo but fascinated researchers because it was so carefully prepared.

According to a report in the journal Current Biology, the 31-year-old alpha male started building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened, collecting rocks and knocking out disks from concrete boulders inside his enclosure. He waited until around midday before he unleashed a “hailstorm” of rocks against visitors, the study said.

“These observations convincingly show that our fellow apes do consider the future in a very complex way,” said the author of the report, Lund University Ph.D. student Mathias Osvath. “It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including lifelike mental simulations of potential events.” […]

Osvath said the chimpanzee had also been observed tapping on concrete boulders in the park to identify weak parts and then knocking out a piece. If it was too big for throwing, he broke it into smaller pieces, before adding them to his arsenal.

“It is very special that he first realizes that he can make these and then plans on how to use them,” Osvath said. “This is more complex than what has been showed before.” […]

For a while, zoo keepers tried locking Santino up in the morning so he couldn’t collect ammunition for his assaults, but he remained aggressive. They ultimately decided to castrate him in the autumn last year, but will have to wait until the summer to see if that helps. The chimpanzees are only kept outdoors between April and October and Santino’s special behavior usually occurs in June and July.

“It is normal behavior for alpha males to want to influence their surroundings … It is extremely frustrating for him that there are people out of his reach who are pointing at him and laughing,” Osvath said. “It cannot be good to be so furious all the time.”

I’ll try to not rehash what others have said, but if I may, a few points:

I’ve noticed that a disturbing number of news articles refer to Santino as “belligerent,” “anti-social,” and the like. His behavior is characterized as unreasonably antagonistic and hostile, as if it’s wholly unprovoked. On the contrary; Santino’s actions are defensive, not offensive. How would you respond if, day in and day out, naked apes invaded your space, gawked, laughed and pointed at you, and occasionally even assaulted your person, both verbally and physically? (Anyone who’s taken even the occasional trip to a zoo has witnessed humans – adults and children alike – harass the animals, usually with words and noises, but also with improvised weapons.) Probably you wouldn’t like it. Probably you’d become fed up and eventually lash out. Santino is 31 years old; though I’ve no clue how long he’s been held captive in a zoo, probably it’s been years – possibly, decades. How would you handle 31 years of captivity and slow torture?

In regards to the zoo keepers’ efforts to control Santino’s “belligerent” behavior by castrating the poor bloke, I say this: isn’t the obvious answer to remove him from the gorram display? That’s the real issue at play here, not his aggression or excessive levels of testosterone.

And also: humans often invoke our superior intellect – whether this is defined as a sense of self, ability to plan for the future, ability to craft and use tools, what have you – as an ethical justification for our exploitation and enslavement of non-human animals. So what do we do when a non-human animal exhibits human-like intelligence? Why, we (try to) castrate it out of him, of course! Can’t have a dirty, filthy ape acting like a person now, can we? Oh, the irony.

I can only hope that Brother Kwan – another forward-thinking primate – escaped his captors after his own attempt at freedom. Brother, described only as “a monkey,” killed his abusive owner by throwing a coconut at the man’s head. Slave owner Leilit Janchoom died instantly.

Perchance Brother Kawn will make an appearance on a future segment of TCR’s “Monkey on the Lam“?

(More below the fold…)

NEAVS: Great Ape Protection Act Update 3/11/2009

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Release Chimps – releasechimps [at] neavs.org
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Subject: Great Ape Protection Act Update 3/11/2009

Release and Restitution for Chimpanzees in U.S. Laboratories: Legislative Update 3/11/2009

Great Ape Protection Act Continues to Gain Bipartisan Support

Three things YOU can do right now to help!

The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) is currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. As of today, the bill has the support of 28 cosponsors including all the original sponsors. It is vital we continue to work hard to add even more cosponsors to ensure the bill’s success.

1. If you have not already done so in 2009, contact your legislator and ask them to sign onto the Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 1326) as a cosponsor, or, if they already have in 2009, please thank them. Then ask at least three of your friends or family to contact their legislators too! Email us for legislator postcards to help make contacting them fast and easy (releasechimps [at] neavs.org).

