Animal Rights Collective Blog


Animals Fighting for Freedom: Slave Rebellions by christine

Captive Whale Kills SeaWorld Trainer

February 25th

On Wednesday afternoon a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando was killed by an orca named Tilikum (also known as Telly). The 12,000 pound male orca pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau underwater by her ponytail during a live performance.

Due to his enormous size and abundance of testosterone Telly is often kept isolated from the other orcas at SeaWorld, deprived of the constant social contact that killer whales have in the wild. In addition to forced isolation, whales in captivity are deprived of their natural instincts, crammed into tiny concrete tanks devoid of sea life or the stimulation necessary to nourish their intelligence. Such conditions can cause stress, erratic behavior, and insanity. This is the third trainer that Tilikum has killed in 19 years.

As Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society commented yesterday:

“I can’t really blame Tilikum. If I was taken from the ocean and plopped into a concrete prison cell for four decades I would be inclined to get a mite angry also.

No reasonable person would walk unescorted across the exercise yard of a maximum-security prison, and it is irresponsible to expect a frail human being to turn his or her back on a stressed-out, angry, captive orca – the most formidable predator on the planet.

By the way, I’ve met Tilikum. Way back in the 80’s, I toured SeaLand of the Pacific as a special guest of Bob Wright, the owner of the facility. He wanted me to see first hand what his business was all about. I sat by the pool and patted the big Orca on the head. I also put my hand in his mouth and put my palm on his tongue so he could taste that I was not afraid of him. I remember looking into the left eye of that magnificent predator, and what I saw there was resignation and sadness. He was not a happy whale.

I knew then as I know now that Tilikum should not be, and does not belong in a swimming pool.

I think that Sea World has only one honorable option. They should return Tilikum to his home in the sea. His pod can be identified and Sea World has the funds, the skills, and the technology to do the right thing both for the Orca and for the interest of humanity.

If Sea World does not return Tilikum to the sea then the next time a human being dies as a victim to an angry, frustrated, stressed, and possibly insane Orca, it will not be simply another tragedy: it will be willful negligence!”

Telly’s life will be spared, for the time being, as SeaWorld executives determine what to do with him. They continue to imprison Telly – endangering both human and animal life – because he is profitable to their enterprise, having fathered 13 calves and by bringing in audiences.

Urge SeaWorld to release their imprisoned animals!

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Terrified Zebra Escapes Ringling’s Circus in Atlanta

February 19th

A zebra, captive of the Ringling Bros. Circus, escaped from her prisoners and ran around Atlanta, Georgia, for 40 minutes. Lima, a twelve year old zebra, was galloping along a busy interstate during rush hour traffic. She was eventually cornered by police officers on motorcycles and returned to her captors.

Lima also escaped from 1st Mariner Arena in downtown Baltimore, Maryland in 2008, accompanied by two other zebras, together they dashed into traffic. In 2007, the same three zebras escaped while in Colorado. This comes as no surprise since there are numerous cases of animals escaping the evil clutches of the Ringling Bros. Circus.

For an extensive list of Ringling’s offenses and casualties, check out the Ringling Factsheet.



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



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



Fairfax County VA Allows Deer Bow Hunting as Management Technique by christine

ISSUE: Fairfax County, the largest, most prosperous County in northern Virginia (which borders Washington , D.C.), plans to turn its public parks into canned hunts for bow hunting beginning November 14th. After sneaking plans past public scrutiny, the Park Authority plans to initiate bow hunting in Colvin Run Park, and expand it to other Fairfax County Parks.

“Bow hunting is exceedingly cruel. Many deer who are shot are merely wounded by arrows. Bow hunters routinely spend hours tracking the blood trails of deer struck by arrows before finding them. Three decades of research tells us that for every one or two animals struck by arrows and retrieved by bow hunters, another wounded animal disappears, never to be found. And mass killings tear apart families, leaving young and weak animals vulnerable to starvation, dehydration, and predators. Also, lethal methods of wildlife control don’t reduce the population in the long run. As long as the areas of concern remain attractive and accessible to these animals, more will move in from surrounding areas to fill the newly vacant niche. In addition, killing individuals can result in a spike in the food supply and prompt remaining does to breed, causing the population to increase.” – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Non-lethal control methods could include immuno-contraception administered via darting.

Friends of Animals Condemns Fairfax County’s Actions Against White-Tailed Deer

For Immediate Release: 07 December 2009

Fairfax, VA — Local representatives for Friends of Animals, an advocacy organization founded in 1957, will be speaking at a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting today in opposition to the bowhunting of white-tailed deer at Colvin Run and Laurel Hill. County officials have contracted with a volunteer bowhunting group in an attempt to control the deer populations.

“Does our tendency to spread into suburban areas give us a right to kill, control or otherwise dominate wildlife,” questioned Priscilla Feral, President of Friends of Animals. “Have the deer turned Fairfax County into strip malls, parking lots and interstate pavements? Have the deer procreated beyond nature’s ability to sustain them? No, we’re attacking other animals with no genuine reason or logic.”

With only a two-day notice, 270 residents in Colvin Run were notified that park officials had scheduled a bowhunt in their area. The public outcry has been swift. County officials have attempted to reassure its residents that the bowhunters are well-trained, however, because the county is using volunteer archers, many locals are understandably wary.

