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Updated: 1 year 35 weeks ago

Petitions Delivered Around the World for Release of Indonesian Circus Dolphins

Tue, 2012-04-24 11:00

A year has come and gone and 20 dolphins are still being kept illegally in substandard conditions as part of the Indonesian traveling circus industry. After it was discovered that the dolphins were acquired without the proper permits, the Indonesian government set up a Memorandum of Understanding last year to transfer the dolphins to Jakarta Animal Aid Network and Earth Island Institute for rehabilitation and release.

The transfer was scheduled to take place on March 10, 2011. At the last minute, the Indonesian government backed out. The dolphins continue to be transported in tiny tanks and perform circus tricks while the brand new facility built to accommodate the dolphins’ rehab still stands empty.

Dismayed by the lack of action from the Indonesian government, Barbara Napoles launched a petition asking Indonesia to release the dolphins as agreed upon in the MOU. “These dolphins were wild-captured by fishermen and sold to the circus,” Barbara told me. “They, along with 52 other traveling circus dolphins, deserve better living conditions.”

The anniversary of the dolphins' scheduled release sparked international outcry that led to demonstrations and petition deliveries across the world. Armed with over 4,000 signatures, individuals and the organization Animals Australia descended on Indonesian Embassies in the United States, England, Sweden and Australia to deliver copies of the petition.

In the Netherlands, the petition delivery marked the conclusion of a public demonstration held outside the embassy in Den Hague. The organizations EDEV and Dolphinmotion led the protest, with the support of The Black Fish, Bite Back and Sea First Foundation. At the embassy gates, the official for the culture and social department met a dozen protesters carrying signs and flags. “The official was very friendly and interested and we asked him to urge the forestry department to maintain the MOU with JAAN as it was agreed last year,” EDEV representative Elisa Brongers told me. “JAAN only needs the permission because everything else is arranged to rehabilitate the dolphins.”

While the anniversary has come and gone without the dolphins’ release, there are still ways for you to get involved in the campaign to free the traveling circus dolphins from captivity:

1)    Sign the petition and share it with others on Facebook and Twitter.
2)    Contact the Indonesian Ambassador and the Ambassador to Indonesia and ask for action (in the U.S. the Indonesian Ambassador is Dr. Dino Patti Djalal and the Ambassador to Indonesia is Scot Marciel).
3)    Join the Facebook group Close Down Indonesian Dolphin Traveling Circus and stay updated with news and events.
4)    Visit the websites of JAAN and Earth Island Institute to volunteer or find other ways to help these dolphins.

Currently the Indonesian government has only agreed to the rescue of the 20 illegal dolphins, though as many as 72 dolphins are kept captive by the Indonesian traveling circus industry. Yet even those 20 dolphins have not been released to JAAN. Continued pressure is needed to remind Indonesia of its commitment to rehab and release these animals. Sign the petition and join the more than 15,000 people who have spoken up for the dolphins.

Photo credit: K Szymanski

How Wentzville Citizens Beat Their Breed Ban to Win Canine Equality

Thu, 2012-03-22 08:20

Amanda Kearney didn’t set out to be an activist. But when, like many other people, she unknowingly moved to a city — Wentzville, Missouri — where her dogs, Harley and Belle, faced harsh restrictions simply because of their appearance, she learned that you can take on city hall.

“I called aldermen, reporters and news stations out of panic," Kearney said. "I don't look at my dogs just as pets; they are members of our family. It broke my heart to see them in muzzles and always on a leash in our fenced in backyard, I had to do something. It wasn't fair for them."

Luckily the majority of her neighborhood was extremely supportive. They wrote letters and made phone calls, too, giving character references for Kearney and her dogs. When Tyanna Flynn heard about Kearney's plight, she started a petition on Change.org. The petition was shared by community members on Facebook and gained more than 2,500 signatures.

Flynn's partner, Paul Emmerich, contacted Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends contacted the city council and the city attorney about how they could turn around their dog laws by repealing the breed discriminatory law and cracking down on reckless owners instead. The American Bar Association TIPS Animal Law Committee sent the city attorney a free copy of the ABA book, A Lawyer’s Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues.

But the key to Wentzville's success was that the residents mobilized. They packed the city council meetings. When speaking, they were factual and polite and they didn’t go away. Indeed, they followed much of the strategy set forth in Best Friend’s tool kit to fight breed discrimination.

The St. Louis-based Phoenix Pack rescue organization also supported the effort to repeal Wentzville's breed ban. "Wentzville is an inspiration for cities in Missouri to revisit their breed ban laws and start focusing on bad owners," said the group's founder, Gale Frey. "Cities have limited resources and their time and money needs to be directed towards bad owners instead of banning breeds of dog. Education is a powerful tool and hopefully using this tool will prevent dogs from unnecessary death."

While the support of outside experts certainly helped their cause, it was the determination of local citizens and their polite but persistent outreach that got the attention of city officials.

Democracy wasn’t muzzled in Wentzville. In the end, the dogs carried the day and canine profiling was repealed — another example of the continuing trend in cities and counties across the U.S. to end breed discrimination.

Photo Credit: Amanda Kearney

Day of Action: Save California's Shelter Animals, Save the Hayden Law

Mon, 2012-03-12 09:28

This is a guest post from Marla Tauscher, an animal law attorney in California who started a campaign on Change.org asking Governor Jerry Brown not to repeal the state's protections for shelter animals. 

In 1998, California enacted a comprehensive body of law, called the Hayden Law, to protect shelter animals and improve conditions for them. Among its core provisions are the extension of the mandatory holding period for animals, veterinary treatment for sick or injured animals, record-keeping for all animals, implementation of holding periods for pets other than dogs and cats, and maintenance of lost and found lists.

The Hayden Law was groundbreaking, and since its enactment, many other states have used it as a model for their own shelter laws. But now it's under attack.

Citing large budget deficits as a pretext, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed the repeal of the core provisions of the Hayden Law, because he claims the state can no longer afford to reimburse counties and cities for enforcement of the laws. However, that rationale ignores the fact that those provisions have been suspended and unfunded by the state since 2009.

Since then, California shelters are only required to hold animals for 72 hours and can allow sick and injured animals to suffer without any treatment until they are killed. In the year following the suspension, California shelters killed an additional 250,000 dogs and cats.

On Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 1:30 PM, the first hearing will be held in Sacramento regarding the repeal of the Hayden Law.  The hearing will take place at the State Capitol and will be conducted by the Assembly Budget Committee Subcommittee 4. The Governor and the members of that committee need to hear from everyone who cares about this issue.  Your input is critical, particularly before any decisions are made.

Join today's Day of Action to let Governor Brown and the Budget Subcommittee know that there's strong opposition to repealing any part of the Hayden Law. Here's how you can help:

1) Governor Brown's dog has a Facebook page. Post a message asking Sutter to  help save California's shelter dogs and cats by saving the Hayden Law.

2) The social media-savvy first dog is also on Twitter. Send a tweet to @SutterBrown and @JerryBrownGov in support of the Hayden Law. Here are a couple suggestions:

Save shelter animals, Save #HaydenLaw. Don't repeal California's humane law @SutterBrown @JerryBrownGov

Dear @SutterBrown: Help save California's dogs. Don't let @JerryBrownGov repeal the #HaydenLaw

3) Call Governor Brown and the Committee members and ask them not to repeal the Hayden Law. (You can also send a fax):

  • Governor Jerry Brown, Phone (916) 445-2841, Fax (916) 558-3160
  • Joan Buchanan (Chair), Phone (916) 319-2015, Fax (916) 319-2115
  • Michael Allen, Phone (916) 319-2007, Fax (916) 319-2107
  • Roger Dickinson, Phone (916) 319-2009, Fax (916) 319-2109
  • Dan Logue, Phone (916) 319-2003, Fax (916) 319-2103
  • Donald P. Wagner, Phone (916) 319-2070, Fax (916) 319-2170
  • Bob Blumenfield, Phone (916) 319-2040, Fax (916) 319-2140
  • Jim Nielsen, Phone (916) 319-2002, Fax (916) 319-2102

4) Sign and share the petition. Nearly 50,000 signatures were delivered to Governor Brown's office last month, but he needs to see the ongoing, and growing, support for protecting the Hayden Law.

5) If you're in the Sacramento area, attend the rally on Tuesday, March 13 at 11:30 a.m. at the State Capitol. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/174625552652137/

The Hayden Law does not require anything more than humane treatment of animals entering California shelters. Repeal of these laws will do nothing to alleviate the current budget crisis because they are currently not costing the state any money. What repeal of the laws will do is guarantee that animals unfortunate enough to end up in California's shelters will permanently be denied the protections of the Hayden Law even after the economy improves.

Help make sure California's animals don't lose their basic protections.

Photo credit: spotreporting

Victory! Ohio Repeals Dog Discrimination, Other Governments Poised to Follow

Wed, 2012-02-22 16:20

Last year, Ohio resident Eric Schumacher was ticketed when he was out walking his dog. He had to pay $550 for insurance, plus spend another $1,500 to build a fence. His dog, Brutus, had never been a threat to other people — his only crime was being a pit bull.

Eric and Brutus don't have to worry about facing this kind discrimination anymore. This week, Governor John Kasich signed HB 14 and repealed Ohio's statewide breed discriminatory law.

Abolishing canine profiling in the Buckeye state was an historic accomplishment made possible by Change.org members, with Best Friends Animal Society and the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates leading the charge. The antiquated pit bull law not only resulted in the killing of thousands of puppies and dogs, it wasted millions of taxpayer dollars. Indeed, eradicating breed discrimination is not only an animal welfare issue, it is a property rights issue, and a matter of economic justice when people like Eric are forced to pay unfair fines just to keep their pets.

“A well-meaning but poorly conceived law is no more, and it represents a victory for Ohio dogs and their people,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. “It ends the practice of causing undue hardship to thousands of responsible owners of entirely friendly, properly supervised, well-socialized pets.”

Jean Keating, who started the petition on Change.org, said, "The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates would like to thank everyone for their hard work on HB 14. We're grateful for the support of Best Friends Animal Society and the nearly 20,000 people who signed our petition on Change.org."

In the wake of this huge victory for Ohio's dogs, other officials across North America are giving their breed discriminatory laws a second look. Bill 16 will soon be voted on this week to repeal the Ontario pit bull ban. Legislation to end the pit bull ban in Miami-Dade County — Florida’s only county-wide breed discriminatory law — gained momentum as it recently passed its first committee hurdles in both the Senate and the House with overwhelming support.

After learning of the Ohio law's passage Ruta Mazelis wrote, “Now I can tell my rescued pitty, Sea, that she is 'just' a dog and not the object of misguided hatred." Let's hope others, like Miami Marlins' pitcher Mark Buehrle and his family, can say the same thing to their dogs soon.

Progress! McDonald's Takes Big Step Toward Improving Pig Welfare

Mon, 2012-02-13 16:49

In a joint press release with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), fast food giant McDonald's announced that it wants its pork suppliers in the U.S. to phase out the use of sow gestation crates. They've asked all of the suppliers to outline plans for the switch by May.

McDonald's believes that gestation crates are "not a sustainable production system for the future," while HSUS adds that it's "wrong to immobilize animals for their whole lives in crates barely larger than their bodies." This announcement is the most recent success in the growing movement against factory farming, including commitments from Smithfield (a McDonald's supplier) and Hormel agreeing to phase out the crates that confine the smart, sensitive animals in spaces barely larger than their bodies.

This is certainly big news in the food fight waged by so many advocates of animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and food safety. Not only is this progress for groups like The Humane Society of the United States and Mercy For Animals, which work against factory farming, but it's important news for consumers, too.

Last fall, more than 100,000 people signed a petition started on Change.org asking McDonald's to cut ties with Smithfield unless the pork producer recommitted to its promise to phase out gestation crates. Smithfield did exactly that, and the McDonald's announcement followed just two months later.

People just like you come to Change.org every day to start campaigns on issues including animals, sustainable food, and the environment. Today's announcement is the latest proof that when consumers collectively call for changes to happen, companies listen.

Photo credit: A. Sparrow

Progress! McDonald's Takes Big Step Toward Improving Pig Welfare

Mon, 2012-02-13 16:49

In a joint press release with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), fast food giant McDonald's announced that it wants its pork suppliers in the U.S. to phase out the use of sow gestation crates. They've asked all of the suppliers to outline plans for the switch by May.

McDonald's believes that gestation crates are "not a sustainable production system for the future," while HSUS adds that it's "wrong to immobilize animals for their whole lives in crates barely larger than their bodies." This announcement is the most recent success in the growing movement against factory farming, including commitments from Smithfield (a McDonald's supplier) and Hormel agreeing to phase out the crates that confine the smart, sensitive animals in spaces barely larger than their bodies.

This is certainly big news in the food fight waged by so many advocates of animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and food safety. Not only is this progress for groups like The Humane Society of the United States and Mercy For Animals, which work against factory farming, but it's important news for consumers, too.

Last fall, more than 100,000 people signed a petition started on Change.org asking McDonald's to cut ties with Smithfield unless the pork producer recommitted to its promise to phase out gestation crates. Smithfield did exactly that, and the McDonald's announcement followed just two months later.

People just like you come to Change.org every day to start campaigns on issues including animals, sustainable food, and the environment. Today's announcement is the latest proof that when consumers collectively call for changes to happen, companies listen.

Photo credit: A. Sparrow

Super Bowl Countdown: 5 Actions in 5 Days to Protest Skechers' Dog Racing Ad

Tue, 2012-01-31 16:58

If you're a football fan, you're gearing up to root for the Giants or Patriots this weekend. But if you're one of the 119,000 people who have signed GREY2K USA's petition on Change.org, then you're rooting for the greyhounds. Not the ones that will be "racing" against Mr. Quiggly, the French bulldog in the Skechers commercial, but the ones behind-the-scenes of the ad. The ones who suffer in cramped cages at the track and who face serious injury during races where the ad was filmed .

From Boston to Los Angeles, Skechers stores were confronted this past weekend by dog lovers asking consumers to boycott the company unless it drops its Super Bowl ad filmed at the notorious Tucson Greyhound Park. The controversy has dominated the pre-game advertising buzz.

Now, with only 5 days left, GREY2K USA is asking its supporters to keep up the momentum. From GREY2K USA, here are 5 things you can do:

1. If you have a dog, greyhound or otherwise, please write a letter to Mr.Quiggly now. Send your dog’s message in care of CEO Michael Greenburg at michaelg@skechers.com. (Check out the letter from "Hope," a greyhound rescued from Tucson Greyhound Park.)

2. Join us for a second weekend of rallies for the greyhounds before the Super Bowl. Keep checking at BoycottSkechers.com to find an event near you or host one of your own using flyers and posters available on this page (pdf).

3. If you have not done so already, sign the petition and forward it to everyone you know. Your signature will generate e-mails to Skechers officials, celebrity spokesperson Mark Cuban and to Super Bowl host NBC.

4. Now go the extra mile and send your Skechers shoes back to company headquarters: Skechers USA, 228 Manhattan Beach Boulevard, Manhattan Beach,CA 90266. (Natalie Larkin of Michigan and Kelli Chickos of Florida already did!)

5. Finally, adopt a greyhound or donate to a local greyhound rescue. That’s right, turn Skechers’ mistake into your reason to save a dog’s life. See our adoption referral page today.

You can also keep urging Skechers to drop the ad by leaving a message on their Facebook page or sending them a tweet.

For more updates on the campaign, check out BoycottSkechers.com.

Photo courtesy of GREY2K USA

Air Canada Grounded from Changing Cruel Cargo Policy

Mon, 2012-01-30 08:58

Only a handful of airlines still engage in the transportation of primates destined for research labs as cargo. Now imagine this scenario: A major airline partakes in this practice, but after becoming aware of the cruel future that awaits their cargo, the airline decides to change their policy and opt out of carrying research-bound primates.

Sounds good, right? Well, hold your victory dance, the story doesn’t end there. The airline then is told that they cannot stop transporting primates until a hearing takes place that will decide if they can change their own policy.

This is the reality that Air Canada is facing.

As part of their “Primate Cargo Cruelty” campaign, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) launched a petition on Change.org to reach out to the remaining airlines taking part in primate cargo. One of those was Air Canada, and with more than 28,000 people asking them to stop shipping primates, the Canadian airline listened.

The airline filed an amended tariff with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to stop shipping primates for research. According to Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick, the move serves a dual purpose to “align our policies with those of many other major international carriers and in response to widespread public concern.”

Instead of approving the new policy, CTA suspended the change and informed Air Canada of an impending hearing due to complaints about the proposed policy.

This isn’t the first time Air Canada has been confronted with an obstacle by CTA over live cargo.

Here's where things get confusing. When Air Canada previously refused a shipment of primates destined for research, the CTA ruled that the refusal was unacceptable because the airline's tariffs allowed for such shipments. But last fall, the agency said Air Canada had the right to amend its tariffs so that it could refuse future shipments without a problem.

Yet now that Air Canada wants to change its policy to explicitly state that it will not participate in the cargo transportation of primates bound for research to prevent something like this from happening again ... CTA seems to have a problem with it.

In response, BUAV started a new petition calling on the CTA to allow Air Canada to amend their policy. Within the first week, the petition had gathered over 7,000 signatures. BUAV plans to present the CTA with the petition and signatures at the hearing. Sign the petition and add your name in support of BUAV and Air Canada to end cruel primate cargo.

Photo credit: BUAV

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