BEESTHEWORD

A blog for the conservationists, environmentalists, and animal rights activists. It would be great if we kept the wild in wild animals. // Corrine // beestheword@gmail.com // flickr.com/corhenn

Extraordinary Moon Bear Rescue: Bile Farm Transformed Into Sanctuary

"In what is being called ‘the largest rescue of its kind ever undertaken,’ a farm where bears are kept captive for their valuable bile is being turned into a sanctuary, and all 130 of the moon bears living there will be freed from their cramped, inhumane quarters. The animal rights group Animals Asia announced it will lease the land and facilities of a bear bile farm in Nanning, China for its project called Peace By Piece."

National Geographic: Exotic Pets

A long article but worth the read. So thrilled this issue is finally getting some attention. 

"All across the nation, in Americans’ backyards and garages and living rooms, in their beds and basements and bathrooms, wild animals kept as pets live side by side with their human owners. It’s believed that more exotic animals live in American homes than are cared for in American zoos. The exotic-pet business is a lucrative industry, one that’s drawn criticism from animal welfare advocates and wildlife conservationists alike. These people say it’s not only dangerous to bring captive-bred wildlife into the suburbs, but it’s cruel and it ought to be criminal too. Yet the issue is far from black or white.

…..

After a hard day of chasing criminals or a boring day of ticketing cars, Harrison would change out of his uniform and drive home to his animals. He always went to the wolves first. His body aching, his mind numbed, he’d let the canines come to him, weaving around his legs. He’d drop down on his knees and then lie flat on his back, the wolves clambering over him. ‘I would just lie there and let them lick me,’ Harrison says, ‘and it was one of the best feelings in the world.’

Now the animals are gone. Harrison will never again own anything wild or exotic. He believes ownership of all potentially dangerous exotic animals should be banned and is working to make that happen. He underwent a profound transformation, his entire outlook shattered and put back together again in a new way.

What happened is this: After decades of being an exotic-pet owner, Harrison went to Africa. He drove over the open plains and grasslands, and he can remember, all these years later, the giraffes’ long lope, the lions’ hypnotic canter, the elephants sucking water up their trunks and spraying themselves so their hides glistened. Harrison gazed upon these wild animals, and he says it was as if his eyes had been blistered shut and were suddenly opened as he witnessed these mammals moving in such profound harmony with their environment that you could hear it: a rhythm, a pulse, a roar. This, Harrison suddenly realized, was how wild animals are supposed to live. They are not supposed to live in Dayton or any other suburb or city; they are creatures in and of the land, and to give them anything less suddenly seemed wrong.”

Happy Friday!

Court denies SeaWorld appeal of OSHA citations

"In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals denies SeaWorld’s appeal of citations issued by OSHA after the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau.

OSHA lawyers said SeaWorld violated the General Duty Clause by exposing trainers to the recognized hazards of working in close contact with killer whales. OSHA cites SeaWorld’s own internal reports documenting around 100 incidents of killer whale aggression, including ‘biting, hitting, lunging toward, pulling on, pinning, dragging, and aggressively swimming over SeaWorld trainers.’ The agency believes those incident reports establish a pattern of unpredictable and dangerous working conditions.

OSHA argues SeaWorld’s attempts to reduce the risk have failed, leading to multiple injuries and the deaths of two trainers (Besides Brancheau, OSHA includes the death of Alexis Martinez, a trainer employed by a marine park in Spain who was killed by a SeaWorld-owned orca two months earlier.).

SeaWorld acknowledged in written legal briefs that there is a risk working with killer whales, but the company believes it has adequately minimized that risk through a comprehensive animal training program and other safety protocols. SeaWorld’s attorney argues that the OSH Act does not require an employer to provide a risk-free workplace, but rather reduce significant risks.  As for those incident reports detailing aggressive whale behavior, SeaWorld asserts the documents ‘do not show recognition of ongoing hazards.  Instead they show resolution of potential problems.’”

Paris Zoo's Progressive Promise: No Elephants.

After a six-year, multimillion dollar overhaul, the Zoological Park of Paris is once again opening its doors, with a new look — and a new outlook. The zoo is aiming to create a more natural series of “biozones,” with replica habitats for tropics, forests and grasslands in South America, Africa and Europe where the animals will be housed. 

'We've invented a new zoo, whose concept is different from 20th century ones, where animals were exhibited like in some amusement park,” said Thomas Grenon, head of the National Museum of Natural History, which manages the Vincennes Zoo. “This is a 21st-century zoo, which will show biodiversity and talk about it, and where the animals will live together as they do in their natural environment.'”