2. Please contact the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and let them know that you no longer want your tax dollars going towards research on great apes. Tell them you want funding allocated to:

* Retire chimpanzees currently in U.S. labs to sanctuary.
* Alternatives which are not only more humane but are safer and better science.

3. Recently there has been important media coverage (ABC’s Nightline) on primates in research. As a result, thousands of comments are being posted on social networking sites such as Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. Please add your voice to this debate with positive, informative and reasonable comments to help educate the public.

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SDAC ALERT: Save Iditarod dogs from brutality – Write to Sponsors

Monday, March 9th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: – SledDogAC [at] aol.com
Date: Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 11:12 AM
Subject: ALERT: Save Iditarod dogs from brutality – WRITE
To: SledDogAC [at] aol.com

Please send protest emails and forward this alert widely.

From the Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org

Imagine the cruelties these cute sled dog pups will eventually experience in the Iditarod.

Contact information, email blocks and sample letter are below.

Please help end the barbaric treatment of dogs by sending protest emails to organizations that support the Iditarod. What happens to the dogs during the Iditarod includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains.

Dog beatings and whippings are common. During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, “A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective.” “It is a common training device in use among dog mushers…”

Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Mushers breed large numbers of dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason are killed with a shot to the head, dragged, drowned or clubbed to death.

When they’re not hauling people, most Iditarod dogs are forced to live at the end of a chain. It has been reported that dogs who don’t make the main team are never taken off-chain. Chained dogs have been attacked by wolves, bears and other animals. Old and arthritic dogs suffer terrible pain in the blistering cold.

Most Internet service providers allow people to send up to 40 email addresses at a time. For your convenience, the addresses have been divided into groups of 40. Please email the first group first. Individual email addresses are given under the sample letter. The groups contain addresses for the Iditarod sponsors, promoters, and the sponsors of the 73 mushers who signed up for the 2009 Iditarod. Email blocks with semicolons are on
http://www.helpsleddogsorg/sponsors.htm .

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Kinship Circle: Friends of Kinship Circle Alerts, March 2009

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 1:59 PM
Subject: Greyhounds, Fur, Rodeo Shock, Cats Skinned… [Friends Of Kinship Circle]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE / PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST
http://friendsofkinshipcircle.wordpress.com/

* KINSHIP CIRCLE DOES NOT WRITE OR RESEARCH THESE ALERTS.
* WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VALIDITY OF FRIENDS OF KC ALERTS.
* CONTACT ALERT WRITERS. PLEASE DO NOT HIT REPLY. We will not respond.

1. Trouble For Greyhounds in South Africa
2. Jamaica Wants Greyhound Races Too
3. Jason Wu Puts Aside Fur, For Now
4. Tucson Rodeo Shocks Horses
5. Guandong – Cats Skinned And Boiled Alive
6. Fight Horse Slaughter State By State
7. Prosecute Bird Killers In Florida
8. Ask For End To NYC Horse Carriages
9. World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week

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SHARK: Tucson Rodeo – Will They Shock Horses This Year?

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

The following is excerpted from the most recent edition of SHARK’s newsletter.

—————————

Tucson Rodeo – Will They Shock Horses This Year? Or Will They Join Other Rodeos and Ban Shocking?

In 2008, SHARK exposed the Tucson Rodeo for shocking horses with 5,000 – 6,000 volts of painful electricity to make them perform.

SHARK filed a complaint requesting a criminal investigation and charges against those responsible, that was filed with the Arizona Department of Agriculture – Animal Services Division.

SHARK received great media coverage of this issue helping to educate many in Arizona about rodeo animal abuse.

In advance of the upcoming rodeo this year, SHARK has sent out two press releases (see below) to the media, the City Council and the Mayor of Tucson requesting their attention and action on this issue.

What You Can Do:

Contact the Mayor and City Council Members and request a ban on shocking the animals in the rodeo like many other rodeos in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, etc.

