If any of these were committed against other humans, it would make headlines around the world and people would scream for justice. However since they are done to nonhumans, they continue today, and although some are (hopefully) waning, others are gaining ground.
While reading them, see if you can guess which crime I have selected as the worst, most unforgiveable of them all (answer at the bottom). As this is a listing of shameful human activities, it is not easy reading. Some may even become angry or defensive if they see something they themselves are guilty of. I make no apologies; for that matter, if someone is guilty of one of the offenses listed here it is they who should apologize. I only state the facts and show the photos. It is up to future generations to decide what is to be said for humankind's actions up until now.
Who’s fighting it: Big Cat Rescue, Big Cat Caucus, Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), Animal Rights Africa, WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals), many sanctuaries world-wide.
Thanks to the efforts of WCS members and friends, President Bush signed the Captive Wildlife Safety Act into law in December 2003. The new law bans the interstate trade and importation of big cats, such as lions and tigers, as pets and is an important step in ending the big cat pet trade in the United States. However, there are still 31 states, including New York, where residents can buy and maintain big cats as pets within state borders.
The practice of keeping big cats by individuals is on the rise in the United States. It is estimated that 15,000 big cats are currently held outside of accredited zoos in the U.S., representing a 500 percent increase since 1997. Each year there are reports of serious injuries and fatalities to owners, family members or neighbors and of malnourished and unhealthy animals. They are often abandoned when they become older and more difficult to keep. Unfortunately, the animals, because of their uncertain genealogy, cannot be included in science-based conservation breeding programs. Many owners insist that the animals are "pets" or even "part of the family" (a quote used by an owner of the Tiger Truckstop in Louisiana). This notion that a large carnivore is a family "pet" is so outragous as to hardly need argument. Coincidentally, those "family pets" are used to make money, and are kept in appalling conditions, hardly something one would normally do with a family member.
Who’s fighting it: WSPA, World Wild Fund for Nature, Habitat Integrated Pakistan
Where does bear baiting occur in Pakistan? Latest fights occurred in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan. These are rural towns in the North of Pakistan. When did it start? First the Gypsies danced their bears for money. When the British began their rule, they introduced animal baiting as a sport, using Bull Terriers. The sport has escalated since 1940. Bear hunting has also grown as a result of widespread ownership of firearms and was used to develop relationships with the British.
It was banned by the Pakistan Legislature under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890). Islam forbids inciting animals to fight one another. Who is involved? Grazier -migrating, pastoral people who herd their own sheep, goats and cattle. They capture the bear cubs near NWFP, also from Nooristan in Afghanistan. Traders - purchase the bears, pierce their muzzles with rings, remove the incisors and canines. Beat the legs of the bears and manipulate the sensitive nose ring - to make the bears dance (some known to dance on hot coals).* Landowners - powerful land-barons and landlords, prominent businessmen - however some do not get involved, and may be more interested in horse and greyhound racing. The less powerful landlord use their dogs as an affirmation of their status. Audiences - youth and older men. Local landlords and police.
What type of dogs are involved? Pit Bull Terriers, mixed with a local breed "Kohati" - males are used from the same litter for inbreeding.
At what age is a bear forced to fight? Any time from 3 years old upwards. Maybe younger. Most die by age 4 - 7 years. Life expectancy in the wild 20 - 30 years. One owner had 7 bears in 5 years.
What are the rules of the game? * Bear tied to central pivot by a rope 2 - 5m long.* 2 - 6 dogs target head area.* If the dog can attack head area and pull bear down, forcing bear to roll then the dog wins.* Bears wins if it can remain on its feet. This is rare.* Landlord usually wins.* Bear rises to its hind legs and tries to beat the dogs off.* Smaller bears tuck their heads under their bodies. How long is a fight? Depends on how soon the bear surrenders or scores points. Intervals of 2 - 3 minutes between fights. Gypsies douse water onto the wounds but no medical treatment given. Bears usually do not get water during an event.
FACT: The bear is made to dance a little jig after it has been beaten by the dogs! FACT: One bear had his nose almost entirely ripped open. He had to endure another three further attacks after his first fight. One female bear had to endure three attacks until she was exhausted.
Habitat Integrated Pakistan plans to set up a sanctuary for the confiscated bears - Pakistan Government to oversee it. A registration system such as microchip tagging of all bears in captivity. No newborn bears to be captured and traded. Confiscation of any unregistered bears found. Update national laws in these regions. School children must be educated and public awareness campaign has begun, to teach morals and ethnic arguments against bear baiting. Public poster and school talks have been introduced.
Unfortunately it is increasing, and bear bile products are still sold throughout the world, including illegally in the United States, where it can be found in Asian herbal shops.
Who’s fighting it: AAF (Animals Asia Foundation), Free the Bears Fund, Moonbears.org, WSPA, WildAid, WLPA (World League for Protection of Animals).
Bear farming is a brutal form of animal abuse. There is nothing natural or humane about it. To harvest the bile from the gallbladder a connection must be made from the gallbladder, which is deep inside the body, to the surface. This connection (medically called fistula) is made in one of three ways: a metal tube is inserted, a plastic tube is inserted, or a tissue bridge (a leak, in essence) is created between the gallbladder and the skin. The operation to make these connection is usually performed by the farm owners who have no veterinary skill. The bile farmers themselves admit that half the bears die from complications.
Who’s fighting it: Humane Society International, IMAB (International Movement Against Bullfighting), WSPA, SHARK, Igualdad Animal (Spain), Equanimal (Spain)
Each year, more than 40,000 bulls are barbarically slaughtered in Spain’s bullrings. Most foreign visitors who witness a bullfight never wish to see one again. They are repulsed, disgusted and saddened by the cruelty of the spectacle.
At best, the term "bullfighting" is a misnomer, as there is usually little competition between a nimble sword-wielding matador (Spanish for "killer") and a confused, maimed, psychologically tormented and physically debilitated bull.
One of the biggest supporters of bullfighting is the tourist industry. Travel agents and bullfight promoters portray the fight as a festive and fair competition. What they do not reveal is that the bull never has a chance to defend himself, much less to survive.
Bulls are intentionally debilitated by various means, such as having sandbags dropped on their backs. Drugging is also very common. A study conducted by scientists at Spain’’s Salamanca University found that 20 per cent of the bulls used for fighting are drugged before they step into the ring. In a sampling of 200 bulls, one in five had been given anti-inflammatory drugs, which mask injuries that could sap animals’ strength.
Another common practice is to "shave" bulls’’ horns by sawing off a few inches. Bulls’ horns, like cats’ whiskers, help the animals navigate, so a sudden change impairs their coordination. Shaving is illegal, so the horns are sometimes inspected by a veterinarian after a fight. In 1997, the Confederation of Bullfighting Professionals –– which includes Spain’s 230 matadors –– went on strike in opposition to these veterinary inspections.
In a typical bullfight, the bull enters the arena and is approached by picadors –– cowards on blindfolded horses who drive lances into the bull’s back and neck muscles. This impairs the bull’s ability to lift his head. They twist and gouge the lances to ensure a significant amount of blood loss. Then banderilleros swagger in and proceed to distract the bull and dart around him while plunging banderillas –– bright sticks with harpoon points on their ends –– into his back. When the bull has become weakened from blood loss, the banderilleros run the bull in more circles until he is dizzy and stops chasing. Finally, the matador appears and, after provoking a few exhausted charges from the dying animal, tries to kill the bull with his sword, and ridiculously struts about as if he had actually done something brave. If he misses, succeeding only in further mutilating the animal, an executioner is called in to stab the exhausted and submissive animal to death. The dagger is supposed to cut the animal’s spinal cord, but even this can be blundered, leaving the bull conscious but paralyzed as he is chained by his horns and dragged out of the arena.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, SHARK, Animal Aid, Big Cat Rescue, North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase, Project Censored, Defenders Action Fund, PETA2.com, Animal Rights Africa, Helpinganimals.com, pet-abuse.com.
