PETITION TARGET: Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK
Elephants abused and exploited in the tourism industry are denied everything that is natural and important to them. They’re controlled and hit with sharp metalbullhooks and often are forced to give tourists rides and kept chained when they’re not working.
These gentle giants always suffer in captivity. That’s why the non-profit campaign group Save the Asian Elephants (STAE) is working to get a law passed in the United Kingdom to prohibit the advertising and promotion of unethical elephant-related tourist attractions.
In the wild, elephants can travel up to 50 miles a day with their families and can live well into their 70s. They are loving mothers, too— female elephants remain with their daughters from birth until they are separated by death. But in captivity, they spend much of their lives chained, typically die before they reach 40 years old, and are separated from their families.
STAE has discovered more than 1,000 UK firms that are promoting nearly 300 venues overseas that exploit and abuse elephants for entertainment and profits. Not only is this cruel, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.
In July 2022, a woman was killed in Thailand after a captive elephant charged at her during a demonstration in the park. Her family is now calling for an advertising ban, with the victim’s sister saying, “A ban on the advertising of these tourist sites would go a long way to preventing visitors from learning about these places and preventing humans from profiting from animal abuse.”
As long as cruel elephant attractions are advertised and promoted, elephants will continue to suffer for profits and more people could be killed.
Sign our petition today urging the UK Government to ban advertising tourist attractions overseas where elephants are abused and exploited!
In the state of Utah, as in much of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence rates are up. One non profit cited an increase of between 25-50% in domestic violence cases in the state during the pandemic. But right now, when a victim seeks a legal order of protection against an abuser, they could be putting their pets’ lives at risk. That’s why a new bill, HB 175, has been put forward that would allow those legal protections to extend to pets, the same way they extend to children.
Sign now if you want to keep at-risk pets safe from domestic abusers in Utah!
One such woman, Jessica, said it took her 2 years to leave an abusive situation with her dog, Roxie. When she finally did, her abuser tried to get Roxie back! But Jessica knew Roxie wouldn’t be safe with him. This is not an uncommon situation. That’s why the Humane Society of Utah and Ruff Haven have worked so hard on the bill that would allow orders of protection to include pets.
Research has shown that domestic abuse and animal abuse are linked. Studies show that people who abuse animal companions are more likely to act violently to their human partners. And we know that victims of domestic abuse often delay or avoid leaving a situation because their abuser may take their rage out on a pet. We need to make it easier for people and their pets to escape dangerous situations, together!
Suffering through domestic abuse is one of the worst experiences a person can have, coupled with putting your beloved animals at risk, the experience just gets more intense. Someone who abuses an intimate partner or family member would have no reason to stop at the family pet. Let’s make sure these vulnerable pets are safe!
Sign the petition to urge Utah legislators to pass this new bill and allow people who get legal orders of protection to extend those to their pets as well!
Hundreds of postcards, with visceral images of underfed golden retriever puppies living in filthy conditions, are flooding the governor’s office in New York. A huge email campaign has been launched by national animal rights groups.
The pet store industry and its lobbyists, however, have also mobilized. Zoom meetings have been held with the governor’s staff; a pet store employee has created an independent campaign of videos featuring well-treated puppies that have gone viral on TikTok.
Out of the hundreds of bills that Gov. Kathy Hochul must decide whether to sign before the end of the year, few appear to carry more emotional weight than the one affecting the welfare of a constituency that cannot even vote: puppies.
After years of debate, New York State lawmakers passed a bill in June with rare bipartisan support that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York’s pet stores, leading to a fractious clash between animal welfare groups and the pet store industry.
Over the past few weeks, they have redirected their efforts toward lobbying Ms. Hochul, meeting with her office to plead their case as she decides whether to sign or veto the bill, with both sides trading accusations of lying and spreading misinformation.
If Ms. Hochul signs the bill, New York would follow the lead of California, Maryland, Illinois and other states that have passed similar bans meant to curb commercial breeders, sometimes called puppy mills or kitten factories.
The breeding facilities have for years been the source of intense controversy because, according to animal rights advocates, they operate with little oversight and raise dogs in cruel and inhumane conditions, often leading to the sale of sick puppies to consumers.
The bill seeks to close that pipeline by prohibiting the sale of the animals in New York’s 80 or so pet stores — ubiquitous for the window displays of puppies that can go for thousands of dollars — and encouraging New Yorkers to adopt pets from shelters instead. People would still be permitted to buy the animals directly from breeders, an attempt to allow prospective pet owners to visit and buy from responsible breeders.
“We know what it looks like when animals don’t get that care and certainly, from photos and documentation of what these facilities look like, that is not happening,” said Jennie Lintz, the puppy mill initiative director at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “New York remains one of the largest markets for these commercial facilities, so the bill could have not just an impact here, but across the country.”
Pet stores have fiercely pushed back against the legislation, arguing that the bill would put them out of business, lead to the unemployment of hundreds of workers, make it harder for people to obtain a pet in the state and potentially lead to an underground market of pet sales — arguments that supporters of the bill have dismissed as overblown.
One of the industry’s largest grievances is its contention that animal activists have demonized most of the breeding industry as abusive. It argues that the unsanitary puppy mills that have been the target of damning investigations are not representative of the entire industry.
“Let’s not pretend that there aren’t people out there who are doing this the wrong way, but they are few and far between,” said Mike Bober, the president and chief executive of the Pet Advocacy Network, a national pet trade association. “We’re deeply offended and frustrated by the fact that people willingly and intentionally misrepresent the state of breeding in the country.”
Ms. Hochul, a Democrat running for a full term in November, has not publicly shared her thoughts on the bill and her office said it was still reviewing the legislation.
In New York, the state attorney general’s office has filed lawsuits in recent years against a handful of pet stores, including those in Albany and New York City, accusing them of misleading consumers and selling puppies that were ill or abused and came from unauthorized breeders.
