Captive Chimpanzee “Tommy” May Gain Freedom as Legal Person

pawsup

Paws Up!
To attorney Steven Wise for representing chimpanzees in a New York Supreme Court appeal that could free imprisoned chimps.

Photo by the Nonhuman Rights Project

Photo by the Nonhuman Rights Project

According to a recent news story, a chimpanzee being held captive in New York may be freed from a life in a small cage on the premise that he is a wrongly imprisoned person. The 26-year-old chimpanzee named “Tommy” is currently living alone in a small concrete enclosure with a television set on the property of a sales lot for transport trailers near Gloversville, NY. He is being kept as a pet, and has no interaction with others of his own species. Steven Wise is the attorney representing Tommy. In October, Wise made the argument to the New York Supreme Court that Tommy, along with three other chimpanzees located elsewhere in New York, are persons being unjustly imprisoned. Recognition as a legal person would not grant Tommy and the other chimpanzees the rights and freedoms of human beings, but would grant them the basic legal right to not be imprisoned. The panel of five judges is expected to rule on the case in the coming weeks. Wise has recommended to the judges that the chimpanzees be relocated to North American Private Sanctuary Alliance located in Florida.

The designation of animals as persons is not entirely new. Last year , the national government of India recognized dolphins as ‘persons’  having their own established society and culture.  Dolphins therefore, cannot be held captive in India. Steven Wise is not representing all chimpanzees as a species, but if judges recognize Tommy’s personhood, this case could offer a legal platform to help captive chimpanzees throughout the United States.

Richmond, VA May Soon Outlaw Use of Bullhooks on Elephants

Paws Up! pawsup
To the city of Richmond, VA for considering a new ordinance that would outlaw the use of bullhooks and

Bullhooks are commonly used by circus employees to prod, strike, or jab elephants.

Bullhooks are commonly used by circus employees to prod, strike, or jab elephants.

According to a recent news story, three councilmen in Richmond, VA have introduced a city ordinance to ban the use of the ankus, or bullhook, for the control of elephants. A bullhook is a steel rod with a sharp hook at one end that is used to strike or prod an elephant into performing a certain behavior. In addition to the bullhook, no person can use a “baseball bat, axe, handle, pitchfork or similar instruments or a tool designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant.” Violations would be classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Ringling Bros. regularly employs bullhooks and opposes the proposed ordinance. If passed, the ban would go into effect January 2017.

Take Action: Richmond residents, contact your city council to express your support of an ordinance to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants.

Richmond City Council
900 E. Broad Street, Suite 305
Richmond, Virginia 23219
804-646-2778

Illinois Wildlife Find More Protection

pawsupPaws Up!
To Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for signing into law an amendment to the Illinois Wildlife Code, adding gray wolves, American black bears, and cougars to the list of protected species.

8.7.0rc3

Gray wolves, American black bears, and cougars are now among the protected species in the Illinois Wildlife Code.

Beginning January 1, 2015, gray wolves, American black bears, and cougars in the state of Illinois will be protected under S.B. 3046, an amendment to the Illinois Wildlife Code. These new protections will prohibit the killing of these animals unless there is an imminent threat to people or their livestock. If an animal is found to be a nuisance, a permit must first be granted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to kill that particular animal.

Over the past 150 years, gray wolves, black bears, and cougars have nearly disappeared throughout the state of Illinois. With populations slowly on the rise again, the careful management of these species is crucial to their recovery.

Take Action: Illinois residents, send a note of thanks to Gov. Quinn thanking him for his efforts in supporting positive management of protected species in your state.

Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601

Miami May Ban Retail Sale of Puppies and Kittens

pawsupPaws up!
To Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez and his fellow commissioners for passing a 6 month moratorium on new retail pet shops in Miami.

Miami, FL is considering a ban on retail puppy and kitten sales within the city.

Miami, FL is considering a ban on retail puppy and kitten sales within the city.

According to a recent news story, city commissioners in Miami, Florida met in early September to approve a six-month moratorium on the retail sale of dogs and cats. Within the six month period, commissioners plan to research potential advantages of a permanent ban. The six month moratorium put forth by Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez would not affect currently operating pet stores in the city of Miami. At least nineteen jurisdictions in Florida have enacted similar bans on retail pet sales in 2014 alone.

