Care2 Causes | Illegal Indonesian Owl Trade Might Be Harry Potter’s Fault
Illegal Indonesian Owl Trade Might Be Harry Potter’s Fault
By: Susan Bird
July 17, 2017
When you hear the words “Harry Potter,” certain indelible images come to mind. You likely remember Harry, Hermione and Ron. And you probably think of Hogwarts and all those fascinating professors of magic. But don’t forget the magnificent owls. You’d love to you get your mail delivered by a friendly owl, wouldn’t you?
Of course, that’s all fiction. Unfortunately, though, where those owls are concerned, people seem to forget that they aren’t meant to be pets. You see, those lovely, inspiring Harry Potter novels and movies might be responsible for sparking an upsurge in the illegal black market for owls, according to a new study.
You’ll recall that each Hogwarts student had some type of animal familiar. Harry’s happened to be a beautiful white owl named Hedwig. The books and movies included several scenes in which students communicated with family and friends by “sending an owl,” which carried a message much like a carrier pigeon would.
Indonesia, where birds have long been a popular type of pet, has witnessed a spike in demand for pet owls. In that country, the Harry Potter books first came out in 2000 and the movies were released in 2001.
This study, published in the journal “Global Ecology and Conservation,” discovered a rather striking correlation between Harry Potter’s popularity and the rise in demand for owls.
Vincent Nijman and co-author Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University found that only a few hundred owls were traded in Indonesian bird markets in 2000. But after Harry Potter became a worldwide sensation, the number of owls captured for sale zoomed to a heartbreaking 13,000 birds per year by 2016.
These owls are mostly wild-caught, which means this trade relies on poaching — and is, therefore, illegal.
Caged owl in Indonesian bird market. Photo credit: Thinkstock
“In the 1990s, when surveying the bird markets I would typically see one or two owls for sale amongst the thousands of wild-caught birds on offer but equally often not a single owl was on display,” Nijman said in a statement. “Now, returning to those same markets we can see dozens of owls for sale of a wide range of species and owls are always present, all taken from the wild.”
Specificall, the study found:
The increase in the number of owls offered for sale since 2010 not only in Jakarta but throughout Java and Bali, coincided with an increase in the number and level of organization of the pet owl communities, online and offline, and this, as much as the Harry Potter films and novels, might explain the popularity of owls as pets in Indonesia.
And tragically, the study’s authors say about 2,000 of the captive owls they saw in cages in bird markets were downy chicks. These owls had obviously been stolen from their nests. At such a young age, few would likely survive more than a few weeks.
“It is particularly heart breaking to see nocturnal animals like owls in the markets,” Nekaris said in the statement. “Looking stunned and stressed under the bright sun, they are often only fed water and rice, making the situation all the more pitiful.”
This is how owls should live — wild and free. Photo credit: Thinkstock
While no one wants to blame the Harry Potter phenomenon for what’s befallen Indonesia’s owls, the indicators are all there. Nijman, a wildlife-trade researcher, says Harry Potter “normalized keeping owls as pets.”
The Malaysian name for owls is Burung Hantu, but these days they call them Burung Harry Potter – “Harry Potter birds.”
Ultimately, of course, this isn’t really Harry Potter’s fault. The blame should be attributed to all the unthinking people who believe that, because they see a tame animal in a movie, it might be cool to own one. To those people, I say: You’re not being cool; you’re just demonstrating incredible ignorance.
The most traded owl is the scops owl. Scops owls are endangered, which makes this issue even more serious. Unfortunately, Indonesia isn’t doing anything to stop this illegal black market trading.
And that’s surprising, considering that under Indonesian law, wildlife trade is prohibited when there is no officially designated quota.
Indonesia, it’s time for you to do something. Every owl sitting sad, frightened and lonely inside a cage is just waiting to die in captivity. Show the world that this issue matters to your country.