In 2021, Attorney General Letitia James sued Shake a Paw, which operates two stores on Long Island, for doctoring health certificates, saddling customers with unforeseen veterinary costs and selling at least nine dogs that died from serious diseases soon after they were sold. The store owners have vociferously denied the allegations.
The lawsuits have helped fuel support for a ban, despite the industry’s belief that prohibiting the retail sale of puppies will lead to a cascade of unintended consequences, including more online scams and fewer legal protections for consumers who adopt sick puppies.
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While New York is home to about 40 commercial breeders, according to the A.S.P.C.A., the majority of the puppies sold at pet stores in the state are imported from breeders elsewhere, mostly the Midwest.
Emilio Ortiz, a manager at Citipups, a pet store with two locations in Manhattan, said the company carefully sourced the hundreds of puppies it sells each year from about 30 different breeders across the country that he said exceeded federally mandated standards and provided “a great living situation for their dogs.”
Mr. Ortiz, who has met with state lawmakers and the governor’s office to lobby against the bill, argued that the largest obstacle for the industry is a “distorted view and public narrative” that all breeders and pet stores are bad actors. In response, he began creating videos that seek to show a behind-the-scenes look at how the stores treat the pets they sell. Mr. Ortiz has amassed over 300,000 followers on TikTok and his videos have garnered millions of views.
“It’s an uphill battle,” he said. “We’re just small businesses versus some of these big national organizations that raise millions of dollars and have this marketing machine behind them. Usually people hear only of these horror stories, so I wanted to show people like what actually goes on.”
He added: “We’d completely go out of business” if Ms. Hochul signed the bill, noting that about 90 percent of the store’s sales came from selling puppies.
The bill’s supporters have argued that stores that sell animals could adapt by shifting to selling pet supplies, though the industry contends that it would require stores to invest significantly to reconfigure floor plans originally designed to house live animals.
Pet stores would be allowed to collaborate with shelters and rescue organizations to host adoption events, though they would not receive any of the fees associated with the adoptions. Mr. Bober said that all but two of the 28 pet stores that sold puppies in California went out of business two years after the ban went into effect in 2019, according to data compiled by his trade association.
State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat and self-described animal lover who introduced the bill in New York, brushed aside the industry’s business concerns, saying the ban had a more fundamental objective: to stop treating animals as commodities, or as “an item on a supermarket shelf.”
“I don’t think we should sanction the torturing of animals as a means to keep people in business,” said Mr. Gianaris, the deputy majority leader and owner of a rescue cat, Alley, and a Cavapoo mixed-breed puppy, Fred, that he said he purchased from a reputable breeder. “I hope it doesn’t take the governor as long as it took the entire Legislature to figure out the right thing to do.”
Though many Republican lawmakers voted for the bill, it didn’t gain serious traction in Albany until Democrats seized full control of the State Capitol four years ago. The legislation passed the State Senate in 2020 but stalled in the Assembly.
Some moderate Democrats in the Assembly opposed the bill and proposed more targeted alternatives to regulate the pet trade, while some animal activists loudly accused Carl Heastie, the chamber’s speaker, of holding up the legislation.
That changed on the last day of the legislative session this year, when the 150-seat Assembly passed the bill, which was introduced in the lower chamber by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, with only 15 votes against.
“The last bastion of nonpartisanship is puppies and kittens,” said Libby Post, the executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, an organization representing animal shelters and rescue organizations, which support the bill.
The pet store industry has accused shelters and rescue organizations of hypocrisy, arguing that they operate with few regulations in New York, though a second bill on Ms. Hochul’s desk would aim to change that by implementing uniform standards for the veterinary care and housing of rescue animals.
Ms. Post said that banning the retail sale of the animals would ease the strain on New York’s more than 100 shelters and 400 rescue organizations, many of which she said are overflowing with dogs, including those that people obtained during the pandemic but may have abandoned after they were called back to their workplaces.
“What goes on in a puppy mill is absolutely inhumane,” Ms. Post said. “And New York is complicit in animal abuse as long as we allow the sale of milled animals.”
Keep pushing for change… their lives depend on it.
In 2020, China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs officially declared that dogs are companion animals, not livestock. But this June, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival will go on as planned. We need to keep fighting to save these defenseless animals. Tell China it’s time to end the sale and consumption of dog (and cat) meat. Add your name now before these innocent dogs are slaughtered.
The final defendant prosecuted as part of an extensive investigation into a dog-fighting and cocaine distribution network spanning three states was sentenced for his crimes in federal court today.
Shelley Johnson aka Gold Mouth, 40, of Macon, Georgia, was sentenced to 37 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self III after he previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture. As a condition of his supervised release, Johnson is prohibited from owning or possessing dogs. There is no parole in the federal system.
According to court documents, law enforcement investigated a criminal organization involved in both cocaine distribution and organized dog fighting based out of Roberta, Georgia, which extended into North Georgia, Florida and Alabama from May 2019 until February 2020. In February2020, law enforcement executed 15 residential search warrants and seized more than 150 dogs that were being used for organized dog-fighting. A 136- count indictment was unsealed on Jan. 29, 2021, charging 11 individuals with various criminal activities. Three other individuals, including Johnson, were charged by criminal information.
During this time period, Johnson communicated with co-conspirator Jarvis Lockett about fighting and breeding dogs, dogs mauled and killed as a result of fighting, sharpening a dog’s teeth for fighting purposes, cash prizes for fights, and various topics detailing the business and the brutality of dog-fighting. Johnson attended a dog fight and participated as a handler inside the ring during the dog fight. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Johnson’s Macon residence on Feb. 26, 2020, recovering 13 pit bull terrier type dogs with scarring consistent with dog-fighting. In addition, agents found evidence of dog fighting activities including a digital scale, weighted collars, heavy chains, ground stakes and a variety of medical supplies to treat animals for injuries sustained from dog fighting activities.
“Johnson participated in a brutal criminal enterprise that profited from the suffering of animals,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD).“Dog-fighting is a crime, and also closely associated with other serious crimes. The sentences in this prosecution show those who engage in this cruel and inhumane practice face significant prison time.”
“The brutality of dog-fighting alone is sickening; but this case demonstrates the strong union that exists between this bloody and inhumane business and the world of illegal gun and drug trafficking,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary for the Middle District of Georgia. “Our office is committed to not only prosecuting dog-fighting participants, but working alongside our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we will root out the entire criminal network and hold them responsible for their crimes.”
“This investigation and prosecution should send a strong zero-tolerance message to those individuals involved in the inhumane torture of animals for entertainment,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason Williams, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG). “We appreciate the collaboration with our law enforcement partners in pursing these purveyors of death and senseless suffering.”
The following co-conspirators have been convicted and sentenced in this case:
Lekey Davis, aka Kee Boo, 46, of Talbotton, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 210 months of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base;
Christopher Raines, aka Binky, 51, of Talbotton, was sentenced to serve 135 months of imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base;
Jarvis Lockett, aka J-Rock, 41, of Warner Robins, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 10 years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and cocaine distribution;
Derrick Owens, aka Doomie, 38, of Woodland, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 10 years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;
Jason Carter, 39, of Phoenix City, Alabama, was sentenced to serve 97 months of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;
Vernon Vegas, 50, of Suwanee, Georgia, was sentenced to serve the maximum five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture;
Shaquille Bentley, 27, of Roberta, Georgia, was sentenced to serve four years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to use of a communication facility;
Rodrick Walton, aka Rodrie Walton, 42, of Shiloh, Georgia, was sentenced to serve two years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture;
Reginald Crimes, 39, of Preston, Georgia, was sentenced to serve two years of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture;
Lee Benney, 55, of Reynolds, Georgia, was sentenced to serve 21 months of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in an animal fighting venture; and,
Bryanna Holmes, 25, of Fort Valley, Georgia, was sentenced to serve three years of probation after pleading guilty to use of a communication facility.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Keyes for the Middle District of Georgia and Trial Attorney Banu Rangarajan of ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section prosecuted the case.
The case was investigated by ENRD, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), USDA-OIG, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, the Merriweather County Sheriff’s Office, the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, the Webster County Sheriff’s Office, the Byron Police Department and the Fort Valley Police Department.
Urge them to call HB5293 to an immediate vote & to vote YES. House Minority Leader: Vincent.Candelora@cga.ct.gov 800-240-8700 / 800-842-1423 Senate Majority Leader: Bob.Duff@cga.ct.gov 860-240-0414 Senate Minority Leader: Kevin.Kelly@cga.ct.gov 800-842-1421 or 860-240-8826
Bill opponents say that the use of animals in circuses is educational. ANIMAL CIRCUSES ARE NOT EDUCATIONAL. They keep animals in unnatural conditions & force them to do unnatural tricks, & send the message that even the most endangered animals are simply here for human amusement.
The current Pennsylvania legislative session opened with great promise. A record number of animal protection, anti-cruelty bills were introduced, many with strong bi-partisan support. Bills with no down-side – other than for those special interests that exploit animals and profit off of cruelty to animals. Yet, despite the advocacy of animal supporters from every corner of the Commonwealth, and the championing of so many legislators in both our state House and Senate, these bills have stagnated: not one animal protection bill has received a vote. When animal protection, anti-cruelty bills stagnate, animals suffer – and that suffering should not and cannot be tolerated, especially when legislative action provides a meaningful solution. The stagnation of the current legislative session is why the 2022 election is so very important for Pennsylvania’s animals.
We – you and me and everyone else who cares so much about animals – have work to do…
When the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission reduced a two-year suspension to just 60 days for trainer Amber Cobb, who was found by Delaware Park’s board of stewards to have “demonstrated cruelty to a horse in her care,” the Paulick Report was besieged with messages of outrage and disgust from a wide array of people in Thoroughbred racing.
Contact the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and demand they immediately revoke the training license of Amber Cobb for beating and terrorizing a racehorse. Simply suspending Cobb will not do — the time period…
From Cradle to the Grave Greyhound Racing is inherently Cruel Worldwide and especially more so in Botswana Africa. Currently it is legal to breed and race Greyhounds and there are no animal welfare or rehoming or veterinary care or protection in place for Greyhounds.
Dogs are being callously overbred and used as a currency and sold off. These defenceless Greyhounds are being raced to DEATH.
They are also being used and abused for hunting. Once these Greyhounds are surplus to requirements they are brutally Killed. There are no rehoming or adoption process in place. There are limited animal welfare laws where APCA ( ) have barely enough facilities resources to look after rescued dogs. Greyhounds in Botswana need urgent help and protection. We are calling for outright BAN on Greyhound Racing and Breeding in Botswana. For Animal Protection laws to be implemented and Enforced.
Enforcement and funding will be crucial charity warns
The RSPCA has welcomed the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare and urged them to ‘have courage’ in delivering it.
An unprecedented coalition of 50 animal welfare charities called for the UK Government to take a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to redefine our relationship with animals through a new animal health and welfare strategy and released a green paper – “Act Now For Animals” – setting out the sector’s priorities.
Animal loving personalities including wildlife presenter Chris Packham, DJ Sara Cox, TV personality Angela Rippon, choreographer and TV presenter Arlene Phillips, actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna and actress Carol Royle added their support in a video:
Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of the RSPCA today applauded the Government’s plans to take action on more than a dozen animal issues which the public care passionately about, including pet issues: tackling puppy smuggling through changes to import rules, introducing compulsory microchipping for cats, cracking down on pet theft through a new government taskforce and banning remote controlled training e-collars.