Many retail pet stores obtain puppies and kittens from mills where lack of care and haphazard breeding may result in animals with congenital problems or other maladies. Once the health problems are discovered, the puppies or kittens are likely to be turned over to municipal animal shelters.

Take Action: Miami residents, contact Commissioner Suarez to express your support of a ban on retail puppy and kitten sales in the city of Miami.

Mr. Francis Suarez
Commissioner District 4
3500 Pan American Drive
Miami, FL 33133
Fax 305-856-5230
Email: fsuarez@miamigov.com

U.S. Senator Hosts Pigeon Shoot Fundraiser

Pigeon shoots are uncommon in the US, due in part  to the wasteful and violent nature of the "game."

Pigeon shoots are uncommon in the US, due in part to the wasteful and violent nature of the “game.”

pawsdownPaws Down!
To U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma for hosting a pigeon shoot to raise money for a political campaign.

According to a recent news story , Senator Jim Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma hosted a political fundraising event  at Quartz Mountain Lodge and Resort in Lone Wolf, OK. Contributors paying $500 or more were invited to join the senator for a Friday pigeon shoot and a Saturday dove hunt. The dove hunt was cancelled due to inclement weather, but the pigeon shoot was conducted as planned. On September 5th, attendees stood by with loaded shotguns as live pigeons were hurled into the air one by one. The pigeons were shot down seconds later with little chance of escape. Pigeon shoots are illegal in most states and criticized even by many hunters on the premise that they are unsportsmanlike.  Furthermore, many of the shot pigeons don’t die immediately. Some suffer on the field until they bleed to death or their necks are broken by the clean-up crew.

Take Action: Oklahoma residents, write to Senator Jim Inhofe and ask him not to participate in this “sport” in the future.

The Honorable Jim Inhofe
United States Senate
205 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3603

 

U.S. District Judge Restores Federal Protections to Gray Wolves in Wyoming

pawsupPaws Up!
To U.S. District Court Judge Amy B. Jackson for restoring federal protections to wolves in Wyoming.

Gray wolves are once again an endangered species in Wyoming.

Gray wolves are once again an endangered species in Wyoming.

In 2013, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed an action to delist the gray wolf  in every state  where the species exists. The previous year, the state of Wyoming resumed control over the state’s  gray wolf population after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted them as a federally protected endangered species in the state.

On September 23, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Amy B. Jackson reversed the action to delist gray wolves in the state of Wyoming. Under her ruling, she stated the USFWS had erred in accepting non-binding promises from the state of Wyoming to maintain wolf populations. Wyoming’s wolf management plan permitted licensed hunting and permitted citizens in many parts of the state to shoot a wolf on sight. Hunting and on-sight killing of wolves will be illegal now that the wolf is once again an endangered species in the state of Wyoming.

Take Action: Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and express your support of federal protections for gray wolves in every state in their range.

Director Daniel M. Ashe
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street NW Washington DC 20240

FBI Will Include Animal Cruelty in National Crime Statistics

pawsup

Paws Up!
To the Federal Bureau of Investigation for amending the agency’s annual crime report to include crimes against animals.

The FBI will now include annual statistics regarding animal cruelty through its 85-year-old UCR Program.

The FBI will now include annual statistics regarding animal cruelty through its 85-year-old UCR Program.

Since 1929, the FBI has overseen the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program  which provides reliable, current, and uniform crime statistics on a state and national level.  Under the UCR Program, the FBI publishes annual statistics on the rates of violent crime and property crime. The UCR Program is a trusted source of information used by legislators, law enforcement and the general public to ascertain current trends in serious crime.

Until recently, the UCR Program has not included categorized information about violence towards animals. In September 2014, FBI director James Comey approved a resolution to include animal cruelty in categorized reporting data under the UCR Program. Furthermore, incidents of animal cruelty will be classified as a Group A offense alongside other serious offenses such as homicide and arson.

Take Action: Thank FBI Director Comey and his staff for amending the UCR Program to include statistics about animal cruelty.

Director James Comey
FBI Headquarters
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

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