Susie, the beloved pitbull mix who became a symbol of hope and perseverance after inspiring important animal cruelty laws, has passed away. The beautiful dog, who survived horrendous abuse, later went on to put her paw print to North Carolina legislation which increased the penalties for animal cruelty. Susie spent much of her amazing life visiting hospitals, schools, and even won the Hero Dog Award from the Humane Society. But animal cruelty persists in the state, and legislators must uphold Susie’s amazing legacy!
Sign now to demand that sentencing and ownership laws for animal cruelty in North Carolina be strengthened in Susie’s honor!
In 2009, Susie was found in a park, covered in maggots, horrifically beaten and even burned. After being examined by veterinarians at a shelter in the area, experts estimated that she had been left in that tragic condition for weeks. Susie was missing teeth, burns covered well over half of her body, and her jaw was broken. As a puppy, she had endured any dog’s worst nightmare. Susie’s story is a devastating example of why animal cruelty laws are so important.
North Carolina is currently ranked appallingly low for animal protections — 42nd out of all 50 states. This is a disgrace to Susie and the many, many animals who have endured horrifying abuse. But the North Carolina legislature can take a few simple steps to dramatically increase animal welfare in the state. By adding statutorily authorized sentencing to mental health evaluation or treatment and a ban on animal ownership for people convicted of felony animal cruelty to Susie’s Law, the lives of untold animals could be protected.
Sign the petition now to tell legislators in North Carolina: the time is now to stand for animal rights! Fight against animal cruelty in honor of Susie!more
Our goal is to bring positive change to AHS Newark Animal Shelter. Animals there are being neglected, abused and suffering. Health code violations are EVERYWHERE. Disease is spreading. Uneducated shelter staff and volunteers are unknowingly endangering the lives of animals in their care. Adequate Medical treatment is not being provided to animals in need. Adoptions are being made that place animals in unsafe homes and situations, resulting in many returns or people simply abandoning animals. Indoor kennel temperatures are soaring near 90 degrees while pigeons spread disease throughout the building. Donations continue to be accepted with no explanation for where the money is going.
We hope with the support of our community we can push for an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and Health Department.
The dog picture in this photo is Chloe, she arrived at AHS Newark in need of immediate medical care, which she was denied. By the time shelter eventually got her help it was too late and she died. Unfortunately, she is just one of many.
**I would like to clarify that this is in no way directed at or placing blame on any of the shelter volunteers. This problem starts at the very top. To those you dedicate their time volunteering at this shelter, we support and thank you!
An innocent orca has suffered a vicious attack in one of SeaWorld’s tiny, prison-like tanks. This is just another of the many types of suffering felt by marine mammals kept in cruel, unnatural captivity…and it needs to end.
Sign now to demand USDA shut down SeaWorld once and for all and send all orcas to seaside sanctuaries!
It’s believed that the victim of the tragic attack was Corky, a poor whale who has been trapped in captivity for over 50 years. Corky, who has already missed out on decades of free and autonomous life in the ocean, was forced to endure brutal violence because it is literally impossible to escape these encounters with other whales in such tragically small tanks.
Attacks like these are rare in the wild, in part because orcas have space and freedom to exhibit their natural behaviors. Wild orcas also are much less likely to suffer from uncharacteristic aggression and depression, which are extremely common in tanks like those at SeaWorld.In these tiny pools, whales don’t just develop distressing behavioral issues — they literally cannot physically flee from conflict, and are forced to socialize with other orcas that they may have otherwise avoided. In their natural habitat, orcas swim an average of 40 miles per day, often diving 100 to 500 feet multiple times in a single day. This movement is essential for their diet, for their exercise, and for their safety. How can SeaWorld possibly claim that these animals are safe while trapped in the equivalent of a water prison, cruelly suffering for human entertainment?We cannot wait any longer – the lives and well-being of whales trapped in captivity across the country are at stake. The USDA must shut down SeaWorld and bring Corky, and all orcas, to seaside sanctuaries! Sign the petition now if you agree!more
Eleven seagulls cruelly and fatally run over in Prince George’s County, Maryland, received no justice from the Upper Marlboro District Court or the State Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case.
Nathaniel Thompson, whom Laurel Police charged with animal cruelty and aggravated cruelty, took an “Other” plea and opted to be placed on the state’s STET Docket for one year— meaning he’ll face no jail time, no fines, no restitution, and no probation unless he reoffends.
All record of the fatal and intentional animal cruelty also will be expunged after that one-year period.
The State Attorney’s Office told Lady Freethinker that the office was “unable to move forward with the prosecution of this case due to witness unavailability, including the State’s essential witness.”
“On the trial date, the State requested a continuance to allow the essential witness to travel back to the area,” a spokesperson said. “However, the court denied the request.”
That statement does not tell the full story – including that the reason the witnesses weren’t available was because the prosecutor had first contacted them a week before the trial, despite more than two years of court continuances.
The cruelty case inspired significant media coverage when first breaking in January 2020, with reports that someone had intentionally lured a group of seagulls with popcorn near the Dollar Tree in the Laurel Shopping Plaza and then run them over.
The police incident report from the time notes the responding officer found ten sea gull corpses, with popcorn visible in their ruptured intestines, when arriving on scene, and that the birds’ injuries included “broken necks, broken wings, broken legs, and some of the seagulls’ bodies were flattened.” The officer transported an eleventh sea gull, found nearby with a severely broken wing, to a wildlife sanctuary, but the bird also perished despite treatment, with a compound fracture and “excessive blood loss” identified as the cause of death, according to public records documents.
According to the police log, accessed via public records request, Laurel police officers preserved that dead seagull as evidence, assiduously tracked down surveillance footage from local businesses and street cameras to identify the individual responsible, and provided witness contact information to the prosecutor to help obtain justice for the birds.
The case was scheduled for multiple hearings in 2021, with delays attributed to COVID-19, and its first – and only – hearing finally happening on Feb. 23, 2022 — more than two years after news first reported the crime.
To learn more about the lack of accountability for such a truly heinous crime once the case hit the court system, Lady Freethinker ordered the court transcript from Thompson’s scheduled trial hearing on Feb. 23, 2022.
