Archive for the ‘Marine mammals’ Category

Company of Wolves: one of the most talked about social justice issues of the day   Leave a comment

From Open Graves, Open Minds August 12, 2015 by Lucy Northenra

Recent events suggest that Animal Rights is quickly becoming one of the most talked about social justice issues of the twenty-first century. Garry Marvin, Professor of Human and Animal Studies at the University of Roehampton will be opening up some of these issues for debate at the Company of Wolves Conference in September. Prof Marvin will be giving a keynote address on ‘Cultural Images of the Wolf and the Wolves’ Re-emergence in Europe’. Once again OGOM seems to have its finger on the pulse of contemporary society as these issues are red hot just now.

Those of you who are following the Cecil the Lion story will be know that Cecil’s death has sparked outrage worldwide, as people everywhere lament the damage that humans continue to inflict on the populations of not just lions, but the planet’s many endangered creatures. On Saturday night, the Empire State Building served as a timely, sky-high reminder of this devastating impact, as images and videos of threatened animals were projected onto the façade of the iconic New York City skyscraper. Cecil was one of the animals featured.

Large images of endangered species are projected on the south facade of The Empire State Building, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in New York. The large scale projections are in part inspired by and produced by the filmmakers of an upcoming documentary called “Racing Extinction.” (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

You can read about this story in Huffington Post

Looking forward to debating some of these issues at the conference.


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10 animal rights victories of 2014   3 comments

From:  The Independent

Dec. 10, 2014 by Mimi Bekhechi

Orca whale by Getty Images.


On International Animal Rights Day, here are the 10 stand-out victories for animals in 2014:

Retailers around the world pull angora wool products

PETA Asia’s exposé of angora farms in China – where rabbits have the fur violently ripped out of their skin – has led retailers, including ASOS, H&M, Calvin Klein, Ted Baker, French Connection, All Saints, Tommy Hilfiger and many more, to drop this cruel product in droves – you’d be hard-pressed to find a single shop on the High Street still offering angora. In the past month alone, we’ve added Lacoste and Monsoon to the list.

Moscow International Circus says goodbye to wild animals

Twenty years after Tyke the elephant was mowed down in a hail of gunfire after she killed her trainer and went on a rampage following years of confinement and abuse, the Moscow International Circus has pledged not to use any animals in its upcoming performances. Also this year, Mexico City joined Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru in banning circuses that use wild animals. Shamefully, we’re still waiting for the government to deliver on its promise to make these archaic spectacles illegal here in the UK.

India bans the importation of cosmetics tested on animals

Following a ban on cosmetics experiments on animals last year, the Indian government announced a ban on the importation of cosmetics tested on animals elsewhere. This news brings India into line with the European Union and Israel and will spare millions of animals being blinded, poisoned and killed in cruel and useless experiments.

The World Trade Organisation upholds the ban on seal-fur

The Canadian government’s attempt to force the cruel products of its despised commercial seal slaughter onto the unwilling EU public was stopped once and for all when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rejected its appeal earlier this year. The WTO’s decision is a victory for baby seals, who for years have been bludgeoned to death by the thousands in front of other terrorised seals, and brings us a giant step closer to a day when violence on Canadian ice floes is a thing of the past.

China Southern Airlines stops shipping monkeys to labs

After three years of campaigning by PETA and our international affiliates, China Southern Airlines announced a ban on shipments of primates to laboratories, where they were poisoned, crippled and mutilated in cruel experiments. Air France is now the only major airline still still giving primates a one-way ticket to  experimentation and death.

The 100th Spanish town bans bullfights

Sant Joan in Mallorca joined towns such as Tossa de Mar and the entire region of Catalonia in banning bullfights – a sign of the growing Spanish resistance to this cruel and archaic pastime. Towns are now finding innovative new ways to celebrate traditional festivals without harming animals – in Mataelpino in central Spain, for example, the Running of the Balls was introduced as a humane alternative to the traditional but horrific Running of the Bulls.