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Veg*n Videos: Blinders, Pit Bull Hysteria & the Chicken Justice League

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

My tubes are clogged with veg*n videos, so rather than post each separately, behold this handy dandy video roundup!

Via Mary at Animal Person, Blinders: The Movie is now available online, in its entirety. I’m fairly certain it’s the full documentary, anyway; with a running time of 50 minutes, I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the whole film. Tonight, maybe, while the Mr. records his podcast.
 


 
Mary urges us to watch and circulate the video; please do!

Next up: those charlatans at the Humane Society of the United States. Even as they profit off the publicity that comes from their admirable dogfighting raids and rescues,
 


 
the HSUS actively campaigns to have these rescued dogs murdered. What a warped idea of “rescue,” eh?

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The Guam greyhounds & "free to good home" ads.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

This morning, Mary at Animal Person blogged about the closing of the Guam Greyhound Park, a racetrack which was “home” to about 250 greyhounds. Animal rescue groups were not consulted beforehand or involved in initial efforts to place the greyhounds; instead, the owners/management of the Guam Greyhound Park simply gave the dogs away, for free, to anyone willing to take them.

From www.guamgreyhounds.org:

On November 7, 2008 the 32 year old Guam Greyhound Park, with approximately 250 greyhounds at the racetrack, abruptly closed. The closing was in response to the results of a failed initiative on the November 4 ballot which would have permitted casino style gambling on the racetrack property. John Baldwin, owner of the racetrack, who had tried to get similar initiatives passed three times in the past six years, claimed the racetrack was losing $100,000 a month.

On November 24,the Guam Greyhound Park started a public giveaway of 150 of the racetrack’s greyhounds. Dogs were given away free to anyone who came to the track. None of the greyhounds were spayed or neutered. No record was kept of who got the greyhounds, how many each person took and no legal transfer of title was made. Obviously, no standard adoption process was in place: no home check and no information about greyhound behavior or care.

It has been reported that many people took the free greyhounds believing they would make good guard dogs. Some of the islands dog fighting “fans” took greyhounds to bait fighting dogs or to breed, thinking it would make the fighting dogs faster or quicker. It didn’t take long for the greyhounds to show up stray or in very bad circumstances. The following updates from Guam Animals In Need (GAIN) volunteers, Dave and Noni Davis, tells a vivid story of this immense tragedy. GAIN (the only animal rescue on the island) has now found these giveway greyhounds starved and even dead.

GAIN’s stories of trying to rescue these discarded dogs are striking:

We received a call from a passerby about two dogs tied to a boat in Umatac – down at the very southern part of the island. I spoke to the owner and he said he got them from the race track in the first week when they started giving them away. He took a male and female to breed them for later on and also to guard his fishing boat. They were both emaciated and when I questioned him about feeding them, he said he didn’t know how to care for them anymore, because they wouldn’t eat what he gave them. With some friendly persuasion I convinced him to sign them both over to GAIN. He wanted to be assured that we won’t use them to race and then ” make money out of them”. I informed him that they are now officially retired and will never race again.

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Delivering her from the "happiest place on earth."

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Over at Change .org, Stephanie looks at some of the rank sexism and speciesism – both of which are played for laughs, natch – found in last night’s Super Bowl ads. We’re talking chimps in suits, simulated animal abuse, “exotic” “pets” and nagging, insufferable potato-headed women – and that’s just for starters. (For more feminist analysis, see Feministe and geekdad at Wired.)

Instead of adding to the pile – which is too easy, really – I’d like to single out a commercial that actually made me blub-smile: Budweiser’s Clydesdales / Circus ad:
 


 
In the ad, a dilapidated, run-down traveling circus sets up camp next to a pristine, idyllic pasture. Over a white picket fence, the eyes of two horses meet – love at first sight. On one side of divide is Daisy, the circus’s “show” horse; on the other, our hero Romeo, a [Budweiser] Clydesdale. The two horses run to one other – in cinematic slow motion – and embrace. Daisy and Romeo’s loving gazes and sweet nuzzles are rudely interrupted by the circus owner, who hauls poor Daisy off into a creaky old trailer, promptly kidnapping her off into the sunset, away from the distraught Romeo.