Sam Gaines, head of the companion animals department at the RSPCA, said: “The past year has highlighted just how important pets are for so many people and so we are thrilled that the Government plans to take action on issues which offer our pets greater protections.
“We are delighted that the sale and use of equipment designed to cause pain and fear will be banned and puppy and kitten imports will be tackled. Throughout the pandemic we have seen many pet owners understandably concerned about pet theft and so we’re pleased to see a new taskforce being introduced to crackdown on pet thefts.
“We’re also pleased to see the Government introducing compulsory microchipping for cats – should a cat be lost, or become injured, they can easily be reunited with their owner.”
Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of the RSPCA, said: “These announcements could make a real and lasting difference to animals’ welfare, so we’re pleased the Government is committed to improving animals’ lives in the UK and abroad.
“We can no longer ignore the inextricable link that exists between the way we treat animals, our own health and that of the planet – but to really achieve a step change, it will take courage from right across Government.
“We urge the Prime Minister to put animal welfare at the heart of policy making and make these announcements just the beginning of an evolving, holistic animal health and welfare strategy.”
Chris added that as well as needing courage, the Government needs to create an Animal Sentience Committee with real teeth to ensure animals are considered in relevant policy making.
He added: “An Animal Sentience Committee is crucial to the success of future legislation; it must be independent, made up of leading animal welfare experts and be able to meaningfully hold ministers to account. It must not be a token gesture.
“We are pleased the Government will be taking action on many of the top welfare issues that we know the public care passionately about and look forward to working with them to identify further opportunities to improve animal welfare.”
Show captionAnimal welfare protesters at a rally in front of the Al Kuwait live export ship as sheep are loaded in Fremantle harbour, 16 June 2020. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAPAnimal welfare
Set of government measures will include halting most live animal exports and a ban on hunting trophy imports
Animals are to be formally recognised as sentient beings in UK law for the first time, in a victory for animal welfare campaigners, as the government set out a suite of animal welfare measures including halting most live animal exports and banning the import of hunting trophies.
The reforms will be introduced through a series of bills, including an animal sentience bill, and will cover farm animals and pets in the UK, and include protections for animals abroad, through bans on ivory and shark fins, and a potential ban on foie gras.
Some of the measures – including microchipping cats and stopping people keeping primates as pets – have been several years in preparation, and others – such as the restriction of live animal exports – have been the subject of decades-long campaigns.
George Eustice, the environment secretary, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. Our action plan for animal welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets, and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling. As an independent nation, we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”
The action plan for animal welfare includes measures that will involve cracking down on pet theft, which has become a growing problem in the “puppy boom” sparked by the coronavirus lockdowns with a new taskforce. Controversial e-collars that deliver an electric shock to train pets will be banned, and import rules changed to try to stop puppy smuggling.
However, the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs will not be subject to an outright ban, as campaigners had called for. Instead, their use will be examined, and farmers will be given incentives to improve animal health and welfare through the future farm subsidy regime.
The government also repeated its pledge to uphold UK animal welfare in future trade deals, but will not put this commitment into law as campaigners have urged.
James West, senior policy manager at Compassion in World Farming, a pressure group, said some of the measures were the subject of protracted campaigns: “We have long been calling for UK legislation that recognises animals as sentient beings and for sentience to be given due regard when formulating and implementing policy. We are also delighted the government has confirmed it will legislate for a long-overdue ban on live exports for slaughter and fattening. We have been campaigning for this for decades: it is high time this cruel and unnecessary trade is finally brought to an end.”
He called for the government to go further, and stop the import and sale of foie gras, and ban the use of cages for the UK’s 16 million sows and laying hens that are still kept in cages.
He added: “All of these positive announcements must be supported by a comprehensive method of production labelling, and it is essential that the government ensure these much-needed animal welfare improvements are not undermined by future trade agreements.”
The ban on the import and export of shark fins, the subject of a campaign by the chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and others, was also welcomed. Steve Backshall, the Wildlife TV presenter and patron of the Bite-Back campaign on shark finning, said: “[This] will be significant in helping restore the balance of the oceans [and] sends a clear message to the world that shark fin soup belongs in the history books, not on the menu.”
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Delivering on the plan will require understanding and real commitment from across Whitehall. Respect for animal welfare is not only the right thing to do for animals, it will also play a critical role in tackling global environmental and public health challenges such as climate change, antibiotic resistance, and pandemic prevention.”
Christopher Hope, Charles Hymas 9 hrs ago 9 – 11 minutes
Animals with a backbone will have a legal right to feel happiness and suffering in a Government drive to raise welfare standards in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech.
An Animal Sentience Bill will enshrine in law that animals are aware of their feelings and emotions, and can experience joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering.
“Sentience” will apply to “vertebrate animals – anything with a spinal cord”, Environment secretary George Eustice told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview below.
An existing committee of experts and civil servants in Defra will be tasked with ensuring Government’s policies take into account animal sentience.
Ministers were criticised in 2018 when the duty was not carried across into UK law from the European Union after Brexit.
The Government wants to make the UK a world leader in animal welfare and laws that protect animals form the centrepiece of this week’s Queen’s Speech.
As well as an Animal Sentience Bill, an Animals Abroad Bill will ban the import of trophies from animal hunting. A third measure – a Kept Animals Bill – will stop live animal exports and ban families from keeping primates as pets.
The Government will also publish an animal welfare strategy which will raise the prospect of banning fur imports, microchipping all domestic cats and calling time on the cruel killing of pigs by gassing them with carbon dioxide.
Animal welfare is not at odds with caring about our rural communities
The Conservative government has certainly come a long way since the party first won power in 2010 on a pledge to offer a free vote on legalising fox hunting, writes Christopher Hope.
This week’s Queen’s Speech will see the Tory government publish draft laws that enshrine in law the right of animals to feel pain, as well as bans on live animal exports, importing hunting trophies and keeping primates as pets.