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The BBC reports
Four new frogs so tiny that they can sit on a thumbnail have been discovered in the forests of India.Among the smallest frogs in the world, they live on the forest floor and make insect-like calls at night.Three larger species were also found, bringing to seven the number of night frogs discovered in the Western Ghats.
Read full story at Meet the frog that can sit on a thumbnail – BBC News
Dark Side of the Sled Dog Industry Exposed in New Film
By: Alicia Graef
December 3, 2016
In 2011, the public was shocked when a story broke about 100 sled dogs who were brutally executed and dumped in a mass grave in Whistler, British Columbia. Now, a documentary about the dark side of the sled dog industry is, ironically, set to premiere in that very same town this weekend.
For some, there may not be a better combination than dogs and the wilderness. The sled dog industry has played on that fantasy, and garnered a lot of support for events like the Iditarod – an annual race in Alaska that spans a thousand miles of rough terrain. Unfortunately, the dogs being used by this industry are paying the ultimate price.
Following a dog sledding trip in Ontario, award-winning documentary filmmaker Fern Levitt’s curiosity about the industry was sparked after she saw where the dogs lived, and was told some would soon be “culled” if no homes could be found for them.
Almostfive years later, her research into the industry has led to a new documentary, Sled Dogs, which is making its world premier at the Whistler Film Festival on Dec. 3, 2016.
“This film comes at a critical moment when the public is waking up to the treatment of animals and demanding change. The audience will be outraged when they discover the legal abuse of ‘man’s best friend’ under the guise of sport and entertainment. This is a timely documentary and a definitive call for action,” said Levitt. “I am thrilled that our film will premiere at the Whistler Film Festival as it was here that the world first learned the truth about how dogs are treated in the tourism industry.”
According to the synopsis, the film follows “a rookie Iditarod musher who sleds 1000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska; the training of Lydia, a sled dog puppy at six-months-old; a dog sled operation that was under investigation in 2013 in Snowmass, Colorado; and the 2010 sled dog cull in Whistler, B.C. after which cries of outrage by the dog-loving public forced the provincial government to enact tougher legislation to protect these animals.”
Disturbingly, if the Iditarod were held in almost any other state in the nation, it would violate animal cruelty laws intended to protect animals from being overworked. While it’s still going on in Alaska, dozens of major companies have already withdrawn their support and sponsorship thanks to public pressure.
Hopefully, a behind-the-scenes look into this industry will help raise more awareness about the sad and abusive lives these dogs are living and will lead to more changes that will protect them, along with getting more people to rethink supporting either the Iditarod, or this industry as a whole.
“The power of documentary film in today’s world is about educating the audience on a variety of issues. In the case of Sled Dogs, after audiences watch the entire film and see what our cameras discovered, they will be able to decide for themselves what the truth is about commercial dog sled operations,” added Producer Arnie Zipursky.
Follow Laura at @lauragoldman
If you love your pet so much that you want to spend eternity alongside him or her, your wish can now come true in New York.
A new law allows the cremated remains of pets to be buried with their owners in not-for-profit cemeteries regulated by the state.
“For many New Yorkers, their pets are members of the family,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo when he signed bill S02582 into law Sept. 26. “This legislation will roll back this unnecessary regulation and give cemeteries the option to honor the last wishes of pet lovers across New York.”
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Of course, for many people who live elsewhere in the United States, their pets are also considered members of the family. But currently only four other states – Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia – allow pets to be buried with people in the same cemetery, with some restrictions.
New York, like New Jersey, previously only allowed people and animals to be buried together in a pet cemetery. In Pennsylvania and Virginia, cemeteries can have three sections: one for people, one for pets and one for both.
According to New York’s new law, pets are defined as not only dogs and cats, but any “domestic animals that have been adapted or tamed to live in intimate association with people.” Pets and humans must be buried together at the same time, so the law only applies to a pet who has predeceased you. Your pet’s remains must have been cremated at a pet crematorium.
The new law does not include cemeteries owned or operated by religious associations or societies.