Hunters say the thrill of hunting comes from the chase not from the kill. The booming canned hunt business tells a different story.
Every year in Britain, around 40 million pheasants and partridges are mass-produced like commercial poultry so that they can be shot down by wealthy 'guns'. This bloody and brutal end to their lives is the final insult. From birth, they are kept in cages, sheds and pens, in which disease and death are a daily feature.
Canned hunts are held at private trophy hunting facilities where shooters pay to kill exotic and native animals——even endangered species——trapped within fenced enclosures. Animals on canned hunts often come from private breeders, animal dealers, and even zoos and circuses. Frequently, the animals have been hand-raised and bottle-fed, so they have lost their fear of people.
Even in large enclosures on these so-called game farms, animals are lured with bait to a location where a shooter waits, thus removing any element of sportsmanship. The International Union for the Conservations of Nature and Natural Resources lists the scimitar-horned oryx as extinct in the wild; the addax, California bighorn sheep, European bison and pere david deer as critically endangered; the dama gazelle, nubian ibex, Arabian oryx and markhor as endangered; the blackbuck and bongo as near threatened; and the aoudad, eld's deer, barasingha, African lion, mouflon, yak and tahr as vulnerable, yet these animals are all shot regularly on canned hunting ranches.
In the canned hunt scenario, animals are fenced in or kept in cages until a "hunter" calls for the beast's release, at which time the "sport" commences. Often the released animal can only run in circles around an enclosed compound (some smaller than an acre), without an escape route. Some even make desperate runs for safety under parked cars, but to no avail. The animals, including some exotic species, are fired upon at nearly point blank range, ensuring the "sportsman" of a kill. After witnessing a hunt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent Bill Talkin said "None of the animals got more than 100 feet from the cage when they were shot."
The typical canned hunter is an older, wealthy man who wants guaranteed success of bringing home a trophy to mount, without the added hassle of trekking into the woods. The ill-fated animals include endangered species such as African leopards, exotic cats, Bengal tigers, grizzly bears, etc. And while most canned hunt promoters know better than to openly advertise opportunities to shoot endangered species, most trophy hunters know how to wangle the deals they want -- shooting a couple of animals legally on initial visits while getting to know the staff, flashing money; dropping hints.
The most popular form of canned hunting in North America is captive bird-shooting. It is estimated that about 55 million tame birds are killed in canned hunts each year in the U.S.
President George Bush celebrated his election in 1988 with a bird-killing spree at the Lazy F Ranch near Beeville, Texas. When questioned about it, he protested "These aren't animals, these are wild quail." And this is the type of "hunt" Dick Cheney was participating in when he shot his friend in the face-- thus highlighting how utterly stupid this activity is.
And the worst: every year in Pennsylvania, cowardly "hunters" slaughter harmless pigions and shoot turkeys bred in cages and chained to tires. What more needs to be said about these clowns?
In the fighting ring, the roosters often wear artificial spurs——long, sharp, dagger-like attachments——that transform their natural spurs into knives for maximum injury. These steel blades are sharp enough to puncture a lung, pierce an eye or break bones. A referee is on hand to supervise the fight, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes. While the rules usually do not require one or both birds to die in order for a winner to be declared, death is often the outcome, due to the severity of the injuries.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, ASPCA, IDA, helpinganimals.com, pet-abuse.com, Last Chance for Animals, ALF, local law enforcement.
Recent progress: The last 2 U.S. states, Louisiana and New Mexico, made cockfighting illegal in 2008; shamefully late, but at least it is now illegal in the entire U.S.
[*Note: This also includes the many street beggars I saw in my round-the-world trip last year. It seems to be a disturbing new trend-- these people get a young animal (usually a puppy or kitten) and carry it around to help beg for money, which is usually spent on alcohol and cigarettes, while the animals are fed trash. When the animals get older they are simply dumped on the streets (or worse) for a younger, "cuter" one.]
Who’s fighting it: WSPA, ALF, Wildlife SOS India (Kartick Satyanarayan)
Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight. Other animals are often sacrificed as well. Some owners train their dogs for fights using smaller animals such as cats, rabbits or small dogs. These "bait" animals are often stolen pets or animals obtained through "free to good home" advertisements.
* Note: The rampant breeding of pit bull terriers for aggressive tendencies also gives them a bad reputation and makes it much more difficult for rescue organizations to find them homes. Thus many are unfairly killed just because of their breed– thanks to the dogfighters.
**Note: Idaho, Wyoming, Georgia, Nevada and Hawaii have the weakest dogfighting laws on the books, allowing some aspects of the cruel practice to go completely unpunished, and punishing others with little more than a slap on the wrist, according to The Humane Society of the United States, which recently analyzed state dogfighting laws.
If you live in one of these states, please write to your state representatives and ask for tougher dogfighting laws.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, Protectdogs.org, All-creatures.org, Grey2K USA, PETA, IDA, DownBound, Animal Law Coalition, Noah’s Arc (Spain)
Every year, the industry breeds tens of thousands of greyhounds, more than it can place at racetracks. This overbreeding is motivated by the desire to produce "winning" dogs. Thousands of greyhounds at each track are disposed of yearly to bring in a "fresh" group of dogs. A dog's racing career is usually over at 3½ to 4 years of age.
If able to live out his or her full life as a companion animal, a greyhound may live 13 or more years. Unfortunately, the industry kills greyhounds at various stages in the dogs' lives because they appear to lack racing potential or are injured. Many dogs, when they are no longer profitable, are adopted into good homes through rescue groups, but thousands are not. As with any business, profit is the bottom line; as a result, greyhounds are often destroyed using the least expensive methods, including gunshot. Budgeoning, abandonment, and starvation also occurs.
Racing greyhounds spend the majority of their adult lives in crates or pens or in fenced enclosures. Human companionship is limited. Many enclosures are not climate-controlled, causing the dogs distress during inclement weather.
Greyhound training activities have been known to maim and kill thousands of domestic rabbits and wild jackrabbits every year. (This estimate is based on HSUS investigations into the illegal importation of rabbits as well as the use of animals in training events.) One particular event known as "coursing" involves greyhounds chasing, terrorizing and eventually killing rabbits within fenced enclosures.
Who’s fighting it: WSPA, Romania Animal Rescue, AAPN (Asian Animal Protection Network), PETA International, EnviroWatch, Elly Maynard, Best Friends, Care2.com, ALF, Political Animal Lobby, PAWS (Phillipines Animal Welfare Society), IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), Animals Asia, AnimalEarth.org, Noah's Ark Malaysia, Vier Pfoten (Four Paws- Austria), St. Fransisc Foundation (Sibiu, Romania), Animal Life Romania, and countless other sanctuaries, shelters, humane societies and kind people.
Recent progress: The St. Francis foundation in Romania has persuaded the town of Sibiu to outlaw the culls there, and instead has initiated a spay/neuter/release program that is currently highly successful. They hope to serve as a model for other Romanian towns and cities.
