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07/09/2014

Elephant Raju is saved after 50 years of abuse, cries during rescue  »

imageThis is Raju! See how happy he looks? Well happiness is a brand new feeling for Raju as he was only recently rescued from years of abuse. Get the tissues! No, really, I might be crying a bit.

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Raju had been working as a begging elephant in Allahabad. People would give the mahout tips in exchange for ‘blessings’ by Raju. Most of the food he got was inappropriate for an elephant. However, half starving, Raju would eat almost anything.

His mahout would beat him to make him keep begging and he was made to wear spiked chains that dug into his skin. 

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But after 50 years, Raju has finally been rescued, thanks to Wildlife SOS, India. Raju’s “owner” didn’t want to give him up:

His mahout and previous owner were non-cooperative and made things very difficult to rescue Raju. They put more chains on him and pulled the spikes tighter and then had people blocking the roads leading to the rescue truck. 

Awful!!! Makes me so mad! But Wildlife SOS did not give up! But after dealing with those terrible people, Raju himself was a challenge. It took a while to gain enough trust with Raju to get him on the truck to safety, but after coaxing with fruit, they say Raju realized he was finally in good hands, and he began to cry.

imageFrom Wildlife SOS:

Have you ever seen a grown elephant cry? This photo is a reminder to all that elephants have strong emotional lives and they have the ability to suffer deeply. This photo was taken of Raju when the rescue mission first began. He had a flood of tears from his eyes when our team first moved in to secure his freedom Some would question that Raju was truly weeping. However, our team that witnessed this moment know differently. This photo is shared at this moment not with the intention of depressing everybody, but with the hope that we can use it as an educational tool to enlighten others that elephants around the world need our help.

Here’s Raju now! This is him munching on a jackfruit at the sanctuary. He looks so pleased!!!!

imageAnd Wildlife SOS bought a literal truckload of jackfruit for him!

imageThese are the elephants he will now live with:

imageHe’ll finally have elephant companions!

If you want to help Raju, they have a donation page just for him. You can also donate directly to Wildlife SOS India to support their work to save other abused elephants. Help if you can!

05/05/2014

L.A. bans painful tools used to train elephants!  »

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Infuriating still from Peta’s "Elephants in Circuses: Training & Tragedy"

On Wednesday, Los Angeles sided with the elephants when the city council banned the use of “bullhooks, pitchforks, baseball bats and other goads that circus trainers use to control elephants and other exotic animals.”*

First of all, “pitchforks and baseball bats”?!

Secondly, thank you, L.A. The city council’s vote was unanimous (faith in humanity momentarily restored), and the ban takes effect in January 2017, a delay “meant to give circuses time to change how they handle elephants or remove them from the shows.” (You know which choice I’m rooting for.)

Naturally Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spokesman Stephen Payne (insert snide remark about how much pain elephants are caused by this abuse), was pissed, and said the law was “completely unnecessary.” He went on to say that this new ban “would force the cancellation of Los Angeles circus events” (excellent!) and City News Service quoted him as saying that the circus may move to a venue outside the city limits. (I see a PETA protest happening.)

City Councillor Paul Koretz said using bullhooks is “inhumane and unhealthy,” and that “the circus is welcome in Los Angeles, just without the bullhooks. … We’re hoping that they follow the model of other circuses that don’t use exotic animals.” 

Happy day for the elephants and other “exotic animals!”

04/08/2014

Court rules to send abused elephant Sunder to sanctuary!  »

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This is exciting! Sunder has been chained and abused for years while PETA India has campaigned for his release. Finally, the high court of Bombay ruled in favor of PETA! HUZZAH!

ONE PROBLEM. Sunder was supposed to be freed in 2012:

The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then spirited away at the behest of Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained in chains. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined Sunder found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down.

It wasn’t a ruling by the high court so maybe it’s different this time. Regardless, I’m happy that the government of India is on Sunder’s side! And let’s all hope to the highest hope that this time Sunder gets his sanctuary! My heart goes out to you, sweet ele!

I’m not sure if there’s an easy way to donate to the sanctuary Sunder is supposed to go to, but here is some info on that. You can donate to PETA India here

10/25/2013

LA bans bullhooks! Huzzah!  »

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Yay! Good news for eles! Los Angeles has officially banned the use of bullhooks—i.e. that awful fire poker-looking thing above that Ringling Brothers and other circuses use to “guide” elephants. They also happen to use it to beat elephants. Because they love them so much. 

As the LA Times says, this kind of just makes it so circuses can’t go to LA. As the LA Times also says, 

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., said the ordinance would have the effect of “kicking us out of Los Angeles.”

Ringling allows trainers and elephants to be in close proximity — or “free contact” — and therefore the tool must be used for safety purposes, Payne said. He contends that the company’s handlers use it professionally and humanely.

The Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits North American zoos, has instructed all its members, by 2014, to allow only restricted contact between keepers and elephants — meaning there will be a barrier at all times between person and pachyderm. Although the association does not expressly prohibit bullhooks, restricted contact lessens the need to use them.

If the circus can’t come to town without bullhooks, then it shouldn’t come.

Right?!

Sadly, apparently it might take up to three years to take effect but it’s still a super great advance in the terrible treatment of imprisoned eles. 

A classic Megan Rascal cartoon. 

08/15/2013

The News You Need: Baby Elephant plays in mud, is cute as all get out  »

Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!

Here’s your cute for the day—nay, for the month! Seriously, it’s ridic. This is little Navaan, born in a sanctuary in Thailand. His mother “worked” for an illegal logging operation until she stepped on a land-mind and couldn’t work anymore. So then she was forced into a breeding program. When she didn’t get preggers, Elephant Nature Park* was able to secure her as a new resident. But guess what! She was totally preggers! But no one knew. Then one night, bam! Navaan! And what a happy boy he is! Are you going to die from the cuteness? I plan on it.

*I love this from their site: “At ENP, there are no tricks. There are no rides. No elephant paintings can be bought. Here, these elephants are allowed to live their lives free from bullhooks, free from abuse.”

05/09/2013

Guys, this is Ajabu, an orphaned elephant rescued just a month ago in Kenya.

Ajabu was just a day or two old when she was spotted all alone in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park on 4th April 2013. When it became apparent that there were no other elephants in the area, a call was put into the DSWT to rescue Ajabu.

Two weeks on and this tiny orphaned elephant is making good and steady progress at the DSWT’s Elephant Nursery in Nairobi National Park. Read the full rescue update on Ajabu and support her future by fostering her at DSWT.

Guys, she’s so little and she has to wear sunblock to protect her baby skin! What a darling. Thank goodness for organizations like the DSWT, who can rescue orphaned elephants and provide for their needs. Keep up with Ajabu and sponsor her and her fellow residents at DSWT online.

03/20/2013

NYC: Protest the evil Ringling Brothers and their elephant-beating ways tonight!  »

Lovely protest sign made for tonight by the lovely Jess Davis. Used entirely without her permission. 

It’s billed as New York’s biggest circus protest in history and it’s tonight! I’m going to be there along with a few gagillion of my favorite animal lovers to tell Ringling that they are big d-bags! I hate them so much! How could you not? Eles are only the greatest animals and Ringling is so so evil to them

The protest starts tonight at 6pm and goes until April 1st, at the Barclays Center (620 Atlantic Ave.). Please make it out to protest at least one show! Down with Ringling! Down with bullhooks! Up with eles!

12/06/2012

The short, miserable lives of zoo elephants: A Seattle Times exposé  »

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Here’s a shocker: Elephants in U.S. zoos have been and continue to be subjected to awful living conditions, and reckless breeding programs, and suffer early, painful deaths.

[T]he decades-long effort by zoos to preserve and protect elephants is failing, exacerbated by substandard conditions and denial of mounting scientific evidence that most elephants do not thrive in captivity.

And

The Times did a first-of-its-kind analysis of 390 elephant fatalities at accredited U.S. zoos for the past 50 years. It found that most of the elephants died from injury or disease linked to conditions of their captivity, from chronic foot problems caused by standing on hard surfaces to musculoskeletal disorders from inactivity caused by being penned or chained for days and weeks at a time.

And

By 2003, the weight of scientific evidence that elephants failed to thrive in zoos, combined with pressure from animal-welfare groups worldwide, prompted U.S. agencies to dramatically slow the importation of wild elephants. An easy supply of elephants masked the premature deaths and decline of captive elephants in U.S. zoos. With their supply line nearly closed, zoos stepped up captive breeding to replenish the dying ranks.

And

[The Association of Zoos and Aquariums along with representatives from dozens of zoos that housed elephants] agreed to “speak and act with a unified voice” in claiming that elephants were thriving in zoos. Together, they hired a crisis-management firm and agreed to dub critics of elephant captivity as “extremists.” They also committed in writing to aggressively breed elephants, following a “species survival plan.”

That’s all from part one. Part two addresses zoos’ sneaky methods of importing wild elephants, and their efforts to keep their old, abused elephants out of sanctuaries like (Vegansaurus favorite) PAWS.

A consortium of zoos is also building its own sanctuary where zoos can send unwanted males. Officials broke ground in April on a 225-acre sanctuary called the National Elephant Center in Fellsmore, Fla. The first phase includes a 13,000-square-foot barn and enough pasture for nine elephants. The $15 million project will eventually house up to 36 elephants.

Accredited zoos also plan to use the center for breeding, one way to revitalize the nation’s elephant population.

Gift idea this year: Adopt a PAWS elephant. Zoos really are the grossest. If you want to show tiny children the magic of wild animals, take them to a sanctuary and let a nice staff person explain why putting animals on display is horrible in tiny-child-friendly terms. Or, you know, just watch nature videos on a big TV and recognize you can’t have everything.

[Photo from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (foster an elephant today!) by rabbit.Hole via Flickr]

10/22/2012

Moses, baby orphaned elephant, is the cutest  »

This is Moses. He has a blog. Because he needs one. You would need one too if you were the cutest lil’ ele ever!* 

A very sickly baby Moses was discovered by a river in Malawi. When his mama couldn’t be found (possibly killed by poachers), he was taken in by Jenny Webb of the Jumbo Foundation. Webb is acting as the little guy’s mother until he’s old enough to head out for life on the reserve with his kin. 

Moses gets along great with his current rag tag clan of animals—including Webb’s human baby. Moses is sure to supervise her baths. 

So how much do you want a baby elephant now? Like, so much, right? I guess we have to hang out by rivers in Malawi? I have some vacation days I have to use up. But I think elephants stay with their mothers for like 10 years or so. That’s a commitment. A gazillion pound commitment. In college, I wanted to take guitar lessons but I totally took flute lessons instead because it was the easiest instrument to carry around campus. An elephant is a lot more cumbersome than a guitar. Sigh. I fear I may never mother an ele. 

*Or a highly opinionated gang of vegans

07/27/2012

Protest the terrible circus in the SF Bay Area! Seriously, go, you will not regret speaking up for the elephants!  »

Join Humanity Through Education to protest the terrible circus! Seriously, the circus blows balls (not really, that would be more entertaining and less disgusting than the actual circus) so we must stand up and say HELL NO, CIRCUS. If you love elephants very much, and I KNOW you love elephants very much, then you’ll make your way to one of these events. And seriously, they’re not scary and you meet some great, passionate people and afterwards you can totally binge eat to reward yourself for being the best person alive. 

Take it away, Humanity Through Education:

Your voice is needed to oppose Ringling’s horrible, inhumane practices and their lies regarding these practices. Please join Humanity Through Education to protest the circus and educate patrons about the inherent cruelty of using animals for entertainment.

Oakland Arena (7000 Coliseum Wy., Oakland, off of 880 at the 66th Ave exit). Aug. 8, 9, and 10 at 6 p.m., and Aug. 11 at 12:45 and 5:30 p.m. Please meet in front of the ticket booths.

San Jose Arena (525 West Santa Clara St., San Jose). Aug. 15, 16, 17 at 6 p.m., and Aug. 18 at 12:45 and 5:30 p.m. Please meet on the corner of Santa Clara & Autumn Street.   

Stockton Arena (248 West Fremont St., Stockton). Sept. 13 and 14 at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 15 at 12:45 and 5:30 p.m., and Sept. 16 at 2:45 p.m. Please meet in front of the ticket booths.

Signs and leaflets are provided at each leafleting time listed above. For more information call (650) 248.4489 or email pcuvie@gmail.com. Note: 12:45 p.m. leafletting times are between two shows. It is very important to arrive on time for these leaflettings, as we first leaflet people exiting the early show, who come out quickly and en masse. If we are not set up by the time the early show is done, we will miss our opportunity to educate these people. After the early show crowd disperses, we will turn and leaflet the people attending the later show.

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