Animal Rights Collective Blog

Gulf Coast Disaster: BP’s Wildlife Victims by christine

Are BP’s Wildlife Victims Better Off Dead? (!!!)

by Stephanie Feldstein | June 09, 2010

Silvia Gaus, a biologist at Germany’s Wattenmeer National Park, says the oil-covered birds in the Gulf of Mexico should be killed, not cleaned.

It can take up to four people and 300 gallons of water, plus a lot of Dawn dish soap and dedicated volunteers to rehabilitate and release one bird. After the Exxon Valdez spill, it cost nearly $32,000 per bird to send them home. And, according to Gaus, all that effort still leads to a near certain and painful death for the animals.

When oiled wildlife is rescued, it’s the proverbial race against time. Some of the animals will have already ingested too much oil, and no amount of Pepto Bismol (force-fed to oil-covered animals to protect their stomachs) can save them. For others, the stress of the cleanup operation will prove fatal. If they make it through the rehabilitation, many of them will die within a few days of being released into the wild, often from kidney and liver damage. The trauma of oil exposure may also alter their behavior and reproduction, which will impact their chances of survival. According to Gaus, studies show that the middle-term survival rate of oiled birds is less than one percent.

So, why bother?

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network answers that question by taking a look at mortality, long-term value to the species, and cost. They say, depending on the spill, they’re able to release 50-75 percent of live animals rescued from the oil back into natural habitats.

As for what happens next, they admit survival rates are low, but they don’t have quite as much faith in the stats as Gaus. Animals seem to be faring better than previous studies have shown, but overall, post-release survival is “a critical knowledge gap in understanding the overall effects of oil in wildlife.” That’s part of the reason why we need to keep trying — we’ll never improve survival rates if we rush to kill the animals instead of finding out what might save them. And the animal care protocols for organizations like OWCN include ongoing monitoring and intensive medical management of released wildlife to help prevent those painful post-release deaths.

Some argue that we should only expend these kinds of resources on threatened or endangered species impacted by oil, like the Louisiana brown pelican, who was just removed from the endangered species list in November. The BP oil spill has put the birds at risk of making back onto the list in less than a year. In theory, rescuers could focus all of their energy on the brown pelicans, and similarly threatened species. In reality, all of the animals are collected anyway, and every one of them provides the opportunity for training, research and, most importantly, saving a life.

But $32,000 per bird? It’s a lot of money, but in the Exxon Valdez cleanup, wildlife recovery and rehabilitation accounted for less than five percent of the total cost of the oil spill response. So, when you’re looking at the big picture, wildlife rescue costs are not the problem in the wake of an oil disaster.

While it’s impossible to put a price tag on what the life of one animal means for its species or the ecosystem, cleaning wildlife is undoubtedly a better use of money than BP’s $50 million in TV ads to clean up their image.

Photo Credit: AP Photographer Charlie Riedel filed the following images of Brown Pelicans and other seabirds caught in the oil slick on a beach on Louisiana’s East Grand Terre Island, June 3 2010. See more images.

Learn More:

BP Tries to Block Photos of Dead Wildlife

Why Ken Salazar Should Take the Fall for the Oil Spill

Official oil spill estimate doubles to 20,000-40,000 barrels per day

Ohio Dairy Farm Cruelty by christine

Mercy for Animals recently released footage from their undercover investigation of a dairy farm in Ohio. From April to May, they documented the cruel and sadistic abuse of dairy cows by farm workers at Conklin Farms in Plain City.

Documented abuses during the 4-week period:

  • Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears
  • Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
  • Kicking “downed” cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck – abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm’s owner
  • Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars – some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
  • Twisting cows’ tails until the bones snapped
  • Punching cows’ udders
  • Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death

Geoff Ball, DVM

“This has to be the most shocking and malicious video of animal cruelty that I have seen … There is no need to explain how the actions shown are unusually cruel and [show] amazing levels of stress and neglect unto these animals.

“In many cases the attacks seem to be made just for the sake of causing pain. The [workers] shown should be viewed as a threat to all species of animals and should be investigated as far as [their] potential to strike the same sort of suffering on humans as well. This footage should be seen as a red flag for child, spousal and other forms of violence.”

Gene Baur, President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary

“This video should be an eye-opener to anyone still unsure of what all the fuss is about concerning the treatment of farm animals in Ohio. The cruel and violent behavior depicted in the video is indicative of an attitude that sees farm animals as mere production units, rather than as living, feeling animals. Undercover investigations at farms in Ohio and elsewhere routinely turn up instances of systemic cruelty.

Bad has become normal on today’s farms … The cruelty and violent behavior that is now common on farms where animals are seen as commodities is outside the boundaries of acceptable conduct in our society.”

Sign the petition to shut down Conklin Dairy Farms and to charge Gary Conklin!

Learn More:

Although many of the abuses documented at Conklin Dairy Farms are sadistic in nature, numerous undercover investigations at dairy farmspig farmsegg farmshatcheries and slaughterhouses have revealed that violence and abuse to farmed animals – whether malicious or institutionalized – runs rampant nationwide. Compassionate consumers can end their direct financial support of farmed animal abuse by rejecting dairy, and other animal products, and adopting a vegan diet.

Mercy for Animals: Ohio Dairy Farm Investigation

How Does Drinking Milk Hurt Cows?

Whale Wars! Tonight at 9pm by christine
June 4, 2010, 3:37 pm
Filed under: AR News, Video | Tags: , ,

Season 3 of “Whale Wars” starts tonight at 9pm on Animal Planet! Watch members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society fearlessly put their lives on the line as they struggle to end Japanese whaling.

This year, the Japanese whaling fleet is targeting 935 piked (Minke) whales and another 50 fin whales, and has threatened to add humpbacks to their quota as well. The hunt is carried out in contravention to the 1986 international moratorium against whaling. Japan claims to be conducting lethal research but they openly sell the whale meat on the commercial market.

Click the logo above to learn more about Sea Shepherd.

Australia to sue Japan over whaling

Published: Friday May 28, 2010

Australia said Friday it would begin legal action next week to stop Japan killing hundreds of whales a year in the name of scientific research, prompting immediate condemnation from Tokyo.

Officials said they would lodge documents with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague “early next week”, abandoning diplomacy after repeated threats to sue.

“We want to see an end to whales being killed in the name of science in the Southern Ocean,” said Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett.

“Today’s announcement of legal action shows the government is taking steps to bring a permanent end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.”

Japanese Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu called the announcement “very disappointing”, adding that Japan’s “research” was approved under the rules of an international moratorium on commercial whaling.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the government had been unable to find a diplomatic solution to the problem, despite protracted talks and debate within the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

“The Australian government has not taken this decision lightly,” said Smith.

“But recent statements by whaling countries in the commission have provided Australia with little cause for hope that our serious commitment to conservation of the world’s whales will be reflected in any potential IWC compromise agreement,” he added.

Smith denied the action would affect relations with Japan, one of Australia’s top two export markets, describing it as “a disagreement in one element of a relationship that is deep, broad and multi-dimensional”.

New Zealand said it was also considering a case against Japan in the ICJ, with Foreign Minister Murray McCully promising a decision “in the next few weeks”.

Read more…