US military takes huge step towards ending war on animals

In a groundbreaking victory more than three decades in the making, the US military agreed to replace the use of animals in six different areas of medical training with modern human-patient simulators that better prepare medical personnel to treat injured soldiers and spare animals being cut up and having hard plastic tubes repeatedly forced down their throats, among other invasive and often deadly procedures. Unfortunately, the UK and a handful of other EU countries still shoot and then stitch up live pigs in inhumane exercises.

Chimpanzees living in the worst conditions in Germany are freed

For three decades, Mimi and Dolly were confined to this filthy and mouldy shack. PETA Germany went public about their plight, and more than 21,000 people responded to its call to action. Driven by the public’s outrage, the authorities put pressure on the chimpanzees’ “owner” to relinquish custody of the animals, and within weeks Mimi and Dolly were transferred to a Dutch wildlife sanctuary.

SeaWorld shares tank

Anyone who cares about marine life and wants orcas and dolphins to live free in the oceans with their pods is cheering the year that SeaWorld has had following the release of the BAFTA-nominated documentary Blackfish. Attendance at its parks is down, musicians scheduled to perform have jumped ship and the world’s largest student travel company, STA Travel, pulled SeaWorld promotions from its website.

An orca swimming

Abused elephant Sunder is rescued

Millions of concerned people followed this young elephant’s story with bated breath. Sunder endured years of abuse at the Indian temple where he was held prisoner. Thanks to the determined efforts of PETA India and actions from compassionate supporters around the world, Sunder was finally freed and moved to his new home, a nearly 50-hectare forested elephant-care centre at Bannerghatta Biological Park, where he has been able to explore and make friends with other elephants for the very first time.

What next?

Change doesn’t always come quickly. More than 60 billion cows, chickens, pigs and other animals are killed for their flesh every year around the world; animals of many different species are still being tortured and killed for their skin and fur; millions of animals are used in laboratory experiments; and there are still millions of captive animals languishing in zoos, aquaria and circuses. But as the above 10 victories demonstrate, times and attitudes are changing.

 

SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison is OUTTA Here!   2 comments

From:  OneGreenPlanet

Dec 12, 2014

by Kate Good

Image source: Media.Biz.us

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the glowing image of a very confused human-being that is SeaWorld’s former CEO, Jim Atchison … let us enlighten you. Under Atchison’s blissfully ignorant watch, numerous “incidents” involving trainers and orcas have occurred at the park, including the tragic death of Dawn Brancheau. SeaWorld’s stock has dropped a startling 50 percent during Atchison’s time as CEO – mostly because of the growing impact of Blackfish. Rather than making changes in the park to align with the demands of the public (such as ending the captive breeding program), Atchison announced in an interview with Business Insider than he was planning to expand the corporation’s reach into international markets where they could continue to abuse animals scot-free!

While this announcement of expansion prospects surely elicited an overwhelming cringe from people across the world, SeaWorld just announced that Atchison’s days with the corporation are over! Effective January 15th, Atchison will be replaced by David D’Alessandro, the company’s chairman.

The passing of the torch to a new CEO comes as a beacon of hope for animals activists everywhere, but it is not yet a guarantee that real change for the animals imprisoned in SeaWorld will happen in 2015. Atchison was shockingly clueless (or maybe just solely concerned with the profit and nothing else), but D’Alessandro won’t be any better unless he accepts the overpowering fact that people do not want to see captive animals suffer for entertainment anymore.

We have seen what really goes on behind the closed doors at SeaWorld and have come to understand the dynamic emotional and cognitive abilities of the animals that are kept at the park as money-making props. Once you know the truth, it’s impossible to go back to SeaWorld and think that what we’re doing to animals is okay.

Under Atchison, SeaWorld has seen record loses, but if they want to stay in business while D’Alessandro serves as CEO they need to reimagine their entire business model. Starting with an end to their captive breeding program, SeaWorld needs to start fixing the wrongs they have done to their animals. Those who were born into captivity do not have a good shot at surviving in the wild, but they can at least be given the dignity of getting to live out the rest of their lives in a sea pen with other animals who they can peaceably interact with. Rather than touting “conservation” as their primary initiative, SeaWorld should expand their efforts to conserve the natural habitats of marine animals to ensure that they have a future. They might even consider ramping up rescue and release efforts to aid animals in need – but stop forcing those that are “too valuable” to release to perform in shameful spectacles.