The 5-minute audio we received, spread across two short clips, details that State Attorney’s Office Prosecutor Jason Fields agreed to the STET Docket terms after his request for a later hearing date was denied.
The audio also indicates that presiding District Court Judge Katina Steuart denied the requested continuance because Fields had not given key witnesses adequate time to to testify at the trial — instead reaching out a mere week before the scheduled trial date.
During the Feb. 23 hearing, the State’s Attorney’s Office’s Fields acknowledged that the case was more than two years old but asked for an additional delay to allow for key witnesses – one of whom had moved to Georgia, and one who had a doctor’s appointment – to be present.
The judge then asked Fields when he had reached out to witnesses to check their availability.
He responded, “That was Wednesday of last week, your Honor.”
Thompson’s defense attorney objected to the request, saying that Thompson was 78 years old and that “having this case hanging over him has caused considerable stress” and that “the additional anxiety and stress of this case has continued to not help his health.”
Fields then reminded the judge that the intentional cruelty of the case had garnered “a lot of attention.”
“It is a highly concerning case for the community,” he said.
Steuart then asked Fields why he hadn’t reached out to witnesses sooner.
“With that being said, wouldn’t it have been prudent for the State to maybe have reached out to the witnesses prior to last week to determine their availability for trial?” she said.
“Everybody knew about the trial date as of December 2,” she continued. “I’m sympathetic to the fact that these witnesses do want to go forward. I think it’s obviously pretty difficult if you live in another state to say, ‘Yes, I can be in Maryland for a trial date that very next week,’ and I understand why they might not be able to make it.
“But the problem is, it is an old case,” Steuart continued. “There have been some delays due to COVID obviously, but Mr. Thompson is here, he has counsel, he’s ready, so to delay this any further because there was not adequate notice given to the State’s witnesses by the State would not serve the interest of justice.”
Steuart then denied the prosecutor’s request for a continuance, and the provided audio cuts out. A second audio clip, also provided via public records request, picks up with the court acknowledging the parties had reached a “resolution” of Thompson going on the STET docket for a year.
People who don’t want the stress or anxiety of criminal court proceedings shouldn’t intentionally and fatally kill animals.
There is absolutely no excuse for someone who commits an act of fatal and intentional violence to not be held accountable for that conscious act.
There’s also no excuse for contacting witnesses a week before a scheduled trial starts, when the case has been ongoing for more than a year, with other public records documents showing that the State Attorney’s Office repeatedly reached out to connect with law enforcement mere days before the scheduled trial dates.
We are extremely disappointed that this case involving multiple defenseless birds — and severe, fatal, and intentional violence — wasn’t taken seriously.
Prince George’s County State Attorney’s Office could have – and should have – done better by these birds. We hope that prosecutors, moving forward, will treat animal cruelty cases with the severity they deserve.
PETITION TARGETS: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wilstem Wildlife Park, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Elephants who formerly spent their lives exploited in circuses now are being forced to have hundreds of strangers touch them, spray them with water, pose for pictures with them, and senselessly paint their toenails — with each encounter raking in between $119 and $599 for their exhibitors at Wilstem Wildlife Park in Indiana during the summer months.
The website for Wilstem Inc, a for-profit business with properties in French Lick and Paoli, shows paying customers can participate in an elephant “spa” for $119, a 2-hour encounter where elephants have to endure untrained people spraying them with water and stand still while “young participants” paint their toe nails.
The business’s most expensive elephant package – billed as its “most exclusive,” “private” encounter – allows up to eight people to crowd around the captive elephants, touch them, and take photos with them.
These hands-on encounters with elephants – who are sensitive, highly intelligent animals – are continuing even though Wilstem Inc recently was fined $8,000 by federal inspectors for numerous violations that spanned species—including lack of facility supervision for children interacting directly with animals.
Wilstem Inc elephant interaction (Image via Yelp)
In an affidavit obtained by Lady Freethinker through a public records request, a federal inspector wrote that she had serious concerns about animal handling, other animal interactions involving sloth and kangaroo, and that Wilstem Inc was putting profit before the animals’ welfare.
“The facility needs to be held accountable and responsible for the deaths, mistreatment, and suffering several of the animals were put through before they died or were put to death,” the inspector wrote.
The elephants on display at Wilstem Inc during the summer months are on loan from another USDA-licensed facility in Florida with its own controversial history and documented welfare violations — including not providing adequate veterinary care to an elephant with a lump on her face and for keeping the elephants chained — as well as other exploitative stunts, such as forcing elephants to play harmonicas for visitors’ “entertainment.”
(Information accessed via Wilstem’s website)
Transporting the elephants from one exploitative venue to the other every year also is dangerous for the elephants and people. The facilities made headlines a few years ago when the transport trailer caught fire and the elephants escaped onto the nearby interstate – where fire fighters, sheriff’s deputies, and emergency services had to assist.
Elephants and other wild animals are not here for our “entertainment.” They deserve to live their lives peacefully in their natural environments, with freedom to roam, play, and interact with others of their own kind — as they need to do in order to thrive.
Sign our petition urging the USDA and Indiana Department of Natural Resources to immediately inspect conditions at Wilstem Inc and to seize any suffering animals and safely relocate them to a reputable sanctuary. We’re also asking Wilstem Inc to stop offering paid interactions involving physical contact with their elephants and other wild animals.
Then, read LFT’s full story about Wilstem Inc here.
PETITION TARGETS: Okinawa Prefectural Police, Kumejima Municipal Government, and Japanese Environment Ministry
More than 30 endangered green sea turtles were found bleeding out onto a beach in the Okinawa Prefecture, Japan , with multiple stab wounds to their necks and flippers, according to Mainichi news reports.
Employees with the Kumejima Sea Turtle Museum rushed to the beach after they fielded several complaints from distressed members of the community. Upon arrival, they found dozens of unmoving sea turtles – some dead and some fighting for their lives before they succumbed to their wounds.
At least one fishing operator has admitted to stabbing the vulnerable and defenseless animals, telling a reporter that the turtles had become entangled in his fishing nets. When he couldn’t untangle the heavy ones, he reportedly “stabbed them to get rid of them,”according to news reports.
