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 on elephants.

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

Orcas in Captivity

California may soon lead the way for orcas.

California is taking the lead the way for freeing captive orcas.

The Orca Welfare and Safety Act (AB 21240) that was before the California Assembly is now awaiting study. The bill would make it illegal to hold in captivity or use wild or captive-bred orcas for performance or entertainment purposes.

For marine life, especially orcas, the ocean is their habitat. Capturing them and putting them into an oversized swimming pool for our entertainment is putting their physical and psychological lives at risk. For instance, when confined to a tank, these sea mammals develop stereotypies. With little space and no stimulation, they can be seen swimming in static patterns around their fish bowl for hours at a time. They also develop skin problems from living in heavily chlorinated water and suffer from ulcers and pneumonia as well as self-inflicted injuries.

Orcas are highly social and form complex societies headed by females. The average lifespan for a female orca is 50 years and a male 30 in the wild. In captivity, they rarely live beyond 20 years. In addition, in the wild, they can travel up to 100 miles daily. There has been enough documentation of the extreme lives orcas live in captivity and none of it supports continuing the practice.

California residents, please contact your legislators and urge them to support this bill.

When you think about it…elephants belong in the wild, not the streets of St. Louis.

Elephants deserve a long life in the wild.

Elephants deserve a long life in the wild.

Why are elephants wandering a parking  lot in St. Louis? Why are elephants in St. Louis, period? Their natural habitat is far from an urban setting. Yet, we find elephants, lions, tigers, and other wild and exotic animals performing in circuses in a variety of cities starting now and going through the late fall.

Circus animals  do not have a good life. They may travel many miles in railcars that can become overheated in the summer. They are kept caged or shackled unless they are performing or are being trained to perform. They are separated from members of their own families and often members of their own species. They are living in climates that do not even closely replicate their natural one. Basically, they are slaves to their trainers and owners who want nothing more than to make a buck off their backs. But these are living, breathing, sentient beings with minds of their own and sometimes they object and find a way to escape.

In the case of the St. Louis elephants, they were quickly corralled and were not made to perform the Saturday show. They should get every show off as should all wild and exotic animals who find themselves in the circus. For when you think about it…elephants belong in the wild, not the streets of St. Louis or any other city.


Greyhounds Get a Rest

pawsupPaws Up!  
To the Colorado legislature and the governor for enacting and signing into law, respectively, legislation that will ban greyhound racing in the state.       

Colorado is done with greyhound racing.

Colorado is done with greyhound racing.

According to a news story, “Colorado is the latest state to ban greyhound dog racing.” There are just seven states where greyhound racing is legal and operational: Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa, Florida, and West Virginia.

Take Action: Colorado residents, thank your legislators and governor for this action to protect animals in your state. Residents of Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa, Florida, and West Virginia, urge your legislators to ban greyhound racing now.

When you think about it…who’s the real winner/loser in the animal racing industry?

We are crossing our fingers that every horse in today's big races at Churchill Downs crosses the finish line safely.

We are crossing our fingers that every horse in today’s big races at Churchill Downs crosses the finish line safely.

Why do we race animals? What is the thrill for us? For them? When we bet on the animals, sometimes we lose our proverbial shirt; sometimes we win a few dollars, sometimes many dollars. But who are the real winners/losers? Regardless of the outcome of the race, the animals always lose. They lose because they are being asked to do abnormal and unnatural feats of endurance and strength. They lose because so many have to be born in order to get one champion. Those who don’t make it are often killed when quite young, sold to research laboratories, or relegated to live their lives in substandard conditions. They lose because when they are too old to race or have an injury, it is often more expedient for the owner to shoot the animal in the head or pass him or her off to a roadside zoo or circus than make a lifetime commitment to the animal. The winners: there are none. When we engage in racing animals or betting on animal racing or even watching animal races, we lose, too. We lose a bit of our humanity, our compassion toward the animals forced to race. So, when you think about it…no one wins in the animal racing industry.

CareerBuilder Spares Chimpanzees

PawsUpPaws Up!
To CareerBuilder for not airing ads during this year’s Super Bowl featuring chimpanzees driving cars, wearing suits, and otherwise acting like humans.

According to a news article, “CareerBuilder has announced that it will not run any of its longstanding series of commercials featuring chimpanzees during this year’s game, according to a report from Ad Age. The commercials, which depict chimps in suits in

Chimpanzees used in entertainment are usually adolescents, like the one pictured. As Chimpanzees grow to adulthood, their acting days end and the chimpanzee may be sold for research or worse.

Chimpanzees used in entertainment are usually adolescents, like the one pictured. As chimps grow to adulthood, their acting days end and the chimpanzee may be sold for research or worse.

business settings, have been heavily criticized by animal-rights groups as damaging to conservation efforts to protect the increasingly rare apes.”

Wild and exotic animals, such as chimpanzees, can be unpredictable. Even people who have spent years training wild animals have experienced violent attacks, pain, and suffering. Beyond concern for potential human injury is, of course, concern for the wild and exotic animals forced to participate in the entertainment industry. Whether stolen from the wild or captive bred, these animals are deprived of their natural habitat, food supply, and companionship necessary to fulfill their instincts.

Often, wild animals are shipped around the country/world, which induces stress that causes much suffering and sometimes death. In addition, many animals are discarded once they become too old or dangerous to perform, are left to languish in cages, or are sent to roadside zoos when they are no longer considered economically viable.

Wild and exotic animals experience much neglect and cruelty, in part, because there is little oversight or control of exhibitors. Even when sanctioned by licensing agents, exhibitors continue to exploit their animals while placing the public in danger.

Ultimately, many “trained” wild animals are, in reality, subservient and apathetic creatures. It is in depriving these sentient animals of their homes and natural lives and in forcing them to participate in unnatural behaviors that cause them to sometimes, and tragically, respond in unpredictable and lethal ways.

Take Action: Contact the CEO of CareerBuilder to thank him for his company’s decision and encourage his company to reject using wild and exotic animals in any CareerBuilder ads.

Matt Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer
CB Corporate Headquarters
200 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601
Tele. No.: 773-527-3600

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TV Show Exploits Wildlife for Laughs

Paws Down!
To NBC’s latest exploitation of wild animals for cheap thrills.

NBC’s television series Animal Practice features a number of wild animals. Wild animals belong in the wild, not dressed up in costumes to play second banana for our amusement.

Capuchin and other monkey species are not well suited to being pets and don’t belong in the entertainment industry.

Popular television shows and movies often spawn the creation of kitsch. While some of the items sold are harmless, the popularity of animals in films and television often creates a glut of these animals. To satisfy the demand, these animals are often overbred or captured, bought, and sold with little regard for their care. Infant animals are separated from their mothers only to wind up living in isolation.

Will we see an increase in people wanting capuchin monkeys because of one of the characters on the show? Most likely we will as we saw an increase in capuchins being brought into this country following the debut of Marcel on the television show Friends. These animals belong in the wild, not in our homes. Often once an infant wild animal becomes mature, the owner dumps him or her at a shelter or in the wild because the owner is unable to care for the wild animal.

Take Action: Let the chairman and president of NBC Entertainment know of your displeasure with the show and that you will not watch it. Further let your friends, family, and colleagues know how these animals are really treated both on and off the set and urge them to avoid watching the show as well.

Robert Greenblatt, Chairman
Jennifer Salke, President
NBC Entertainment
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608


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