This is another treatment of fellow animals I find particularly loathsome. It has been documented by National Geographic and other reputable elephant experts, such as Thailand’s own "Lek" Chaillert who runs the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary, where I saw raw footage filmed by some of her volunteers, yet many people have either never heard of the phaajaan or deny it. Westerners are not allowed to see them any more. Unfortunately, every captive working elephant that is used in Asia endures this sadistic ritual, including the ones used for elephant ‘treks’-- and clueless tourists by the thousands pay to ride them. Please do some research before going to Asia and supporting this grotesque tradition.
Asian elephants are also worked to death in logging camps in Burma (Myanmar) under extremely cruel conditions--even pregnant-- and are often given amphetamines to get more work out of them, making them sick and more likely to get injured. Some are also forced to walk city streets with beggars, risking injury and death by automobiles. Many of these are the very same babies who were torn from their mothers and underwent the phaajaan torture, only to work on hot, dirty, polluted, noisy streets-- a horrible existence for any young animal. These begging elephants are usually not owned by the beggars you see them with, but rich Asians, including corrupt city officials, who get a percentage of the tourists money. Think about that next time you're tempted to give someone money who exploits animals to beg.
Who’s fighting it: Elephant Nature Park, Dawnwatch.com, Lobsa.org, National Geographic, PETA International, eleaid.com, elephantvoices.com, Born Free, The Elephant Sanctuary, ACRES.
Over 95% of the animals abused by man are on factory farms–billions of them endure conditions that would be criminal if it were done to dogs or cats. These deserve subheadins of their own, including:
A. Pig confinement: something resembling a torture chamber. In the push for squeezing more pigs into less space, they are kept in unbearably tiny stalls too small for them to turn around in. Many people think of Charlotte’’s Web and Babe when they imagine how pigs are raised for meat. Unfortunately, these fantasy tales do not depict reality. Almost all of the 100 million pigs killed for food in the United States every year endure horrific conditions in controlled animal feeding operations (CAFOs), the meat industry’’s euphemism for factory farms. Smarter than dogs, these social, sensitive animals spend their lives on bare concrete in overcrowded, dank and filthy warehouses, often seeing direct sunlight for the first time as they are crammed onto a truck bound for the slaughterhouse.
B. Chicken and turkey abuse: probably the worst of the worst, chickens confined to "battery" cages are crammed in so tight they often walk on each other and the weak cannot reach their food or water. Each is give the space of a single sheet of paper to live their whole life on. Stress is so high these normally peaceful animals fight each other in their misery, so the babies routinely have their beaks seared off. The air in their huge sheds is a toxic poison, reeking with dust, debris and the methane from their wastes. Disease is rampant and death is common, so antibiotics are added to their feed just to keep them alive long enough to grow up. They are kept in the dark their whole lives until the shocking transport to the slaughterhouse, where they are hung upside-down and their necks are cut, although many are still alive when they are dunked into the scalding de-feathering oil.
The egg-laying chickens endure similar conditions. None know a kind voice or have any real contact with humans, panicking whenever one approaches.
These intelligent birds simply do not deserve this barbaric treatment. California was the first U.S. state to vote to ban battery cages in 2008 (along with pig gestation and veal crates), but that only just begins to address the horrible abuse of chickens by factory farmers.
Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their babies. In order to force the animals to continue giving milk, factory farmers impregnate them using artificial insemination every year. Calves are generally taken from their mothers within a day of being born——males are destined for veal crates, and females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.
Mother cows on dairy farms can often be seen searching and calling for their calves long after they have been separated. Author Oliver Sacks, M.D., wrote of a visit that he and cattle expert Dr. Temple Grandin made to a dairy farm and of the great tumult of bellowing that they heard when they arrived: ‘They must have separated the calves from the cows this morning,' Temple said, and, indeed, this was what had happened. "We saw one cow outside the stockade, roaming, looking for her calf, and bellowing. ‘That’s not a happy cow,’’ Temple said. ‘That’s one sad, unhappy, upset cow. She wants her baby. Bellowing for it, hunting for it. She’ll forget for a while, then start again. It’s like grieving, mourning——not much written about it. People don’t like to allow them thoughts or feelings.’ [This is a common behavior of dairy cows].
After their calves are taken from them, mother cows are hooked up, several times a day, to machines that take the milk intended for their babies. Using genetic manipulation, powerful hormones, and intensive milking, factory farmers force cows to produce about 10 times as much milk as they naturally would. Animals are pumped full of bovine growth hormone (BGH), which contributes to painful inflammation of the udder known as mastitis. (BGH is used throughout the U.S., but has been banned in Europe and Canada because of concerns over human health and animal welfare.) According to the industry’’s own figures, between 30 and 50 percent of dairy cows suffer from mastitis, an extremely painful condition.
A cow’s natural lifespan is 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the filth, intensive confinement, and the strain of constantly being pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat because their bodies are too "spent" to be used for anything else
D. Veal calves: Male calves——"byproducts" of the dairy industry——are generally taken from their mothers when they are less than 1 day old. The calves are then put into dark, tiny crates, where they are kept almost completely immobilized in dark stalls so that their flesh stays tender. The calves are fed a liquid diet that is low in iron and has little nutritive value in order to make their flesh white. This heinous treatment makes the calves ill, and they frequently suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and pneumonia. They cannot even lay down, because then they might chew on the wood or metal slats to get the iron their bodies desperately need. Frightened, sick, miserably uncomfortable and alone, these calves are killed after only a few months of life. "Veal" is the flesh of a tortured, sick baby cow, and a byproduct of the milk industry. If you eat veal, please think about this suffering before you order it next time.
E. Sheep treatment & transport to middle east (from Australia, New Zealand & other developed countries)– sheep are shipped under inhumane conditions (often for weeks with little to no food & water) and arrive sick and dying, only to be treated even worse there.
During the last 30 years, Australia has sent more than 150 million sheep and cattle to be slaughtered in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East and South East Asia. Livestock ships can carry up to 100,000 animals for voyages lasting up to 3 weeks.
More than 2 million animals have died on these ships en route, deaths deemed an ‘acceptable’ loss by an industry that puts profit above all else.
Investigations conducted by Animals Australia in Middle Eastern countries have exposed the terrible cruelties inflicted upon Australian animals in these countries. Most importing countries have not one single law to protect animals’’ welfare. Once in the Middle East, Australian sheep are routinely purchased, bound, and shoved into car boots in a region where temperatures reach 50E°C in summer. Both sheep and cattle have their throats cut whilst fully conscious, suffering prolonged, distressing and painful deaths.
Australian sheep farmers also engage in the horrific practice of "mulesing", in which large chunks of skin and flesh are cut from their backsides without any pain relief, supposedly to prevent "flystrike", or flies laying eggs on the sheep.
Recent progress: 2008 passage of Proposition 2 in California will outlaw gestation and veal crates, and battery cages by 2012. And in May 2009 Maine voted to ban veal and gestation crates as well. More states have legislation pending. In Australia and New Zealand, mulesing is being phased out and is targeted to stop by the end of 2010. Also, a new documentary about factory farm abuse, "Food, Inc." was released the summer of 2009 and is very revealing.