A separate animal welfare strategy document will set the direction of travel, raising the prospect of banning fur imports, microchipping all cats and calling time on the cruel killing of pigs by gassing them with carbon dioxide.
It is some journey from “hoodie hugging” when David Cameron was leader in the 2000s to “bunny hugging” under Boris Johnson in the 2020s. And it has been witnessed at first hand by George Eustice, a party press officer in the 2000s and now the Environment secretary.
He says: “I don’t really see that there’s an inconsistency between caring about animal welfare, wanting to promote that and believing in rural communities, and the values of the countryside.
“I grew up on a family farm from a sixth generation farming family. I’m somebody who really understands the social capital that exists in our farming communities and rural communities.
“And by having higher standards of animal welfare, there’s nothing at all that is at odds with caring also about rural communities in the countryside.”
For Mr Eustice, who grew up on his family farm with Guinea pigs, rabbits and a rescued Border Collie called Mono, the difference between then and now is that Boris Johnson wants to prioritise animal welfare.
“There were always other priorities. Boris Johnson is the first Prime Minister, probably ever, to mention animal welfare on the steps of Downing Street. We’ve now got an occupant in Number 10 who really just wants to get some of these things done.”
Critics claim that Mr Johnson’s love for animals comes from his fiancee Carrie Symonds, a passionate environmentalist. Mr Eustice says he has not talked to Miss Symonds “directly” about the new animal welfare laws.
He says: “She [Miss Symonds] has long held views on this so there’s no doubt about that – she’s campaigned on animal welfare issues.
“And it’s not as though she’s unique and alone in this. She is a Conservative she’s passionate about animal welfare, as am I, as is the Prime Minister.”
The most eye-catching of this week’s slew of animal welfare laws is an Animal Sentience Bill which will enshrine in law that animals are aware of their feelings and emotions, and have the same capacity to feel joy and pleasure, as well as pain and suffering.
Mr Eustice says: “It would not make fishing illegal – people needn’t worry about that. It is much more than when we design policies, we have to have regard for animal sentience.”
Mr Eustice admits some of the measures – such as the ban on bringing back hunting trophies to the UK and possible restrictions on fur imports – will not affect large numbers.
The ban on keeping primates as pets, for example, is mainly targeted at the small number of people who have marmosets in homes (numbers grew after the Labour government removed restrictions in 2008 on the grounds that they are not dangerous).
But it is all about “sending a signal”. He says: “It sends an important signal around the world and this is something that we want to try and stop.” Many of these changes – such the ban on live animal exports – are made possible by the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“As a self governing country you gain some agility and also the self confidence to make these judgments for yourself.
“And it does show that outside the EU, we can address areas of policy that some might consider, small niche areas of policy, but where you can make laws better or stronger.
Mr Eustice admits that tackling the fall-out from the coronavirus pandemic is the Government’s number one priority.
But he says: “That doesn’t mean you have to stop work on every other front. How you treat animals, and the legislation you have to govern that, is a mark of a civilised society, and we should be constantly looking to improve and refine our legislation in this area.”
It has been a busy week for Mr Eustice who last week had to defuse the row between French fishermen and Jersey’s government over access to their waters which led to the Navy sending in gunboats to ensure no one came to any harm.
Mr Eustice is unrepentant.
“It was an entirely legitimate response to a situation that you couldn’t have predicted what might have come, and it’s better always to have your assets on standby ready to react should they be needed.”
And he is scathing of “disproportionate” threats to cut off Jersey’s power not least because France “would have to intervene in a commercial arrangement between EDF and Jersey”.
He blames the French government for not telling its fishermen that they had to agree to new licensing agreements based on their historic catches with Jersey’s government.
“It appears that some of the French industry hadn’t quite appreciated what the European Commission had agreed in the Trade and Cooperation agreement,” he says.
Jersey has now given the French fishermen until July 1 to ensure their paperwork is in order. Mr Eustice does not rule out sending in the Navy again.
He says: “If the intelligence model – and an algorithm they follow – suggested that there was illegal fishing activity in Jersey waters, then some of those assets would be redeployed into that area to address that.”
Mr Eustice is optimistic about the future of the Union – despite concern about buoyancy of support for the SNP – pointing out that “within Defra, we work very constructively with Scottish Government and with Welsh Government.
His hope is that over time, as Brexit beds in, the calls from independence parties in the devolved administrations will die away.
“They will accrue powers in everything from agriculture and environment to animal welfare policy powers that they never had before the devolved administrations will now again.
“What will happen is over time once the tensions over Brexit heal …, things will bed down the devolved administrations, all of them will realise that they can do things that they could never do as an EU member and the attraction of rejoining the EU will fade.”
Something we can all get behind. Dogs have gone from utilitarian, in the beginning of the last century, to being part of the family—like your kids (Sometimes better! I’ve seen some of your kids). We’ve advanced in so many areas; surely we can advance here. https://t.co/JyjxOGRzXF
Today, the New York Court of Appeals—one of the most influential state courts in the United States—agreed to hear the habeas corpus case of our elephant client Happy, an autonomous and cognitively complex nonhuman animal who has been imprisoned at the Bronx Zoo for over four decades. This marks the first time in history that the highest court of any English-speaking jurisdiction will hear a habeas corpus case brought on behalf of someone other than a human being.
In 2018, the Nonhuman Rights Project brought a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Happy’s behalf, seeking recognition of her fundamental right to bodily liberty and transfer to an elephant sanctuary. Happy became the first elephant in the world to be granted a hearing to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment. Following several days of hearings, the trial court “regrettably” denied Happy’s petition because of prior court decisions, which will now be examined for the first time by the Court of Appeals.
Happy’s case has been supported from the start by leading scientists, philosophers, habeas corpus scholars, legal experts, theologians, and the wider public throughout the country and the world. Having begun the fight for nonhuman rights in New York eight years ago, we are thrilled the Court of Appeals has recognized the urgent public importance of Happy’s case and hope she will soon become the first elephant and nonhuman animal in the US to have her right to bodily liberty judicially recognized.