The brutal stabbings directly counter ongoing conservation efforts on Kumejima Island, where turtles flock to feast in seaweed and kelp beds, and whoever committed this atrocious act must be held fully accountable.
Sign our petition urging Japanese officials to thoroughly investigate and prosecute anyone involved with this heinous crime.
The only marine mammal on the planet that is entirely vegetarian is facing extinction. Called the dugong, or “sea cow,” it inspired stories of mermaids and sirens’ songs for hundreds of years. But now, due to seagrass vegetation die-offs and fishing net deaths, dugongs are on the decline.
Several of its cousin species are already extinct. We can’t let that happen to the adorable dugong, too.
Authorities in China must take action now to save the dugong, while they still can. Sign the petition now!
Already, dugongs are “functionally extinct” in the waters off of China. Over the past 50 years, their population has seen a dramatic decline – and now, it appears that dugongs are virtually gone from Chinese coastal waters. While some individuals remain in the area, there aren’t enough of them to successfully reproduce and keep their community alive.
Luckily, dugongs are not yet fully extinct from the whole planet. Some populations still live in the waters around Australia, and also in the coastal areas off of multiple other countries, especially in the Persian Gulf. But they’re still under tremendous threat. As Gabriel Grimsditch at the United Nations Environment Program says: “outside of these two regions most dugong populations are in dangerous decline,” and we must pay attention to “the extinction threat they face across their [habitat] range.”
That extinction threat is, unquestionably, coming from us humans. Sea cows rely on seagrass to eat, and therefore to breed and raise new generations. Their entire life cycles rely on access to this vegetation source. But pollution, climate change, and human construction projects are destroying this invaluable plant.
On top of that, dugongs are often subject to hunting, poaching, and even overfishing. When people harvest fish by indiscriminately tossing nets out into the oceans – especially gill nets – dugongs often wind up entangled, caught against their will. And then they die.
The writing is on the wall: dugongs will not continue to survive if we treat them this way. We can no longer continue to wantonly destroy their ecosystems and food sources, or approach fishing in such a haphazard manner.
That’s why we’re calling on Chinese authorities to intervene and set stronger protocols to prevent seagrass depletion and reckless fishing. The government must create and enforce regulations in order to protect the dugongs who still exist off their coasts – and nourish them back into fully healthy populations! Sign the petition now.
Tethering dogs is extremely dangerous and leaves them vulnerable to extreme weather, dehydration, and starvation. Being tethered restricts their movements and can even leave them vulnerable to attacks from other animals. Dogs are not meant to be on chains all day! North Carolina is working on passing a bill to make sure tethering dogs is illegal. We need to make sure that this bill passes in the state legislature.
Typically, Senate and House Republicans in the state of North Carolina are slow to pass animal welfare laws because of the hog and poultry industry ties all across the state. They fear that passing animal welfare laws will make them have to do more to protect animals in cruel factory farming as well. And they should! All animals are sentient beings and deserve to be treated fairly no matter what.
Twenty-three other states have laws that limit or restrict how dogs can be tethered. It’s time that North Carolina protects animals and passes the Fiona Mae Wagglebottom Act and bans tethering in the state!
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Kim is a sweet little 5-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. She lives with her beloved human, Mr. Rogers, in Ireland, where they enjoy a peaceful life together. Rogers is 85 years old and describes Kim as his “best friend.” Every night, she sleeps at the foot of his bed, and during the day, they treasure going on walks together.
For five years, Kim never showed any aggression towards anyone, and was perfectly amiable. Then on one unfortunate day, while out on a walk, she nipped at a woman’s leg. Now that woman is demanding Kim be killed – and she doesn’t care that she’d be breaking an elderly gentleman’s heart in doing so.
Sign the petition to demand Irish authorities step in and prevent Kim’s impending euthanasia!
Kim has never bitten anyone before – not before this event, and not after. Yet that doesn’t matter to the woman involved. According to information from Twitter, the woman has a history of demanding dogs be euthanized for bites. She’s apparently been involved in multiple animal bite cases before. In all previous times, it seems she successfully forced the deaths of the other pups.
We don’t want dogs to be allowed to run around biting people. But surely there are other options besides taking away an animal’s life and breaking her human’s heart over just one mistake. In fact, Mr. Rogers has approached the woman on four different occasions, seeking to find other solutions. He’s offered, for example, to hire construction workers to build better fencing around his property, muzzle his pup, and even hire a dog behavior specialist to work with Kim. But the woman has shown no willingness to compromise.
The extreme stress of fighting for his best friend’s life has put tremendous strain on Mr. Rogers’s health. As he explained, “I have a heart condition, and I have a pacemaker fitted.” But because of all the emotional turmoil, he reports: “I am unable to sleep, especially in the early morning.” On top of that, his doctors recently discovered that his heart has been physically struggling on days when he goes to court over this incident.
In other words: euthanizing his dog could literally break his heart. Why would anyone do that to him or Kim?
Luckily, Mr. Rogers and Kim have supporters who are fighting to protect them. The comedian and actor Ricky Gervais recently tweeted about their ordeal, trying to raise awareness. And a GoFundMe campaign is working to raise money to help Mr. Rogers build a new fence and install a security system. That way he can prove to Irish courts that he is doing everything in his power to prevent future bites. We must join our voices together with theirs!
Irish officials have the power to intervene in order to help Mr. Rogers and save his dog. Sign the petition to demand they take immediate action to save Kim the Terrier from death!
PETITION TARGET: UK Prime Minister and Ministers George Eustice and Lord Zac Goldsmith
Lions reared in cages are being shot to death by trophy hunters who shell out big bucks to hide in nearby blinds and then massacre the unsuspecting animals, according to The Mirror.
The chance to gun down rhinos, crocodiles, and elephants also was advertised at the United Kingdom’s first-ever “stalking show,” which over the course of two days attracted 90 exhibitors.
An undercover investigator working for the Humane Society International-UK who attended the event reported that company representatives said that paying customers could kill any species they wanted, and also that they could kill an unlimited number of animals.
“The only limit is how much money you’ve got,” one reportedly told the investigator.
