American Trophy Hunters Travel to South Africa for Chance to Kill “Unusual” African Wildlife

pawsdownPaws Down!

To Africa Hunt Lodge in Texas for supporting a 2500-acre trophy-hunting ranch in South Africa.

According to a recent news article, businessman Barry York has become a wealthy man operating a

Photo by Arno Meintjes / Getty Images

Photo by Arno Meintjes / Getty Images

ranch outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Although the landscape appears natural, the purpose behind the ranch is nothing short of bizarre and disturbing. It is here that Barry York breeds lions, gnus, impalas, and other African wildlife characterized by genetic anomalies. The animals are intentionally bred for traits that rarely appear in nature – such as blue eyes in a lion or white fur on an impala. Although in many cases the mutations occur alongside other, medically hazardous anomalies, many of these animals are not intended to live a normal lifespan. That’s because Barry York has found that American big-game hunters will pay small fortunes for the opportunity to kill these unusual creatures. Businesses like the Texas-based Africa Hunt Lodge are getting in on the action by selling tour packages to the ranch where, according to the Africa Hunt Lodge website, clients can expect to pay upwards of $50,000 to kill a golden wildebeest. Although the breeding of the hunted animals occurs in the nation of South Africa, much of the money funding the operation comes from right here in the United States. While client motivation may be in part the experience of killing the animal, hunters are also motivated by the possibility of bringing home a “trophy” – that is the head, horns or other body part of the animal.

Take Action: Contact your legislator and express your opposition to the importation of the body parts of wildlife killed in trophy hunts.

Feld Entertainment Plans to Phase Out Ringling Bros. Elephants

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will no longer use elephants in performances after 2018.

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will no longer use elephants in performances after 2018.

According to a recent article, Feld Entertainment has decided to phase out the use of elephants in performances by their famous subsidiary, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. For decades, Ringling Bros. has reaped a profit by carting Asian elephants across the United States to perform tricks for paying crowds. Over time, animal welfare advocates and ordinary citizens alike have harbored growing doubts about the quality of life for the majestic, intelligent, and social wild animals used by the circus – leading many to forego the circus altogether. In recent years, the public has also become more aware of Ringling Bros’. use of the bullhook, a weapon-like metal rod equipped with a curved hook at one end designed specifically for use on elephants. Described as a “training tool” by Ringling Bros., the bullhook is used to strike and prod elephants into submission. Many audiences do not consider these practices consistent with the circus’ claim to be “fun for the whole family,” and over the years, many families, venues, and entire cities have turned away from the circus. In response to increasing public awareness, Feld Entertainment has finally made the decision to phase out elephant performers over the next three years. However, Ringling Bros. has not announced plans to retire the company’s tigers, lions, or other exotic animals.

Take Action: Make the commitment to only patronize human-centered entertainment acts. Contact Feld Entertainment to express your support of their decision to retire the company’s performing elephants and urge them to grant similar relief to Ringling Bros.’s other animal performers.

Feld Entertainment Worldwide Headquarters
2001 US Highway 301
Palmetto, FL 34221
(941) 721-1200

U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, NC, Rejects Entertainment Featuring Exotic Animals

pawsupPaws Up!

To the city of Asheville, NC, for banning exotic animal performances at U.S. Cellular Center.

U.S. Cellular Center will no longer serve as a venue for entertainment featuring exotic animals.

U.S. Cellular Center will no longer serve as a venue for entertainment featuring exotic animals.

U.S. Cellular Center, the largest event venue in Asheville, NC, will no longer host entertainment acts that include wild or exotic species as performers. According to a recent news article, the change arose out of concerns for the welfare of the animals involved. The ban only applies to U.S. Cellular Center, not the entire city of Asheville. However, this decision could be indicative of a city-wide ban in the future. In modern-day circuses, many of the world’s most threatened and majestic animals are held captive and transported long distances to perform tricks for masses of people.They cannot hunt, migrate, socialize, or reproduce as they would in the wild and have no choice but to perform for paying crowds, often under coercion. For reasons like these, individuals, families, venues, and entire cities are foregoing exotic animal entertainment in favor of acts that do not include animal performers.

Take Action: Contact U.S. Cellular Center and thank them for refusing to host exotic animal entertainment.

Chris Corl, General Manager
ccorl@ashevillenc.gov
828-259-5452
87 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801

New Texas Bill Would Create Statewide Felony Animal Abuser Registry

pawsupPaws Up!

To Texas Representative Jennifer Farrar for introducing a bill that would create a public registry of felony animal cruelty convictions.

Willfully violent acts towards animals are well-known precursors to other forms of serious crime.

Willfully violent acts towards animals are well-known precursors to other forms of serious crime.

