Pig save acquittal plus Kentucky Derby opportunity

May 7, 2017 1 comment

Wonderful news from Canada: Anita Krajnc, the defendant in the Toronto Pig Save trial, has been acquitted, and has made every Canadian paper and the front page of the national paper. In the US, however, the animal news this weekend is all about the Kentucky Derby.The general tone of the press in Canada is reflected in the opinion piece that appeared on the front page of the Friday, May 5, National Post, titled, 

“What a total waste of time; Court system has itself to blame for delays.”

Christie Blatch Ford’s piece discusses the shortage of resources in the Canadian judicial system and writes, “It’s in this light that the trial of animal rights activist Anita Krajnc might be considered.” 

But while the trial was a shocking waste of time and money for the Canadian government, it was beautifully spent by Krajnc and her legal team. Any kind person would commend the act of giving water to a thirsty pig bound for slaughter, but my own activism focus leads me to commend all involved on their media savvy, which led Krajnc’s actions to have a beautiful far-reaching impact. The following lines, of aside, from Blatch Ford’s piece exemplify it:

“(In the interests of full disclosure, let it be known that I have a white-and-pink English bull terrier, aka ‘a pig dog’, so named for its magnificent resemblance to a pig – big pig ears, piggy sort of snout and body, sort of dogs in pig skin. Balancing off that bias, I eat bacon, or at least I did until I read the expert report of Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist who testified at trial. Her evidence was that in fact pigs are dog-like, every bit as sentient and capable of feelings as dogs are. They are also ridiculously cute, but that’s just my view.)”

You’ll find the whole article on line at http://tinyurl.com/n5y498d

The National Post takes letters at letters@nationalpost.com But Canadians, I hope you will also write to your local paper. I am sure we are all incredibly pleased with the verdict and grateful to Anita Krajnc for refusing to take a plea, spending two years in the legal system in order to get the issue such fantastic attention. We can all take five minutes to dash a couple of lines off to the editor commending the verdict and making some point about our treatment of other species – perhaps encouraging people to rethink their diets. If you don’t know the correct email address for a letter to your editor, and can’t find it with a quick Google search, then I am happy to help, and I hope you will store it for future regular use. Animals need your voice in the media. 

I wish the Pig Save Trial had made big news outside of Canada. But here in the US (and probably elsewhere) we have an opportunity, brought to us by the Kentucky Derby, to discuss the use and abuse of animals for entertainment. The front page of the New York Times features a photo of a mare and her coal, Armani, sired by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, with a fluff piece on the industry, and the excitement over American Pharaoh’s offspring discussed in a page B9 article titled, “First, It’s Baby Steps.” http://tinyurl.com/mf5agj8 Meanwhile Friday’s New York Times included a story on page B7, “The Race to Save a Colt,” about surgery on Mastery, who was expected to do well in, and quite possibly win, today’s Kentucky Derby, but who broke his leg as he won the Santa Felipe Stakes earlier this year. Lucky for him he is worth a fortune as a breeding stallion so he will not be shot. That story is on line at http://tinyurl.com/n7b8qum . It includes these lines:

“Injuries that horses sustain at the racetrack have caught the attention of animal rights activists who find it abhorrent that horses are run for the pleasure and profit of owners and gamblers. Over the past decade, Congress has held hearings that have shown the use of performance-enhancing drugs has eroded racing’s popularity — and its bottom line.”

The New York Times takes letters at letters@nytimes.com and letters to that influential paper are vital. But the Kentucky Derby results will definitely be in your local paper tomorrow. Please take the opportunity to send a quick letter to your editor noting that hundreds of race horses die at the track every year (Here’s last year’s Washington Post article on that http://tinyurl.com/hc7qgv6 ) and questioning the sport. You are very likely to be published in the paper of the city you live in. And please forgive me for repeating here, in case you missed it above, what I wrote to Canadian DawnWatchers: If you don’t know the correct email address for a letter to your editor and can’t find it with a quick Google search, then I am happy to help, and I hope you will store it for future regular use. Animals need your voice in the media.