15. Foie gras production: (France, Hungary, Bulgaria, U.S.)– Also technically a part of factory farming, foie gras (literally "fatty liver") production is so sickening it deserves its own category. It is made by force-feeding geese and ducks massive amounts of grain through pipes pushed down their throats, resulting in esophageal trauma and their diseased livers painfully swelling up to 10 times their normal size. The birds often vomit after the force-feeding, and they are kept in tiny stalls similar to veal crates. The cruelty involved in foie gras production is almost unknown by the very people who eat liver pate.
Who’s fighting it: Peta, HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, Global Action Network, nofoiegras.org, gourmetcruelty.com, goveg.com, The Humane League,
Two to three times a day, a worker grabs each bird, shoves a long, thick metal tube all the way down his throat, and an air pump shoots up to two pounds of corn mush into his esophagus. The industry always refers to the dry weight of the feed, which is about one pound per feeding. Adding oil and water doubles this weight, making it 20-30% of the bird's healthy body weight. Picture 30 one pound boxes of dry pasta and then add water. This is proportionally how much a 150 pound human would be force fed using this formula.A duck's liver naturally weighs around 50 grams. However, to qualify as foie gras, the industry's own regulations require ducks' livers to weigh an absolute minimum of 300 grams.
The vast amounts of feed pumped down the ducks' throats causes enormous internal pressure, and the pipe sometimes punctures the esophagus, causing many to die from choking on the blood that fills their lungs. Some birds literally burst, choke to death on their own vomit, or become so weak that they are unable to fend off rats from eating them alive click to see footage from Sonoma Foie gras--requires Windows Media Player). Other ducks die a slow, painful, and premature death by suffocation from inhalation of regurgitated feed. In fact, because of the massive toll taken on the birds during the force-feeding process, the average pre-slaughter mortality rate is up to twenty times higher than on other duck factory farms, according to the European Union's Scientific Report on the subject.According to the ASPCA, "The birds' livers become so enlarged……that according to documentation by veterinarians, the animals must experience unspeakable pain and suffering. Birds have literally exploded from these forced feedings. The results of necropsies on dead birds that have been force-fed reveal ruptured livers, throat damage, esophageal trauma, and food spilling from the dead animals' throats and out of their nostrils." The ASPCA has police power to enforce the animal cruelty law in New York State and has filed charges against Commonwealth Enterprises, now Hudson Valley Foie Gras, in the past for force feeding ducks. Because it is a multi-million dollar enterprise with a lot of political clout in rural Sullivan County, the elected District Attorney dropped the charges. The ASPCA wrote a letter to New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer in late 2001 calling for him to take action, but thus far he has not.In addition to enduring force-feeding, the birds also suffer the same neglectful and abusive treatment of other factory-farmed animals: overcrowding, mutilations (their beaks are cut off), all their natural instincts and desires-such as interacting in social groups, mating freely, keeping themselves clean, nurturing their young, exploring their surroundings-thwarted, and eventually being sent to a violent death by slaughter. Throughout the weeks of force-feeding, the birds are kept in either a group pen or an individual cage with only wire or plastic-mesh floors to stand and sleep on. Unable to feel the sun on their backs or ground beneath their feet, the ducks are held in cages so small that they cannot fully stand or stretch their wings, and often get red, raw sores from having to sit in one place. To make matters worse, the ducks and geese are housed without access to swimming water even though ducks need to be able to immerse themselves in water to remain healthy. Access to water on these farms is so limited that the ducks cannot adequately clean their nostrils and eyes, which can lead to blindness. And finally, I challenge anyone to look at these photos--especially the last one of the duck who died choking on his own vomit-- and then still say they can truly enjoy foie gras.
Recent progress: A California state-wide ban on the production and sale of foie gras will go into effect in the next few years, and other state bills are pending. Unfortunately a similar ban in Illinois was overturned. Many European countries, and Israel, previously the fourth-larges producer of foie gras, have also banned the cruel practice.
These beautiful wild animals are kept in tiny, cold cages with wire mesh bottoms for drainage. They are not allowed any of their natural behavior, which may include nesting, socializing, playing, etc. They often go psychotic and spin endlessly in circles. Many get their little paws caught in the wire mesh and may break a limb off. Many cages are outdoors, and the animals are kept winter and summer, left to survive in freezing cold weather with nowhere to nest. Veterinary care is nonexistant as it would cut into profits.
These fur farms are uninspected and operate entirely as the owners see fit. It’s an "anything goes" environment, rife with the most apalling abuses imaginable.
Who’s fighting it: ALF (in the U.S.), Peta, HSUS, IDA, WSPA, the McCartneys, Born Free USA, Life Force Foundation, Animal Alliance, Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (U.K.), ALV, Fur-Bearer Defenders (Canada), animalconcerns.org, furfreenyc.org, wiserearth.org, antifurcoalition.org, all-creatures.org, ecodefense.com, antifursociety.org, furisdead.com
"Life on the "Ranch" To cut costs, fur farmers pack animals into small cages, preventing them from taking more than a few steps back and forth. This crowding and confinement is especially distressing to minks——solitary animals who may occupy up to 2,500 acres of wetland habitat in the wild. The anguish and frustration of life in a cage leads minks to self-mutilate——biting at their skin, tails, and feet——and frantically pace and circle endlessly. Zoologists at Oxford University who studied captive minks found that despite generations of being bred for fur, minks have not been domesticated and suffer greatly in captivity, especially if they are not given the opportunity to swim. Foxes, raccoons, and other animals suffer just as much and have been found to cannibalize their cagemates in response to their crowded confinement
Animals in fur factory farms are fed meat byproducts considered unfit for human consumption. Water is provided by a nipple system, which often freezes in the winter or might fail because of human error.
The fur industry refuses to condemn even blatantly cruel killing methods. Genital electrocution——deemed "unacceptable" by the American Veterinary Medical Association in its "2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia"——causes animals to suffer from cardiac arrest while they are still conscious. In 1994, Indiana became the first state to file criminal charges against a fur factory farm after PETA investigators documented genital electrocution at V-R Chinchillas. The chinchilla fur industry considers electrocution and neck-breaking "acceptable."
Investigators reported that up to 8,000 animals were loaded onto each truck, with cages stacked on top of each other. Cages containing live animals were tossed from the tops of the trucks onto the ground 10 feet below, shattering the legs of the animals inside them. Many of the animals still had collars on, a sign that they were once someone’’s beloved companions, stolen to be bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into coats, trim, and trinkets.
Undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection/EAST International toured fur farms in China’s Hebei Province and found that foxes, minks, rabbits, and other animals were pacing and shivering in outdoor wire cages, exposed to everything from scorching sun to freezing temperatures to driving rain. Disease and injuries are widespread on these farms, and animals suffering from anxiety-induced psychosis chew on their own limbs and repeatedly throw themselves against the cage bars.
*Note: The globalization of the fur trade has made it impossible to know where fur products come from. Skins move through international auction houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the world, and finished goods are often exported. Even if a fur garment’’s label says that it was made in a European country, the animals were likely raised and slaughtered elsewhere——possibly on an unregulated Chinese fur farm.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, IDA, Mercy for Animals, Animal Alliance, Peta, ALF, DownBound.com, Born Free USA, Life Force Foundation, ALV, Fur-Bearer Defenders, animalconcerns.org, furfreenyc.org, wiserearth.org, antifurcoalition.org,all-creatures.org, ecodefense.com, antifursociety.org, bancrueltraps.com
Although the majority of animals slaughtered for their fur come from notoriously cruel fur factory farms, every year, trappers kill 10 million raccoons, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, opossums, nutria, beavers, otters, and other fur-bearing animals.
