So True on So Many Levels

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Momma and Baby

A Small Victory for Three Elephants

JUDGE RULES L.A. ZOO ELEPHANTS ARE NOT HEALTHY, HAPPY, OR THRIVING

In 2007, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of actor Robert Culp (now deceased) and real estate broker Aaron Leider seeking to close the redesigned elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo (L.A. Zoo) as the new exhibit still did not provide the space and natural conditions the elephants need for health and well-being.

On Tuesday July 24th, California Superior Court Judge John L. Segal issued an injunction against the L.A. Zoo prohibiting the use of bull hooks and electric shock, required the zoo to till the soil in the exhibit regularly, and to exercise the elephants a minimum of two hours a day.

Judge Segal stated in his 56 page decision, “All is not well at the Los Angeles Zoo. Contrary to what the zoo’s representatives may have told the Los Angeles City Council in order to get construction of the $42 million exhibit approved and funded, the elephants are not healthy, happy or thriving.”

Mark Boster LA Times Credit

Tina and Jewel have been at the L.A. Zoo since November 2010
(Photo: Mark Boser / LA Times)

The Elephants of Asia exhibit consists of two acres of useable space subdivided into five yards. The three L.A. Zoo elephants, Billy, Tina, and Jewel, have lived there since it opened in 2010. Since the exhibits inception, animal advocates have stated it does not provide adequate room for the elephants to exercise and does not enrich their lives. Judge Segal agreed, saying “the quality of life that Billy, Tina, and Jewel endure in their captivity is particularly poor.” He was also critical of zookeepers’ knowledge of elephant behavior.

Billy - LA Zoo

Billy has been at the L.A. Zoo since 1989

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) has been campaigning for the closure of the L.A. Zoo elephant exhibit for over 27 years. LCA’s Special Investigation Unit provided the prosecution with undercover footage of Billy, when he was young, being brutally beaten during training. Billy has been at the L.A. Zoo since 1989; Tina and Jewel arrived in November 2010.

LCA’s Chris DeRose said: “I applaud the decision of Judge Segal and actions of Aaron Leider and the late Robert Culp. The L.A. Zoo elephant exhibit should be closed for good and the elephants relocated to a sanctuary where they can have the room they need to roam, forage and bond with other elephants. To quote Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, “A zoo is not an appropriate place for an animal as large as an elephant.”

Read more about LCA’s Elephant Sanctuaries – Not Captivity campaign and how sanctuaries, not the zoo, are where these elephants should be living.

LCA Donate

Kitten Attack!

Beware of Kitten! (Not for the faint of heart!)

A Life is a Life

In the wake of the extremely tragic shooting last night in Aurora Colorado at the movie theater, I have been contemplating the sanctity of life. It is indeed horrifying what that guy did at the theater. Why can’t we have the expectation of going to a movie and enjoying ourselves without fear that some lunatic asshole is going to start blasting away with absolutely no regard for human life? Don’t we have the expectation of safety anymore when we go out in public? Do we all have to arm ourselves and barricade our front doors and become hermits in our own homes?

And although it is not NEAR as tragic as what this guy did last night, isn’t it also tragic how easily we can take an animal’s life? How easy and convenient it is to keep a dog or a horse we don’t really love chained to a tree outside in the blazing sun? Or how we can elect to make an animal our pet just to ignore and abuse and not feed it? Is an animal’s life worth as much as a human life? No. Animals don’t provide the same (in some cases) benefit to humanity. But still, shouldn’t even what many consider a “dumb” animal have the expectation of a pain free life without the constant fear of man? I mean if they don’t deserve that right in your eyes, then don’t raise them. Completely divorce yourself from any contact with them. And that includes eating them. If you can’t respect animal life, then chances are, you probably don’t have the highest regard for human life either.

Perhaps equating human and animal lives is not valid. Perhaps it is. Isn’t every living, breathing being just as worthy of life?

Saving a One Month Old Elephant from the Mud

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From Huffington Post

Elephant Mother Saves Her Baby Trapped in Mud

Today’s Phunny

Oh, and One More Thing…

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Do you know?

What is the Hokey Pokey REALLY all about? No, I mean it. Is this REALLY what it’s all about?

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,

And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!

Is it just that simple? Showing up everyday and putting your right foot in and out? Could life possibly really be that simple? Have we made putting that right foot in so complicated that life is no longer just a silly little dance we all must get through?

Just askin’

And Now for Something Completely Different

Unrelated (but related) to animal rights, I am today pondering a couple of questions related to religion.

  • Jesus, according to the christian bible, was a poor Jewish carpenter, who lived a humble life of poverty. So, why is it then, that there are so many super rich “christians” especially those mega church pastors? If you are supposed to emulate and live like Jesus, who was by no means rich, how are you being a true follower?
  • If we are alone here in this vast universe, and we are the only habitable planet in the entire expanse of space, why did god create the entire universe as vast and magnificent as it is, knowing that we would be the only tiny little speck inhabited? Knowing we would never see all there is to see out there, why did he “create” it all? And, if there are other worlds out there, did he create those planets and populate them with the same types of people as we are? Did they require a “savior” too because their version of “Adam and Eve” also ate of the apple, or kumquat, or whatever the equivalent fruit was?
  • And if god gave dominion over all of the animals of the earth to man, did he or does he condone the incredible cruelty and violence we commit on these animals? Did he give them emotional lives and feelings, and family structures just so man could destroy them at every turn? And if he doesn’t condone this cruelty, how can any “christian” eat or use animal products? Why would they not all be Vegans?

Just askin’

A Miracle Rescue

From Huffington Post:

SALT LAKE CITY — A baby golden eagle is recovering at a wildlife rehabilitation facility after officials say it miraculously survived a Utah wildfire last month.

But the veteran Utah Division of Wildlife Resources volunteer found the burned bird alive on June 28 behind a charred tree, about 25 feet below the nest that was burned to a crisp in the 5,500-acre Dump Fire near Saratoga Springs.

“I thought there was no chance he would be alive. I was stunned when I saw him standing there,” Keller said. “I thought maybe I could rebuild the nest a little bit, but I took a good look at him and realized that was not going to happen.”

The 70-day-old eaglet had suffered burns on his talons, beak, head and wings. His flight feathers were melted down to within an inch or two of his wing and tail. He’s very underweight at just over five pounds.

Keller realized the eagle would not fly for at least a year and that the parents eventually would stop providing food. Not a stick from the nest was left after the fire sparked by target shooters swept through

“I’ve seen nests burn before, but this is the first year I have seen one burn with young in it,” he told the Tribune. “They are usually long gone and flying when fire season starts.”

After permission was secured from state and federal wildlife agencies, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden assumed care of the eaglet this week.

“I wasn’t sure he was going to make it,” said DaLyn Erickson, executive director of the center. “He kind of had that look like he may have given up.”

But the eagle named Phoenix has since taken to eating beef heart and venison. He’s treated several times a day for his burns and seems to be gaining strength.

“He looks good now,” said Amber Hansen, a member of the center’s board of directors. “But we think if he had been there (at the nest site) another day, he probably would not have survived.”

What seems to have saved his life during the fire was the insulation offered by his down feathers and once-thick body, according to the wildlife rehabilitation center.

Officials hope the bird can be released back into the wild next year, but say it’s too early to tell about its future. Volunteers will work to keep him as wild as possible.

“It depends on how much follicle damage there is to his wings,” Hansen said. “If they are not too burned, he should be able to molt into new feathers next year and hopefully be able to fly.”

Shelters Overburdened During the Summers

For many reasons, animal shelter get overwhelmed in Summers especially with cats/kittens. You can help by visiting one of your local shelters and finding a new family member to adopt. Many of the smaller shelters such as SARA Sanctuary in Seguin, Texas especially find themselves in financial difficulty because they are generally not in the city, and are not the recipients of many donations.

