Target: Vanessa Kauffman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Specialist for National Wildlife Refuge System, Migratory Birds, Endangered Species Act, Public Lands, and Wolves
Goal: Investigate cause of unknown affliction sickening and killing songbirds.
The bird world is dealing with its own deadly outbreak. The U.S. Geological Survey has warned of an alarming rise of wild bird deaths attributed to a mystery illness. Afflicted birds exhibit symptoms such as swollen, crusty eyes, disorientation, an inability to fly, and eventual death. Presently, scientists can only try to mitigate the disease’s spread. In a nod to social distancing, they are encouraging people in mid-Atlantic states (where the clusters of deaths are centered) to take down bird feeders, bird baths, or any other devices that attract large groups of birds.
Several potential causes have been suggested, including infectious disease, pesticide poisoning, the lingering effects of an avian salmonella outbreak, and even the emergence of cicadas that may carry a dangerous fungus. No definitive answers have been discovered, however. In the meantime, blue jays, European starlings, and other wild songbirds continue to fall victim across Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and possibly more states.
Various state wildlife services have begun investigations. Sign the petition below to urge the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to launch a similar comprehensive initiative that seeks a cause and, more importantly, a solution to this ongoing threat.
Dear Ms. Kauffman,
The avian population recently dealt with a serious salmonella outbreak, and this dangerous illness eventually killed seven humans as well. This incident, as well as the public health turmoil currently engulfing the globe, demonstrates in full that we cannot ignore grave threats to the living beings with whom we share this planet. We are all interconnected.
Therefore, the even more alarming epidemic taking place within mid-Atlantic songbirds should be of urgent concern not just to conservation groups in the affected states but to the country as a whole. Scientists studying the often-fatal condition that renders birds immobile and potentially blind are at a loss. They could use the expertise and abundant resources of this federal agency in solving a perplexing mystery. The stakes are high for these birds and potentially far beyond.
Please focus the agency’s efforts on this developing crisis as soon as possible.
Apparently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under Joe Biden agrees with my conclusion that oil company activities in Alaska pose minimal risk to polar bears (Crockford 2019, 2020, 2021). Although this ruling is not yet final, they have proposed that oil exploration and extraction activities on the North Slope of Alaska can proceed over the next five years.
After noting that no major offshore oil spills have ever taken place in the Alaskan portion of the Beaufort Sea (see map below) and that all spills to date have been on land with no impact on polar bears, the proposed rule in the 200+ page assessment states:
Pandemic puppies. When the kids go back to school and owners return to work and pup gets to spend his days in a crate. Just 7 months. Vacs not completed and not neutered. Blue now in a foster home. pic.twitter.com/rOtr9Xngl9
Spring migration, one of nature’s greatest annual journeys, is underway as billions of migratory birds leave their wintering grounds and head north toward seasonal food sources and favorite nesting spots.
But this high-endurance pilgrimage isn’t without danger. Outdoor cats, poorly placed communication towers, unforgiving and — to birds — invisible glass surfaces, and pesticide-laced plants all await. Add to that an ongoing crisis of habitat loss and it’s no mystery why so many birds fail to reach their destinations during spring migration.
The good news is that all of us can take steps to make migration a little safer. Even better, many of these activities are simple, free, and require only a few minutes. To get started, have a look at our staff’s top 10 suggestions — and find the solutions that work for you.
10. Paint a Window Warning
“Hundreds of millions of birds in the U.S. die from hitting glass every year – almost half of those on home windows. Luckily, there are many ways to make your windows safe for birds. One of my favorite methods is applying tempera paint to the outside surface of glass. Tempera is nontoxic, cheap, easy to use (and remove) and amazingly long lasting — even in rain. If you’re short on time, using a sponge is a good way to make a quick pattern. With a little more effort, you can create spring-themed designs or even small works of art depicting your favorite birds; either will help prevent collisions. Remember: Whatever kind of design you use, make sure your lines are no more than two inches apart to help smaller birds avoid collisions.”
Chris Sheppard – Bird Collisions Campaign Director
9. Support the Laws that Migratory Birds Can’t Live Without
“The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting birds in the U.S. But a new government position asserts that the MBTA does not address unintentional harm that industrial activities cause to birds, effectively letting business off the hook. This move will have a negative impact on bird populations and hurt bird conservation, but that’s not all. It also puts our public heritage as the owners and stewards of our nation’s birds at risk. You can help protect this important law by signing ABC’s online petition.”
David Wiedenfeld – Senior Conservation Scientist
8. Protect Birds from Cats
“Cats are lovable pets, but they’re also instinctive predators. One cat alone may kill up to 55 birds each year. It all adds up! So keep your cat on a leash or in an enclosure to protect migratory birds (and keep your cat safe, too). Don’t have a cat? You can still support bird-friendly practices in your community by encouraging the passage of local ordinances mandating responsible pet ownership. Learn more about other simple actions you can take to protect birds on our Cats Indoors page.”
Grant Sizemore – Director of Invasive Species Programs
7. Make Your Yard a Bird Paradise For Spring Migration
“I’ve packed my quarter-acre lot in suburban Maryland with dozens of the same native plant species you might see in nearby woods. There’s a “mini meadow” of asters, goldenrods, and native grasses and a tiny woodland of native viburnums, hollies, and other berry-producing shrubs that birds love. But the most important way I support my local birdlife is by learning to love insects. Even seed-eating birds can’t live without insects, since their nestlings need protein-rich caterpillars to thrive. My yard is a “pesticide-free zone” and I prioritize plants that support the most insect species, using Douglas Tallamy’s research on plant-insect interactions as a guide. Some of them, like wild cherry , feed more than 450 species of moths and butterflies in the mid-Atlantic region.”
Clare Nielsen – Vice President of Communications
6. Communicate with Communication Tower Owners
“Roughly 7 million birds die every year in North America from collisions with communication towers. Many of these deaths are caused by towers’ steady burning lights, which attract birds. The simple solution is to use flashing lights as they pose little danger to birds. But sometimes owners need to hear from concerned citizens before making the switch. Giving them a nudge is now easier with the release of the new SongbirdSaver app. The app identifies potentially dangerous communication towers near you and provides contact information for their owners. And because SongbirdSaver can pinpoint towers along common migration routes, spring is a great time to get started.”
Steve Holmer – Vice President of Policy
5. Stamp Your Approval on Spring Migration
“I purchase a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp,” every year to support conservation funding and support bird conservation. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 98 cents of every dollar spent purchasing Federal Duck Stamps is used to acquire and protect habitat or purchase conservation easements. These efforts support not just migratory waterfowl, but other migratory birds as well.”