Sean Hannity

Mr. Hannity,

I was delighted when I saw that you intended to debate AB-2140 on your show. (See the interview Here.) I was even more delighted when I realized you were interviewing two people who have zero connection to the bill itself. Bridgette Pirtle, an ex-SeaWorld trainer, (whom you neglected to tell your viewers was involved with the documentary Blackfish and ultimately condemned the film after the fact.) and Lisa Lange of PETA.

SeaWorld generally doesn’t condone the anthropomorphism of their animals, especially in regards to any extreme activist recognizing abnormal or destructive behaviors and linking them to negative emotions. And yet Bridgette, an ex-SeaWorld trainer, is quick to agree with you that the animals are in fact happy (anthropomorphism) living at SeaWorld and are free to choose whether or not to perform.

Although I have a distaste for some of PETA’s campaigns in which they attempt to educate the general public, I have respect for some of the other work they’ve done. No, PETA does not in fact stand for “People Eating Tasty Animals”, and while everyone loves a good sense of humor (Have you heard the things they say about Fox News?), nobody should come on your segment and be mocked for the organization in which they’re employed.

You’re insensitivity and ignorance truly shines when you reference that we, the extreme activists, (as SeaWorld has so kindly and recently dubbed us,) are only talking about “a very few number of animals”. Since there are only a few, I suppose you were intending to imply that captivity can and should be justified.

You invited two people onto your show to debate AB-2140 and yet ¾ of your interview is you avoiding the topic by cornering Ms. Lange about PETA’s stance on the consumption and use of animal products. The remainder of your interview is divided into the time you allowed Bridgette Pirtle to speak, and the time you spent making uneducated and ill-informed remarks. These were a few of my favorites: “That’s what they like. They like dead fish, that to them is like a steak sandwich to me.” —- Or, “Does that mean dogs and cats can’t be held in captivity? Are they being held against their will?” And, “What about the fish that live in my fish tank? Am I holding them captive?”

It’s unfortunate that AB-2140 did not pass in California yesterday. It’s even more unfortunate that there are people like yourself who make a mockery of someone’s passion for a movement and pass it off as mere humor in an attempt to negate any wrongs. Although it shouldn’t come as a surprise, based on the demographic you appeal to and your history; a woman who is an animal rights activist from PETA seems like an easy target for you.

I have no doubt that those you invited onto your show are educated. Biased, but educated. Perhaps some day in the future, when you decide that cowardly doesn’t suit you, you’ll find the gumption to invite someone onto your show who is involved with the specific topic you wish to debate and ask them direct and professional questions relevant to it.

Regards,

Corrine Henn (@Beestheword)

Mayor Gregor Robertson calls for an end to whale and dolphin captivity at the Vancouver Aquarium

"Gregor Robertson has said he believes that the Vancouver Aquarium should no longer keep whales and dolphins at its facility in Stanley Park.

In a statement emailed to the Straight, the Vancouver mayor is quoted praising the aquarium for its work in research and conservation. But Robertson adds that he feels the facility should cease holding cetaceans there.

'My personal view is that the Vancouver Aquarium should begin to phase out the holding of whales and dolphins in captivity,” Robertson says in the statement. “I’m hopeful that the Aquarium and the Park Board can work collaboratively and come to an agreement on how to achieve this with a dialogue and review that will be informed, thoughtful, and inclusive.'”

John Hargrove Testifies for AB 2140

”..In closing I want to express that I feel it was a privilege to have built relationships with 20 different killer whales, swimming with 17 of them, over so many years. I loved those whales more than anything. Because of my love and loyalty to them I am speaking from my experience what my own eyes and my own hands showed me. For the whale’s sake, I hope you hear me. Please be leaders for this historic bill and end captive breeding and the import and export of killer whales and genetic material and end the exploitation of these whales for massive profit. Make this the last generation of killer whales in captivity, allowing SeaWorld the next 30 to 40 years to rebrand themselves. Thank you for this opportunity.” -John Hargrove

Born Free: Adam M Roberts

Wonderful blog post for anyone interested…

"….I vividly remember the story as it unfolded on televisions across America. Police cars. Gun shots. Travis retreats to the back of the house to “his” area. Travis dead.

An ounce of prevention, the saying goes. Let there never be another Charla Nash. Because there should never be another Travis the chimpanzee.”