Glasgow animal right protest

May 6, 2017 Leave a comment

An animal rights protest in aid of farmed animals.

Dawnwatch – ocean and over fishing

May 1, 2017 Leave a comment

I am sorry to bring you two sorrowful stories from the Sunday, April 30, New York Times, but glad they made major media, one on the front page, so that we have an opportunity to respond as voices for animals. We read of the oceans being depleted by overfishing, and of a plan in Texas to use Warfarin to poison wild pigs. 
The front page story, by Andrew Jacobs, is titled, “China’s Appetite Pushes Fish Stocks to Brink.” 

It tells us:

“Overfishing is depleting oceans across the globe, with 90 percent of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or facing collapse, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization….

“But China, with its enormous population, growing wealth to buy seafood and the world’s largest fleet of deep-sea fishing vessels, is having an outsize impact on the globe’s oceans.

“Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries… West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet…

“In Senegal, an impoverished nation of 14 million, fishing stocks are plummeting. Local fishermen working out of hand-hewn canoes compete with megatrawlers whose mile-long nets sweep up virtually every living thing. Most of the fish they catch is sent abroad, with a lot ending up as fishmeal fodder for chicken and pigs in the United States and Europe.”

It is not only the oceans that are being affected:

“Unable to live off the sea, desperate fishermen have been burning protected coastal jungle to make way for rice fields. But heavy rain often washes away the topsoil, environmentalists say, rendering the steep land useless.”

And while the article focuses on the impact of China, the deputy general director of the Bureau of Fisheries in Beijing, says that criticism of China’s fishing practices is exaggerated, and that, “Chinese vessels traveling to Africa were simply responding to the demand for seafood from developed countries, which have been reducing their own fleets.” He repeats a question he is asked:

“If China doesn’t fish, where would Americans get their fish to eat?” 

You’ll find the full article on line at http://tinyurl.com/lcsuxr9 

I send thanks, as I so often do, to Bruce Friedrich of the wonderful Good Food Institute for making sure we saw it. (Bruce is definitely earning the seat he holds the DawnWatch board!)

Page four of the Sunday Review section brings us the headline, “A Plan to Poison the Wild Hogs of Texas.”

Journalist Kate Murphy tells us that Texas has a feral hog population of 2.5 million, and that the pigs “cause an estimated $52 million a year in damage as the bristly backed hooligans smash through fences, decimate crops, eat baby livestock, dig up internet and water lines, ruin golf courses and cause car accidents when they dart across the road. They also carry diseases that have the potential to devastate cattle and domesticated pig operations, as well as infect humans.”

We learn that the state’s agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, “wants to use chemical warfare to bring about what he calls the ‘feral hog apocalypse.’

She continues:

“The poison? Warfarin (a.k.a. Coumadin), the most commonly prescribed anticoagulant, or blood thinner, for humans.”

Hunters, environmentalists, and animal welfare advocates are all against the proposition. Hunters fear they will not be able to eat or sell meat from wild hogs who may be poisoned with Warfarin. Environmentalists note that animals besides pigs can access the Warfarin dispensers, with “video of a black bear ripping into the device recently caused Louisiana officials to halt plans to follow Texas’ lead ….” 

As for animal welfare, we read:

“According to Jim Hone, an emeritus professor of wildlife management at the University of Canberra in Australia who participated in that research, animal welfare concerns led them to stop using Warfarin. ‘It took on average seven to 10 days for the animals to die,’ suffering all the while from internal bleeding, he said. ‘It didn’t seem humane.'”

Yet, “Warfarin is still used in Australia as a rat poison, just as it is in the United States…”

Dawnwatch 60 minutes

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Hopefully all of the terrific media coverage of animal issues of late has buoyed us for tonight’s awful 60 Minutes fluff piece on the “Maryland Hunt Cup,” a horse race described as “The biggest, most demanding event there is in the world of timber racing,” which is a form of the infamous steeplechase. Correspondent Charlie Rose tells us, “Falling horses usually roll with it: very few are badly hurt.” He doesn’t mention that sometimes they die, but suspecting that, I had my suspicions confirmed with a quick Google search. 
I don’t think I need to enumerate, for DawnWatch readers, everything wrong with the story, but will share, for those of you who don’t make it to the end, the lighthearted description of a timber racing champion named Senior Senator, who, when he was a flat-track racer, had “a mediocre record and a nasty reputation for acting up” and of whom his trainer says, “They had to tranquilize him every day to get him out onto the race track.”

As activist Linda Dugan pointed out when she pointed me to the story (thank you Linda!) there is not a word from any animal advocacy group — anybody who might see this as anything other than good exciting fun. 

You can watch and/or read the segment on line at http://tinyurl.com/mhz5st8 

You can comment right below it, which I hope you will, as people tend to be greatly swayed by the opinions of others; it is important that people visiting the page see that others don’t think this kind of entertainment, and this kind of coverage of it, is okay. Please remember that you are representing the horses and the animal advocacy movement and try to take care with tone. And also please be careful not to use any of my phrases in your comments or in direct notes to 60 Minutes, which you can send via http://audienceservices.cbs.com/feedback/feedback.htm , choosing “60 Minutes” from the pull-down menu. Let your own reaction to the story guide your (polite as possible) words.

Message from NAVS

April 23, 2017 Leave a comment

There are animals confined in cages, being subjected to harmful experiments in the name of science right now.
Highly intelligent monkeys, never able to swing from a tree—instead, they are caged, fitted with electrodes and used for neurological experiments, despite significant differences from people.

Sociable, fun-loving beagles don’t have a chance to play fetch—they’re left alone in metal cages and injected with experimental drugs for pharmacological research, because these trusting and gentle dogs are easy to handle. 

Despite being known to be empathetic and capable of “giggles,” mice can’t scurry through a field—because they are bred or genetically designed to develop cancer, muscular dystrophy or any number of painful human diseases. And even if a cure is found for the mice, the chances of that cure translating to humans is slim, making their sacrifices wasteful and cruel.     

Many forget, or choose not to think about, what is happening to animals like these and the millions of others like them needlessly suffering in laboratories. But we trust that you, as a NAVS supporter, do not forget them.

H&M and the leather industry 

April 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Cows in the leather industry are often branded, parts of their tails are amputated, their horns are removed through an excruciating dehorning process, they’re castrated without painkillers, and they’re often transported hundreds of miles to feedlots and slaughterhouses, where many are skinned while still alive.

News from Animal Defenders

April 23, 2017 2 comments

Let’s start with some great news: Guatemala has banned ALL animals in circuses! The 35th country in the world to pass a national restriction on the use of animals in circuses.
Meanwhile it is eleven years since a British Government first promised a ban. Eleven years of animal misery.
When we first exposed the savagery of the British circus industry, we were promised a ban under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

When we exposed the vicious abuse of the elephants with the Great British Circus, a public consultation was called and 94.5% of respondents demanded a ban. A ban was promised.

When we exposed the blows and kicks that rained down on poor Anne the elephant as she stood chained and helpless, back bench MPs voted unanimously instructing the government to bring forward a ban. A ban was promised and the law drafted. It was never implemented.

At the last General Election almost all Members of Parliament (98%) were elected on a manifesto commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Those promises are still unfulfilled.

I was due to meet Defra with our team next week to discuss moving the ban forward – the meeting has been cancelled following the announcement of the General Election. We are working to reschedule.  

Perhaps there are those who think we will simply give up on this, frustrated by the broken promises. We will never give up until the abuse is stopped. 

I need you to contact all your Parliamentary candidates in your area (all parties) and urge them to support a ban on wild animals in circuses.

Circus animals need you to write today to the parties as they compile their manifestos urging them to include a commitment to ban wild animals in circuses.I

I know you have done this before and the politicians have let you down, but the animals cannot afford for you to give up! HELP THEM TODAY!

A year ago this month, we completed our mission to close down all Peru’s animal circuses and I flew with Hoover the tiger and over 30 lions to new lives in Florida and South Africa. Yet lions and tigers continue to languish in circus cages in the UK.