According a recent news article, a new bill in the Texas legislature could improve monitoring of animal abusers by law enforcement and make the identities of convicted abusers known to the public. If H.B. 235 is passed, adults convicted of  felony animal cruelty in the state of Texas would be legally required to register each year with law enforcement. The offender’s name, address, and photograph would then be submitted to the Texas Department of Public Safety and entered into a database. A similar type of registry is widely employed by law enforcement on a state level to monitor sex offenders after release from prison. As with sex offender registries, registries of felony animal cruelty convictions would help law enforcement officers better ensure that offenders are abiding by the terms of their release. Furthermore, a public registry would be an enormous asset to animal shelters screening potential adopters, pet owners seeking pet sitters, and other individuals and organizations with vested interest in the welfare of animals. Lastly, acts of animal cruelty are well-known precursors to other serious crimes. For this reason, felony animal cruelty offenders should be monitored by law enforcement and be made known to the public to the fullest reasonable extent.

Take Action: Texas residents, contact your representative and urge them to support H.B. 235. Obtain your representative’s contact information here.

Why You Should Report Animal Cruelty

Photo by The National Humane Education Society

Photo by The National Humane Education Society

If you are reading this, chances are you care about animal welfare and take excellent care of your own pets. All the same, would you know what to do if you suspected someone in your community of animal abuse or neglect? While many of us wouldn’t hesitate to rescue a stray, situations in which an animal technically has a legal owner can feel tricky. Even when we know that something we’ve witnessed constitutes animal cruelty, some of us may still feel ambivalent about involving law enforcement. We don’t want to be seen as snoops, nor do we want to be seen as making frivolous complaints on behalf of a “mere animal”. Furthermore, the last thing we want is to create turmoil in our communities and social circles. Due in part to worries like these, far too many witnesses don’t report animal cruelty when they see it. However, every person should know when and how they should contact law enforcement to report animal cruelty.

First, if you see an animal in immediate physical danger, it is time to call law enforcement. Start dialing any time you see an animal trapped inside a hot car, in danger of freezing to death, or involved in a violent situation. If you do not know the number of the local animal control office, call the local sheriff’s office. If you cannot reach the sheriff’s office, call 911. You will not get in trouble for making a truthful report in good faith, and you could very well save a life. In other cases, the situation you’re witnessing may not be considered an emergency, but problematic nonetheless.

While you may not call 911 to report a continuously tethered dog, you may still be able to recruit help from animal control. In this case, it can be helpful to know about your county’s animal cruelty laws and ordinances. The website of your county commission or local humane society can help you learn the laws of your area. That said, even if you are unsure of the law as it pertains to the situation you’ve witnessed, you can still contact your local animal control or sheriff’s office, report what you’ve seen, and request that a “welfare check” be conducted at the address in question. Officers may not impound the animal, but they are likely to educate the owner. Rest assured that requesting a welfare check is not the same as filing a complaint or asking to press charges. A request for a welfare check is simply a request for officers to visit the property. You can also request that your identity not be revealed to the owner.

Unfortunately, many cases of animal abuse and neglect are resolved too late or not at all, simply because witnesses only came forward in the form of gossip or long after the fact. While advocating for abused animals can feel stressful at times, in many cases, the difference between a miserable death and a long, happy life is a single phone call. For more information on how to report animal cruelty, visit http://nhes.org/sections/view/283.

Chipotle Halts Pork Sales in Some Locations

pawsupPaws Up! To Chipotle for halting the sale of pork due to animal welfare concerns.

Although not a meat-free restaurant chain, Chipotle is well known for efforts to maintain humane and

Chipotle's policy requires that farmed pigs have opportunities to access outdoor areas.

Chipotle’s policy requires that farmed pigs have opportunities to access outdoor areas.

sustainable business practices. Last year, NHES wrote about Chipotle’s decision to offer more vegan-friendly menu items. According to a recent news article, Chipotle has decided to halt the sale of pork in hundreds of locations after an audit revealed that one of the restaurant’s suppliers was not meeting the company’s standards  for humanely-raised pigs. For example, Chipotle stipulates that animals must have opportunities to be in the outdoors. While NHES is committed to promoting vegan and vegetarian diets, we applaud Chipotle for acting on the company’s commitment to upholding sustainable and humane farming practices.

Take Action: Consider a vegan or vegetarian diet and learn about the humane and health benefits of plant-based eating. If you decide to eat meat, reduce your intake and avoid factory-farmed meats. Contact Chipotle to express your support of humane treatment of farm animals.

USDA Orders Pittsburgh Zoo to Stop Using Dogs to Control Elephants

elephant (15)pawsupPaws Up!

To the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for enforcing humane handling of captive elephants.

According to a recent news article, USDA inspectors visited the Pittsburgh Zoo in January 2015. During the visit, a zoo manager was asked to demonstrate how the zoo uses Australian cattle dogs to control the zoo’s elephants. After the inspector observed an elephant’s distressed reaction to one of the dogs, the USDA issued a report with specific orders stating that the zoo must control the elephants without causing them behavioral stress. The zoo was ordered change “from this point forward” in regard to employing cattle dogs to control elephants.

Take Action: When viewing wildlife, support reputable wildlife sanctuaries and visit parks and refuges where animals can be seen in their natural habitats.

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