Conor Marshall – Associate, Communications, Policy and Operations
4. Keep Your Woods Wild
“You can provide habitat for birds during spring migration by letting things around the house get a little messy. I have a wooded backyard, so I try to leave it as natural as possible. I let the understory grow and pull invasive plants such as Japanese stiltgrass and garlic mustard. I leave logs and fallen branches in place to shelter insects and other small critters that birds feed on. When larger trees break or fall, I leave them be — as long as they’re not hanging over the roof. This gives snag-nesting migrants like Great Crested Flycatcher places to nest — as along with year-round residents like Eastern Screech-owl and Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers — and is a nice source of grubs and other bird food.”
Gemma Radko – Communications and Media Manager
3. Give Beach-nesting Birds a Break
“As temperatures rise, many of us begin heading to the beach. And we’re not alone: this is a critical time for several migratory species — I’m thinking of Black Skimmers, Snowy Plovers and Least Terns — that lay their eggs in the sand and are particularly vulnerable. One of the biggest challenges they face are unleashed dogs. Our team in the Gulf Coast region team has seen loose dogs eat eggs and take chicks. This is a big problem considering that nearly all of these birds have declining populations. The obvious solution is to leash dogs. As our team likes to say, ‘Bird-friendly beaches have dogs on leashes!’”
Kacy L. Ray – Gulf Conservation Program Manager
2. Fuel a Hungry Hummingbird
“Put out those hummingbird feeders during spring migration — the hummers are arriving. Be sure to use a mixture of four parts water to one part sugar. And do without the dye: Red dyes serve no purpose. Most hummingbird feeders already have enough color on them to attract hummingbirds, and, even worse, these dyes contain petroleum that may be harmful to hummingbirds. Don’t forget to change the mixture often to be sure it’s fresh and safe for those super-charged flying jewels.”
EJ Williams – Vice President, Migratory Birds & Habitats
1. Inspire a Future Bird Conservationist
“I have younger nieces and nephews in Wisconsin, and when I visit them during spring migration, I like to make sure they get outside, where I can introduce them to birds: Mr. Blue Jay. Mr. Cardinal, Mrs. Common Yellowthroat. Introducing birds to kids at a young age can instill a desire to explore the natural world. And that’s only one benefit. It also helps children bond with wildlife and develop an environmental ethic that will, hopefully, remain with them for the rest of their lives. I’m hoping one of my nieces or nephews will be the John Muir of 2030!”
Brown-headed Nuthatches are back in Missouri thanks to habitat restoration and translocation efforts. Photo by Frode Jacobson
The release of 46 Brown-headed Nuthatches, translocated from Arkansas to restored pine woodlands in Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest in August and September 2020, marked this species’ return to the state. The brown-capped songbird had been absent since the early 1900s, following widespread habitat loss.
“I really think that a big take-home from all of this, and something we can all be proud of, is how well science, management, and conservation of species came together in this effort,” says Jane Fitzgerald, ABC’s Central Hardwoods Joint Venture (CHJV) Coordinator. “Most of the people who, decades ago, imagined all of this happening are now retired, but a new cadre of folks saw, and see, the vision and are moving the ball forward. In the Interior Highlands, we really are a conservation community, and I hope that continues for decades to come.”
During pre-colonial times, 6.6 million acres of Shortleaf Pine and pine-oak woodland covered Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. After settlement and development, which included widespread logging and fire suppression, these ecosystems were reduced to approximately 600,000 acres. The dramatic reduction in habitat led to the extirpation — or regional disappearance — of some bird species tied these open pinelands, including the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Brown-headed Nuthatch.
The nuthatch release was only possible after successful habitat restoration, which required years of hard work and patience. Although the Mark Twain National Forest had been actively restoring 12,000 acres of pine woodland on the Eleven Point Ranger District by 2006, the work was greatly accelerated when the forest was awarded significant funding through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). The CFLRP, administered by the U.S. Forest Service, is intended to encourage collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest landscapes on and around national forest lands across the United States.
To help build this collaboration, ABC and the CHJV brought together key partners, including federal, state, and nongovernmental organizations and agencies that formally agreed to work together to restore pine woods in the same large landscape, called the Current River Hills. Ten years of dedicated funding was awarded to the Mark Twain National Forest in 2012, and now roughly 100,000 acres of Shortleaf Pine and pine-oak woodland has been, or is being, restored. It was this habitat restoration work that was vital to establishing the area as a place to bring back Brown-headed Nuthatches.
Shortly after the restoration work in Missouri began picking up, a team of researchers from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and the University of Missouri pooled resources to investigate various aspects of the bird’s biology, quantifying the Brown-headed Nuthatch’s preferred habitat conditions in Arkansas; showing how the Missouri restoration efforts benefited other songbirds while confirming the nuthatch’s continued absence; building habitat models; and assessing the habitat structure at the Mark Twain restoration sites.
In addition, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC’s) state ornithologist and a wildlife biologist at U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station worked with ecologists from Tall Timbers Research Station in Florida who had experience with Brown-headed Nuthatch translocations. With this input, they developed methods needed to safely capture the birds in Arkansas, then safely transport them to Missouri.
Because the nuthatches were released on public land, anyone can see these birds. Mark Twain National Forest visitors can help monitor the nuthatches’ presence and movements by submitting their observations to the eBird database (www.ebird.org).
American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).
What has happened in recent months with cows adrift in the Mediterranean should teach us all a lesson. Banning the exports of live animals violates the European Union’s free trade rules, so the change has to be much more profound, not only has to be a decision of the Spanish Government, but also of the European Parliament.
Every year, several million farm animals (calves, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, etc.) are forced to endure trips of thousands of miles, only to be slaughtered on arrival or fattened in often inhumane conditions.
Animals transported alive suffer a lot due to overcrowding, lack of water and dehydration due to the high temperatures that they must suffer when confined in small places, often without adequate ventilation, the stress of travel, and problems such as accidents that can cause death.
More than 2,500 cows and calves have been found on two boats adrift for three months, and many more have already died during the trip. They are adrift as they were on their way to their final destination and they detected that they were ill and were refused entry, so they continue to circle the ship throughout the Mediterranean. Imagine that it is no way to live for an animal, locked up for months in two boats being rejected by everyone, waiting for death. Something has to be done so that animals are not slaughtered and also to prohibit long-distance transport of animals, each one of those trips is torture.
The suffering of these animals locked up in a boat for so long, waiting for them to be slaughtered now, after so much mistreatment, is completely unnecessary. It is not fair to animals that have to go through this. Do something but don’t kill them!
