Man Who Shot Caged Cougar Loses Hunting Rights

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/washington/articles/2017-05-29/man-who-shot-caged-cougar-loses-hunting-rights

A Redmond man who shot and killed a cougar in a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research trap has been barred from hunting in the state of Washington for two years.

| May 29, 2017, at 12:45 p.m.

Man Who Shot Caged Cougar Loses Hunting Rights

SEATTLE (AP) — A Redmond man who shot and killed a cougar in a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research trap has been barred from hunting in Washington for two years.

The Seattle Times reported (http://bit.ly/2ry1LdX ) Saturday that the WDFW has stripped Ronald D. Wentz of his hunting privileges for the 2016 incident.

Wentz had been fined $1,300, but the WDFW made the move to take away his privileges after receiving a note from the Washington Director of The Humane Society of the United States, Dan Paul, urging the state to permanently ban Wentz from hunting again in the state.

WDFW officials opted for a two-year ban because Wentz had a valid hunting license and cougar tag.

Wentz declined to comment on the case and did not appeal the hunting ban.

Endangered vaquita marina porpoise could be extinct by 2018: WWF

The vaquita marina, a tiny porpoise native to Mexico, could be extinct by next year if urgent action including a ban on gillnets is not taken, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature warned.

Fewer than 30 of the rare mammals (Phocoena sinus) still live in the wild, all in the upper Gulf of California, the WWF said in a report Monday.

The vaquita population has plummeted 90 percent in less than six years, down from 250 in 2011.

“If we don’t do something today, the vaquita could be extinct by 2018,” said Maria Jose Villanueva, director of strategy and science for WWF Mexico. “Losing it would be like losing a piece of Mexico.”

Villanueva told reporters that the only known threat to the survival of the vaquita—”little cow” in Spanish—are gillnets, long walls of netting hung vertically that trap fish by the gills when they swim through.

The nets are meant to illegally catch totoaba, an endangered fish about the same size of the vaquita.

Deadly gillnets

Smugglers ship dried totoaba swim bladders to China, where they fetch up to $20,000 per kilo. Totoaba bladder is consumed in soup or used for medicinal purposes.

Gillnets also catch a large number species that are not targeted. The WWF says the nets accidently kill some 700,000 marine mammals and birds around the world each year.

Some 374 gillnets have been removed in the Gulf of Mexico between February 2016 and April 2017, but the vaquita population continues to drop—six have been reported to have died this year alone, Villanueva said.

Nets up to two kilometers long have been removed in the area, Villanueva said.

The Mexican government’s two-year ban on gillnet use is set to expire in less than two weeks.

Mexican environmental authorities and conservation groups are working on an emergency plan expected to begin around September to move the vaquitas to a “temporary sanctuary” where they can safely reproduce.

The WWF experts support the measure, despite reservations.

‘Desperate measure’

“We see it as a desperate measure,” said Jorge Rickards, the interim director general of WWF Mexico.

“We consider this a high-risk measure because nothing like this has ever been done before,” he said, fearing the death of even a single vaquita.

Rickards called on the Mexican government for “an urgent plan of action” that includes a permanent gillnet ban in the Gulf of California.

He said the government must also help area residents whose livelihoods depend on fishing.

The Gulf of California, which was officially listed as a World Heritage site in 2005, is a source for half of Mexico’s fisheries production.

A broad array of species live in the area, including over one third of the world’s marine mammal species, five of the world’s seven sea turtle species, and almost 900 fish species, the WWF says.

In its report, titled “Vanishing Vaquita: saving the world’s most endangered marine mammal,” the WWF called on the government to clamp down on the totoaba trade, and to commit to a plan “for the recovery of the vaquita within its natural habitat that includes specific population increases and timelines.”

The conservation group also called on the US and Chinese governments to collaborate with Mexico “to halt the illegal fishing and trade of totoaba” by increasing efforts to “intercept and halt the illegal transport, entry and sale of totoaba products.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-endangered-vaquita-marina-porpoise-extinct.html#jCp

Praise Country for Ending Seal Slaughter

https://forcechange.com/165020/praise-country-for-ending-seal-slaughter/

Target: Ola Elvestuen, Member of Norwegian Parliament

Goal: Thank Norway for ending government subsidies to support seal slaughter, thereby sparing countless lives.