Bowhunting is not humane or particularly effective. In fact, bowhunters admit they routinely strike deer but do not kill them [1]. It can take days for wounded deer to be recovered, if they are recovered at all. Oftentimes, the animals are still alive once found. When a wounded deer escapes, the animal is left with a painful injury, one which may lead to a serious infection. In addition, residents are also in danger, as vehicle-to-deer accidents increase during these culls.

Added Feral, “Bowhunting is a repulsive, violent assault on animals who should be let alone. A deeper question is whether we should be in control of the deer population at all. Whether by amateurs or even expert archers, the deer pay simply because humans encroach on land needed by free-living animals.”

The Colvin Run hunt, which began 14 November, is expected to continue through 16 January. The Laurel Hill hunt began on 30 November and is expected to continue until 30 January.

Footnotes

What You Can Do

ACTION: Please call or email both Sharon Bulova and John Dargle, Jr. immediately. Please mention that you and your friends, family members and children enjoy the parks and do not want to be exposed to the horrors of bow hunting (see more talking points below the list of additional officials).

Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Email: chairman@fairfaxcounty.gov (fairfaxcounty.gov) | Tel: 703-324-2321

John Dargle, Jr., Director of Fairfax County Park Authority

Email:john.darglejr@fairfaxcounty.gov (fairfaxcounty.gov) | Tel: 703-324-8702

Petition: Urge Virginia Officials to End Cruel Bow Hunt

EXTRA HELP: If you want to go the extra mile to help the deer and our surrounding population, please call or email one or two, or all of the officials listed below.  (All email addresses end in fairfaxcounty.gov )

Fairfax County Executive, Anthony Griffin, (703) 324-2536 coexec@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor John Foust (703) 356-0551(Dranesville District) dranesville@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Catherine Hudgins (703) 478-0283 (Hunter Mill District) hntrmill@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Michael Frey (703) 814-7100 (Sully District) sully@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Linda Smyth (703) 560-6946(Providence District) provdist@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Jeff McKay (703) 971-6262 (Lee District) leedist@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Penelope Gross (703) 256-7717 (Mason District) mason@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Gerald Hyland (703) 780-7518 (Mount Vernon District) mtvernon@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor John Cook (703) 425-9300 (Braddock District) braddock@fairfaxcounty.gov

Supervisor Pat Herrity (703) 451-8873 (Springfield District) springfield@fairfaxcounty.gov

TALKING POINTS: Please be polite and use these talking points in your call or email:

  • Bow hunting is dangerous and unpredictable; visitors to the parks and residents of the surrounding area can be injured by this brutal activity.
  • Even the “best” bow hunters almost never kill the deer immediately.  The hunter waits 45 minutes to an hour for the deer to run, bleed out and become exhausted. Then, the hunter attempts to follow the blood trail to find the deer and finish killing it, often in front of children and visitors to the park.
  • It exposes children and impressionable adults to extraordinary animal cruelty and teaches them that killing animals is OK – mental health officials and the FBI consider cruelty to animals a precursor to more violent crimes against humans who are perceived as vulnerable; is that the lesson we want our children to learn?
  • Bow “hunters” are often inexperienced and have a high rate of injuring, rather than killing deer, leaving them to die a slow, agonizing death; many deer can be seen fleeing with arrows piercing their limbs and organs.
  • There is no way to know how far the deer will run, if she will die, what injury will occur, if she will die over weeks, or run into backyards and roads, and die a painful death.
  • It causes a public safety hazard: panic-stricken animals often flee their pursuers, running into roads causing car accidents.
  • It serves no purpose; the deer return in subsequent years to breed and multiply; nature abhors a vacuum
  • It makes Fairfax County and the metropolitan Washington , D.C. area look cruel, barbaric and primitive to the rest of the world.
  • This is not rural park area; this is within densely populated, urban land.


Petitions Galore. DO Something! by christine
November 10, 2009, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights Petition, Petition/Letter Writing, Use Your Voice! | Tags:

Here are some current petitions at Change.org…Let the armchair activism commence!

Urge President Obama to Pardon ALL Turkeys This Holiday Season

Help Retire Over 200 Chimpanzees from Testing In Alamogorado, NM To a Sanctuary

Tell Congress to Provide Vegetarian and Vegan Meal Options in Public Schools

Speak Up for Southwest Wolves!

Pet Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 3907)-Class B dealers selling companion pets for experiments

Help Retire the 26 Elderly, Wild-caught Chimpanzees at the New Iberia Research Center

Reintroduce S2439: FBI database Tracking Animal Cruelty Crimes Act

Tell Xerox and Staples to Stop Supporting Animal Cruelty and Vivisection

 



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?



Help Retire Over 200 Chimpanzees from NIH Testing by christine

To: Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Sen. Tom Udall (NM) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), see more…

Over 200 government owned Chimps languish in the Alamogordo Primate Facility on New Mexico Hollman Air Force Base under a $42.8 million 10 year contract between Charles River and the National Institute of Health. Many of the chimps have been there since the 1950’s. The Chimps are not being used for medical testing.

 A wonderful sanctuary in Alamogordo wants to see the chimpanzees be set free! The sanctuary, Save The Chimps, rescued 266 Chimps, and 61 monkeys from their lives as test subjects in 2002. Urge  NM  to release the Chimps from unnecessary testing and to send them to a  sanctuary to live out their lives in a safe, secure, and loving environment.

Sign the petition at animalrights.change.org

 

Transitioning from testing labs to sanctuary, “Saving the Chimps” film clip: