vegansaurus!

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.

06/06/2012

Educational toys for zoo elephants! Because life in a zoo shouldn’t be a complete nightmare!  »

This is Emily (l) and Ruth, the two Asian elephants living at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Mass. They’re playing with their new toys, specifically designed by students in the Toys for Elephants class at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

The class has existed for two years, and was created in conjunction with Buttonwood Zoo Park’s director, Dr. William Langbauer, videographer Christen Goguen, and Vicki Croke. The history of the class, a video of the elephants, and a slideshow of these lovely ladies and their new toys are all at 90.9 WBUR’s site, and it’s all great!

As always, we don’t care for zoos as “places to display animals outside of their natural habits,” but they’re not as bad as they used to be (right?). Dr. Langbauer says, “One of our challenges is to give elephants the same sort of environment that they have in the wild…. They don’t need thousands of acres, they need enough room to be able to be together when they want to be together, and apart when they want to be apart.” That sounds reasonable.

We do love the idea of an artistic-scientific collaboration to keep Emily and Ruth sharp. Humans in retirement communities have activities for similar reasons! Not that we’re comparing elephants and the elderly, exactly (though Emily is 49 and Ruth is 54). The point is, if you’re a student at MassArt, you could make toys for elephants, and then see the elephants enjoy those toys, and that sounds pretty great. Plus the ellies look so happy! As long as they’re in a zoo, they might as well be happy.

[photo by Susan Hagner for WBUR]

05/14/2012

According to Grist, when “elephant whisperer” Lawrence Anthony died in March, two herds of his elephant friends came to his house to stand vigil:

Anthony had spent time living with the elephants, in order to care for traumatized animals who were considered violent and unruly. But at the time of his death, of a heart attack, Anthony was living in a house on the Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa. The park’s elephants hadn’t visited the house in a year and a half, but Anthony’s son Dylan says that the herds traveled 12 hours to arrive shortly after his father’s death.

Read more on Grist. Or just cry and wish you knew some eles. That’s my plan.

According to Grist, when “elephant whisperer” Lawrence Anthony died in March, two herds of his elephant friends came to his house to stand vigil:

Anthony had spent time living with the elephants, in order to care for traumatized animals who were considered violent and unruly. But at the time of his death, of a heart attack, Anthony was living in a house on the Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa. The park’s elephants hadn’t visited the house in a year and a half, but Anthony’s son Dylan says that the herds traveled 12 hours to arrive shortly after his father’s death.

Read more on Grist. Or just cry and wish you knew some eles. That’s my plan.

04/23/2012

That actress from CSI speaks out against circuses! I like this video, I like that they show a real bullhook up close. You can’t pretend it’s some delicate handling tool. It looks like what it is: cruel and scary.

Free the eles

02/07/2012

Zoo elephants get pals or get going!   »


Starting in 2016, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums will require room for three elephants (or two if they are both male) if a zoo wants to keep their revered AZA accreditation:

Each zoo holding elephants must hold a minimum of three females (or the space to hold three females), two males or three elephants of mixed gender. If a zoo cannot meet this standard, they must apply for a variance. Before the variance can be issued by the Accreditation Commission the zoo (a) must describe their plan to obtain additional elephants or describe their plan for deacquisitioning their elephants and (b) must describe what will occur if they experience the loss of one elephant. In most cases where an institution has one remaining elephant, the remaining elephant will receive a recommendation for relocation at another AZA institution from the Elephant TAG/SSP. Adult males (6 years and older) may be housed alone, but not in complete isolation. Opportunities for tactile, olfactory, visual, and/or auditory interaction with other elephants must be provided (Rasmussen et al. 1982).
By 1 September 2016, no further variances will be issue

This is because they know elephants are social animals and need friends! The new standard requires three elephants so that if one elephant dies, the other is not left alone. Jeez, a sole elephant in a zoo is so depressing.

This is nice news for the poor elephants stuck in zoos, but do you know why else this is cool? This means a lot of zoos just won’t be able to have any elephants! I’m sure most will be traded to other zoos with enough room for three, but maybe some will be sent to sanctuaries! We can hope. At the very least, the elephants in captivity will have a higher quality of life as socialization is very important to them

I don’t know much about the AZA; they seem like a confused organization. Of course I don’t support zoos, but if there are going to be zoos, I do support animal care and welfare standards. The AZA proudly claims to have (and seems to have) much higher care standards than the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, and they oppose things like the use of apes in commercials and bullhooks for elephant training. Meanwhile, they accredited Have Trunk Will Travel, a company that trains animal “actors” and also uses bullhooks on its elephants. That doesn’t make much sense. Then again, they are very involved in wildlife conservation and promote the idea that all zoos should be donating to efforts to conserve animals in the wild. Yet they are also super pro-zoo and act like zoos are sanctuaries and education centers instead of animal-exploiting businesses. 

I don’t know what to make of the AZA, but I do like this new rule. Let the ellies have pals!

01/05/2012

Orphan elephants being socialized in Kenya, by Michael Nichols. According to National Geographic, “What a scared orphan elephant needs more than anything is other elephants. The process of becoming socialized begins as soon as the worst injuries heal.” My heart!
So sad! So sweet! Read the whole article (from the September 2011 issue of National Geographic) and find yourself tearfully resolving to give money to an elephant-related charity in 2012.

Orphan elephants being socialized in Kenya, by Michael Nichols. According to National Geographic, “What a scared orphan elephant needs more than anything is other elephants. The process of becoming socialized begins as soon as the worst injuries heal.” My heart!

So sad! So sweet! Read the whole article (from the September 2011 issue of National Geographic) and find yourself tearfully resolving to give money to an elephant-related charity in 2012.

11/11/2011

Top 10 links of the week: A slinky catwalk through the sexy hallways of veganism!  »

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

[Now THAT is a bird video. It made my sister cry]

First up: Why Eating Animals is a Social Justice Issue by Malenie Joy.

FOX NEWS ON VEGANISM!

A vending machine that dispenses meat. What. The fuck. 

Um…sex with animals linked to penis cancer. You heard me. 

Britain Some British conservationists want to make an island for orangutans! HOW MUCH DO I WANT TO GO THERE?

The Gothamist has the best news! For me! Cinnamon Snail will soon be making rounds in New York! Huzzah! Exclamation point!

Another from The Gothamist, NYC’s pet shops are filled with puppymill dogs. Adoy!

From Refinery 29, uggo sweaters for the 1%! Lots of wool, lots of fur, lots of fug. 

Turns out, elephants in the Eastern Congo are dying due to human conflict more than anything else. Shit is effed.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero are getting love in The New York Times for their book, Vegan Pie in the Sky: 75 Out-of-this-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and More  Go ‘head, ladies!

11/10/2011

Try not to cry, ladies and gentleman! This is a story of triumph! This prosthetic leg changed Chhouk’s life!: “From being a tired little chap who slept a lot when he went on his walks, he’s now lively and energetic. He never stops.”

I like how he’s so chill when they attach the leg. Such a cute baby! Chhouk was rescued in Cambodia by Wildlife Alliance. And guess what, you can sponsor Chhouk! So fun so fun so fun!

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