Animal Rights Collective Blog


Student Government Supports Student Protests of Ringling’s Animal Abuses by Jason Von Kundra

Student Government Supports Student Protests of Ringling’s Animal Abuses

BREAKING: A few hours ago student government passed “a resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University.” The resolution cites multiple cases of animal abuses by Ringling. In 2010 alone the Ringling Brothers had numerous citations from the USDA for failures to comply with the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to maintain adequate veterinary care in two separate elephant cases and failure to control an elephant while in public.

Animal Rights Collective members spoke in front of the Student Senate of George Mason University explaining the issue and student opposition to Ringling on behalf of the collective. After a long discussion, the mostly supportive senators passed the resolution.

This is a major victory of the Mason students that have been standing up against animal abuse over the years. A petition was presented to student government with 1,667 student signatures calling for a ban on animal circuses at George Mason. You may add your name to the petition here. We plan to deliver the petition to the GMU administration in the upcoming weeks. We are currently gathering more support and raising awareness about the issue as the ‘Cruelest Show on Earth’ continues at the Patriot Center. Full protest schedule is here.

Senator Jordan and our other allies in student government are true champions in getting the resolution passed and supporting our efforts. They have stood up for what is just and right. “Animal abuse is not entertainment,” Jordan explained to the student senate before the resolution went to a vote. The resolution passed by a majority.

The student petition and the Animal Rights Collective is calling for a ban on animal circuses at George Mason. Considering that many countries are working to end the use of animals as entertainment, banning an animal circuses on campus is possible. Bolivia was the first nation to ban animal circuses, with China being second, and three councils in Australia have banned exotic animal use. The UK is currently considering a ban as well with the release of undercover footage of an Asian elephant being chained 24 hours a day and repeatedly beaten by a staff member. The parliaments of both Brazil and Peru are also considering similar bans. We can bring a ban to Mason and as Jordan advocates, “support animal-free circuses that celebrate human achievement” rather than animal domination.

You can read Resolution 23, the resolution in support of students protesting Ringling, below or check the student government website where the resolution will soon be uploaded.

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A Resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University

R. 23

 

31st Student Senate

2nd Session

R. 23

A Resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University

IN THE STUDENT SENATE OF

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

April 14, 2011

 

Submitted by Chairman Jordan (Diversity)

RESOLUTION 23

A Resolution in support of student protests to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George mason University

Be it resolved that the Student Senate of George Mason University-

Whereas, there are numerous documented cases of animals dying due to lack of veterinary care

Whereas, many animals have died due to poor containment facilities,

Whereas, there are numerous documented cases of unsanitary feeding conditions,

Whereas, of the circus’s 62 elephants, 57 have been taken from their natural habitat,

Whereas, the type of elephant used in the Ringling Brother circus performances are endangered and are subject of numerous cases of mistreatment,

Whereas, the protesters do not wish George Mason University to profit from animal abuse

Therefore be it Resolved, That the Student Senate of George Mason University supports the efforts of student protesters of the Ringling Brothers Circus at the George Mason University Patriot Center



NASA to Radiate Squirrel Monkeys by christine

NASA will be exposing 18 to 28 squirrel monkeys to low doses of radiation to understand the effects of long distance space travel.

With NASA’s conference in DC this week, we have to mention…

NASA’s Plan to Radiate Squirrel Monkeys

For the first time in decades NASA is stepping up its space radiation program to use monkeys as the subjects of its studies.  NASA will expose 18 to 28 Squirrel monkeys to radiation and periodically test them to gauge how exposure affects performance in a variety of learned tasks. This research will violate NASA’s own stated principles regarding animal ethics. According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), “that policy, established in 1996, asserts that ‘the minimization of distress, pain and suffering is a moral imperative’ and emphasizes that experimenters must weigh the burdens of animal subjects against potential societal benefits.”

from PETA

NASA has recently announced a shocking plan to spend $1.75 million of taxpayer money to fund an experiment in which up to 30 squirrel monkeys will be blasted with a massive dose of radiation equivalent to what a human would experience during three years in outer space. These monkeys will then live the rest of their lives in cages and be forced to endure years of behavioral tests to measure the inevitable devastation that the radiation causes to their brains and bodies, which would likely include brain damage, skin inflammation, blindness, various types of cancer, including brain tumors, and premature death.