A popular souvenir in China is a cruel prison for small animals. At markets, tourists can buy keychains with small animals like turtles, fish, salamanders, and frogs trapped in small plastic containers. These poor animals can barely move and are left to live in their own feces. Obviously, they’ll suffocate quite quickly. Signs selling the souvenirs actually tell people they don’t have to feed them for 3 months. This may be appealing to tourists or local shoppers, but it isn’t a Tamagotchi, they’re live animals.
As can be seen in the video above, the animals barely have enough space to move. Can you imagine being trapped in such a tiny space with nowhere to go? No animal deserves to live like this. These animals are meant to be outside and to roam and move around. Frogs should be hopping around, fish should be swimming far distances, and the other animals should be able to run, walk, find food, and release their waste in a different place than where they eat and sleep.
According to this petition, the animals only have enough oxygen to survive for a few days. According to the Dodo, “In the best case scenario, they’re freed from their prisons and end up as pets to people who aren’t prepared to care for them.” Either way, they’re subjected to a life in captivity where they may not live to their full life expectancy or act on their natural instincts in their natural habitat.
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40,913 SUPPORTERS 45,000 GOAL Celebrities in Pakistan are sounding the alarm about a desolate bear, imprisoned in a zoo where she is in desperate need of immediate care. Otherwise, animal lovers fear she may die.
Tell authorities in Pakistan to follow their citizens’ demands and release this poor, suffering bear to an appropriate sanctuary now!
A video has started circulating online exposing the horrible reality for a female bear named Ranoo, who is kept captive in the subpar facilities of the Karachi Zoo in Karachi, Pakistan. In the video, the bear is shown panting in the immense, scorching heat, surrounded by a sparse environment offering little in the way of shade or relief.
Zoogoers observed that the bear appears both extremely hungry and thirsty, with no food or water in sight. Her fur appears extremely matted and ragged, while her nails are overgrown, suggesting serious negligence. Experts say that the poor, imprisoned animal is not even being treated with proper medical care.
Meanwhile, Ranoo is also struggling with the pain of having been separated from her family. While the rest of her bear community is back in the Pakistani city of Skardu, she was torn away in order to entertain paying guests at the Karachi Zoo’s shameful facilities. Now, she lives her whole life under lock and key, in a small and barren enclosure, all on her own. In fact, she is the only bear living at the zoo. Even Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui, an advisor on Law and Environment to the Chief Minister of Sindh, admitted that “there may be issues of loneliness since she is the only bear…”
Despite her horrible condition, officials in the country do not appear to be concerned. In response to the uproar from multiple celebrities as well as citizens throughout Pakistan, Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui tried to reassure the public that all was well. He claimed the poor, mangy animal was “in stable health condition” and was “being looked after.”
This is clearly not the case. Even worse, authorities in Pakistan already have not been taking negligence and animal abuse at zoos seriously. Several months ago, in July 2020, a fire that broke out at Islamabad Zoo — combined with staff members’ inaction — caused two lions to actually burn to death.
As actor Ushna Shah wrote to her fans on Instagram: “Do not support zoos or marine animal shows and please educate your family and friends against them. Make them understand that such exhibits are cruel.” We wholeheartedly agree.
We can’t trust anything the authorities say when it comes to this poor bear’s health. The only thing we can do is demand that she be released to a sanctuary — along with her whole family — to spend the rest of her days in peace.
Sign the petition to demand that Ranoo the bear be reunited with her family, and that the whole bear group is sent to a reputable sanctuary!SHARE8.3KTWEETEMAILEMBED
People love to release balloons into the sky on happy occasions: sports games, graduations, weddings, you name it. But the tradition has a deadly effect on wildlife and our environment!
Will you sign the petition asking for a total ban on releasing balloons into the air in all states that allow it?
There are plenty of ways to celebrate that don’t put toxic materials into the world where innocent animals can ingest them and die. Sometimes the balloons even have strings attached, which can entangle birds or even kill them. No animal deserves to die so humans can have a nice moment.
Some balloon companies say their balloons are biodegradable, but even those take years and so are still a risk. Others claim all their balloons burst into tiny pieces that don’t matter. But actually, microplastics are polluting our water now more than ever.
There is already so much litter that ends up in the wild by accident, we really shouldn’t allow activities that will always result in toxic litter on purpose. One Green Planet has a whole list of ideas for celebrations or honoring someone instead of balloons, including bubbles, planting a tree, or luminaries in recycled bags! The simple fact is: this is an unnecessary and harmful practice and we shouldn’t allow it.Some states in the U.S. have put laws in place banning balloon releases, and that’s a great start! They are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia. And even some cities have taken charge: Ocean City, Maryland; Louisville, Kentucky; Huntsville, Alabama; San Francisco, California; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Provincetown, Massachusetts; and Baltimore, Maryland, according to balloonsblow.org.
But we need every single state to follow suit if we want to end this totally preventable litter from harming our animals. Will you sign on asking for a total ban on balloon releases?SHARE4.6KTWEETEMAILEMBED
Trespassing bull on the Canyon del Buey allotment, June 12, 2020. Photo: G. Anderson/WWP
Thiessen appealed the loss of his permit all the way up to the regional director, who affirmed the District Ranger’s decision and ordered the cows off Canyon del Buey allotment by the end of August 2019. As you can probably guess, Thiessen defied this direction and his cows are still in trespass on the Gila National Forest. There’s been some legal back and forth between Theissen and the feds and that process is ongoing (more on that here soon), but there’s something else for the taxpaying public to be enraged about:
Canyon del Buey LLC was the largest recipient of Farm Bill livestock subsidies in Catron County in 2019, raking in $135,683 dollars of federal funding. Of that, $119,029 came under the “Livestock Indemnity Program” which is designated for livestock losses in excess than usual due to extreme weather or due to animals reintroduced by the federal government, i.e. wolves. It’s impossible (so far) to determine whether the Thiessens got money for extreme weather or livestock depredations, but at about $1,000K per head (see page 6 at link), that’s a whole lot of dead cows we taxpayers are paying for. (And it’s not the first time: Craig Thiessen has also received almost $400,000since he whacked Mia Tuk.)
This was in addition to the $9,550.50 Craig Thiessen got for claimed wolf depredations in 2019. Not clear which livestock were his, but as we’ve shown, many of the Catron County wolf depredation reports are a little more than fishy. At least that $9,550.50 came out of a privately-established compensation fund (the “Groves Estate”) and not taxpayer pockets, but it’s kind of offensive that someone who admitted to bludgeoning a wolf pup to death with a shovel can turn around and get money for his dead cows. It’s almost as if the game is rigged to benefit wolf-hating ranchers.
Animals were rescued from a “shelter” where they reportedly endured unimaginable neglect, such as untreated tumors, infections and one report of a dog whose jaw was “literally rotting out… laying there, waiting to die.” The owner of the shelter had previously been charged with abuse, was allowed to continue owning animals, and remains a free man even today. Sign this petition to demand authorities finally prosecute the accused abuser.
PETITION TARGET: Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Volodymyr Yelchenko
After a plane landed in Toronto from Ukraine, airport workers discovered a shocking scene on board: 38 French Bulldogs lying dead in their cages, likely from suffocation during the flight, and hundreds more covered in vomit and barely able to stand, dehydrated from traveling so far without water.
French Bulldogs are already so vulnerable to respiratory problems that some airlines refuse to allow them on their planes, but this particular flight reportedly shrink-wrapped some of the cages, dramatically increasing their likelihood of death.
The helpless dogs were likely imported from large-scale breeders, or puppy mills, as the demand for French Bulldogs has soared during the current coronavirus pandemic, according to the Daily Mail. Even for commercial breeders, though, transporting 500 dogs on a plane is a near impossible task.
Sign this petition urging Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Volodymyr Yelchenko to push the Ukrainian government to ban all puppy mills involved in this tragic event, potentially saving hundreds of dogs from suffering a similar fate.
Renee Kraft started this petition to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and 10 others 2 minutes
Due to the impact of Covid -19 the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter (TOHAS) shut its doors to the public only allowing adoptions of animals following Covid -19 guidelines. Despite the pleas of trappers and homeowners they discontinued their much needed and popular Trap Neuter Return (TNR) services leaving trappers and homeowners to pay out of pocket for spay and neuter expenses.
Now with the reopening of NYS phase 2, TOHAS has not provided any information when they are opening and resuming TNR services despite the fact that under NYS phase 2 spay and neuter services are permitted to be performed per the NYS COVID executive orders under NIACS code 541940. There is no excuse for the TNR program to not be opened!
There is an overpopulation of feral cats on Long Island. We are exploding right now with an abundance of kittens. Too many to place as pets and mamas are quickly getting pregnant with the next litter. Have you ever seen kittens lose their eyes to infection? Have a URI so bad it could barely breathe? Have it’s little body devoured by worms and parasites from the inside out? TNR is the only humane way to control the feral population and reduce the suffering.
Please sign this petition telling TOHAS to open their doors and resume their TNR program immediately. Taxpayers funded this program, they need these services now!
All this has led to a joint statement from the British Fashion Council and Council of Fashion Designers of America regarding the need for a fashion industry reset. Other publications, such as Global Fashion Agenda’s CEO Agenda COVID-19 Edition discussed a humanitarian and existential crisis [for the industry].
What is fascinating in all these words, articles and dramas is, given that COVID-19 is a novel zoonotic disease none have discussed the fashion industry’s use of exotic and endangered animals. Company supply chains use both captive breeding facilities and wild-harvested ‘product’.
While ‘sustainability’ is the word on the fashion industries lips, repeatedly one of the most fragile ‘components’ of the luxury fashion business is left out of the sustainability conversation – endangered wildlife. COVID-19 is the result of business, including luxury retail and fashion, being blinkered to this most fragile component in its supply chain. Just what needs to happen for (luxury) fashion to break out of this tunnel vision? Sadly, the use of exotic and endangered species by the fashion industry falls into no man’s land between vegan fashion and pro-wildlife trade fashion; their main area of overlap being animal welfare.
The result is that endangered species, those listed for trade restrictions under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) have been ignored for decades. In a recent email Eva Kruse, CEO of GFA, she said “The legal trade in endangered species is a critical issue and not one we have engaged with in depth before here at Global Fashion Agenda. With regards to biodiversity as a topic, we find that our community of brands and retailers generally hold a low level of knowledge in this area.” What makes this astonishing is that a 2016 European Parliament said “The wildlife trade is one of the most lucrative trades in the world. The legal trade into the EU alone is worth €100 billion annually.”
On Monday evening, I sat through a session of The Act #ForNature Global Online Forum hosted by the UN Environment Assembly. The session I chose to watch was Adapt to Thrive: transformational change for nature and business. During this session Business For Nature CEO, Eva Zabey, used the example of Kering Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault chairing The Fashion Pact as an example of the fashion industry doing something practical about the need to align business with a ‘nature-positive’ approach. As this example was given, HowToSpendItEthically.Org would like to clarify The Fashion Pact’s commitment to the CITES listed endangered species used in the fashion industry supply chain.
Firstly, what is the Fashion Pact? French President, Emmanuel Macron proposed a mission to Kering Chairman and CEO, François-Henri Pinault to bring together ‘a global coalition of companies in the fashion and textile industry (ready-to-wear, sport, lifestyle and luxury) including their suppliers and distributors, all committed to a common core of key environmental goals in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.’
From the site: The “Pact” contains best efforts that are concrete (i.e. visionary but achievable) and that intend to directly address each of the priority areas.
It goes on to say: The “Pact” will not reinvent the wheel but create an overarching framework for action in relation to the One Planet Lab work streams. This includes direct links to the significant work already taking place in existing initiatives within the fashion sector in the manufacturing part of supply chains. The new targets will build on the existing initiatives such as Apparel Impact Institute, C&A Foundation, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Fair Fashion Center, Fashion For Good, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Exchange, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN International Labour Organization/Better Work, ZDHC. The aim is to ensure that new actions will fill the “gaps” across fashion supply chains.
Did you notice what is missing? CITES, whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. How can this not be included when one of the 3 goals of the pact is restoring biodiversity and direct exploitation for trade has been confirmed as the second biggest contributor to the extinction crisis, playing a greater role than climate change?
The industry has a blind spot in relation to its use of wildlife, be it by accident or deliberate. This has been apparent from going through publications, announcements, talks, conference proceedings etc. If wildlife ever features – and it almost never does – it is only in the context of considering animal welfare issues.
Bears are highly intelligent with strong family ties. They spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their young. Photo by Jos Bakker
Missouri has proposed a hunting season on its small and still-recovering population of black bears, who were once nearly wiped out because of overhunting and logging, which decimated their habitat.
The Missouri Department of Conservation estimates that there are now approximately 540 to 840 bears in the state. But some studies show that those numbers may be inflated. And even if there are as many bears as the MDC claims, it’s still not a large number.
Missouri has no good reason for allowing such a hunt. Bears self-regulate their own populations because of limited food availability and slow reproduction. There have also been minimal bear-human conflicts in the state, and these are entirely preventable.
Fact is, the only reason the MDC is proposing this hunt is to appease trophy hunters. But Missourians do not support it, not least because it would deprive a majority of the state’s residents of the joy of seeing a black bear in the wild. According to a March 2019 poll conducted by Remington Research Group for the Humane Society of the United States, nearly half of Missouri residents outright oppose hunting the state’s bears while fewer than a third support such a hunt.
Instead of allowing trophy hunters to kill them, the MDC ought to be working hard to preserve its bear population. Bears are critical for a thriving ecosystem. They disperse seeds across vast distances—even more seeds than birds. They open up forest canopies and allow sun to filter to the forest floor. They also break logs while grubbing, which helps the decomposition process and facilitates the return of nutrients to the soil. Keeping bears protected is critical to maintaining the state’s biodiversity.
These are also incredible animals, highly intelligent with strong family ties. Bears have the largest brain size of any carnivore and are highly sentient. They spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their young. They are also slow to reproduce, which means hunting them can lead to their numbers dropping even faster than projected. Trophy hunters also tend to target adult breeding animals, which can lead to cubs being killed by incoming male bears looking to take over the newly opened territory.
Black bears are naturally shy and typically try to avoid humans, and the only times they are likely to come near humans is when there is food available. The MDC can help avoid such conflicts by expanding public education about simple, non-lethal preventative measures that residents can take to coexist peacefully with bears–including using bear-resistant trash cans, cleaning up BBQ grills, feeding pets indoors, and using electric fencing around chicken coops and beehives.
In what is also a concerning development, the MDC’s proposal leaves the cruel practices of bear baiting and bear hounding on the table “if management needs change in the future,” although these are not part of the current proposal. Hound hunting, or using packs of dogs to pursue bears, is an incredibly cruel practice that causes stress and distress to wildlife, and to the hounds themselves. Baiting—the practice of leaving large piles of junk food to attract the animals and then shoot them—is particularly heartless. Baits often attract mother bears who are looking for food but who find themselves in the crosshairs of a hunter instead. An overwhelming 77% of Missourians are strongly opposed to these methods, according to the Remington poll, and the MDC should not even be considering it.
Missouri’s wildlife officials would do well to heed the needs of the state’s wonderful wild animals, and the wishes of their residents, instead of kowtowing to a handful of trophy hunters. If you’re a Missouri resident, please let the MDC know that you’re opposed to this unnecessary killing of the state’s small and vulnerable bear population. The agency is accepting input on this proposal until June 5th, and raising your voice in opposition to it could make all the difference.
An online petition for Kaavan the elephant had gained over 280,000 signatures
He was brought to the Islamabad zoo from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s
Caretakers responded to his aggression by chaining his legs and beating him
Animal rights groups have launched petitions to cover the costs of moving him
A court has ordered the release of a ‘mentally ill’ bull elephant to a sanctuary after 35 years suffering in a Pakistani zoo.
Local and international animal rights organizations launched a campaign to free Kaavan the elephant a year ago after reports that zookeepers were beating him and denying him food.
The Islamabad High Court today ordered wildlife officials to consult with Sri Lanka, where the Asian elephant came from, to find him a ‘suitable sanctuary’ within 30 days.
An online petition gained over 280,000 signatures and small protests were held outside Marghazar Zoo.
The campaign also attracted international attention, with rights groups and celebrities, including the singer Cher, calling for the elephant to be moved to a more humane facility.
After hearing the news of his release today, Cher said: ‘This is one of the greatest moments of my life.’The plight of Kaavan, a mentally tormented bull elephant confined to a small pen in an Islamabad Zoo for nearly three decades, has galvanized a rare animal rights campaign in PakistanPakistani caretaker Mohammad Jalal sits next to Kaavan the elephant at Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad Animal rights groups called on Pakistan to relocate Kaavan to an animal sanctuary. But the Capital Development Authority, the local agency in charge of managing the zoo, had refused
‘The pain and suffering of Kaavan must come to an end by relocating him to an appropriate elephant sanctuary, in or outside the country,’ the court ordered, criticising the zoo for failing to meet the animal’s needs for the past three decades.
The court has also ordered dozens of other animals – including brown bears, lions and birds – to be relocated temporarily while the zoo improves its standards.
Elephants are gregarious by nature, and males can become aggressive when they are separated from the herd.
Kaavan, who was brought to the zoo from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s, grew even more unruly when the female elephant he was being kept with died in 2012.
Activists say caretakers responded to his aggression by chaining his legs, beating him and confining him to an enclosure that was far too small.
Sunny Jamil, an activist at the Help Welfare Organization – a local animal rights group – said the mangled ceiling fan in the roof of the enclosure testifies to its insufficient height.
Jamil, who visits the zoo regularly, says the pen can reach 40 degrees Celsius (100 F) in the summer, and that the elephant is given little water to cool down. ‘It is cruel,’ he said.Kaavan, who was brought to the zoo from Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s, grew more unruly when the female elephant he was being kept with died in 2012 Activists say caretakers have responded to his aggression by chaining his legs, beating him, and confining him to an enclosure that is far too small
Mohammad Jalal, the caretaker for the 36-year-old elephant, said: ‘I have hardly seen him happy.’
Kaavan swayed back and forth as Jalal spoke – a sign of mental torment – and at one point hurled a brick at onlookers.
Animal rights groups have launched petitions to cover the costs of the move to the sanctuary.
The Capital Development Authority, the local agency in charge of managing the zoo, had originally refused the transfer – perhaps fearing it would lose visitors.
Instead, it had worked on bringing in another female elephant, said Sanaullah Aman, an official with the agency.
Aman denied the allegations of abuse and said ‘every possible step’ was being taken for Kaavan’s wellbeing, without elaborating.Mohammad Jalal, the caretaker for the 36-year-old elephant, said: ‘I have hardly seen him happy’
A zoo dubbed the worst in Britain is threatening to put down its animals because it is running out of money to feed the exotic breeds amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Tracy and Dean Tweedy, who own Borth Wild Animal Kingdom in West Wales, fear they only have enough money to feed more than 300 animals for a week.
The married couple say their money is running out to care for their stock and are planning ‘as a last resort’ to euthanise ‘the animals that we care for’. Married couple Tracy, 49, and Dean Tweedy (pictured) say their money is running out to care for their stock and are planning ‘as a last resort, euthanising the animals that we care for’ The zoo is running out of money to care for its 300 animals and the married couple said they are planning ‘as a last resort’ to euthanise ‘the animals that we care for’
Council chiefs ‘lost confidence’ in the ability of the zoo to operate safely following the deaths of two lynx and other animals.
In January this year, the zoo was ordered to close because it did not have trained gunmen in case of an animal escape.
But it was allowed to reopen in February before having to close again in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ms Tweedy, 49, said many staff are on furlough and the zoo’s business relief grant of £25,000 has nearly run out.
She said: ‘We were already only scraping by financially after the long, quiet winter season.
‘We need help now more than ever. Despite everything, we are as determined as ever to not give up.’ Council chiefs have ‘lost confidence’ in the ability of the zoo to operate safely following the deaths of two lynx. Pictured, the lynx in the zoo before it escaped and was shot https://secured.dailymail.co.uk/embed/gamp-video/8352217/video-1571188.html#amp=1Ms Tweedy, 49, said many staff are on furlough due to the coronavirus pandemic and the zoo’s business relief grant of £25,000 has nearly run out It costs £3,000 a week to run the zoo and if the animals cannot be fed or re-homed, a cull of the animals has been considered. She said it costs £3,000 a week to run the zoo and a cull of the animals has been considered if they cannot be fed.
After the money runs out, the couple will have to start looking at re-homing but are considering euthanasia as a last resort.
Problems for the zoo began in late 2017 when Lilleth the Eurasian lynx escaped and was shot dead by a marksman after being found at a nearby caravan site.
A second lynx, Nilly, also died in what was described as a ‘handling error’.
A report revealed one in five of the zoo’s animals died in just one year. It was discovered that monkeys, crocodiles and a leopard also died from its animal stock during 2018.
Tracy and Dean bought the zoo for £625,000 in 2016 to start a dream new life with their family, but it has turned into a nightmare A report revealed one in five of the zoo’s animals died in just one year. It was discovered that monkeys, crocodiles and a leopard also died during 2018.Pictured, the police at the zoo when the Lynx escaped
Tracey said: ‘It would be tragic if mid Wales lost its only zoo. We work with so many local organisations on animal education and wildlife conservation that we see ourselves as a vital asset for the communit.
Tracy said many of the animals would be very hard to re-home due to licence requirements needed to look after the exotic animals.
‘We also run as a sanctuary for animals that have been rescued from the exotic pet trade. For many of these animals, we are a last resort.ADVERTISEMENTnull
‘They came here because destruction was their only alternative.
‘They would be very difficult to re-home as the licence requirements to look after these animals and provide the proper care, can be very involved and expensive,’ she said.
The couple say Westminster has announced a fund to help zoos in England but there is no similar support in Wales.
The Welsh government said it had already provided all licensed zoos with details of existing support schemes. Ms Tweedy said many of the animals would be extremely difficult to re-home due to licence requirements to look after the exotic animals The couple say the Westminster government has announced a fund to help zoos in England but there is no similar support in Wales
‘If any zoo operators have concerns about their ability to meet the needs of their animals, they should contact their local authority’s animal health team for advice without delay as they are on hand to offer support,’ a spokeswoman said.
It said its £500m economic resilience fund provided more generous support than one specifically for zoos would have.
A spokesman for Ceredigion County Council earlier said: ‘The local authority has lost confidence in the ability of the zoo to operate responsibly and safely.’
Zoos were forced to close at the end of March due to the coronavirus lockdown and many have warned their futures are in danger from the impact of the pandemic.
Andrew RT Davies, Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the Welsh Parliament, said: ‘This is a dire situation that the zoo finds itself in, but I’m afraid that zoos right across Wales are in the same precarious situation and desperately need support due to the profound impact of Covid-19.
‘It’s outrageous that whilst the UK Government has taken action and given £14 million to support zoos in England the Welsh Government has still not followed suit.
‘It is high time that the Welsh Labour Government listened to the plight of our zoos and introduce the much-needed fund.’
GoFundMe has helped many needy causes and individuals with legitimate fund raising campaigns throughout the years. It makes fundraising easy and accessible.
However, GoFundMe is now approving fundraisers for Africa Trophy Hunters!
The promotion of senseless killing of “trophy” animals by GoFundMe especially at a time in history when the planet is in an ecological crisis in terms of the environment and its wildlife is reprehensible. GoFundMe should take down this fundraiser immediately. This campaign is regressive and has tarnished the GoFundMe image.
Alternate positive campaigns to create sustainable, cruelty free employment in Africa and elsewhere should be encouraged. Why would GoFundMe promote such a deplorable campaign rather than promoting positive changes benefitting local tourism, the environment and the animals.
GoFundMe – do the right thing and disassociate yourself from this cruel and deplorable campaign. Take the Africa Trophy Hunters fundraiser down!Start a petition of your ownThis petition starter stood up and took action. Will you do the same?Start a petition
A former planning commissioner allegedly threw his cat while he was attending an online business meeting. Demand that this animal be removed from this person’s home and that rescuers do everything in their power to find this sweet cat a new home if it is found that this senseless and thoughtless act was committed.
In an effort to increase the time until a coronavirus treatment and vaccine is available, lawmakers, experts and medical facilities are looking to humans instead of animals to be tested for potential vaccines.
Peter Singer and Richard Yetter Chappell argued the case for testing on humans in a recent Washington Post op-ed. The slow speed of animal testing makes it a less than ideal solution to coronavirus vaccine. “For example, conventional standards require that new drugs be tested on animals before clinical trials with humans are permitted. For covid-19, sufficiently promising treatments should jump to human clinical trials as soon as is reasonably possible, bypassing the usual lengthy period of animal testing,” they wrote.
Pandemic situations dictate that the “significant risk” associated with human testing isn’t equal to the “catastropic toll” the virus could cause around the globe. United States lawmakers are recommending that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), allow human trials for coronavirus testing. “[A] more risk-tolerant development process is likely appropriate in the case of a COVID-19 vaccine. The enormous human cost of the COVID-19 epidemic alters the optimization of the risk/benefit analysis, ” the group’s statement shared.
Texas A&M University is known for its medical facilities usually used for animal testing. The university is asking the government to allow it to switch processes to test on humans to increase national testing capabilities. The FDA requires that people with human lab experience to manage human testing and the university is seeking a waiver. A&M System Chancellor John Sharp blamed the government’s “federal red tape” for their delayed permission to test.
Sharp said in an interview, “Red tape is one thing, but red tape in the middle of a pandemic is pretty ridiculous. This ain’t the time to follow the rules, this is the time to follow common sense and open up facilities that they know are some of the best in the country.”
Matthew Memoli, an immunologist at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s important to weigh the risks and take into account our lack of understanding about coronavirus. He told Science Mag, “Where you’re going to give somebody a virus on purpose, you really want to understand the disease so that you know that what you’re doing is a reasonable risk.”
Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.
Interested in joining the dairy-free and meatless train? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
The zoos and animal gardens in Germany are also suffering from the corona crisis. Due to the lack of income, they are under increasing pressure.
Bankruptcies are imminent – but what will become of the animals?
The animal park Neumünster has drawn up emergency plans for the slaughter of its animals because of the existential corona forced closure. It also says who will be the last to go to the slaughterhouse in the event of a fall: the 3.60 meter tall polar bear«Vitus», said Zoo Director Verena Caspari.
Vitus, the polar bear- Neumünster
The background is that the zoo currently has no income from visitors and is only kept alive by donations.
“We are an association,” said Caspari. “We do not receive any urban funds, and everything we have applied for so far has not yet been received by us. We currently only survive with donations.”
Roger, a rescued rabbit, peers over his owner Kyle Daly’s shoulder.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic
Editor’s note: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, shelters and rescue groups across the U.S. and around the world report a greater need for people to foster or adopt domestic pets, including rabbits. Some shelters even offer remote adoption screening and curbside pickups. If you’re interested in fostering a rabbit, here is a list of rescue groups by state and by country.
It’s the Saturday before Easter weekend at Petland in Fairfax, Virginia. Sixteen baby bunnies sit in three open pens, all for sale. Two teenage girls reach into a pen, scoop one up, and plop down on the floor, squealing over its cuteness: “I need it!”
The rabbits are all very young. No adult rabbits are for sale here.
“What happens to the babies who grow up before they’re sold?” I ask a salesman. “The breeder picks them up,” he says.
“What does he do with them?”
“I don’t know.”
It’s Picture Day for These Adorable Bunnies
Rabbits are the third most popular pet in America, after cats and dogs, according to the Humane Society of the United States—and the third most abandoned. Most Americans have a sense of how long cats and dogs live, the kind of care they need, their behaviors. But rabbits? I asked several of my colleagues how long they think domestic rabbits live. “One to two years?” “Maybe three?” In fact, with proper care, rabbits live 10 to 12 years. People’s understanding of them seems to be out of step with their ubiquity.
This disconnect appears to drive impulse pet rabbit purchases, says Anne Martin, executive director of the House Rabbit Society, the largest rabbit rescue organization in the U.S. Because many people think they’re short-lived, low maintenance, cage-bound animals, rabbits are seen as “starter pets,” akin to goldfish, perfect for kids. This misconception may help drive a glut of baby bunny sales ahead of Easter—and a subsequent rise in rabbit abandonments.
Jennifer McGee, co-manager of the Georgia chapter of House Rabbit Society, a shelter in the southeastern part of the state, says they normally receive one to two calls a week about abandoned rabbits. But in the six weeks after Easter, the shelter gets three to four calls a day. House Rabbit Society chapters in Idaho and Chicago report a more noticeable rise in summer, as “Easter bunnies” hit puberty and reality sets in for owners.
And here’s the reality: Although rabbits can make delightful companions, they’re not easy-care pets. Vets and insurance companies consider them exotic pets, so medical care can be more expensive than for a cat or dog. Rabbits need a lot of exercise and shouldn’t simply be pent up in a cage. This means they need to learn to use a litterbox (yes, rabbits can be potty trained), which takes patience, just as it does for cats. They’re also prey animals, and we’re, well, predators. They generally don’t like to be picked up by humans; they prefer to be in control, their feet on the ground.
“It takes a patient person to become friends with these silent and subtle animals,” says Margo DeMello, president of the House Rabbit Society.
Roger pops his head out of his travel carrier—he smells banana, his favorite treat. Likely around four years old, he was rescued from a park in Washington, D.C, where he’d been left in a cage.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic
Rabbits’ complexity means they often face a grim fate when purchased on a whim. Seemingly cute and cuddly, once baby bunnies mature, at between three and six months old, they can become aggressive and even destructive. Proper exercise, litterbox training, and spaying or neutering curbs the problem for most rabbits. But many new owners assume that the undesirable behaviors are the sign of a problem rabbit and get rid of it. Others may do a little research and balk at the time and money it takes to change bunny behavior. McGee says she’s often met with shock and frustration from parents: “What do you mean I have to spend $200 to fix a $30 rabbit?”
ABANDONMENTS: A YEAR-ROUND PROBLEM
It’s unclear how many rabbits are abandoned in the U.S.—and how many are Easter bunnies. There isn’t a central organization collecting data, DeMello says. Most individual shelters track how many dogs and cats are found, adopted, or euthanized, but they typically lump rabbits in with birds, reptiles, and small mammals in the “other” category.
Rescuers in local rabbit shelters from California’s Bay Area to rural Georgia to suburban Connecticut all tell National Geographic that although abandonments spike in the weeks and months after Easter, they’re a big problem year-round.
According to Martin, about two-thirds of rabbits rescued in Northern California are strays left to fend for themselves. In some cities, Las Vegas and Spokane, Washington, for example, public parks and empty lots have become dumping grounds overrun with hundreds of unfixed, unwanted rabbits. People abandon many rabbits outdoors, likely unaware that this is a death sentence. Domestic rabbits lack the survival instincts of their wild cousins, Martin says, and are unable to fight infection, build safe shelters, or adapt to heat and cold.
Kiba, an 11-year-old Netherland Dwarf, poses for the camera. He was surrendered to a shelter in 2012 in bad condition: underweight, with broken toes. He now has his own Instagram account: @kibabunny.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic
Shelters struggle to keep up. The Georgia House Rabbit Society gets more than 500 requests a year from owners looking to get rid of their rabbits—far more than they have the resources to save. Edie Sayeg, a rescuer with the group, believes thousands of rabbits are simply ditched outdoors in Georgia.
Elizabeth Kunzelman, a spokeswoman for Petland, a major national pet retailer that sells rabbits, says the spring months are “a perfect time for a child to begin caring for a new pet and learning responsibility.” But DeMello believes this mindset is problematic. “Children, honestly, want something cuddlier and more obviously attentive and are often frustrated when rabbits don’t respond to them the way they expect.” Other pet stores, including Petco and Petsmart, stopped selling rabbits several years ago because of concerns about abandonment. Kunzelman says Petland has a take-back policy for rabbits and other animals.
But two years after I visited the Petland in Fairfax, Virginia, the Humane Society of the United States released undercover footage documenting alleged mistreatment and deaths of rabbits at the store. Fairfax County police investigated and found 31 dead rabbits in a freezer in the store in April 2019. Lieutenant Ronnie Lewis, who oversaw the investigation, says that his team seized the dead rabbits as well as 17 living rabbits from the store. Police placed the surviving rabbits in custody of a municipal animal shelter. All 17 rabbits are now in foster homes and will be available for adoption shortly.