If you want to be buried in New York with your dearly departed pet, you must first get written consent from the cemetery. Cemeteries will be required to provide people with a list of charges for having their pets interred, and place all payments in permanent maintenance funds.
“For years now, New Yorkers have desired to have their pets interred in their grave, and cemeteries will now be able to offer this burial option as a result of this new law,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, a Republican, who co-sponsored the bill with Assemblyman James Brennan, a Democrat. The bill was passed unanimously by the state Senate in March and passed the state Assembly 138-1 in June.
One famous New Yorker who wanted to be buried with her pet was “Queen of Mean” hotel magnate Leona Helmsley. When she died in 2007, along with leaving $12 million (later reduced by a judge to a paltry $2 million) to her beloved poodle, Trouble, her will stipulated that Trouble was to be interred beside her in a 12,000-square-foot mausoleum in Westchester County. But because of the existing law, Trouble could not be laid to rest there when she died four years later. With the new law, Helmsley will probably get her wish.
If you don’t live in a state where burial with your pet in a cemetery for humans is legal, there are some interment alternatives to consider. If you want to be cremated, many pet cemeteries allow human cremains to be buried with those of their pets. If you’d prefer to be buried in a casket, it’s not all that unusual for funeral directors to sneak in a container holding your pet’s cremains.
“They will tell you ‘not a day goes by when I don’t put an urn of an animal into the casket of a human being secretly for a family,’ ” Coleen Ellis, co-chair of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, told Philly.com in 2013. “So, while it’s been going on for a very long time, the trend is becoming more recognized where people are getting permission to do it.”
There are actually many more states and cemeteries that provide this option. Check out the directories of ‘whole-family cemeteries’ compiled by the Green Pet-Burial Society: https://greenpetburial.org/providers/whole-family-cemeteries/
While animal advocates continue to speak out against the cruelty involved in the fur industry, some are also putting old garments to use and helping comfort orphaned wildlife.
Through its Fur for the Animals campaign, Born Free USA is one of the organizations that has been collecting donations of unwanted fur items, which it sends to wildlife rehabilitators around the country. Some arrive with price tags still attached, others with notes from people who have had a change of heart, or want to do something good with unwanted items they’ve inherited.
This week, the organization shared a story about a donation that was originally believed to be a lynx coat, but was later determined by a furrier to have been made from an estimated 20 arctic foxes from a Finnish fur farm and dyed to look like lynx.
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That coat was sent to Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif., where it’s now being used to provide comfort for 28 coyote pups who were orphaned as a result of conflicts with us.
“This coat, which needlessly killed so many animals, will now help many more on their journey to recovery and rerelease into the wild. While we are grateful for the opportunity to give a better ending to this tragic story, we continue to hope for a future in which fur is never taken from its original owner, and wildlife conflicts are resolved in a humane manner that doesn’t result in overwhelming numbers of vulnerable, orphaned wildlife,” said Ali Crumpacker, Director of The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center.
According to Born Free, in the last year alone, fur donations to the center have helped 54 skunks, 141 Virginia opossums, 38 coyotes, four bobcats, five bears, one gray fox, one mountain lion and dozens of others in need.
Fur items have also helped a variety of other animals at numerous other centers around the country.
It’s a tragedy that the lives of millions of furbearing animals continue to be taken by this inhumane and entirely pointless industry for nothing more than human vanity. Whether animals are trapped in the wild, or raised and killed on fur farms, multiple investigations around the world have exposed the horrors inherent in this industry, and while there are many faux options now available, they continue to send the message that fur is trendy and have caused a lot of problems with mislabeled items.
“Fur only comes from tortuous death,” Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, added in a statement. “The methods fur farms use to kill their victims are unspeakably cruel. Now, this coat that came from so much cruelty will be used to comfort coyote pups who, once rehabilitated, will potentially get the chance to live full lives in the wild. While the symmetry and symbolism is not lost on us, it would be far better if these foxes never had to die for fashion in the first place.”
For more info on how to help support Born Free’s campaign, check out Fur for the Animals. You can also find a number of stores that have formally pledged not to sell fur at Fur Free Retailer.
People who feed their cats, dogs, and ferrets vegan diets are putting their pets at risk of serious health problems and even death. Sign this petition to push for the criminalization of forcing vegan lifestyles on these carnivorous animals.
Actor Justin Long will break your heart as he speaks for Charlie in this true and unfortunately very common story of a neglected ‘backyard dog.’
‘Dog flipping’ sometimes involves stolen pets used to make a quick buck
Posted 10:05 pm, March 1, 2016, by Erika Gonzalez
DENVER — Reports of “dog flipping” are surfacing throughout the country. The act is similar to flipping a home, but the big difference is it involves a four-legged pup to make a quick buck.
Some reports of alleged dog flipping involve pets that are snatched from their owners, then sold online. A similar version works when the dog is adopted and is then sold on websites like Craigslist.
A recent post on Craigslist in Denver caught the attention of many pet owners.
“It was listed for $500. It said specifically on the Craigslist ad that this dog was adopted from a shelter,” said Ann Mertens, who said she couldn’t believe her eyes.
The ad struck her as odd because she said a Colorado Bernese mountain dog for sale on Craigslist is very unusual. Mertens said the breed is usually only available through rescue groups or breeders, not a shelter. Mertens said nothing about the ad felt right.
“The dog was neutered and up to date on the vaccination. And that the person who adopted the dog posted it for sale on Craigslist and said that they did not have enough time for this dog,” Mertens said.
It sparked a question for Mertens: Was the family that took the purebred dog home from the Foothills Animal Shelter trying to make a quick buck?
“We had just adopted out the Bernese mountain dog. We contacted the owner and just wanted to check up and make sure,” said Jessie Burns with the shelter.
She said the owners claimed they knew nothing about the ad.
“They were very shocked to see that this post had happened on Craigslist. They said it was not theirs,” she said.
Burns said the dog has since been back to the shelter for a checkup. More than a week after the post was discovered, it’s unclear who posted it and why. The ad screamed money-making scheme to some who saw it.
“You realize that someone was flipping this dog like how they flip houses to make a quick profit,” Mertens said.
Deb Brinkley said she knows all about dog flipping. She runs DHK Rehoming, a dog shelter in Aurora, and said it happened to Riley, a 2-year-old Siberian husky who was adopted by a woman.
“We found out about three weeks later that the dog was on Craigslist and that it had been sold on Craigslist,” Brinkley said.
When she saw the ad, she tried tracking down the woman. Brinkley said she even tried taking her to court in hopes of finding out where Riley ended up. Brinkley got nowhere.
“I still worry about Riley. Is she tied up in a backyard? Is she warm? Is she getting food? Is she part of a family? We have no idea,” Brinkley said.
The version of dog flipping where an adopted dog is immediately sold for profit can get a little fuzzy because technically it’s not illegal. But Brinkley said just because a flipper isn’t breaking the law doesn’t mean flipping can’t hurt a dog in the long run.
The ordeal changed the way she runs her organization.
“Some people think I’m a little overboard on who gets to adopt. But you know experience teaches you that you need to be more careful,” Brinkley said.
Burns said the Foothills Animal Shelter adopts thousands of dogs a year and this is the first time it has dealt with even a close call of dog flipping. She believes the shelter’s vetting process helps weed out anyone who wants anything other than a new addition to their family.
“So it’s very frustrating when this sort of thing happens because we do so much to make sure all of our animals are going into good homes,” Burns said.
Citizens Against Dog Flipping said people looking for a new dog should go to a reputable shelter, rescue group and breeder. It also recommends that people stay away from searching for a dog on websites like Craigslist.
Animals Are Dying At Sea And No One Can See Their Pain
By Sarah V SchweigFeb. 04, 2016
It’s being called one of the “worst live shipping disasters” in Australia’s history — and no one can even get close enough to see exactly what’s happened.
The Statesman, a ship carrying 200 cows through the Bass Strait, encountered rough seas and severe weather on Saturday night. It’s been reported that most, if not all, of the animals were being kept without shelter on the deck of the ship.
Fifty-six animals, more than a quarter of the cows, died of injuries in just 24 hours. Some were in such bad shape, they had to be euthanized upon reaching port in Victoria.
This latest massive failure, far from the first, shows just how far the live export industry will go to make a buck. Thousands of animals are routinely shipped long distances in the live export business and longterm suffering and painful deaths along the way are just part of the routine. In January, 13,000 animals were stranded for days at sea.
“That so many animals perished in rough seas in under 24 hours, also indicates the appalling suffering and terror the surviving animals must have endured,” wrote Animals Australia, an organization that is calling for a stop to the live shipping madness, on Facebook. “These animals are among thousands of sheep, dairy and beef cattle sent on ships each year across the notoriously dangerous Bass Strait. They are subjected to weather extremes, rough seas and spray during the crossing — only to be slaughtered when they reach the mainland.”
Yahoo is selling ivory from slaughtered elephants and rhinoceroses, fueling a market that’s responsible for the extinction of the western black rhino. If this isn’t stopped, elephants could soon be extinct as well. Demand that Yahoo end all ivory sales through its services.
A popular cold weather clothing retailer uses fur and down for many of its products. Fur and down come from the bodies of tortured animals. Sign this petition and tell Canada Goose it is time to stop the needless suffering and to start using cruelty-free alternatives.
Over 600 sick, wounded, and malnourished animals were recently rescued from an illegal animal sanctuary. Demand that the operators, who allegedly repeatedly failed to meet animal welfare recommendations, are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
iTony the Siberian tiger has been locked in a cage at a roadside truck stop for 13 years. He has suffered physically and mentally and deserves a chance at a better life. Demand authorities rescue Tony the tiger.
Source: Rescue Tiger Caged at Truck Stop
On Tuesday I got some pretty disappointing news (to put it mildly), in response to my request to file a complaint against People for the Ethical Treatment of animals with the Virginia Department of Agriculture. This was what I emailed to them on February 13:
I would like to file a complaint against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in regards to what, I believe, happens within their Community Animal Project.
Fifteen years ago I worked for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the Community Animal Project division as a Field Officer. I would like very much to have a chance to give you my first hand account of the practices within PeTA towards the animals that they take in to their “shelter” (I use quotes because, during my time there, there was no actual shelter beyond an empty closet and the warehouse where animals…
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Next time you eat a piece of meat, take a moment to think about the fact that it had a mother.
If it’s pork you’re eating – think about that piglet being removed from it’s mother within just a few days of being born and slaughtered within 3 – 6 months.
If it’s lamb you’re eating – know that it was removed from its mother within a few months of being born and killed within 3 – 10 months.
If it’s chicken you’re eating – know that it was never even allowed to meet it’s mother and was killed within 6 weeks of being born.
If it’s beef you’re eating – know that they have been slaughtered within just 1 to 2 years.
If it’s dairy you’re eating, know that the calf which this mother had to bear in order for you to steal and consume her milk, was taken away within…
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Without plants and animals, our lives would not be possible. Oxygen, clean water and soil, and our earliest tools, food, and clothing came from flora and fauna. Even our fossil fuels are the result of Paleozoic Era ecosystems that captured the sun’s energy-the same energy that we are now using billions of years later. Yet increasingly, we fail to acknowledge the tens of thousands of creatures with whom we cohabitate, the wildlife upon whom our very existence is contingent.
Throughout our development, our oceans and rivers have provided us with fish; grasslands and forests have provided us with bushmeat; plants that we cultivated became staple fruits and vegetables; ecosystems ensured reliable weather and clean water. We domesticated some wild animals to become our livestock, providing milk, meat, and clothing. Wild canines developed over the years to become dogs, our hunting partners and bodyguards, our most effective alarm system in the…
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