Like all animal experiments, physiological and anatomical differences between species make it impossible to generate data that can be reliably applied to humans. And the large single dose of radiation that the monkeys will be exposed to in a matter of minutes is nothing like the low levels of radiation that human astronauts would be exposed to over extended periods of time in space. The only guarantee that comes with these experiments is that sensitive and intelligent monkeys will be caused immeasurable harm.

from Animal-rights activists vs. NASA over plan to radiate monkeys

Science Takes a Giant Leap Backward

Kathleen Conlee, director of program management for animal research at the Humane Society, worked with monkeys used in radiation experiments. She said the effects on the animals were devastating.

“Their teeth fell out. They self-mutilated,” she said.

Conlee said NASA is disregarding its own guidelines. Humane Society Executive Vice President Andrew Rowan “chaired a committee that was convened by NASA itself,” Conlee said. “And they came out with a report on animal use. This use goes against many of the principles in that report.”

Ineffective

PETA believes the experiment is not just harmful but useless.

The monkeys will receive vastly different quantities of radiation than humans would receive while traveling through space, Justin Goodman, a research supervisor at PETA and a protester said.

“The current experiment that’s being planned is going to expose monkeys to one massive dose of radiation,” Goodman said.

“When humans go into space, they’re going to be exposed to a low level of radiation.”

Conlee said other primates often don’t react as humans do.

“Just because you’re using a primate doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the results a human would,” Conlee said.

Conlee said that similar experiments have already been conducted on many animals, including primates.

“There have been literally hundreds of government-funded radiation experiments since the ’50s,” she said. “This data is already out there.”

Waste of money

The experiment is costly, and since NASA is a government agency, the money will come from taxpayers.

“NASA’s about to squander $2 million of public tax money on these experiments,” Goodman said.

Sign the Petitions!

Ask Administrator Bolden to Stop the Use of Monkeys in Space Radiation Studies

Tell Congress to stop NASA’s Cruel Monkey Experiments

Doctors File Federal Petition to Stop NASA’s Monkey Radiation Experiments

Use of Squirrel Monkeys Called Giant Leap Backward for Space Agency

PCRM Press Release

WASHINGTON—A nonprofit physicians organization is confronting NASA over the space agency’s plan to expose squirrel monkeys to radiation in an attempt to understand the effects of interplanetary travel. In a federal petition for administrative action filed Nov. 5, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) seeks to compel the government to halt the monkey experiments because they violate the NASA Principles for the Ethical Care and Use of Animals, also known as the Sundowner Report. The space agency has not used monkeys for radiobiology research in decades.

“Irradiating monkeys would be one giant leap backward for NASA,” says Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., PCRM’s director of research policy. “The proposed experiments are cruel, unnecessary, and lack scientific merit. There are better, more humane ways of understanding the potential dangers of interplanetary travel to humans. Scientific progress can only proceed with a strong ethical foundation.”

The experiments—proposed by researcher Jack Bergman of McLean Hospital in Boston—would involve irradiating monkeys and testing them to see how they perform on various tasks. Bergman has used squirrel monkeys for 15 years in addiction experiments, which have involved applying electric shocks, withholding food, and completely immobilizing the animals in restraint chairs for extended periods.

Radiation experiments involving nonhuman primates commonly involve restraint and other inhumane procedures. PCRM’s petition for administrative action points out that Bergman’s radiation experiments will violate the standards of the Sundowner Report, a landmark 1996 NASA document that requires researchers to respect living creatures and to consider the full range of societal good that may come from an experiment. Additionally, nonanimal methods should be used whenever possible.

PCRM’s petition for administrative action states, “Genetic, physiological, and anatomical differences between humans and monkeys dramatically limit the conclusions that can be drawn from the planned experiments. Ongoing studies, including those funded by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy, already use nonanimal methods to determine the effects of low-dose radiation on human tissues.”

The petition continues: “Interplanetary human travel is, at best, a highly speculative aim for the foreseeable future. It is obviously fraught with many dangers and enormous expense, while serving goals that are not at all clear. To put animals through radiation tests now in anticipation of such an enterprise is in no way justified.”