Varieties of Trapping
There are various types of traps, including snares, underwater traps, and Conibear traps, but the leghold trap is the most widely used. The American Veterinary Medical Association calls these traps "inhumane." This simple but barbaric device has been banned in 88 countries and in a growing number of states across the U.S. since 1973, including California, Florida, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington state. In 1994, Arizona banned the use of leghold traps on public lands. California voters prohibited all commercial leghold traps in 1998, and Washington voters followed suit, adding a ban on body-gripping traps, in November 2000.
When an animal steps on the leghold trap spring, the trap’s jaws slam on the animal’s limb. The animal will frantically struggle in excruciating pain as the trap cuts into his or her flesh, often down to the bone, mutilating the foot or leg. Some animals, especially mothers desperate to get back to their young, fight so vigorously that they attempt to chew or twist off their trapped limb. This struggle may last hours. Eventually, the animal succumbs to exhaustion and often exposure, frostbite, shock, and death.
If trapped animals do not die from blood loss, infection, or gangrene, they will probably be killed by predators or hunters. Victims of water-set traps, including beavers and muskrats, can take up to 20 agonizing minutes to drown.
Because many trapped animals are mutilated by predators before trappers return, pole traps are often used. A pole trap is a form of leghold trap that is set in a tree or on a pole. Animals caught in these traps are hoisted into the air and left to hang by the caught appendage until they die or the trapper arrives to kill them. Conibear traps crush animals’ necks, applying 90 pounds of pressure per square inch. It takes animals three to eight minutes to suffocate in these traps.
Traps Do Not Always Kill
For animals who stay alive in the traps, further torture awaits them when the trappers return. State regulations on how often trappers must check their traps vary from 24 hours to one week. Some states have no regulations at all. To avoid damaging the pelt, trappers usually beat or stomp their victims to death. A common stomping method is to pin the head with one foot and stand on the chest area near the heart with the other foot for several minutes, which suffocates the animal.
Every year, dogs, cats, birds, and other animals, including endangered species, are crippled or killed by traps. Trappers call these animals "trash kills" because they have no economic value. In Middleboro, Mass., the body of a skinned dog was found with his front paw missing. Evidence led the investigating officer to believe a trapper caught the dog in a leghold trap, then shot and skinned him. In Oregon, a woman watched helplessly as her companion dog let out screams of pain after stepping into a steel-jaw leghold trap hidden in a meadow frequented by people and their companion dogs. It took three firefighters 24 grueling minutes to release the terrified dog from the trap. In Montana, a woman walking her dogs on public land struggled frantically as her canine companion screamed and writhed in agony when he suddenly became trapped by a baited Conibear trap. She unsuccessfully tried to release the clamp as her beloved companion slowly suffocated. "I’ve never seen anything as traumatic as this girl trying to raise the dog from the trap," said a witness who heard the woman’s screams for help. Later, she discovered that another dog had been caught in a Conibear trap on the same trapline only six days earlier and that the trapper responsible for the traps had been informed at that time by a game warden.
Contrary to fur-industry propaganda, there is no ecologically sound reason to trap animals for fur; In fact, trapping disrupts wildlife populations by killing healthy animals needed to keep their species strong, and populations are further damaged when the parents of young animals are killed. Left alone, animal populations can and do regulate their own numbers. Even if human intervention or an unusual natural occurrence caused an animal population to rise temporarily, the group would soon stabilize through natural processes no more cruel, even at their worst, than the pain and trauma of being trapped and slaughtered by humans. Killing animals because they might starve or might get sick is simply an excuse for slaughter motivated by greed and ignorance
Recent progress: Israel has introduced the world’s first nationwide bill to prohibit the fur industry in its entirety, including all importation, production and all sales in Israel. Also the 2009 EU ban on seal fur will make a huge difference on the annual Canadian seal slaughter.
Gorillas killed in the forests are skinned and butchered for the bushmeat trade. Gorilla hands are severed and served as a delicacy or set out as a trophy. A gorilla head is soup for some; souvenir for others.
MORE INFO (from National Geographic):
Who Murdered the Virunga Gorillas?
Heavily armed militias shatter the stillness in this central African park. Desperate refugees crowd park boundaries. Charcoal producers strip forests. Then, last summer, someone killed seven of these magnificent creatures in cold blood.
On July 22 of last year unknown assailants crouched in the forest, preparing to execute a family of gorillas. Hidden on a side slope of the Mikeno volcano in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, armed with automatic weapons, the killers had hunted down the twelve-member Rugendo family, well-known among tourists and well loved by the rangers of Virunga National Park. The patriarch of the gorilla family, a 500-pound silverback named Senkwekwe, would have sensed that the assailants were near, perhaps wrinkling his wide, black nose at their unfortunate smell, but he would not have been alarmed. Senkwekwe had seen thousands of people and had come to accept their proximity as irritating but unavoidable. So habituated to humans was the Rugendo family that the gorillas would occasionally wander out of the forest into cornfields for an impromptu picnic, angering local farmers.
Park rangers at the nearby Bukima barracks said they heard shots at eight that night. On foot patrol the next morning they found three female gorillas—Mburanumwe, Neza, and Safari—shot to death, with Safari's infant cowering nearby. The following day Senkwekwe was found dead: blasted through the chest that same night. Three weeks later the body of another Rugendo female, Macibiri, would be discovered, her infant presumed dead.
Just a month earlier, two females and an infant from another gorilla group had been attacked. The rangers had found one of the females, shot execution style in the back of the head; her infant, still alive, was clinging to her dead mother's breast. The other female was never found.
All told, seven Virunga mountain gorillas had been killed in less than two months. Brent Stirton's photographs of the dead creatures being carried like royalty by weeping villagers ran in newspapers and magazines around the world. The murders of these intelligent, unassuming animals the park rangers refer to as "our brothers" ignited international outrage.
Hogs often sustain serious injuries during these events, including but not limited to ripped ears and haunches, mangled noses, ruptured scrotums, and other gaping wounds. Sometimes their ears are torn right off. Considered by some to be "good, wholesome fun," children are also often allowed to gang up on the frightened pigs and chase them around the arena. This causes children to become calloused to violence, and more likely to engage in it as they grow up.
Another bad side effect from this (as well as dogfighting) is that when the pit bull dogs are later abandoned, lost or given up, they are unadoptable because of their fighting tendencies. This forces shelter personell to euthanize them, an unpopular but necessary job that the former owners never give a thought about and never have to see.
20. Horse racing: (global) – causes many joint & bone injuries, speed-enhancing drugs given, 1,000 horses die each year on American race tracks. Horses no longer able to race are sold for slaughter. A few may be kept for breeding, a dubious honor as they may be lame and kept indoors in barns until unable to breed; then they, too are slaughtered.
Who’s fighting it: IDA, AAPN (Asian Animal Protection Network), Fund4horses, CHAI (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel), PETA, LCA (Last Chance for Animals), Animal Aid (UK), Animals Australia, DawnWatch, DownBound, AnimalsAustralia, SHARK, All-Creatures.org, Live Export Shame, horseracingkills.com, WAF (World Animal Foundation), FAACE (Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe), Animals Australia, The New York Times, NY Daily News.
Drugs and Deception
"Finding an American racehorse trained on the traditional hay, oats, and water probably would be impossible," commented one racing reporter. Many racehorses are turned into junkies by their trainers and sometimes by veterinarians, who provide drugs to keep horses on the track when they shouldn’t be racing.