Set to strains of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Romeo sets out in search of his love, traversing meadows, rivers, cliffs – even golf courses and city streets thick with traffic. Once Romeo catches up to the circus, he bursts into the tent in which Daisy is performing. The circus owner catches Romeo’s eye and knows what’s coming; Daisy bucks her rider, and she and Romeo escape together, ripping through the canvas of the tent for extra-dramatic effect.

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Kinship Circle: Save Iditarod Dogs

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 27, 2009 1:38 PM
Subject: Save Iditarod Dogs [FRIENDS OF KC ALERT]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

Kinship Circle does not write/research these alerts. We’re not responsible for their accuracy. Please do NOT hit reply! Contact alert-writers directly.

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE ALERT
1/27/09: Save Iditarod Dogs From Brutality
WRITE To Sponsors & Supporters

SOURCE / REPLY TO:

FOR QUESTIONS, CONTACT: SledDogAC [at] aol.com
Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org

Kinship Circle - 2009-01-27 - Save Iditarod Dogs

Imagine the cruelties these sled dog pups will experience in the Iditarod…Death, paralysis, frostbite, bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains… Please help end the barbaric treatment of dogs by sending protest emails to organizations that support the Iditarod.

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"Rodeo Cowboy Criminals": A SHARK Documentary Series

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Zeb Lanham, a “bull rider” who pled guilty to felony domestic violence for beating his pregnant girlfriend last November. Among other injuries, he left her with a broken cheekbone, which was placing pressure on her brain. I also highlighted 16 additional cases of interpersonal violence and/or animal abuse (above and beyond the cruelty-as-entertainment regularly found in rodeos), committed by those involved in the rodeo and associated businesses, which I pulled from SHARK’s website. Criminal acts perpetrated by “cowboys” are so common that SHARK has even devoted a section of their website to detailing these cases: CowboyCriminals.com

SHARK has begun collecting these stories in a series of short video documentaries, “Rodeo Cowboy Criminals”. They expect to produce at least a dozen such installments, linking the cruelty committed in the ring with the violence these career animal abusers carry into their personal lives. Such interpersonal violence includes assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape and murder. And animal abuse and environmental injustices, naturally.

Here’s Part 1, along with a description of the video from their latest newsletter. (The video runs 7 1/2 minutes and includes some images of animal cruelty.)

SHARK has posted the first of a long series of videos that will expose a deeper, darker corner of the Rodeo Mafia than ever before. The video is “Rodeo Cowboy Criminals, Part 1.”

Based on the records of rodeo connected criminals already in our possession, the series is likely to run a dozen or more video exposes’. The crimes range from animal abuse to child abuse, to racial crimes to rape and murder. This is a grisly job, but someone has to do it.

Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of these Cowboy Criminals is that many of them are still involved in and embraced by the rodeo industry.

“Rodeo Cowboy Criminals, Part 1” looks at three dastardly criminals. Zeb Lanham we reported on in our last update. Lanham beat his pregnant girlfriend so badly that she had to be airlifted to adequate medical care. Larry Lancaster is a child sexual predator, which is of course sickening and repulsive all by itself. Worse yet, Lancaster ran a rodeo school and was a sponsor of high school rodeo! Jimmy David Brazile is also a child predator. This sixty year old predator repeatedly had sex with a sixteen year-old girl, and then had the incredible nerve to tell the girl’s father that he had sex with the girl to show her that it wasn’t a big deal!

SHARK’s “Rodeo Cowboy Criminals” series will show the link between those who abuse animals and human abuse. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look at this important new effort to expose the cruelty of rodeo.

I’m thrilled that SHARK is making the connections – between interpersonal violence and animal abuse, between the oppression of humans and that of non-human animals, and between misogyny, racism and speciesism. These are not isolated incidents of hate and violence; rather, they’re all part of the same fabric of oppression, privilege and othering. We need to keep connecting these dots.