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

In The News:

Animal-rights activists vs. NASA over plan to radiate monkeys

NASA-funded monkey-radiation experiment raises hackles



Sea Shepherd News: “Bob Barker” Rammed by Illegal Whaler by christine

Sea Shepherd News

Bob Barker Rammed by Illegal Whaler

Saturday, February 06, 2010

At 12:09 PM Fremantle, Australia time, the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker, penetrating it’s hull and endangering the lives of it¹s crew. The collision occurred at 65 degrees 21 South, 67 degrees 58 East, about 180 miles off Cape Darnley in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The Bob Barker had been actively blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling fleet’s factory ship when the collision occurred. Four harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru 1, 2, and 3 and Shonan Maru 2, were circling and making near passes to the stern and bow of the Sea Shepherd vessel. The Bob Barker did not move from its position. At which point, the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Bob Barker, creating a 3-foot long 4-inch deep gash in the mid starboard side of the Sea Shepherd vessel above the waterline.

No crew was injured during the collision. The Bob Barker continues to block the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, preventing the transfer of slaughtered whales and effectively shutting down illegal whaling operations.

The incident demonstrates a continued escalation of violence by the illegal whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Said Captain Paul Watson from the bridge of the Steve Irwin, currently en route to join the action, “Because the whalers got away basically scot-free with the outrageous sinking of the Ady Gil, they now apparently think they can do whatever they want and they appear to have no qualms about endangering Sea Shepherd crew. What we really need is for the governments of Australia and New Zealand to step up and start enforcing maritime laws in these waters, or who know what the whalers will do next. Australian and New Zealand lives are at risk every day in these waters.”

The crew of the Bob Barker noticed that the Yushin Maru 3 stopped moving in the water shortly after the impact, and appeared to be falling behind as the Bob Barker maintained its position on the stern of the Nisshin Maru. It’s possible the Yushin Maru 3 damaged itself in the collision.

Click Banner for Sea Shepherd News Updates



Judge Allows Ringling Bros. to Continue to Abuse Elephants by christine

This past year has exposed many truths about the horrible conditions and cruelties that circus animals endure for the lavish demands of entertainment. From the newly released photos of baby elephants being abused with bulhooks, electric prods, ropes and chains, to the footage of Ringling trainers striking elephants that was exposed as part of an undercover investigation by PETA just last summer. Apparently, Judge Sullivan refuses to listen.

Pardo states that “this ruling represents a victory for the elephants,” a completely surreal and twisted testimony to her ignorance.

Ask the USDA to end the use of bullhooks and chains here.

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Judge rules for Ringling Bros. in elephant case

The Associated Press

Wednesday, December 30, 2009; 10:14 PM

WASHINGTON — A federal judge Wednesday ruled in favor of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in a case brought by animal rights activists who accused the circus of abusing elephants.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said former Ringling employee Tom Rider and the Animal Protection Institute did not have legal standing to sue the circus, owned by Feld Entertainment Inc. Rider and the animal protection group brought the lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act.

During the six-week trial in February and March of this year, the attorney for the animal rights groups asked the judge to stop the circus from harming the elephants during performances and punishing them for bad behavior. They alleged that the use of bullhooks and prolonged chaining violated the federal law.

Feld Entertainment argued that the animals are not hurt and that the instruments are necessary to keep the pachyderms under control and protect public safety.

At the time, the judge expressed some reluctance to police circus methods and asked how the prods and chains are different from spurs used on horses and whips with tigers.

Ringling Bros. said during the trial it cannot have the Asian elephants without these instruments because there is no other proven way to keep the animals under control and protect their trainers and the viewing public.

Feld’s attorneys said their elephants are healthy, alert and well-cared for, including those that travel with the show and those that live at the company’s 200-acre conservatory in Florida.

“This ruling represents a victory for the elephants and a win for the U.S. Constitution because it reinforces that the federal court is no place to entertain a philosophical debate about whether elephants should be in the circus,” said Michelle Pardo, an attorney representing Feld Entertainment.

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This is what a victory for elephants looks like?



The Washington Post Exposes Ringling Bros. Circus by christine

On Wednesday, the Washington Post wrote an exposé on the cruelties under the big top at the Ringling Bros. Circus.