To learn more about Happy and her court case, click here. To join the over one million people who’ve signed her Change.org petition, click here. To make a donation to help ensure the legal fight for elephant rights is as strong as it can be, now and until all elephants can live freely, click here.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 17 2012: Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II visits Liverpool Albert Dock during her Diamond Jubilee tour of Great Britain, Liverpool, England. May 17 2012
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021 was signed into law yesterday by Queen Elizabeth, increasing the maximum penalty for animal cruelty in England and Wales from six months to up to five years in prison. The amended legislation also aims to deter would-be animal abusers from committing acts of cruelty.
As previously reported by WAN in June of 2019, when the Bill was brought forward by Member of Parliament Chris Loder, more than 70% of people supported tougher prison sentences for animal abusers.
Loder shared in a statement on his website that he was inspired to create change by introducing the Bill after finding a Springer Spaniel cruelly abandoned at the roadside before bringing her home to his family farm in West Dorest.
In a message posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday, Loder noted that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act had just completed all Parliamentary stages in both Houses. It was subsequently taken to Her Majesty the Queen for Royal Assent.
“Just ONE DAY away from this important change in law for animals! #AnimalsDeserveJustice,”Loder tweeted yesterday, referring to the Bill which is now law and is expected to come into force in June of this year.
The RSPCA, one of the supporters of the Bill, secured 4,103 convictions in the courts in England and Wales over the last three years, and 156 individuals received immediate prison sentences.
“Since the Bill was introduced, animals have been starved, shot, stabbed, beaten to death and drowned,” stated RSPCA Chief Executive, Chris Sherwood. “At least now, in those cases that leave us heartbroken, our courts will be able to hand out sentences that truly reflect the severity of the crimes.”
Loder emphasized that there is more work to be done to help protect and save not only companion animals such as dogs, cats, and horses, but all animals.
“I will continue to work hard for animals, and I will continue campaigning on non-stun slaughter and live animal exports,” stated Loder, who also serves as a Patron for The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, which campaigns to help end the suffering of billions of animals reared on intensive slaughter farms. The organization also helped to support the Bill.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
Ken Canning Wolves across the US are again being persecuted under state management. The State of Idaho has adopted legislation that allows for the killing of 90% of the wolves statewide including newborn pups and nursing mothers in their dens. The State of Montana has adopted a bounty system similar to the one that led to the eradication of wolves from the West. The State of Wisconsin opened a hunting season without adequate regulations in place and hundreds of wolves were destroyed within days. Wolves need to regain the protection of the Endangered Species Act NOW! Please take action to restore vital protections to prevent the eradication of wolves from states that are unable or unwilling to manage wolves responsibly.
To: US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland From: [Your Name]
Please Act Now to Save America’s Wolves!
I’m writing to ask you to help save our wolves in the United States. I care deeply about the plight of wolves in our country and wolves across the US are again being persecuted under state authority. The State of Idaho has adopted legislation that allows for the killing of 90% of the wolves statewide including newborn pups and nursing mothers in their dens. The State of Montana has adopted a bounty system similar to the one led to the eradication of wolves from the West. The State of Wisconsin opened a hunting season without adequate regulations in place and hundreds of wolves were destroyed in days. Wolves need to regain the protection of the Endangered Species Act now! Please take action to restore vital protections to prevent the eradication of wolves from states that are unable or unwilling to manage wolves responsibly.
There is no excuse for the persecution of wolves in our country. Wolves are an essential species in helping to maintain healthy elk and deer herds by culling diseased animals and encouraging dispersal of large herds into smaller herds that are more sustainable to their habitat. Livestock losses to wolves remain low – less than 1 percent of cattle in wolf range are lost to wolves – and there are highly effective nonlethal deterrents that can better protect sheep, cattle, and wolves.
These states are changing their state wolf legislation to the point they are no longer sufficient to protect wolves from eradication. You have the ability to restore their protection under the Endangered Species Act before it’s too late. Please take action now. Our nation’s wolves must be protected from this Old West approach that is nothing more than an archaic and brutal campaign to eradicate their numbers.
Spain has given pets the same legal status as humans in a sign of growing support for animal rights in the home of bullfighting.
Domestic animals will be considered “living beings” under Spanish law instead of mere objects as has been the case until now.
This will mean that dogs or cats must be considered in the same way as children in divorce hearings or when inheritance or debts cases have to be settled by the courts.
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When judges decide who should have the family dog, they also must consider the welfare of the animal as they would do if they were dealing with children.
Shared custody of the pet will be an option open to judges in divorce hearings, who must also decide who pays for vet bills and food of the animal.
In Spain, 49.3 per cent of Spanish homes have a pet, but the country also has the fourth highest rate of divorce in the European Union, according to the Fundacion Affinity, a petcare company.
Under the new law, mistreatment of pets will also be regarded as a crime as if the owner had abused another person.
If someone finds an abandoned pet, they have a public duty to try to locate the owner or inform the authorities as they would do if they came across a lost child.
Spain joins France, Germany, Austria and Portugal which are the other European countries which have given pets the same legal status.
“This shows that we are changing our mentality and see animals as living beings with the capacity to feel pain, happiness, sadness and are nothing to do with a piece of furniture or a show,” Lola García, a lawyer who specialises in civil rights, told La Vanguardia newspaper.
The pet law change was introduced by the Socialists and the far-left Unidas Podemos party and was backed by all other parties, except the far-right Vox party.
Sandra Guaita, a Socialist MP, who presented the law to the parliament, said anyone who opposed the change would “deny the pain and suffering of animals”.
“We should accept that animals are not objects, they are living beings which feel and suffer,” she said.
The new law comes as support in Spain for bullfighting has been on the wane in recent years. While some Spaniards consider it as part of the nation’s culture, others condemn it as cruel.