You can follow SHARK’s progress on their You Tube channel, and send them an appreciative email (or support their work with a donation) here.

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Liam Neeson is a Fooking Wanker

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Liam Neeson was on The Daily Show Thursday in order to promote his latest movie, Taken (which – and it pains me to admit this after sitting through his idiocy – doesn’t look half bad). In case you hadn’t heard, Neeson recently penned a letter to the New York City (City?) Council in opposition to recent legislation which would ban the horse carriage “biz” in NYC.*

Host Jon Stewart begins the interview by asking about Neeson’s efforts to “save” New York City’s carriage horses. By “save,” I mean continue to enslave and exploit. It’s tradition, dontchaknow!

Cue the stupid:
 

 
While I’ve enjoyed TDS off and on for years, I’ve always found Stewart’s interview skills to be, shall we say, somewhat lacking. And yet, with only a minimal grasp of the issues – and playing the most amiable Devil’s Advocate ever – Jon p0wns Liam. He offers up the rather commonsense observation that the horses would probably be happier in a more pastoral setting (as opposed to the stables next to his studio), where they’d be able to roam free without worrying about dodging NYC traffic. How about we build a home for the horses in Central Park, where citizens can “enjoy” them in a more natural environment, he suggests? A nice “compromise,” no?

In response, Neeson insists that the horses are treated well, blah blah blah, it would be irresponsible to lay off 400 workers while the economy’s in the toilet, yada yada yada, insert your standard appeals to tradition here, and – here’s the kicker – the horses actually prefer working a 9 to 5 job and spending all their off time confined to tiny little prison cells! They’ve been bred over thousands of years to love the city life! They get holidays off, yo! Hey, those stables are so clean and warm and comfy, I’d even live there, Neeson cries with glee.

Honestly, he comes off as borderline batshit.

Post-interview, Jon works in a nice little stab at Neeson’s expense. It’s not on the Moment of Zen video clip (damn you, Stewart!), but it involves a joke about Monday’s guest, Jimmy Carter, who’ll be coming out in favor of horse meat sandwiches.

* When it’s you vs. Alec Baldwin, and Alec Baldwin looks like the sane, kind, compassionate party in the dispute…well, that’s not a good sign, brother.

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Puppy/Pachy Love

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Hat tip to my lil’ sis, who sent me a link to this video the other day.

CBS News reports on “The Animal Odd Couple”:

The so-called “odd couple” in this story is Tarra (an elephant) and Bella (a dog), both residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

I say “so-called” because interspecies friendships aren’t exactly unheard of; heck, according to the AVMA, 43,021,000 American households “own” dogs, 37,460,000 “own” cats, 4,453,000 “own” birds and 2,087,000 “own” horses. While many of these relationships are more akin to that of master/slave, these numbers still allow for quite a few cross-species friendships between human and non-human animals. Personally, I count Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee and Jayne among my bestest of friends.

Oh, but wait! In common parlance, humans aren’t considered “animals” – so interspecies friendships in which one half of the pair is human doesn’t register as an “odd” “animal” couple. Well, allow me to deconstruct further.

When 37.2% of U.S. households include at least one dog, and 32.4% include one or more cats, there’s bound to be some crossover. Interspecies friendships, in fact, aren’t as uncommon as you might think, human-animal relationships aside. Just Google “interspecies friendships” and you’ll get an idea of how rich and social the lives of non-human animals can be, especially when lived without human interference (such as isolating them from other non-human animals).

Of course, pachyderm/canine relationships are still somewhat odd, inasmuch as domesticated dogs and elephants don’t normally come into contact with one another. But you get my drift, yeah? – Namely, just because we (as in, the collective “we”) don’t take the time or effort to recognize the complexity of a species’ needs, desires and interactions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

We simply choose not to see the “humanizing” characteristics in non-human animals:

Because Dog forbid we recognize how closely animal sentience mirrors our own.

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