Please contact David Montgomery to thank him for writing the article: montgomery@washpost.com. The Post receives a lot of money from Ringling, so cheers to them for thinking of animals before their pockets.

Full Photo Gallery of the Undercover Investigation

Petition: Demand Justice for Baby Elephants

Washington Post Article:

PETA, Ringling Bros. at Odds Over Treatment of Baby Circus Elephants

By David Montgomery

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sammy Haddock started working with elephants when he joined the circus at 20, in 1976, a young man’s dream. He walked them, groomed them, cleaned up after them. More than once, he later confessed, he beat them.

Over time, his feelings about elephants grew more tender, especially toward the babies. In 1997 he was hired to work as a handler at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Center for Elephant Conservation, an ambitious program in Florida to breed and preserve endangered Asian elephants. Part of Haddock’s job was to help train elephant calves to be circus performers.

He was deeply affected when 8-month-old Riccardo collapsed with leg injuries after tumbling off a tub during pre-training in 2004. Riccardo had to be euthanized. Haddock also began to see things from the point of view of his wife, Millie, an animal lover.

Nearly two years ago, Millie lay dying of complications from diabetes. Sammy had retired from the circus in 2005 to care for her. She asked him for a promise.

“My wife never liked what the elephants went through at the circus, especially the baby elephants, or that I was a part of it,” Haddock said recently in a written declaration. “Before she died, she told me, ‘Sammy, I know you’ll do the right thing.’ ”

Now Haddock’s dramatic interpretation of doing “the right thing” is being unleashed — from the grave. He died early last month in Clermont, Fla., at 53, of liver failure. He left behind scores of pictures and a written recollection of his workplace. They offer a compelling glimpse into the treatment of baby circus elephants. It veers from the image propagated by the industry — of little creatures contentedly acquiring nimble new moves in return for carrots and grapes.

Dead men do tell tales.

But what about pictures? Do pictures speak for themselves?

The point of bullhooks

Last spring, Samuel Dewitt Haddock Jr. brought his story and his snapshots to Debbie Leahy, director of captive animals rescue and enforcement for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA and Ringling are old and bitter adversaries. PETA wants the animal acts shut down. Ringling has accused PETA of distorting its record of animal husbandry.

Haddock was a hard-bitten country boy, 5-foot-10 and lean, a real character. He was an unusual whistle-blower for PETA. He was a meat eater and a dove hunter. He didn’t go undercover and secretly snap images on a spy camera. He was just a guy taking pictures at work.

In a 15-page notarized declaration, dated Aug. 28, before he took sick, Haddock describes how, in his experience at Ringling’s conservation center, elephant calves were forcibly separated from their mothers. How up to four handlers at a time tugged hard on ropes to make babies lie down, sit up, stand on two legs, salute, do headstands. All the public’s favorite tricks.

His photos show young elephants trussed in ropes as bullhooks are pressed to their skin. A bullhook is about the length of a riding crop. The business end is made of steel and has two tips, one hooked and one coming to a blunt nub.

An elephant trainer is rarely without a bullhook. The tool is also standard in many zoos, including the National Zoo. In recent years, for public consumption, elephant handlers have taken to calling them “guides.”

Click “more” for the remainder of the article

Continue reading



Dark Days for Virginia by christine
November 26, 2009, 1:39 am
Filed under: Animal Rights News, Local Events

What the GOP Victory in Virginia May Mean for Animals and Their Defenders

On November 3, the Republican Party of Virginia won sweeping victories. The GOP won the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general’s seat. The victory means Virginia Republicans will have a near monopoly on political power in Virginia and animals and their defenders may witness significant changes in the immediate future.

Bob McDonnell is the governor-elect in Virginia. The Republican outlined some of his political plans immediately after winning the statewide election.

McDonnell said his administration will accelerate granting permits for companies to explore and possibly drill for petroleum and natural gas off Virginia’s eastern coast. Geographic areas that may be explored include Virginia’s portion of the famed Assateague Island, located in Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Assateague Island, which is shared territorially between Virginia and Maryland, includes a National Wildlife Refuge (NWF) that serves as a resting spot for numerous migratory birds. The Refuge also serves as a home to several threatened or endangered species including the Delmarva fox squirrel, peregrine falcon, and the piping plover.