Another representative offered the chance to shoot at “caged lions,” according to The Mirror.
“You tell them you want to hunt a lion, and a few weeks before you go, they are gonna throw them out… into a big pen,” the representative reportedly said. “Then when you turn up, you’ll sit in a blind.”
While one wildlife killing company told news media the cowardly hunts aid conservation efforts, numerous reports have shown that trophy killing doesn’t protect animals – nor does it help local people as killing companies frequently claim.
The United Kingdom has made headlines recently for touting a strong stance against trophy hunting. But the language of a bill to ban the import of animal “trophies,” pitched by a private Member of Parliament (MP), has yet to be released for serious consideration, while events like the stalking show continue to advertise these grotesque vacations.
Killing innocent and precious wildlife in order to hang their corpses or dismembered body parts on a wall is not conservation – and it’s not a “sport.”
It’s a cruel, cowardly, and reprehensible blood bath of innocent animals, and the United Kingdom must take immediate and decisive steps to end the brutal demand within its boundaries.
Sign our petition urging the UK’s Prime Minister and Ministers George Eustice MP and Lord Zac Goldsmith to strongly support and advocate for a ban on importing animal “trophies” and trophy hunted animal parts into the United Kingdom, and so help end gruesome suffering while saving countless lives.
PETITION TARGETS: Palma Town Council and Mayor José Hila
When a severely exhausted and brutally overworked horse used for carriage rides, collapsed in 104-degree heat on a street in Spain, the carriage driver responded by violently jerking the animal’s head from the pavement in an attempt to coax the horse to stand up, the Daily Mail reported.
The poor horse laid on the ground while the tourists in the carriage remained seated. Although at least one passerby begged the driver to give the horse water and let the tired animal rest, the horse instead lumbered back to his feet, according to news reports.
Horse-drawn carriage rides are a common cruelty in the tourist hub of Palma, the capital city on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. A month prior to this horrific, documented incident, another overworked horse collapsed in the same area, and police halted a carriage pulled by an elderly limping horse that clearly should not have been working, according to news reports.
A Spanish advocacy organization reported that the horses were still being put to work in violation of new regulations prohibiting their use during high temperatures, according to the Daily Mail.
Palma’s city government is reportedly considering replacing horse carriages with some form of electric transportation, and this should be a priority before any more horses needlessly suffer.
Sign our petition urging the government of Palma to ban horse carriage rides. Tourist money is never an acceptable excuse for animal cruelty, and Palma officials should act swiftly to prevent any more horses from suffering such painful exploitation.
Animals used to test ingredients for cosmetics undergo brutal and painful procedures, including having shampoos dripped into their eyes, chemicals rubbed into open wounds in their skin, or toxic substances forced into their bodies until they die.
The suffering and deaths of the thousands of animals used in these grotesque procedures — most commonly mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs — is completely unnecessary, because the United States doesn’t mandate testing on animals for cosmetics and compassionate alternatives already exist, such as computer models and human cell-based tests.
New York is the latest state to recognize the cruelty and nonsense of continuing to force defenseless animals to severely suffer to create “beauty” products for people. Senate Bill S4839B, the state’s Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act, would end the sale within the state of new animal-tested cosmetics.
“No animal should ever face abuse or unsafe conditions, and we have made it clear that New York will not tolerate their mistreatment,” said Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, the bill’s sponsor.
The bill has passed the Assembly and Senate and is on its way to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul — and it’s critical that this life-saving legislation pass.
Nine states — California, Nevada, Illinois, Louisiana, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Maine — already have banned testing on animals for cosmetics, showing it’s entirely possible to have safe products for humans that don’t entail animal suffering.
It’s high time that New York follow suit.
Sign our petition urging Gov. Hochul to quickly review and whole-heartedly support the NY Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act. It’s the right thing to do — for both people and the estimated half a million animals who suffer and die in cruel cosmetic tests each year.
Goal: Don’t provide an online marketplace for illegal animal trafficking.
Despite Facebook’s pledge to help combat exotic pet trade, the company seemingly remains at the forefront of this illicit industry, reportedly connecting traffickers from across the globe, and even allowing others to sell animals on the very site. Animal trafficking has apparently increased in the platform since 2019, when Facebook chose to self-regulate, and in the time since Facebook has seemingly done little in the way of trying to stop this terrible trade.
In a matter of seconds, most anyone can seemingly find endangered animals—including tiger cubs, leopards, ocelots, pygmy marmosets, and African grey parrots—for sale, as well as body parts of poached wildlife, including elephant tusks and pangolin scales. Most traffickers on Facebook don’t even seem to be subtle about their craft. They apparently freely give out their personal contact information, and start groups with names like “Wildlife Trade, Pangolin Scale & Rhino Horn” with the knowledge that they will not be prosecuted.
Dear CEO Zuckerberg,
Animal trafficking remains one of the world’s biggest current threats to biodiversity. For years, your company has apparently provided a public platform for animal traffickers and poachers across the globe to connect and sell their products free of consequences. In a matter of seconds, anyone can seemingly find and purchase endangered animals—ranging from tiger cubs to African grey parrots and pygmy marmosets—as well as the body parts of illegally poached wildlife, like elephant tusks and pangolin scales.
Although Facebook cofounded the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online back in 2018, your site has only reportedly seen increases in harmful animal trafficking content since your 2019 decision to self-regulate. Animal traffickers and poachers alike can apparently use your site openly and freely of consequence, as they have no qualms publishing personal information on public forums, and start groups with names such as “Wildlife Trade, Pangolin Scale & Rhino Horn.” These people are seemingly conducting illegal business in broad daylight, and no one is stopping them.
We are asking you, Mr. Zuckerberg, to please better regulate Facebook and prohibit the illegal sale endangered animals and animal parts. There is a difference between free online speech, and unregulated illicit trade.
Captive Orcas Reportedly Chewing Teeth Off and Banging Heads Into Walls Must be Freed – ForceChange
Target: Marc G. Swanson, Interim CEO SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Goal: Release all orcas into the wild or to accredited sanctuaries.