For centuries, numerous boats have ventured up north from Norway to kill seals for personal profit. However, this marks the first year that not a single Norwegian boat set sail to kill innocent seals.

Seals are incredibly social animals and can live up to 30 years in the wild. However, many seals do not make it to this age or even to adulthood, as they have traditionally been shot or clubbed to death for their fur, meat and blubber. Thankfully, Norway is now one less country participating in these cruel practices. Sign this petition and thank Norway for no longer supporting seal slaughter, thereby sparing countless animals from unnecessary pain and death.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Elvestuen,

This is the first hunting season where not one single Norwegian boat set sail to kill seals for their fur, meat and blubber. I was ecstatic to hear this news.

Seals are incredibly social, unique, and intelligent animals, and for centuries these innocent creatures have been shot or clubbed to death for personal gain. Thankfully, Norway has cut government subsidies for seal slaughter, which has helped put an end to this cruel practice.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the Norwegian government for no longer supporting this inhumane slaughter. Thanks to your actions, the lives of countless seals will be spared.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://forcechange.com/165020/praise-country-for-ending-seal-slaughter/

In a victory for animal rights activists — and canines — China may have banned dog meat sales at festival

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/world/2017/05/19/In-a-victory-for-animal-rights-activists-and-canines-China-will-ban-dog-meat-sales-at-festival/stories/201705190136

BEIJING — Chinese authorities have banned dog meat sales at the country’s
notorious Yulin dog-eating festival, two U.S. nonprofit organizations
reported Wednesday in what animal rights advocates are calling a victory.

The annual festival in Yulin — a prefecture-level city in southwest China’s
Guangxi region — has in recent years emerged as a lightning rod for animal
rights activism, granting the sleepy city a degree of global infamy.
Activists say thousands of dogs — some of them abducted pets — are
slaughtered at the festival each year; they’re served alongside lychees and
grain alcohol to mark the summer solstice.

The Yulin government has banned the city’s dog meat vendors from selling
the meat for one week starting June 15, the U.S.-based Duo Duo Animal
Welfare Project and Humane Society International (HSI) said in a joint
statement, citing unidentified local contacts. The 10-day festival is
slated to begin June 21.

“Even if this is a temporary ban, we hope this will have a domino effect,
leading to the collapse of the dog meat trade,” Andrea Gung, executive
director of the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, said in the statement. “I
have visited Yulin many times in the last two years. This ban is consistent
with my experience that Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for
the better.”

The organizations attributed the change to Yulin’s new Communist Party
secretary, Mo Gongming, who reportedly wants to improve Yulin’s national
and international image. Penalties, they said, include a fine of up to
$14,500 and jail time.

While there have been previous attempts to curtail sales of dog meat, this
is believed to be the first time that the government had threatened
concrete penalties.

The report could not be independently verified. A man who answered the
phone at the Yulin municipal government, has never openly supported the
festival, denied that it even existed. “There’s never been a dog meat
festival in Yulin,” said the man, who only gave his surname, Luo. (The
festival’s existence is well-documented).

People in parts of southern and northeastern China have prized dog meat for
centuries, considering it a delicacy with “heating qualities” that make it
comforting on cool days.

Yet, as China becomes wealthier — and more exposed to foreign ideas — its
attitudes toward dogs are shifting. Dogs have become popular pets among the
country’s burgeoning middle and upper classes; in major cities, it’s common
to see poodles, Pekingese, golden retrievers and huskies bouncing through
public parks, some dressed by their owners in doggie clothing.

Peter Li, a China policy specialist at HSI, said that the festival’s dog
meat sales have dropped each year since 2014, but will probably continue
despite the ban.