A 2019 poll for El Español, an online newspaper, found 56.4 per cent of Spanish people were against bull-fighting, while 24.7 per cent were in favour and 18.9 per cent were indifferent.
Moments ago, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a bill banning traps, snares, and poisons on public lands across New Mexico.
The new law—called “Roxy’s Law” in honor of a dog who was strangled to death in a neck snare on public lands in 2018—will save untold numbers of native wildlife, including bobcats, swift foxes, badgers, beavers, ermine, coyotes, and Mexican gray wolves. It also will protect recreationists and our companion animals from cruel and indiscriminate traps, snares, and poisons on public lands across the Land of Enchantment.
This monumental victory for wildlife and public lands would not have been possible without you! You wrote letters, made phone calls, shared action alerts with your friends and networks, and generously supported our campaign. Thank you!
We also want to thank all of our partner organizations in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition who have collaborated with us for years to ensure that the cruel decimation of wildlife populations via traps, snares, and poisons ceases on public lands.
A few weeks ago, when Roxy’s Law passed the New Mexico Legislature, the National Trappers Association said this on social media: “The trappers of New Mexico are on the brink of losing trapping. They are doing so because their opponents started the process 10 years ago and have been relentless. This is a 365 day a year conquest for them.”
While “conquest” is a word I would reserve to describe the infinite killing of native wildlife for private profit, the rest rings true.
Thousands and thousands of Guardians like you have been working relentlessly for years to make public lands safer, to protect native wildlife, to better society’s relationship with wildness and nature, and to erase the paradigm of killing wildlife for fun and money.
So, join me in celebrating today’s huge milestone for wildlife and public lands, and rest assured that working together—and with your generous support—we will have more victories like this to celebrate in the near future.
This morning, #RoxysLaw passed the Sen. Conservation Committee w/ a bipartisan 7-2 vote! Thank you to the Senators who voted 'yes' & to the exceptional testifiers who spoke for #SB32, from @TrapFreeNM partners to advocates, wildlife scientists, and hunters/ranchers. #nmlegpic.twitter.com/h3WqbBjqFY
Our 2020 Annual Report is here! See this year’s highlights in the fight for nonhuman rights and what we were able to achieve together this year.
While this year has undoubtedly been challenging for all, the NhRP pressed on and fought (virtually) in court and beyond for our clients, and together with you, our dedicated supporters, we made great progress in the fight for nonhuman rights.
There is still much work to be done in the legal fight for nonhuman rights, which comes up against thousands of years of nonhuman animals’ rightlessness. But the NhRP does not give up on our clients or our mission. We sincerely thank each and every one of you who stood by us particularly in this difficult year, knowing the NhRP will fight for as long as it takes because we know justice is on our and our clients’ side. Step by step, we will continue to break down the legal wall that unjustly separates human and nonhuman animals.
From all of us at the NhRP, have a safe and healthy New Year!
Kevin Schneider is the NhRP’s Executive Director. He heads up the NhRP’s internal and external operations, ensuring that all organizational efforts align with our values and are aimed to secure rights for nonhuman animals.
Following an amicus brief filed last week by Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, they are the latest experts to call for freedom and sanctuary for Happy the elephant
July 22, 2020—New York, NY—Two habeas corpus scholars and twelve North American philosophers with expertise in animal ethics, animal political theory, the philosophy of animal cognition and behavior, and the philosophy of biology have submitted amicus curiae briefs in support of the legal personhood and right to liberty of an elephant held alone in captivity in the Bronx Zoo.
The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) recently filed an appeal in its habeas corpus case on behalf of Happy, a 49-year-old Asian elephant who is both the first elephant in the world to demonstrate self-awareness via the mirror self-recognition test and the first to be the subject of habeas corpus hearings to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment.
The authors of the briefs are:
Justin Marceau (Brooks Institute Research Scholar at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law) and Samuel L. Wiseman (Professor of Law at Penn State Law in University Park):
“One of the greatest blemishes on our justice system is the wrongful detention of persons. The Writ of Habeas Corpus is one of the tools available to correct injustices by requiring a person’s captors to justify the person’s imprisonment to the courts. While the Writ has provided a procedural vehicle for vindicating the right of thousands of humans to not be unlawfully detained, this brief argues that the time has come to consider the Writ’s application to other cognitively complex beings who are unjustly detained. The non-humans at issue are unquestionably innocent. Their confinement, at least in some cases, is uniquely depraved—and their sentience and cognitive functioning, and the cognitive harm resulting from this imprisonment, is similar to that of human beings.”
Andrew Fenton (Dalhousie University), Bernard Rollin (Colorado State University), David Peña-Guzmán (San Francisco State University), G.K.D. Crozier (Laurentian University), Gary Comstock (North Carolina State University), James Rocha (California State University, Fresno), Jeff Sebo (New York University), L. Syd M Johnson (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Letitia Meynell (Dalhousie University), Nathan Nobis (Morehouse College), Robert C. Jones (California State University, Dominguez Hills), Tyler John (Rutgers University-New Brunswick):
“We reject arbitrary distinctions that deny adequate protections to other animals who share with protected humans relevantly similar vulnerabilities to harms and relevantly similar interests in avoiding such harms. We submit this brief to affirm our shared interest in ensuring a more just coexistence with other animals who live in our communities. We strongly urge this Court, in keeping with the best philosophical standards of rational judgment and ethical standards of justice, to recognize that, as a nonhuman person, Happy should be released from her current confinement and transferred to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, pursuant to habeas corpus.”
In 2018, Judge Eugene M. Fahey of the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, favorably cited to an amicus brief submitted by philosophers in his concurring opinion in the NhRP’s chimpanzee rights cases. In that opinion, he urged his fellow judges to treat the rightlessness of nonhuman beings as a “deep dilemma of ethics and policy that demands our attention” and to “consider whether a chimpanzee is an individual with inherent value who has the right to be treated with respect.”
Earlier this year, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Alison Y. Tuitt wrote in her decision in Happy’s case that while she “agrees [with the NhRP] that Happy is more than just a legal thing, or property … and may be entitled to liberty,” she was required to dismiss Happy’s habeas petition because “regrettably … this Court is bound by the legal precedent set by the Appellate Division when it held that animals are not ‘persons’ entitled to rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus.”
Legal scholar and Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe also recently filed an amicus brief in Happy’s case, urging the First Department to recognize Happy’s right to liberty as part of New York’s noble tradition of expanding the ranks of rights holders.”
For a detailed timeline of Happy’s case and court filings, visit this page. For more information about Happy’s appeal, visit this page. To download the above image of Happy, visit this page (credit: Gigi Glendinning).
CASE NO./NAME: THE NONHUMAN RIGHTS PROJECT, INC. on behalf of HAPPY, Petitioner, v. JAMES J. BREHENY, in his official capacity as Executive Vice President and General Director of Zoos and Aquariums of the Wildlife Conservation Society and Director of the Bronx Zoo, and WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY (Appellate Case No. 2020-02581)
Media Contact: Lauren Choplin firstname.lastname@example.org ###
About the Nonhuman Rights Project The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only civil rights organization in the United States working through litigation, legislation, and education to secure fundamental rights for nonhuman animals.Nonhuman Rights Project
We are the only civil rights organization in the United States dedicated solely to securing rights for nonhuman animals.
In a disturbing situation on Saturday afternoon in Hartford County, Maryland, a baby bear that had wandered into a residential neighborhood was shot and killed by police.
Witnesses were shocked and questioned why police did not notify Animal Control or the Department of Natural Resources to get involved. A local resident expressed her horrifying experience on social media.
“I just witnessed the most horrifying unjust killing of this baby bear,” Dawn Cowhey wrote on her Facebook page. “Right outback my condo building. Why wasn’t DNR called?!!! Why didn’t Animal Control in Hartford County get involved?! Why didn’t they tase the bear till DNR or Animal Control could come and sedate this poor life and relocate?!! Questions and absolutely felt helpless and could not protect this life as it was going down. I should have screamed louder… I should have screamed louder!!!!”
A press release from the Havre de Grace Police followed with an account of the situation. According to the police, the DNR had been contacted, but were unable to respond.
For Immediate Release Contact: Sgt. Daniel Petz, Public Information Officer, (410) 939-2121
On Saturday, June 20th, 2020, officers from the Havre de Grace Police Department were dispatched to the 700 blocks of Union Avenue for a bear on residential property. Officers responded to the area, and were unable to locate the bear who was last seen going towards the area of the hospital. Officers launched a search for the bear and alerted citizens in the area that a bear was sighted and to take appropriate actions. Officers eventually found the bear in the area of the promenade and had to euthanize the bear due to the high potential for a physical encounter with humans.
We understand this was a very unfortunate event, but officers made this decision based on the overwhelming concern for public safety.
As this investigation is still ongoing, no further information will be released at this time.
For additional information regarding this release, or any others, please contact the Office of Media relations at 410-939-2121.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources does not remove and relocate bears unless they have caused a conflict with humans or have shown signs of aggression. It is believed this baby black bear had been looking for food.
Bear attacks are extremely rare, and a bear showing up in a residential area doesn’t necessarily mean the animal is a threat. A general rule is never leave any food outside, make sure garbage cans are securely shut and remove bird feeders. If the bear appears aggressive, stay indoors and contact the DNA Bear hotline at 410.260.8888.
If you see a bear and it is not bothering anyone, keep your distance; take some photos, but never approach and stay at least 200-300 feet away from him. Be respectful of wildlife – they want to live too.
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The Mexican gray wolf, or lobo, is one of the most endangered carnivores in the world. After lobos were nearly wiped out, reintroduction began in 1998 in remote areas of New Mexico and Arizona. Since then, recovery has been slow and turbulent.
In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided that the only wild population of Mexican gray wolves in the U.S. was not essential to the recovery of Mexican gray wolves as a species. Guardians and our allies sued, and in 2018, a U.S. district judge told USFWS to go back to the drawing board to write a new management rule for the lobo.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently seeking comments on that new Mexican wolf management rule. This is our chance to make sure the agency gets recovery right, so please raise your voice!
Want to do even more for lobos? After you sign the petition, check out our wolf tool kit for ready-to-go social media posts and tips on writing a letter to the editor.
PETITION: Justice for Dog Repeatedly Punched in Face for Viral ‘Boxing’ Video
PETITION TARGET: Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts
In a sickening video posted on Snapchat, a German shepherd cried out in pain as he was punched in the face over and over by a woman wearing boxing gloves in Eagle, Idaho.
“I hit him so hard, I felt that through –” the attacker said, as the video abruptly ends.
As the suspect repeatedly struck the visibly terrified canine, someone in the background made a taunting statement against animal lovers and laughed.
“We’re boxing animals. Where’s Sarah McLachlan?” the onlooker snidely remarked, referencing the popular singer and animal rights activist, before erupting into laughter at the violence unfolding before his eyes.
Disturbed viewers are overwhelmingly responding to the horrifying clip, which went viral on social media, with demands for justice. The suspect could face an animal abuse charge, Idaho Humane Society spokesperson Kristine Schellhaas told the Idaho Statesman, but for now, the case sits on the prosecutor’s desk, awaiting a decision.
The person who beat this innocent dog in an obvious display of cruelty must not get away with their actions. Sign this petition urging Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts to charge the perpetrator for their suspected crimes, and to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
Following in the spirit of Britain's Queen Boudica, Queen of the Iceni. A boudica.us site. I am an opinionator, do your own research, verification. Reposts, reblogs do not neccessarily reflect our views.