Despite years of efforts to free SeaWorld’s orcas, this amusement park chain is still imprisoning these majestic animals for the entertainment and profit of humans. A former SeaWorld orca trainer, John Hargrove, is continuing his push to end this inhumane practice.
According to Hargrove, it is the confinement and mistreatment of orcas that has led to numerous high profile deaths at the parks. “Physical and psychological damage endured by human prisoners in solitary confinement is well documented. Orcas at amusement parks such as SeaWorld suffer the same fate,” noted Hargrove.
Hargrove is quick to point out that the orcas, themselves, are not to blame for the deaths at the park. Instead, the orcas eventually acted out, likely because of the harsh conditions they were forced to endure.
Incredibly, Hargrove claims that more than 40 orcas, 400 dolphins, and numerous whales have died at SeaWorld. Reportedly, some of the causes of death included pneumonia, infections, traumatic injuries, encephalitis, heart failure, and intestinal gangrene.
He also claimed that the confined mammals often broke their own teeth from chewing on concrete and slammed their heads against the walls of their cages.
SeaWorld has disputed many of these claims and also has agreed to stop breeding orcas. However, they continue to imprison orcas and force them to put on shows for humans inside tiny enclosures.
SeaWorld must finally do the right thing and release these majestic creatures.
Dear Marc G. Swanson,
Numerous humans have been killed by orcas at your parks, and numerous orcas, dolphins, and other whales, have apparently died, as well. These tragedies have been attributed by many experts to the severe stress these mammals face due to years of confinement.
A former SeaWorld trainer claims some of the deaths are attributed to pneumonia, infections, traumatic injuries, encephalitis, heart failure, and intestinal gangrene.
It is cruel to continue to imprison these intelligent and majestic animals for the entertainment and profit of humans. Please do the right thing and release all of SeaWorld’s remaining orcas to the wild or an accredited sanctuary.
recipient: New York City Council & Mayor Eric Adams
Care2 Update(8/11/2022): Grueling bystander footage revealed that another carriage horse, a sweet 14-year-old named Ryder, collapsed in Manhattan from the brutal summer heat. The call for a ban on horse-drawn carriages STILL hasn’t been answers. Mayor Eric Adams & New York City Council must act now before another horse is hurt!
With greenhouse gas emissions climbing and temperatures rising, scientists are guessing each summer going forward will be incredibly hot. These temperatures have consequences for all of us, but we often overlook some of the animals who suffer the most from extreme heat: horses forced to pull carriages on hot asphalt and concrete. Animal rights activists say this life of captivity and labor is “fundamentally abusive.”
Sign now to demand New York City Council and Mayor Eric Adams work together to immediately ban horse drawn carriage rides in New York City!
For decades, animal rights activists have been pointing out just how dangerous these carriages are for the horses forced to pull them. A few years ago, a horse in Central Park tragically collapsed from exhaustion and had to be euthanized shortly after. While obviously devastating, this story should surprise no one — horses are not meant to walk on concrete day in and day out, towing heavy weights and breathing in dirty car exhaust. Even more recently, a car collided with a horse, knocking the horse unconscious, causing a bloody mess and a number of injuries for the poor animal.
Cities in the United States, like Chicago and Salt Lake City, and municipalities abroad have banned the use of horse drawn carriages because of their obviously harmful and abusive nature. There is no reason that New York City can’t do the same. In the past, Eric Adams has vocalized opposition to the horrific practice, tweeting with disgust that it makes no sense the practice is still continuing in New York City. Now, Mayor Adams has the chance to show that he’s not all talk, and that he’s willing to actually implement change to rescue these poor creatures from a life of unnecessary labor — a proposed bill from the New York City Council seeks to ban horsedrawn carriages by June 2023! All that needs to happen is for the city council to pass this bill and send it to the mayor’s desk to sign it, which he must do without delay.
Time is running out for the horses of New York City. We cannot allow any more innocent horses to suffer for the sake of entertaining humans in a city of endless entertainment. Sign the petition now to urge Mayor Adams and the New York City Council to protect horses immediately!
A horse trainer near Portland, Oregon was arrested after an anonymous tip of allegations of violent, terrifying abuse was made to local police. The details of the case were gruesome: the woman allegedly deprived the animals of food and water and maliciously beat them. But the owner of the farm the trainer worked at has repeatedly made statements excusing her behavior, and clearly knew that she was using torturous, problematic methods. Arresting the perpetrator is the first step, and now White Birch Farm must now be held accountable.
Sign now to demand Oregon’s Animal Control Unit investigate and shut down White Birch Farm and find new homes for the horses!
The stories of what occurred at White Birch Farm are harrowing. In one video, a horse is bridled so tightly to the saddle that it appears to be struggling to breathe — its eyes look glossy, beginning to roll back into its head. In another part of the witness affidavit, the accused trainer allegedly described taking a miniature horse’s head and slamming it into the wall to intentionally inflict pain.
Local police charged the accused woman with a whopping 20 counts of animal cruelty: two counts of failing to provide proper drink, two counts of overworking, nine counts of torture, and seven counts of mutilating or cruelly beating or unjustifiably injuring an animal. That many counts of cruelty indicates long term and repeated abuse of many animals. How could the institution who employed her not know that all of this is happening?
The reality is that it’s almost impossible White Birch Farm didn’t know the accused woman was engaging in these behaviors. In fact, when asked about the abuse, the owner replied, “you needed to have a specific training philosophy to understand the training methods used by her,” according to the warrant. In other words, the owner was literally claiming that abusive methods are simply a difference of philosophy, and not an objectively morally wrong thing to do to any animal in any circumstance.
Oregon’s Animal Control Unit must investigate and shut down White Birch Farm, as they clearly are fine with allowing horses on the premises to endure extreme and dangerous abuse. These poor horses should be relocated to a safe environment where they can receive the love and care they deserve. Sign the petition now if you agree!
PETITION TARGETS: Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development; Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation; Ministry of Tourism and Sports in the Department of Tourism
Intelligent elephants are being starved, chained, and hit with metal spikes and vicious hooks so they will give rides and perform tricks for tourists at the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand, according to news reports.
Concerned visitors to the zoo reportedly offered to donate food but were refused entrance. They then posted photos of injured and seemingly malnourished elephants on social media and alerted wildlife and livestock officials, whose investigation found the zoo was in violation of the Cruelty Prevention and Animal Welfare Act, according to Coconuts Bangkok.
But shockingly, local authorities reportedly have decided not to pursue penalties or cruelty charges — instead telling the zoo to feed the elephants more grass and loosen the animals’ chains to reduce stress and injury, according to news reports.
The zoo has previously made the news for grossly underweight elephants being forced to perform tricks and also for handlers who reportedly stabbed elephants with spikes to force them to entertain tourists, kept animals chained in crowded and unsanitary conditions, and forced tigers, chimpanzees, and an orangutan to pose with tourists for the zoo’s profit.
Wild animals do not deserve to endure such extreme suffering and degradation for people’s “entertainment.”
Thailand must enforce its animal cruelty statutes, and these atrocious acts also must be treated with the severity they deserve.
Sign our petition urging Thailand authorities who oversee elephant welfare to thoroughly investigate conditions at this zoo, crack down with maximum penalties for violations, and retire these suffering animals to a reputable sanctuary where they will no longer be abused or exploited.
Summer is upon us, and we’re experiencing heat that, if you aren’t careful, could be deadly. And not just to humans. Some pet owners don’t realize how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car, especially when it’s not even that hot out. Did you know that if it is 75 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to 94 degrees in just 10 minutes? Thankfully, some states have protections for good samaritans who rescue dogs from hot cars. But in New Jersey and West Virginia, if someone tries to save a dog locked in a hot car, they could get into hot water. In these two states, although it is a crime to leave animals in hot cars, no one is allowed to rescue them.
Sign the petition to urge New Jersey and West Virginia lawmakers to adopt good samaritan laws that make it legal to save animals in hot cars!
Dogs are totally at our mercy, unable to make the choice to get out of a car when it starts to become an inferno. Not only that, they’re actually more sensitive to heat! When the weather is hot, leaving a car window cracked doesn’t do much to help an animal trapped inside, according to Katherine Wood, a criminal justice fellow at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “It’s problematic for dogs because, unlike us, they can’t sweat, for the most part. They’re a lot more susceptible to overheating, and they can go into heat strokes very quickly.”
There are 14 states with laws that allow citizens to rescue animals from hot cars. While rescuers in these states must satisfy certain requirements to avoid legal trouble, at least it is possible to save an overheating pup! How many more animals must die horrible deaths while trapped in a car, and how many more will die because it is illegal to rescue them?
Sign the petition to urge New Jersey and West Virginia lawmakers to adopt good samaritan laws that make it legal to save animals in hot cars!
Representative image. (Photo by Eddieccw via Wikimedia Commons)
Sign This Petition
PETITION TARGET: Clark County District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson
A 3-month-old puppy with his mouth tapedshut languished for a torturous two hours in a swelteringly hot car in a Las Vegas hotel parking garage while his owner was in the air conditioned casino, according to news reports.
Bellagio security guards rescued the dog from the car, which was parked in direct desert sunlight on the top level of the hotel-casino’s parking garage, by climbing though the vehicle’s sun roof. They found the distressed puppy breathing heavily, his mouth tightly bound by black electrical tape, with the car’s interior reaching 108 degrees, news reports noted.
Police have arrested Raul Carbajal, 50, of Corona Del Mar, California, and charged him with suspicion of willful or malicious torture of a dog.
It is crucial for pet guardians to never leave animals in dangerously hot cars. No errand, appointment or any other type of task remotely justifies such cruel and thoughtless torture. Whoever caused this innocent puppy to suffer horrifically must be held fully accountable.
Sign our petition urging justice for this young dog who didn’t deserve to be left in dangerous — and possibly deadly — confined heat. Clark County District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson and his prosecutors should pursue this case of severe animal abuse to the fullest extent of the law, including a lifelong ban on possessing animals and restitution to an animal charity. Authorities should also provide intervention services such as anger management or psychological counseling for the alleged perpetrator of this crime to prevent future animal abuse.
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!
Target: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Goal: Ban the use of body-gripping traps within areas protected under the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Many types of body-gripping traps are still widely available for commercial use throughout the U.S. These traps, which include conibear traps, snares, and steel-jaw leghold traps, work by crushing animals bones and holding them hostage until a trapper, hunter, or furbearer comes to retrieve them. Although body-gripping traps—such as conibear traps which are designed to snap an animal’s spinal cord—are meant to kill animals instantaneously and painlessly, they are often unreliable and typically animals die a slow, agonizing death. An animal could be stuck in one of these traps for days before being retrieved, subject to extreme hunger, dehydration, and psychological trauma, and vulnerable to predators. Some animals will even resort to chewing their own limbs off to try and escape the crushing, all-consuming pain.
These types of traps are responsible for the deaths of millions of animals each year. As they are nonselective and cannot be continuously monitored, they often catch and kill non-intended targets. This includes endangered animals, such as Bald Eagles and Mexican wolves, as well as companion animals that happen to take a misfortunate step.
Though these traps are banned in many states, they still remain largely under regulation. In 2021, a bill was introduced to the House of Representatives that, if passed, would end the use of these cruel, indiscriminate traps once and for all within areas protected under the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Animals do not deserve to suffer prolonged, torturous deaths. Sign this petition to end this archaic method of trapping.
Dear Representative Pelosi,
Body-gripping traps are a particularly cruel method of trapping wildlife and kill millions of innocent animals each year. These devices work by slamming shut onto helpless animals, often crushing bones or vital organs in the process. An animal can be ensnared for days without any food or water, left vulnerable to predation and infection as they die a slow and agonizing death. Some desperate animals will even chew off their trapped limbs to try and escape the devices’ powerful grip. Since these traps are indiscriminate, they don’t just catch targeted wildlife, but also endangered species and companion animals. Even so, body-gripping traps like conibear traps, snares, and steel-jaw leghold traps are still widely commercially available in the U.S. today.
Luckily, changes are underway. In 2021, a bill was introduced to the House by Congressman Jerrold Nadler to ban inhumane conibear and steel-jaw leghols traps from areas protected under the National Wildlife Refuge System. If passed, millions of innocent animals will be granted the ability to roam freely and graciously, without the possibility of having their spinal cords snapped.