If a petroleum spill were to occur off the coast of Assateague Island, whether accidental or intentional, Assateague’s NWF could be destroyed.

Governor-elect McDonnell, in addition to Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who ran for and won the attorney general’s race, have both promised to deregulate the state business sector. This might mean that existing environmental and animal protection statues will be dismantled. This means animal producers in Virginia will most likely not be faced with additional regulation of their business practices and will continue their animal operations with minimal interference from state regulators.

The attorney general-elect, Ken Cuccinelli, will be the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the Commonwealth. As such, Cuccinelli will determine the direction of the attorney general’s office. In other words, which individuals and groups to pursue and to what end.

Cuccinelli marketed himself during the attorney general’s race as a “law-and-order” candidate. In essence, it means he has promised to use the power of the attorney general’s office to crackdown on street crime and political dissent while protecting business interests. Undoubtedly, Cuccinelli is likely to crackdown on animal rights activists if they pose a threat to the profits of any company exploiting animals.

Animal rights activists in the last few years have come under increasing scrutiny from the state for their political beliefs and activities and this is likely to accelerate with both McDonnell and Cuccinelli in high political office.

Animal rights activists in northern Virgina have been the victims of state scrutiny for several years. At George Mason University, animal circus protesters have been physically and verbally harassed by police officers and FBI agents. Additionally, those activists have been under explicit surveillance.

In April 2008, four local activists had felony arrest warrants issued for them after wearing masks at a Ringling Brothers demonstration. Wearing a mask in public is a Class 6 Felony in Virginia. The law states: “it shall be unlawful for any person over sixteen years of age while wearing any mask, hood, or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered (§18.2-422 )” Eventually, three of the four arrests warrants were dropped while a fourth arrest remained outstanding until the respective activist was apprehended.

The immediate future of animals and their defenders may be difficult to predict as unexpected events occur and local jurisdictions change their political direction. However, animal rights activists should remain vigilant about changes that result from policies under the McDonnell administration.



NIH Funding Nicotine Testing on Animals by christine

Is the National Institute of Health (NIH) really tobacco free? This looks like false advertising to me…

Tobacco Free NIH?

 

Just one more reason to quit smoking…

NIH-Funded Nicotine Testing on Animals

by Stephanie Ernst for Change.org

Perhaps you’ve noticed in the last few days that one of the actions currently featured in the sidebar is “Tell the NIH to Stop Testing Nicotine on Animals.” For those of you who haven’t read the summary there yet, I’ll repeat my brief introduction to the action, sponsored by In Defense of Animals (IDA):

Researchers in the United States, with the help of millions of taxpayer dollars and the support of the federal government and National Institutes of Health (NIH), are still conducting cruel nicotine experiments on helpless animals—pregnant and newborn monkeys as well as rats and mice—even though the harmful effects of smoking are already well-known.

The first time I learned that the tobacco industry and federal government both are still funding nicotine and smoking experiments on animals (this campaign relates to just one area of such testing; there are more), I was stunned.

Many proponents of animal testing and medical research are fond of arguing that such testing and experiments are performed only when necessary—only when tests on animals are the supposedly best, most reliable option we have, only when the experiments’ results could lead to significant human benefits, and only when the potential benefit to humans outweighs the harm to the nonhuman animals used in the tests.

What-the-hell-ever. IDA points out, “Animal experiments failed to demonstrate that exposure to cigarettes and tobacco smoke caused lung and other forms of cancer, which is now undisputed in humans.” Yet conducting intensely cruel experiments on mother and newborn monkeys is our best, most reliable method of addressing the issue of smoking during pregnancy? How does the extreme harm to these monkeys not outweigh the potential benefit to humans when we already know that pregnant mothers should not smoke and when the ability of such experiments to predict results in humans has been disproven rather than proven?

Sign the Petition to Stop NIH Nicotine Testing on Animals

Beagles being forced to inhale smoke for tobacco research.

OHSU Nicotine Experiments on Animals (non-graphic)

More Resources

Smoking Animals: The Facts

In Defense of Animals (IDA) Stop Smoking Experiments Website

Can Smoking be Vegan?