Which drugs are legal and which are not varies from state to state, with Kentucky holding the reputation as most lenient. According to The Washington Post, every horse at the 2003 Kentucky Derby was given a shot of Lasix (which controls bleeding in the lungs), and most were probably given phenylbutazone (an anti-inflammatory). Those drugs, although legal, can also mask pain or make a horse run faster. Labs cannot detect all of the illegal drugs out there, of which there "could be thousands," says the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Morphine, which can keep a horse from feeling any pain from an injury, was suspected in the case of Be My Royal, who won a race limping. Baffert has also been suspended for using morphine on a horse. One trainer was suspended for using an Ecstasy-type drug on five horses, and another has been kicked off of racetracks for using clenbuterol and, in one case, for having the leg of a euthanized horse cut off "for research."
"According to several estimates, there are 1.5 career-ending breakdowns for every 1,000 racing starts in the United States. That's an average of two per day."
Who’s fighting it: Wildlife Protection Association of Australia, PETA International, AWPC (Australian Wildlife Protection Council), Animals Australia, Viva!
Many years ago, in New South Wales, wildlife carers were able to take their more placid wild animals to school to educate the children. They were able to show their joeys in public to rise awareness.But, a few years back the rules and regulations regarding wildlife caring changed dramatically for the worst.
The Australian TV Series Skippy was banned, so that the audience would not fall in love with their favorite innocent Icon Skippy and develop the so called "Skippy Syndrome". Thanks to the Government and its anti kangaroo laws and regulations, our Icon Skippy turned overnight into a fugitive and became the most harassed, despised, hated and hunted animal in the history of mankind. The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service changed their Wildlife laws and regulations and carers are no longer allowed to visit schools or show their joeys in public. Nor are we allowed to take them on long shopping trips. This is especially hard if we have to drive long distances to do our shopping and our joey needs 3 hourly feeding.
Australia has experienced the worst ever drought in human settlement and our remaining surviving kangaroos are still hunted down and mercilessly killed by kangaroo shooters, especially the big males and females because they bring the highest economic returns of profits to the industry for the leather sold to ADIDAS, the world largest predator of kangaroos; hence the Predator Football Boot worn by David Beckham. With help from the Multinational giant manufacturer Adidas, things have never been worse for the remaining healthy kangaroos, those animals that are vital for the survival of the future generation.
Who’s fighting it: Project R&R, IDA, ALF, HSUS, Peta, the Great Ape Project, the Jane Goodall Institute, ALV, releasechimps.org, Defenders of Wildlife, PSYETA, AWI, Ape Alliance, ALDF, Animal Aid, Primarily Primates sanctuary, Friends of Animals, Born Free USA, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Anti-Vivisection Western Australia, Animal Rights Africa, British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, Compassion Over Killing, European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Uncaged (U.K.), http://www.compassionateconsumer.com/
MORE INFO: The two worst laboratories are probably Covance and Huntingdon. They are so bad there are websites dedicated solely to exposing the horrors of the two companies. Many of the household products you buy are tested in these labs, in ridiculous ways such as dripped on the eyes of rabbits (which have no tear ducts to flush away the chemicals) or injected directly into small mammals until 50% of them die horrible deaths. Here are some excerpts from these websites:
In the past few years HLS have been infiltrated and exposed time and time again by journalists, animal rights campaigners and members of the public. Also a number of companies that breed lab animals for HLS have been exposed as well as their clients.Every single time vicious animal cruelty, fraud, incompetence and rule breaking has been exposed on a large scale. HLS workers have been caught on camera punching animals in the face and falsifying test data, they have been caught dealing illegal substances on company premises and workers have been drunk at work and killing animals due to neglect.
At Covance, animal technicians called the head veterinarian "Mr. Let's Wait and See." The primate staff——even those who were, themselves, often cruel to the monkeys——complained repeatedly about a young monkey with a broken arm being left untreated in his cage for four days. Apparently, "Mr. Let's Wait and See," the head vet at Covance, didn't know what to do about the bone break, and so he waited for a junior veterinarian to return from her time off. The junior vet immediately ordered the animal euthanized as the break was too severe to repair. She discovered and disclosed that the head veterinarian had given the baby monkey a drug that had little more effect than that of an aspirin for his unimaginable pain.
Other Documented Horrors for Animals at Covance
· Striking and choking "uncooperative" monkeys
· Screaming curses at frightened, sick monkeys
· Slamming monkeys into their cages after they've had dosing tubes rammed down their throats
· Hosing down cages with monkeys still inside, soaking the animals
· A loose monkey terrorized by a technician who slams cages into walls to scare the animal out of hiding
· Monkeys with chronic rectal prolapses-painful protrusions of the intestines through the rectum-resulting from constant stress and diarrhea
· Monkeys who died horribly in tests for a drug company-the veterinarian was forbidden to examine them or provide any treatment, including euthanasia
· Small monkeys dosed with large tubes forced up their nostrils and down into their stomachs, causing choking, gagging, and daily bloody noses
· Monkey self-mutilation resulting from Covance's failure to provide psychological enrichment and socialization
· Injuries left untreated until they became necrotic
Recent progress: Spain banned the use of great apes in experimentation 2008. Peta is continuously getting more and more companies to stop animals testing, especially cosmetics and household products, and the EU has current legislation to phase out cosmetic testing. You can make a big difference: please go online for lists of companies that DO and DON'T test on animals. There is even at least one new app you can download onto your iPhone for easy reference. Every purchase you make can help, or stop, animals from being tortured in labs.
23. Marine Mammal Parks: (global)--Like in rodeos, I used to think there wasn't much harm done to these wild animals, and it was fun and interesting to visit them. But, just as in rodeos, circuses, or any other forum where animals are used for entertainment, there was a far uglier side to these chlorinated prisons for some of the world's most intelligent mammals.
Orcas and dolphins who escape the ordeal of capture become frantic upon seeing their captured companions and may even try to save them. When Namu, a wild orca captured off the coast of Canada, was towed to the Seattle Public Aquarium, he was insured by Lloyd’s of London, according to the BBC, for “various contingencies including rescue attempts by other whales.”
A former trainer at Hersheypark quit because she saw “a lot of frustrated animals that would die from ulcers.” A marine mammal behavioral biologist in Seattle says that “dolphins in captivity can exhibit self-inflicted trauma” and that some drift at the surface of the water and chew on concrete until they’ve destroyed their teeth. The stress is so great that some commit suicide. Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean-Michel, vowed never to capture marine mammals again after witnessing one captured dolphin kill himself by deliberately crashing into the side of his tank again and again
24. Overfishing (especially trawling, longline and drift net fishing): (global)– modern commercial factory fishing slaughters huge numbers of marine mammals (dolphins, porpoises, seals, etc.), seabirds, turtles, sharks and other "bycatch". They may die slowly from ingested hooks, or from getting entangled in nylon mesh nets. Whales also suffer and die from these practices. The fish themselves are being drastically overfished in unsustainable numbers, and experts fear that even if we stopped now, it would be decades before their numbers would even begin to return to normal levels.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, IDA, Sea Shepherd, all-creatures.org, AWI (Animal Welfare Institute), WWF, Animals Australia, ALV.
The ocean is dying ; of seventeen global fishing "hot spots" like the Grand Banks, sixteen have collapsed beyond repair. There are now only 10% of the fish stocks that there were in 1950.
Isn't it time we re-thought our killing of the oceans?