From The Huffington Post:

Animal Shelters Overburdened With Cats In Summer (What You Can Do)

LOS ANGELES — Summer at animal shelters across the country means more animals, more work, more bills and more worries.

And there are sometimes fewer staffers, volunteers and donations to handle it.

At the majority of animal shelters in the country, kittens make up problem Nos. 1 through 10 every summer, said Dr. Kate F. Hurley, director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at the University of California at Davis Center for Companion Animal Health.

“Kitten season” starts in the spring and ends in the fall in most parts of the country — a single unspayed female cat can have up to two litters of four or more kittens each.

The Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department gets hundreds of kittens during the summer, but it “feels like millions,” said director Barbara Bruin.

“People are more likely to get a dog fixed than a cat, more likely to microchip a dog than a cat and more likely to claim a dog than a cat. Cats are the throwaways and we end up with way too many litters,” she said.

Many kittens die because they are brought in so young they have to be bottle-fed and there aren’t enough hands, she said. Disease in younger kittens also takes a toll. “We lose a lot of kittens this time of year,” Bruin said.

Yolo County Animal Services in Woodland, near the university, normally takes in about 150 cats a month. From May to October, though, that number jumps to 300, Hurley said. The Dumb Friends League, which operates shelters in Colorado, had 350 to 400 cats in February but 751 on June 1, said spokesman Chris Gallegos.

Adding to the population explosion at shelters are puppy litters, runaway dogs (kids leave doors and gates open), dogs hit by cars and dogs rescued from hot cars.

In the past, shelters in college towns would have a rush of abandoned pets when school let out, but that’s been changing in recent years, Hurley said. There are a few owners who will dump their pets so they can go on vacation, but with that kind of owner, the pets are probably better off, Bruin said.

Extra animals don’t mean more room, more staff or more money, Hurley said. “It’s a huge challenge and it comes at the same time a lot of us think about our vacations.”

Location can cause different sets of problems. June is the start of hurricane season, so in Florida that means extra feeding, cleaning and adoption events to place more animals and more time spent working in the rain and preparing for storms, said Janet Winikoff, director of education at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County in Florida.

In some cities, shelters lose volunteers because students go home, snowbirds go north and helpers go on vacation. Some shelters are lucky and the number of volunteers goes up.

The Richmond (Va.) Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals averages 350 volunteers between September and May and 415 from June to August, said chief operating officer Tamsen Kingry. “Much of this increase is due to college students and high schoolers spending time with us during their summer vacations,” she said.

Lucky volunteers might be asked to work early or late to exercise animals when it’s coolest, but most staff and volunteers have to deal with the heat if they are responding to cruelty and neglect cases, hauling equipment, mucking out stalls or doing other daytime chores.

Besides food bills and utility bills, summer medical costs go up at most shelters.

“Fleas and ticks are horrible in the summer, and this year is worse than ever because we had a mild winter that did not kill them off,” said Whitney Jones, animal care manager at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, Tenn. “We purchase flea and tick medication in bulk to manage these costs, but yes, treating active flea and tick infestations does get pricey.”

Medicine for heartworm — transmitted by mosquitoes — is another necessity, especially in damper parts of the country.

All of this comes while donations universally go down in the summer. But there is a bright side: Adoptions generally go up.

“We usually have an increase in adoptions, especially in recent years with the downturn in the economy,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. “More people declined family vacations or big purchases (like a boat or recreational vehicle) and instead chose to adopt a pet.”

Last year in Richmond, about 30 percent of the animals placed all year were adopted in June, July and August, Kingry said.

“Many families come to us during the summer because they tend to spend more time at home, and children are out of school and can bond with the new family member,” she said.

Further Proof…

That animals are more than just “stupid things” to use and abuse as we see fit.

From BuzzFeed:

14 Stories That Prove Animals Have Souls