We can’t say we are sorry to see Atchison go, but the fight to save the animals held hostage in SeaWorld continues. Until the corporation stops viewing animals as vital assets necessary to make profit, their actions will continue to cause harm to animals.

Here’s hoping for real positive change in 2015!

 

Canada opts not to block international trade in 76 endangered species   2 comments

From:  CBC News

Canada expressed reservations at 2013 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

The Canadian Press Posted: Dec 10, 2014 1:30 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 12, 2014 8:21 AM ET

Canada has declined to restrict international trade for 76 endangered plant and animal species, including the manta ray. (David Loh/Reuters)

 

Recently released documents indicate the federal government has reservations about restricting international trade in endangered species — more of them than almost any other government on Earth.

The papers show that Canada has opted out of nearly every resolution to protect endangered species taken at last year’s meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Delegates from 180 countries voted to extend protections to 76 plant and animal species from soft-shelled turtles to tropical hardwoods.

Canada, however, filed “reservations” against all those motions, meaning Canadian trade in those species will continue as normal.

“It’s unprecedented,” said Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “I can’t think of any explanation for it.

“I’ve been told no other country has ever taken such an action.”

‘Technical’ reservations, Environment Canada says

The protections were voted on in March 2013 at the last CITES convention in Bangkok. According to a document released earlier this fall, Canada chose to opt out of all but one of the motions that upgraded species protections.

Canada’s 76 reservations, all filed in 2013, dwarf those of other nations. Over the entire 39-year history of the treaty, Iceland has filed 22 reservations; Japan 18 and the United Kingdom eight. The United States has filed none.

Canada filed a reservation about protecting the manatee, despite not harvesting the animal. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

 

Few of the species Canada declined to protect have significant domestic value. A small East Coast fishery exists for the porbeagle shark, but Canada does not harvest manatees, manta rays or ebony.

Environment Canada spokesman Danny Kingsberry said the reservations are temporary and the protections will eventually come into law.

“Canada, as with many other parties to the convention, requires additional time to make the necessary regulatory changes,” he said in an email. “These reservations are technical in nature, not substantive, and were made to allow Canada sufficient time to amend its domestic legislation to reflect the changes.”

But the text of the agreement says reservations are “a unilateral statement that (a country) will not be bound by the provisions of the convention relating to trade in a particular species.”

As well, Fink said, Canada has previously managed to produce regulations well within a 90-day grace period allowed under the treaty.

“As far as I’m aware, this has never been a problem for Canada,” she said. “There is no logical explanation for Canada to place reservations on all of these species, and no plausible excuse for a 20-month delay in updating our legislation.”

The government has also failed to follow through with a promise last August to update its wild animal and plant trade regulations, said the animal welfare fund.

‘No logical explanation’ for 76 reservations

Canada’s stance baffles its international partners, said Fink.

‘There is no logical explanation for Canada to place reservations on all of these species, and no plausible excuse for a 20-month delay in updating our legislation.’– Sheryl Fink, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare

“For Canada to opt out of its obligations under CITES for every single species that was listed, when we don’t even have a commercial interest in the species, it has no logical explanation as far as anyone can tell.

“It’s something that’s been noticed in the international conservation community — why has Canada done this?”

Canada has been fighting a rearguard action at CITES over polar bears. It has been working to stop the organization from further restricting trade in polar bear parts.

Support for Canada’s position, however, has been declining.

In 2010, CITES considered banning all trade in polar bear parts and the European Union voted in a single bloc with Canada against it. In 2013, after major European countries including the United Kingdom and Germany said they opposed Canada’s polar bear hunt, the EU simply sat on its hands.

 

Abalone poacher on Mendocino Coast sent to prison   3 comments

From:  The Press Democrat

 

A Sacramento man was sentenced Friday to state prison for poaching abalone on the Mendocino Coast, a rare punishment for the crime.

Dung Van Nguyen, 41, was sentenced to 32 months in state prison and taken into custody, Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen said.