“It won’t be public resistance — like, ‘you don’t want us to sell, but we
still will’ — but they’ll probably do it secretly,” he said. “They’ll
probably sell it at night, or they’ll supply dog meat to restaurants. They
just won’t sell it at the market.”

He added that the organization received “oral notice” of the ban from local
dog meat traders, as well as three visitors to a local market. He had not
seen documentation of the ban.

Most Chinese people desire an end to the controversial festival, China’s
official New China News Agency reported in June 2016, citing a survey.

“It is embarrassing to us that the world wrongly believes that the brutally
cruel Yulin festival is part of Chinese culture,” Qin Xiaona, director of
the Capital Animal Welfare Association charity, a Chinese animal welfare
group, told the agency. “It isn’t.”

But the Yulin government is reluctant to completely shut the festival down,
said an employee of a Chinese animal rights group that has been
communicating with local officials for years — they consider it a proud
local tradition. The employee requested anonymity as her organization, like
many activist groups in China, is under close scrutiny from national
authorities.

Although the officials have no problem considering cats and dogs as
sustenance, she added, some still oppose the festival, as its mass, public
slaughter of dogs violates food safety regulations.

Hollywood celebrities including Matt Damon, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara
have pleaded for China to ban the festival. Last year, several animal
rights groups, including Duo Duo and HSI, amassed 11 million signatures on
a petition calling for its cancellation. Carrie Fisher, the late actress of
“Star Wars” fame, helped deliver it to China’s embassy in London.

“These poor dogs need us to fight for them,” she said at the time,
accompanied by her beloved French bulldog, Gary. “Every single one of them
is as precious as my dear Gary, every one of them is someone’s best friend.”

*The New York Times contributed.*

We Need to Stop Denmark Before They Kill Again.

From Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson,

Please Sign Our Petition to Uphold European Law Against Denmark’s Collaboration With the Faroese to Unlawfully Slaughter Pilot Whales and Dolphins.

On May 8th, with the formal support of 27 Members of the European Parliament, Sea Shepherd Nederland officially submitted a request to the European Commission (EC) to start infringement proceedings against Denmark for facilitating the slaughter of pilot whales and other cetaceans in the Faroe Islands. SIGN the petition and ask the EC to take action: bit.ly/2rdZEM0

In events known as ‘grindadráps’, Danish officials, including police, navy, and customs representatives, assist the Faroese by ensuring they can drive hundreds of pilot whales and other cetaceans into bays, where, while screaming in terror, their spinal columns are ruthlessly sliced, filling the bays full of blood.
#OpBloodyFjords #OpGrindini #OpGrindStop

Sea Shepherd is pressuring the European Commission to end the Faroe Island marine mammal slaughter! (3483 signatures on petition)
THEPETITIONSITE.COM

Over 15,748 Seal Pups Killed in 3 Days

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-15,748-seal-pups-killed.html

An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

HarpSeals.org
April 2017

Sealers have killed 15,748 harp seal pups in just 3 days.

canadian seal hunt

Sealers have killed 15,748 harp seal pups in just 3 days. These seal pups are just a few weeks old, and many are just learning how to swim. Sealers on a killing spree of this magnitude will almost certainly neglect to carefully check whether all the seals they have shot and/or beatened are really dead before dragging them onto their boats and/or skinning them.

seal mother and baby

The Canadian government continues to stand by this ‘industry’, claming that it is important to Atlantic Canada and the fishermen who participate in this massacre. In reality, it represents a tiny fraction of the provincial economies of Newfoundland and Quebec, where most of the sealers come from, and just a small percentage of each sealer’s income.

Please take action.

1. Distribute leaflets where you live. Send us an email with the number of leaflets that you want and your mailing address – contact@harpseals.org .

2. Organize or participate in a protest. Let us know if you are interested in either organizing or participating. We will help bring activists together – contact@harpseals.org .

3. Send emails and/or write letters to Canadian government officials and tourism industry officials and also to the Chinese government, to urge the country to ban seal product imports – Find that information at  http://www.harpseals.org/help/letters_and_emails/index.php

4. Boycott Canadian seafood and tourism.