We are asking you, Mrs. Pelosi, to please ban the antiquated 300-year old practice of catching animals with inhumane, bone crushing traps and to support Bill H.R. 4716.
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!
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis has been falsely convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in Japan. LT Alkonis has not received a fair trial and has endured numerous injustices.
On May 29, 2021, Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis, along with his wife and three children, were involved in a tragic car accident. After a day trip to climb Mt Fuji from their home in Yokosuka, Japan, LT Alkonis experienced a sudden and unforeseen medical emergency in which he lost consciousness while driving the family vehicle to get lunch and ice cream. An unconscious LT Alkonis crashed into several parked vehicles in a restaurant parking lot resulting in the tragic death of two Japanese citizens. LT Alkonis was immediately arrested by Japanese authorities and imprisoned in solitary confinement.
LT Alkonis endured numerous interrogations per day for multiple hours with no legal counsel present and inadequate translation. The Japanese police systematically deprived LT Alkonis of sleep by forcing him to sleep directly under bright lights during the duration of his initial imprisonment, a period of 26 days.
There was no alcohol, drugs, or medications involved in this accident, and LT Alkonis was well-rested. After in-depth medical evaluations, a Navy neurologist in Yokosuka, Japan, clinically diagnosed LT Alkonis with “Acute Mountain Sickness” as the reason for his loss of consciousness on the day of the accident.
LT Alkonis has been falsely convicted on the charges of “negligent driving resulting in death and injury.” The conviction is based on a false narrative that LT Alkonis knowingly drove a vehicle while fatigued and fell asleep at the wheel. Although innocent, LT Alkonis has done everything possible to help the victims’ family. Despite all of this, LT Alkonis was sentenced in October 2021 to three years in a Japanese prison.
Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis is an exemplary United States Naval Surface Warfare Officer who commissioned through the United States Naval Academy in 2012. Before his commissioning, LT Alkonis served two years as a volunteer missionary for his church in Japan, learning the language and culture. As a United States Naval Officer, he actively sought assignments in Japan, resulting in three tours of duty and six additional years living in Japan. LT Alkonis has dedicated much of his career to strengthening the United States-Japan Alliance and has done much to develop relationships between the United States Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force. LT Alkonis is married to his wife of 10 years, Brittany, and together they have three children, ages 7, 5, and 4.
It is imperative that the US government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return LT Alkonis home.
President Biden and Administration, we ask that you take assertive action today – doing whatever is necessary – to bring LT Ridge Alkonis home swiftly and safely.
Additionally, we request that the Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee conduct an investigative review of the United States-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to prevent this from happening to other U.S. service members.
Next Steps: What can you do to help NOW?
1. Sign & share the petition.
2. CALL your elected officials. Ask them to “Bring Ridge Home.”
3. Many have expressed concern about Ridge’s wife, Brittany, and their three young children.The Alkonis family spent their life savings and took out multiple loans to pay restitution to the accident victims. This has left them with rising uncertainty of their future, with no understanding of where they will live, how his wife Brittany will generate income, or how his children will be adequately supported.
The Pipe Hitter Foundation is sponsoring a fundraising campaign for Ridge’s family. Please consider donating so this tragedy and injustice can stop compounding itself.
Fishermen in Florida have set up a shark fishing tournament – and they’re claiming this tournament is somehow actually for research. That seems unlikely since the whole event is aimed at making money and convincing the general public that there are supposedly “too many” sharks around (a claim that experts have proven is false).
Anyone wanting to be involved in the shark-fishing event must have a boat or join a team on a boat, and pay $100 per vessel. Flyers advertising the event promise participants that they could receive cash prize rewards if they successfully catch one of the heaviest sharks.
How is this about research, exactly?
Sign the petition to demand Florida authorities shut down this event now and in the future, because it will hurt vulnerable shark populations!
Technically, under current Florida law, each person is only allowed to catch one shark, and each boat is only allowed to catch two (even if there are many people on a boat). But it seems unlikely that tournament participants will want to stick to those rules – seeing as they have every incentive to break the rules. After all, there’s money at stake for them!
Fishermen organized the event because they believe they’re seeing more sharks in the water, and they think this is interfering with their fishing efforts. But sharks are supposed to eat fish. That’s what they do. And we don’t have the right to massacre a whole species just because some fishermen got annoyed with them!
As Raven Lynette, a diver and shark campaigner, has said: “This is mainly a money-making scheme, similar to ‘legal’ trophy hunts in Africa. The people who pay for these permits are mainly fishermen that are uneducated on the importance of sharks or simply think that the sharks are the enemy competing with their catch. They are not interested in ‘research.'”
Even worse, she makes clear that: “No observer is required for these tournaments, making it easy for fishermen to kill and sink protected species. Also, there is ZERO reason to kill sharks, regardless of their protected (or not) status. As a whole, they are rapidly declining.”
Shark researchers, environmentalists, and local divers have all testified that this shark-fishing event would be bad for the local shark population. And since sharks are incredibly important for the overall ecosystem, it could throw everything out of balance. These apex predators help preserve a healthy food web structure. Without them, Florida’s waters – and the rest of the ocean beyond! – could see horrifically damaging consequences.
We need sharks. And sharks need our help. The ocean is their home! We have no right to go on mass murder missions, just because sharks also eat fish and swim where we want to go boating. That’s no reason to hurt these crucial living beings. Even worse, their populations have been dwindling for decades – we need to protect them now more than ever.
Florida authorities should never have allowed this tournament to begin with. Demand they shut this operation down, and never allow it to happen again in the future! Sign the petition to help the sharks!more
Tell the BLM to halt helicopter roundups pending investigations into the Wild Horse & Burro Program!
While Americans were celebrating the freedom of our nation, contractors hired by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to roundup our wild horses were caught mistreating the very animal that represents our independent ideals:
An AWHC observer witnessed atrocities committed against wild horses during the Buffalo Hills wild horse roundup when she caught on camera BLM contractors violently slamming a young foal to the ground. The contractors then hogtied the baby and reportedly threw the young foal to the ground once more before putting him into the back of a vehicle. He’s not the only one to suffer — during the hot summer months, vulnerable young foals are often chased by helicopters.