Petland has since terminated its franchise agreement with the store, saying in a statement that the company is “saddened and outraged at this alleged gross violation of Petland’s animal care standards.” The store is now closed. The cause of the rabbit deaths remains under investigation by police.
It’s not just pet stores that promote rabbit purchases. Farm stores, 4-H clubs, backyard breeders, and Facebook and Craigslist users across the country advertise baby bunnies ahead of the Easter season. Suzanne Holtz, director of Illinois-based Bunnies United Network, says these sellers can be even more problematic than pet stores because the rabbits often have a misplaced “halo of rescue” about them. Her shelter will get calls from people looking to surrender a bunny they “saved” from Craigslist, where selling animals is ostensibly banned.
It’s a challenge to discourage people from buying rabbits as Easter gifts without discouraging responsible would-be owners from having them at all, Martin says, because for those who understand how to care for them, they make fantastic pets.
I know: I have two rescue rabbits of my own. Roger, a Blanc de Hotot (a French breed notable for black-rimmed “eyeliner” eyes) was found abandoned in a small cage in a park. Rescued by D.C.-area group Friends of Rabbits, he’s curious, fearless, and loving. Penelope, an English Angora, was found on the street as a baby. A Washington Humane Society rescue, she’s bonded with Roger—they’re companions who groom and play with each other—and is opinionated and ornery. They’re litter-trained, have free rein of our apartment, and bring me and my husband joy every day.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 19, 2019, to include new information about the Fairfax, Virginia, Petland.
To learn more about rabbit care, visit House Rabbit Society at rabbit.org. If you’re interested in adopting a rabbit of your own, you can reach out to your local HRS chapter, or an animal shelter in your area.
Racehorses—like these, racing at the 2017 Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland—frequently die as a result of limb injuries.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published May 17, 2019. It has been updated.
Despite its popularity, horse racing is a dangerous sport for both horse and jockey. In the first four weeks of the race season, five horses have died at Santa Anita Park, a California racetrack, including three in as many days over Martin Luther King Day weekend.
In the U.S., 493 Thoroughbred racehorses died in 2018, according to the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database. (Data for 2019 have not been released yet.) From December 2018 to late January 2020, more than 40 of those deaths were at Santa Anita Park.
In fact, most of the horse deaths at Santa Anita Park in recent months were due to limb injuries.
Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, says the deaths may be because horse racing has become more competitive.
Horses aren’t getting the rest they need, especially in temperate places like southern California, where the animals race year-round, he says. ( Read how horses are evolving to be faster.)
“It’s hard to keep an athlete absolutely at the top of their fitness 12 months out of the year.”
The unprecedented spate of fatalities at Santa Anita has also placed renewed focus on the safety of the sport.
For instance, in March 2019, bipartisan U.S. lawmakers introduced a federal bill, the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, that would create a uniform national standard for drug testing racehorses. The horse racing industry is currently regulated by states.
The Jockey Club, which works to improve Thoroughbred breeding and racing, supports the bill.
“It’s time we joined the rest of the world in putting in place the best measures to protect the health and safety of our equine athletes,” the organization said in a statement.
While a broken leg is easily treatable for humans, it’s often a death sentence for horses.
That’s because horses have so little soft tissue in their legs that the bone often tears through skin or cuts off circulation to the rest of the limb, leaving them prone to infection.
In some severe cases, the bone shatters, making it nearly impossible to reassemble. (Read how horses are smarter than we think.)
Even if the horse’s bone could be set, it wouldn’t be able to support weight for several weeks. If horses can’t distribute their weight relatively evenly, they risk laminitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of tissue inside the hoof.
In general, if a horse can’t stand on all four legs on its own, it won’t survive and will be euthanized, Arthur says.
And when a horse falls, its jockey is often hurt, too. A 2013 analysis of about five years of California horse racing data showed 184 jockey injuries from 360 reported falls.
A breathtaking race with one of Sweden’s best jockeys
Most of the falls occurred during races and were the result of a “catastrophic injury or sudden death of the horse,” the study found.
The drug controversy
Trainers have been accused of making an already risky situation worse by drugging horses with performance-enhancing substances or painkillers, animal welfare advocatessay.
Such drugs allow horses to run faster and power through the pain. For example, the drug furosemide, popularly known under the brand name Lasix, is a “performance-enhancing drug cloaked as a therapeutic medication,” according to a March report by the Jockey Club.
While it’s prescribed to treat bleeding in the lungs, the medication also causes urination and, consequently, weight loss. Lighter horses run faster, and Lasix has been shown to help horses run three to five lengths faster. The legality of each drug varies by state. (Read about the most detailed history of horse evolution ever assembled.)
While some animal activists feel such drugs should be banned, others in the horse racing industry believe better self-regulation is the answer.
To that end, the proposed horse racing legislation would establish an independent, self-regulatory body—affiliated with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency—to regulate racehorse medication, list which substances are and are not permitted, and ban medications within 24 hours of racing.
Siobhan Mitchell started this petition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson
We demand an end to the import and export of hunting trophies from Britain, and urge Boris Johnson to follow through on his message of 2019 calling for an end to this barbaric practice.
The Government is currently running a consultation on the import and export of hunting trophies. This petition is to express support for Option 3 in the consultation, which would meana ban on all hunting trophies entering or leaving the UK.
As the director of the Campaign To Ban Trophy Hunting, I’ve long fought for an end to this barbaric practise. Killing animals for ‘trophies’ is cruel, unnecessary, and indefensible for the following reasons:
Studies show that many species targeted by trophy hunters are social, emotional, intelligent beings. Killing them for ‘sport’ goes against basic civilised values. So-called ‘canned hunting’ – breeding animals in captivity and…
Farm Animal Rescue started this petition to Managing Director, Meat and Livestock Australia Richard Norton and 1 other
In 2018 the public were mortified by hundreds of images of starving animals on Australian farms in yet another year of drought.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a statement to say that they are expecting lower than average rainfall and higher than average temperatures through Spring into early Summer, resulting in a “low chance of recovery for drought-affected areas”.
Despite these forecasts there is no indication from either the meat or dairy industry that breeding programs will be restricted to accommodate much lower feed availability in the coming year. Instead farmers are culling Australian wildlife in a hope that this will allow sufficient pasture to remain.
We call on Meat & Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia to significantly restrict breeding programs to avoid a repeat of the mass starvation of farm…
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard