Friday, September 09, 2005

"Un-American about animals"

Peter Singer on where America stands in the matter of animal protection legislation, and why it is so far behind Europe:
In May 2004, a proposed law banning the chicken ''battery cage" was put to a vote in the Austrian Parliament. It passed -- without a single member of Parliament opposing it. Austria has banned fur farming and prohibited the use of wild animals in circuses. It has also made it illegal to trade in living cats and dogs in stores and deems killing an animal for no good reason a criminal offense. Most important, every Austrian province must appoint an ''animal lawyer" who can initiate court procedures on behalf of animals...

..The animal movement in the United States has not succeeded in turning animal rights into electoral issues about which voters seek their candidates' views. As a result, the American animal movement has shifted toward targeting corporations rather than the legislatures.
(via Arts and Letters Daily)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Pet Rescues in the Gulf Coast...

...are continuing, thanks to some remarkable efforts like this one. But there are many, many animals out there:
In addition to untold numbers of pets killed, animals made homeless by the hurricane are wandering hungry and confused throughout the Gulf Coast.

Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said, "In New Orleans alone, we think there are 50,000 pets."

Details of more efforts here, and here, and here, and here. Also here and here, and here.

Here is something you can do if you are in the US and would like to offer assistance.

This letter from a reader to the Delaware Online reflects the views of almost all pet owners worldwide:
I can't imagine what I would do if I was told that I must leave my pet behind to die. For some people, it is like telling someone to leave their child behind to die... Is it not a known fact that pets rely on their owners to care for them not only with food and shelter, but with love and kindness? I would hope that even people who don't have pets would empathize and understand that even a pet is a vital member of a family. - Amy Spavlik, Hockessin

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Petition to Include Animals in the Evacuations - Please Sign!

In my mailbox today:

Please go here and sign, only takes a few seconds. This petition was forwarded to me from a caring person in Europe and comment below from S. Africa, the world can't believe what is happening here and neither can we. Thanks, Eileen.

Sign Here.

The Petition aims to ensure that all animals are included in the evacuations occuring as a result of the Emergency Order issued on Tuesday, September 6, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and that those animals are provided adequate supplies and shelter until they are reunited with their owners or adopted.

...Please sign this petition, and forward it to anyone you can to sign, to make sure animals are included. Animals are going to starve to death and the contaminated water will shortly start to kill them. Some are chained and cannot get food...Humans shouldn't be the only priority - we're the ones responsible for (the animals) and now they're dying with each passing moment.

Sign Here

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Where have all the tigers gone?

If you're wondering where all the tigers have gone, this report indicates that they've ended up as skins and gone to what is arguably the biggest wildlife blackmarket in the world, in Tibet. Says the report, "The situation has only worsened since October 2003 when China’s Anti-Smuggling Bureau intercepted a truck in their "Tibetan Autonomous Region" that was carrying a consignment of 31 tiger, 581 leopard and 778 otter skins from India."

If those numbers are frightening, here's this:
In Lhasa, many new shops were openly selling tiger and leopard skin chubas — a traditional Tibetan outfit. At one shop, the team found three fresh tiger skins — priced up to Rs 5.4 lakh each — and seven fresh leopard skins for sale. All these skins were said to have been smuggled from India.

• Most Tibetans wearing chubas claimed they had purchased the outfits during the past two seasons.

• Only 10 shops in the main Barkhor circuit stocked 24 tiger skin chubas. Another 20 stocked 54 leopard skin chubas. There are a total of 46 shops in the market.

• A large number of leopard and snow leopard skins were also found on the streets of Linxia.
And where do you think they're coming from?

Meanwhile, here's Asha Krishnakumar of Frontline on the report of the Tiger Task Force:
The Task Force report, while agreeing that relocation of all forest dwellers is the ideal solution, wonders where the funds would come from, particularly considering that 1,500 villages (66,516 families) still lie within the reserve areas and hardly 80 villages (2,904 families) have been relocated in the past 30 years. At the government-stipulated norm of Rs.1 lakh to relocate a family, the cost works out to Rs.665 crores plus land cost (Rs.11,508 crores at an enhanced rate of Rs.2.5 lakh for a family, including the land cost, which will be Rs.9,645 crores). Contrast this with the Rs.373 crores spent on Project Tiger by both the Central and the States governments in the past 30 years.
And on the tiger-tribe debate, here's an interview with Sunita Narain, ("Find strategies for co-existence") and this one with Valmik Thapar, ("The tiger has been placed in its coffin"). I have to confess that I haven't yet figured out which "side" I'm on in this debate. Ideally, I would say that whatever it takes, the money should be found...

A welcome judgement

of the Bombay High Court directs that if any animals ro birds are used in a film, the Censor Board should first check whether the use of animals has been permitted by registration with the Animal Welfare Board. I was just thinking about this a few days ago when I saw the film Iqbal, in which five buffaloes have been named after cricketers including Kapil, Balaji and Harbhajan (no, that's not cruelty :)) but later in the film, they're used as targets for field practice.

If you thought they didn't care...

...they do. Animals and humans experience many of the same emotions, says this research finding. Well, I knew that already. I knew that when my dog came and licked my hands as a puppy five years ago.

Those who were left behind

How are animals faring in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? As this report points out, most of the zoo animals have weathered the storm. Two sea otters died of stress; some waterfowl, and an alligator, were missing. Not only the zoo animals, but the zoo staff's own animals seem to be fine.

Chicago's Lincoln Zoo is coming to the aid of the Audubon Zoo and the aquarium in New Orleans:
Officials say fish are dying by the hundreds and some otters have died. A white alligator and a black vulture are missing, but the elephants, orangutans and rhinoceroses have fared relatively well.

A skeleton staff of about 12 people, instead of the usual 200, has remained around the clock, feeding and tending to the animals. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association announced a national fundraising initiative headed by the Lincoln Park Zoo. People can donate through the Lincoln Zoo website.
Pets, however, are not doing as well. There are thousands of abandoned pets in the city. Some have formed packs and are foraging in the streets; others are still locked inside houses:
"It's just overwhelming," said Laura Maloney, the executive director of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "There are countless thousands of abandoned pets in the city. And hundreds and hundreds are stuck inside their homes."

Maloney said she had been bombarded with calls from evacuated residents who left pets in their homes. Many people were forced to abandon pets because they weren't allowed to take them on evacuation buses.

For the past few days, about 10 volunteers have been going to addresses where people left animals and are breaking in to save them, Maloney said.

Not everyone in New Orleans left pets behind. Lalande refuses to evacuate without his dog, Charlie, and his cats, Miranda and Babettes. "I've never cried in my life, but the saddest thing in the world is when all night long you hear dogs crying; big dogs, little dogs, medium dogs," said Lalande, 62. "People left thinking they'd be gone two or three days, but now they can't come back and their pets are starving. Tomorrow, I'm breaking in and feeding dogs."
One more effort for animals.