Foaling season should not be helicopter season.
Sadly, examples of this shocking neglect continue into BLM holding facilities, where the deadliest disease outbreak in history claimed the lives of 146 wild horses in Colorado and where internal assessments show that the facilities are woefully noncompliant with the agency’s own Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program. It continues with the Adoption Incentive Program, where AWHC has documented hundreds of wild horses and burros entering the slaughter pipeline as a result of this program.
It’s time for immediate reform to the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, and we need your help to make it happen.
Please take a moment to urge the BLM to heed the calls from Congress and reform the Wild Horse and Burro Program. BLM should immediately pause the helicopter roundups pending investigations into the program, stop conducting helicopter roundups in the summer, and remove the contractors involved in the mistreatment of the foal.
Tired of trying to buy groceries NOT wrapped in plastic? We are too! Tell Trader Joe’s to stop putting EVERYTHING in plastic. They can do better.
To: Trader Joe’s CEO, Dan Bane From: [Your Name]
Dan Bane CEO Trader Joe’s 800 South Shamrock Avenue Monrovia, CA 91016
Dear Mr. Bane,
As one of the leading grocery chains in the nation, we expect Trader Joe’s to take on a leadership role in combating the plastic pollution crisis. However, we cannot shop at Trader Joe’s without acquiring a large amount of plastic packaging in the process. Much of it is not even recyclable. We like many of your products, but our concerns about plastic’s environmental impact and toxicity are forcing us to forgo buying these in your store. We are not alone. A recent poll by the non-profit Oceana found that a vast majority of Americans (86%) are concerned about single-use plastics, and 81% support enacting policies at the federal/state/ local levels to reduce plastic. What’s more, about three-fourths of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, according to a recent report by Trivium/ Boston Consulting Group. We are a group of concerned consumers, but we also have waste management and certified Zero Waste professionals in our group. Looking at your Sustainability page, we appreciate that you have started taking some steps in reducing plastic pollution. However, these are just incremental steps, and fall far short of the radical measures required to tackle this urgent and massive plastic pollution crisis. We explain the multi-pronged plastic pollution crisis in more detail below this letter. For all of these reasons, we believe that incremental steps to address this issue are no longer acceptable. We call on Trader Joe’s to join the leaders in reducing single-use plastic by adopting the following sustainable alternative solutions at the earliest. (NOTE: This is based on the international Zero Waste Hierarchy: Rethink/ Redesign is higher than Reuse is higher than Recycle or Compost.) These alternative solutions are already available and being implemented by other stores. Exploring innovative non-packaging solutions to extend shelf life of fruits and vegetables. See example here. Switching to bulk bins and dispensers for dry goods, produce, cleaning and self-care products. Such bulk product dispensers are available at many of your competitor’s stores, besides Zero waste specialty stores. Here is a website where you can search for such stores by ZIP code! Switching to reusable container options where ecosystems are available- for a wide range of products. See this example from one of your major competitors. Ceasing the sale of water and other drinks bottled in plastic, and replacing them with: Purified water refilling stations installed at your stores, giving customers a greener, more affordable and flexible option for water-to-go based on their needs. Example here. While any form of packaging has an environmental impact, beverages sold in glass bottles, cans or cardboard cartons (e.g. Tetra Pak, Boxed Water) are better able to be truly recycled. Comparing the total environmental footprint of these options with plastic is complex and nuanced, but when these are recycled these have a much lower overall environmental impact- e.g. see here and here. Where all the above options are not feasible, for example, due to shelf life, barrier properties etc., needed for lightweight, shelf stable, single use packaging (e.g., wrappers), seek out biomaterials that are certified BPI compostable or preferably TUV home compostable, because industrial composting facilities are not available in all cities. See material and product examples. We urge you to set clear targets and timelines for this process and to make them public and provide regular, annual updates on your progress. We also hope you will make these changes soon to enable us to begin doing more of our shopping at your store. Thanks for taking the time to consider our requests. We look forward to your response. Sincerely, __________________________________________ On behalf of FoCo Trash Mob email@example.com
In 1998, a 26 month-old male African elephant was presented as a diplomatic gift by Zimbabwe to India. He was named ‘Shankar’ after India’s 9th President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma. Shankar, now over 26 years old, has lived his entire life in the Delhi zoo (National Zoological Park, NZP). Since 2001 when his sole companion Vambai passed away, Shankar has lived in solitary confinement.
Shankar’s Physical and Mental Condition
Shankar is chained for 17 hours of the day and does not have adequate space to move around when he is let out. Much like humans, elephants are social beings and suffer neurological distress when put in solitary confinement. Shankar constantly demonstrates stereotypical behaviour like swaying and head-bobbing, a key sign of distress (see video link). In fact, Shankar’s aggressive behaviour has necessitated the zoo authorities to permanently close the viewing pathway since he could be a danger to visitors. In a response to our RTI in July 2021, the Delhi Zoo confirmed that not only has it made NO effort in the past, it has NO FUTURE PLANS to release Shankar to a sanctuary or any other location where he can have the companionship of other African elephants. This just fills us with sadness and despair for Shankar who is clearly in duress. If Shankar’s solitary captivity does not end immediately, he will meet the same fate as Vambai who died in the zoo.
We need the Delhi Zoo (NZP) to transfer Shankar to be released to a wildlife refuge or sanctuary where there are ample African elephants. The NZP director has a unique opportunity to set an example to every other zoo in India and to the world so that not only Shankar but all other captive elephants can have a better future.
Steps undertaken by YFA
Letter sent to Delhi Zoo on October 4, 2021. Read here
Letter sent to Prime Minister’s Office on November 16, 2021. Read here
Having received no response, we filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court that was heard on January 3, 2022. The Hon’ble High Court admitted our case and also directed the Respondents to consider our representation. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 6, 2022.
We really hope you will join hands with us to help Shankar earn his freedom and have a chance to live a normal elephant life with his own kind. Please sign our petition and share it widely.
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