Hunters will look for the largest, healthiest specimens to kill. This is the opposite of natural selection, where the oldest and weakest are culled by natural processes. This creates an imbalanced, unhealthy population which further endangers the species and harms the already strained fragile ecosytems.
Sarah Palin’s administration pushed to get polar bears off the endangered list here in the U.S., thus making it legal to hunt them in Alaska, and opening up their refuges to oil drilling. Please spread the word that Sarah Palin would NOT make a compassionate political candidate. She does not care about you, only about money and satisfying her own lust for power and blood. If she were in office all the nonhuman animals of the United States would all face setbacks in their protection. She would be worse than Cheney; she has shown a real love of killing, and I fear for what would become of our nation's precious remaining wildlife with her in office.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, Defenders of Wildlife, International Fund for Animal Welfare, all-creatures.org, Humane Society International Canada, Big Wildlife, ATAAC (Australian Teens Against Animal Cruelty)
Recent progress: The U.S. has banned the import of polar bear parts being brought into the country by wealthy Americans who like killing for fun; however the Safari Club has sued the government for the right to do so. We shall see what happens on this front.
26. Puppy mills: (global)– where puppies are raised, often by the hundreds, in appalling, cramped conditions (see photos), get no socialization and little medical care, then sold on the internet and shipped (often when underage) like merchandise to anywhere, often arrive sick from stress, etc.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, Best Friends, Peta, IDA, ASPCA, Stoppuppymills.org, ALV, WSPA, Noah's Ark
Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs——and it is not unusual for cages to be stacked up in columns. Breeder dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements——or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or a gust of fresh air on their faces.
In order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. When, after a few years, they are physically depleted to the point that they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed. The mom and dad of the puppy in the pet store window are unlikely to make it out of the mill alive——and neither will the many puppies born with overt physical problems that make them unsalable to pet stores; while the ones that are sold are often sickly and soon may die in spite of costly medical treatments. Some pet stores, like the Petland chain, have a fixed policy of lying to customers about the origins of their puppies, and often refuse to take responsibility for ones that get sick, even immediately after being sold.
27. Rodeos: (U.S., Australia, smaller ones elsewhere)– I always thought rodeos might be a bit rough on animals, but all in all it was mostly some "good ol' boys" having fun. Was I wrong. Rife with abuse, broken legs, necks, high-voltage shocking and other forms of pain to make the animals buck.-- rodeos are much more abusive to animals than they appear-- or that organizers would want you to know. Just watch a video or two from SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) will show you the dark, dirty underbelly of electric prods, painful buckstraps, beating and kicking of animals who refuse to "cooperate", and other ugly facts about rodeos.
Horses and bulls buck because of tight "bucking straps" that pinch into their genitals where caustic ointments have first been applied. By the time they are released into the arena they are frantic to rid themselves of the strap. In rodeos, animals are tormented with electric prods and tail-twisting. Those that are lassoed at full speed, wrestled to the ground and dragged with ropes, can be injured and even killed. When a calf runs at speeds of up to 27 miles and hour, a lasso that pulls him up short and jerks him off his feet can break bones, cause paralysis by injuring the spinal cord, sever the trachea and kill the animal. Calf-roping is outlawed in some jurisdictions because of its inherent cruelty.
Who’s fighting it: SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness). IDA (In Defense of Animals, RodeoAbuse.com, MFA (Mercy For Animals), Animal Law Coalition, Peta, Animals Australia, NoRodeo.org (Australia) ARAN (Animal Rights Action Network- Ireland), PETA, HSUS, ALV, European Anti-Rodeo Coalition.
Rodeo proponents claim this "sport" should be preserved as an American tradition that harkens back to the frontier days of the Old West, when cowboys tamed wild beasts with brute strength and cunning. What they fail to acknowledge is that rodeos harm animals who are forced to "perform" in a competition that is essentially a display of human domination over other species. The modern "sport" of rodeo has strayed far from its origins in another exploitive part of American heritage, the cattle drive, when cows were rounded up and led long distances as a herd to their eventual slaughter. At least cowboys living and working on the range developed practical skills like roping and wrestling cattle in order to manage the herd, which would provide food for settlers who, in those days, would not even know what a vegetarian was.
*Final Note: See SHARK’s excellent collection of YouTube videos exposing the cruelties of rodeos at http://www.youtube.com/user/SHARKonlineorg.
Some seals are killed with a blow to the head using a wooden club or hakapik. The sealers stun as many baby seals as they can before going back to kill them. Some seals try to get away, but they are clumsy on the ice, heaving their fat little bodies with an uncoordinated flipper shuffle. Other seals are shot from a distance and then dragged from the ice onto boats using steel hooks.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Sea Shepherd Society, American SPCA, Peta, the Franz Weber Foundation, The Humane Society International, Respect for Animals.
MORE INFO: Many people, even in the U.S., are still unaware that this continues today. There is little to no news coverage of the slaughter. The HSUS and other activist groups continue to monitor and document the slaughter every year.
Recent progress: In May 2009 the European Union voted to ban the import of all seal products into Europe, effectively reducing the seal market by almost 90%. Unfortunately the Canadians may look to Asia or elsewhere for new markets, so the fight continues.
Who’s fighting it: All-creatures.org, HSUS, WildAid, Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, Sharkfriends.com, Oceana.org, Stopsharkfinning.net, Sharkstewards.com, National Geographic, BlueVoice.org, IUCN Shark Specialist Group, The Ocean Conservancy
Every year tens of millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark's fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks either starve to death, are eaten alive by other fish, or drown (if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water). Shark fins are being "harvested" in ever greater numbers to feed the growing demand for shark fin soup, an Asian "delicacy". Not only is the finning of sharks barbaric, but their indiscriminate slaughter at an unsustainable rate is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Since the 1970s the populations of several species have been decimated by over 95%. Due to the clandestine nature of finning, records are rarely kept of the numbers of sharks and species caught. Estimates are based on declared imports to shark fin markets such as Hong Kong and China.
Who’s fighting it: Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, IDA, AWI, WSPA, Save the Japan Dolphins Coalition, Campaign Whale, Elsa Nature Conservancy, Ocean Care, Humane Society International, ALF, Sea Watch Foundation, Animals Australia, Earth Island Institute, Oceanic Preservation Society, Whaleman.org, Whalecall.org, All-Creatures.com, savejapandolphins.org
MORE INFO: This year the Japanese fleet will kill another 1,000 whales off the coast of Antarctica, in what they are calling a "feasibility study" for expanded "research" whaling (no other scientists on the planet agree that killing so many whales is warranted for scientific or any other purpose). The IWC agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling that came into effect in 1986. In 1987, Japan continued killing whales, calling it "research", and continues to sell the mercury-laden result of this "research" in shops and restaurants, and even to schools for children's lunches, in spite of evidence that the meat contains heavy metals and other toxins from human pollution.
Zoos cannot adequately house and care for large mammals such as elephants, giraffes and rhinos-- only preserves and sanctuaries have the room they require. Not to mention, animals that are captured abroad are torn from family members or herds.
Who’s fighting them: ATAAC, CAPS (Captive Animals Protective Society), the International Elephant Foundation, The Elephant Sanctuary, HSUS, Peta, IDA, Equanimal (Spain), ALV (Aus), Animal Aid.
MORE INFO: Today zoos are a relic of a bygone age - a Victorian concept which, as our knowledge of the animal kingdom grows, becomes even less palatable.