Nguyen, a previously convicted abalone poacher, pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor count of poaching abalone for commercial purposes and a felony count of falsifying an abalone report card. In doing so, he admitted to falsely claiming he had not taken any abalone on an original abalone report card in order to obtain a duplicate card, said Stoen, who files a majority of the county’s abalone cases as a coast-based prosecutor.

Stoen said he’s sent just three other people to prison for abalone poaching-related crimes in Mendocino County because poaching alone — even in egregious cases — is just a misdemeanor.

Three Bay Area residents accused of taking 59 abalone for commercial purposes last month face only misdemeanor charges, he noted.

The per-person daily limit on abalone is three. The annual limit is 18.

Stoen said it is difficult to get felony charges filed against poachers. It requires convictions either for filing false documents, as in Nguyen’s case, or conspiracy to take abalone for commercial purposes, Stoen said.

Abalone poaching is a major problem on the Mendocino Coast.

“It’s a scarce resource. It’s terrible when these people just come up here and abuse it,” District Attorney David Eyster said during a recent interview.

Stoen said he filed 313 abalone poaching cases last year.

Some of the cases resulted in lifetime fishing bans and large fines for the defendants. Eighteen abalone poachers arrested in a black market sting last year recently were ordered to pay more than $139,000 in fines. Eleven were given lifetime bans from fishing, according to Fish and Wildlife officials.

Stoen commended state Fish and Wildlife officials for their efforts to halt abalone poachers. But he’d like to see their hard work result in harsher penalties to better deter the crime.

“They should definitely be made more strict,” Stoen said of the penalties.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MendoReporter

Fishermen continue illegal poaching of shad   Leave a comment

Police warn fishermen who are illegally poaching shad during the closed season.

From:  Northglen News

by Shiraz Habbib | 26 November 2014 13:22

A picture of shad confiscated by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officers. According to the organisation, officers confiscate between 30 to 80 shad per patrol.

THE illegal overfishing of shad along the Durban North and uMhlanga shoreline is continuing despite the season being closed. Hundreds of fishermen have ignored the law and have been fined and arrested along various beaches said Lt Raymond Deokaran, spokesman for the Durban North police station.

The most popular spots are the Shipwreck Beach (La Lucia), Glenashley Beach and Peace Cottage (uMhlanga). The shad season closed on the 1 October and ends on 30 November.

“Fishermen are still taking the chance and are illegally fishing for the shad. We have fined a number of them, but it still hasn’t deterred them. If you are caught with 10 or more shad, there is no bail, you are arrested and will appear in front of a magistrate and you will be left with a criminal record,” he said.

Approximately 60 per cent of all fish caught by shore anglers on the KZN coast are shad.

In an interview with Northglen News in October, Basil Pather, conservation manager at the Beachwood Nature Reserve, highlighted the plight of the sought after fish, saying the overfishing during the closed season was ‘killing’ the species.

“At the moment we have a situation where there’s a dwindling number of shad catches during the open season and anglers are illegally catching more shad during the closed season, which in turn affects the population. As a result we are compromising the breeding stock,” Pather said.

“Fishermen are unaware that their actions are directly impacting the declining shad population.”

 

Dolphin Project and IMMP Support Romanian Dolphin Personhood Law   Leave a comment

Paper to Use

Dolphin Project and IMMP Support Romanian Dolphin Personhood LawThe International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) and Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project are supporting efforts to enact a law in Romania to declare dolphins as nonhuman persons in order to enhance their protections in the Black Sea.

Romanian MP Remus Cernea presented the draft on Feb 4 2014 to the Romanian parliament along with support letters from NGOs. The law seeks to declare individual dolphins as nonhuman persons and to accord them the rights to life, bodily integrity,( right to free) movement and right to be protected in their natural environment.

“Dolphins deserve the right to live their lives, free, in the ocean. They currently do not have that right. That needs to change,” says Ric O’Barry, director ofDolphin Project and star of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. “I fully support Cernea’s draft law to get personhood for dolphins. And I encourage other nations to join India and Romania in affording…

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