To most people, it is self evident that keeping a rhinoceros in a small concrete enclosure in central London is hardly appropriate. So zoos claim they are on a greater mission: for conservation, education, research, and entertainment. Zoos now favor terms like wildlife park or even 'sanctuary'.
It is a myth to think that all zoo animals have been captive bred. All of the African elephants in UK zoos and most of the Asian have been imported from their country of origin. Wild animals are still captured and supplied to animal collections. In 1998 some 30 infant wild elephants were taken from their mothers in Botswana to be sold to European zoos by an animal dealer. Animal protection groups stepped in to oppose the sale but were unable to prevent seven elephants going to zoos in Switzerland and Germany.
Although zoos may not take as many animals from the wild as they once did, once there, the animals are there for life. In 1996, of 138 Bornean orang-utans in 35 European collections, 38 were wild born, ranging from 7 to 41 years old.
Recent progress: Public knowledge of proper animal care is improving faster than the zoo habitats themselves. Huge strides have been made recently in many western zoos. 18American zoos (including the San Francisco, Philadelphia and Bronx zoos) have opted to transfer their elephants to sanctuaries, admitting that they can not provide adequate habitats for the large creatures. Others, like the Dallas and L.A. zoos, are spending millions of dollars in improvements, but even with that many still cannot adequately provide for the needs of many of the larger animals.
32. And finally, the NUMBER ONE biggest crime of them all against nature, the great MASS EXTINCTION currently taking place globally– caused by overfarming, overfishing, overpopulation, slash & burn agriculture, overhunting, habitat destruction, invasive species (brought by humans), greed, ignorance, war, disease, pollution and other human activity-- and ONLY human activity. We are the sole species responsible for the of wiping out of many of our fellow beings on this planet at a rate possibly thousands of times higher than normal (although estimates vary). We have no idea of what we are doing to this planet, or its other inhabitants. The normal background rate of extinctions is about one species every 4 years. We are managing, by some estimates, about a thousand species --plants, animals, insects, etc.-- a week. And yet governments still continue to pay bounties for "pest" animals-- usually anything other than farm animals. This is why the thylacine, pictured here, was wiped out; the only large carnivorous marsupial to live until modern times.
After a galloping start, horses plunge over an almost vertical drop of about 225 feet. The horses do not realize where the ground is until it is rushing beneath them. They cannot see horses ahead of them. This is documented cruelty.
Running of the bulls (Spain): All over Spain, confused, frightened bulls are poked and prodded with electric cattle prods into running on slick cobbled streets, where they will often fall, even breaking legs and horns. The race course literally dead ends into a bullfighting ring, where the animals will come face to face with their own death in a way that most of the human racers will never see. Death is not pretty inside the bullring. A man on horseback will jab the bull with lances and puncture him with barbed sticks called banderillas. The great beast, drained of blood and energy, will then face a matador who will ritualistically tease the bull before sticking one last blade into the animal's heart.
"Shearing of the Beasts" (Spain): Wild horses are rounded up from the surrounding hillside and guided into an enclosed arena, where men and women wrestle the horses trying to pin them down long enough to brand them and cut off their tails. The participants and local authorities say the horses aren’t mistreated or killed, but I would imagine being slammed to the floor and getting branded with a hot iron isn’t the most pleasant sensation in the world.
Who's fighting it: unknown. It's saddening how little information is available on this type of cruelty. I only found out about it because of one article in the Washington Post which gleefully reported about a lady who "caught gators" by the dozen this way. If anyone knows more about it and would like to share, please email me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
In a typical coursing match, a rabbit is released into a large open field that is tightly fenced. When it was legal, at one end of the grounds was a grandstand, and many stories noted that the finely dressed female spectators, rather than being reserved and delicate, were more bloodthirsty than the men. Traditionally, a man called a "slipper" held two competing greyhounds -- sometimes four -- on a leash while the rabbit was given a head start. The dogs were released to chase the rabbit and were trailed by a man on horseback who judged the race by assigning points to the dogs' agility catching its prey. If the rabbit wasn't dead when the dogs were through, someone killed it by stepping on its skull.
On the French island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean, fishermen have been using live dogs and cats as bait for sharks.
This practice is specifically outlawed by French law but the law, as in many places throughout the world, is ignored by fishing communities who apparently believe they are above the law.
The dogs and cats, sometimes strays, sometimes stolen pets, have hooks passed through their snouts or through the tendons in their legs and the hooks are attached to lines and rods. The hapless animals are then tossed into the water where their struggles attract sharks.
2. Sound environmental policies by governments.
Nations need to stop worrying about killing off wildlife to help ranchers, and concentrate on saving what natural areas they have left. If they would stop subsidizing the raising of meat animals, they could use the money saved to protect natural resources.
Energy and raw material consumption, especially in the U.S., is incredibly wasteful and must be curtailed. Automobiles need to be more fuel efficient, a goal foolishly and astoundingly discouraged by the Bush administration.
Many also cannot make the leap to vegetarian or vegan diets; they were raised eating meat, and for various reasons and rationalizations will not try doing without ingesting animal products. But by purchasing them, they are directly supporting the factory farm abuses listed above. By necessity, the only way to truly consider yourself kind to all animals is to not eat them as well. Perhaps the best way for those to whom the diet seems too restrictive is to gradually reduce meat consumption. Many choose not to eat red meat, for example. Or you could start with a meat-free dinner once a week-- easy enough, considering a nice pasta with marinara sauce, a salad and garlic bread and some good wine is an excellent vegan meal. Some helpful websites include goveg.com and tryveg.com.
5. Protect what we have left. "Large areas of forest and grasslands are being destroyed frivolously and carelessly by humans who are heedless of the beauty of our cousins the trees and ignorant of the possible climatic catastrophes which large-scale burning of forests may bring. We ravage the earth at an accelerated pace, as if it belonged to just one generation, as if it were ours to do with as we please." ~ Carl Sagan, "Cosmos", 1980.
This indiscriminate destruction is also wiping out many animal species. Some of the Earth's richest and most diverse remaining ecosystems--Indonesia, Brazil's ancient rainforests, poor Madagascar-- are being mindlessly and irrevocably remade into farmland and grazing pastures to feed out greed for meat. Driving through Malaysia I passed mile after mile of palm tree plantations (for palm oil) where tropical forests recently stood, and New Zealand's trees are being bulldozed at a massive rate to make room for dairy cows.
Our generation must choose: which do we value more, short-term profits and appetites for unsustainable animal products, or the long-term habitability of our planetary home?
Let the record show, this list was compiled by Dave Bernazani from 12/22/2007 - 7/09
"0 God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship, with all living things, our little brothers to whom thou hast given this earth as their home in common with us. May we realise that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of life even as we, and serve Thee better in their place than we in ours." --First uttered by St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, 370 AD
¡parada! dejar este burro solo!
Stop! Leave this donkey alone!
"I am guilty of going to a circus as a child, and to other things later like elephant rides and zoos. But now that I know better I will never, ever again pay a penny for a camel ride, snake charmer, circus, dancing bear, elephant trek, rodeo, horse or dog race, roadside zoo, bullfight, barbecue, donkey basketball game, fur-trimmed anything, dolphin show, puppy-mill dog or any other scheme, spiel or strategy which greedily exploits our fellow animals for profit.
In fact I'll fight them wherever I can." (YouTube comment I left on a circus video)
Fifty-seven years later, on September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo. I wonder if that Ohio senator was still around that day, and what he thought of his confident speech then?