Taiji Dolphin Slaughter Update – two additional actions

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Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians and CNN, are reporting that the Taiji slaughter of dolphins is finished for this particular capture. Though the figures of dolphins killed and those sold into slavery to aquariums for “entertainment” differ between the two reports, Sea Shepherd’s numbers were specific while CNN’s vague and quoted from Tokyo sources.

Lolita Killer Whale

Additional Actions to take: After reading the Sea Shepherd accounting (below), and the evidence presented by Rick O’Barry of the Dolphin Project that these kills are not 400 year-old traditions please take these two additional actions. It is still important to let the Japanese government know you are not forgetting this barbaric travesty. So, in addition to yesterdays Action steps, please email your protest directly to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government: https://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment_ssl.html You will see a form to fill in. Then, send a note to Gerald Dick the CEO of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He could end future captures and killings enforcing WAZA’s code of ethics: Dr. Gerald Dick / gerald.dick@waza.org

Reports / Documentation from Taiji 2014

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians describes the scene on 21 January 2014:

“For the fifth straight day the killers of Taiji, Japan inflicted further pain and suffering on 42 of the 250 Bottlenose dolphins that were herded into the cove. After the killers arrived at daybreak they pushed the first Bottlenose dolphin pod to the killing shore with the same inhumane muscle and force typical in Taiji. Unfortunately, however, the pod that fought so hard in the previous days was unable fight from lack of food, exhaustion, and injuries sustained from killers and motors over the last five days. …

… A total of 93 Bottlenose dolphins were taken from the ocean in the past 5 days by the barbaric killers and trainers of Taiji, Japan. The killers claim the barbaric drive, starvation, beating, and murdering of dolphins is their culture. However, they continue to try and hide their actions and make millions of dollars off of the captive industry that is used for funding the slaughter. Total: 52 captives / 41 deaths / 130-140 driven back out to sea.” https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.279034838913420.1073741883.109164785900427&type=1

From the Dolphin Project, correcting history

Unfortunately, media continue to not challenge the Japan government’s propaganda that this is an ancient cultural tradition. From Dolphin Project’s Rick O’Berry we’ve excerpted part of their 20 January media release: “Taiji Dolphin Hunt Not a Tradition”.

Claims being made by the Japanese government to the media and the public that the Taiji dolphin drive hunts, … are part of Japan’s “traditional culture” are completely false.  … 

One of Japan’s foremost defenders of the dolphins, our colleague Sakae Hemmi of the Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan, submitted a letter a few weeks ago to Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), which includes as a member the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), one of whose members is the Taiji Whale Museum, which brokers dolphins from the dolphin hunts around the world.

 Dr. Dick responded to Elsa stating that WAZA would not take action against the hunts:  “As you know, in some Japanese communities these drives have been part of the culture for centuries.”  This same false claim is now being made to the media by the Japanese government.

“This claim of ‘Japanese tradition’ is nonsense,” stated Ric O’Barry, Director of Earth Island’s Dolphin Project. “The dolphin drive hunts, according to the town’s own written history, says a couple of drive hunts occurred in 1936 and 1944, but the current series of hunts only began in 1969.”

Ms. Hemmi has replied… “In fact, the history of dolphin hunting in Taiji is short. According to The History of Taiji, edited and published by Taiji town in 1979, the first recorded dolphin drive was in 1933, with subsequent hunts occurring in 1936 and 1944. It was not until 1969 that dolphin drives have been conducted on a large scale. The history of the dolphin drives spans not so-called 400 years, but a mere 45. Furthermore, in 1969, the main goal of the dolphin drive was to capture pilot whales as prized showpieces for the Taiji Whale Museum. In other words, the dolphin drive was purely for profit, having nothing to do with cultural history.” See more at http://savejapandolphins.org/blog/post/taiji-dolphin-drive-hunt-is-not-a-tradition

Green Vegans thanks the many people and their organizations who had to bear witness to this butchery so that the world would have eyes.

 

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter Action Alert

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The Japanese “Cove” killing grounds remain active at Taiji, Japan. Currently, over 250 dolphins have been scared into a series of small netted cages. They’ve not eaten for over three days. As of this writing, the Taiji fishers are selecting dolphins for imprisonment in aquaria entertainment businesses around the world. The butchering of the remaining dolphins, entire pods and calves, seems certain to begin soon, perhaps tomorrow, 21 January, 2014. Here is today’s coverage by CNN. Difficult to watch but motivating our responses. http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/world/asia/japan-dolphin-hunt//   and in print http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/this-slaughter-is-lawful-says-japan-more-than-200-dolphins-trapped-in-a-remote-bay-are-expected-to-be-killed-by-hunters-9073079.html

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Though Japanese consulates are closed today in the U.S. for Martin Luther King Day (Freedom, ironically),  the Seattle office is oddly closed on Tuesday, 21 January as well though there are no Japanese holidays then. Perhaps there’s a Taiji connection, perhaps not. The San Francisco consulate phone recording makes no mention of being closed on Tuesday, 21 January. So be certain to call the Japanese Washington, DC embassy, and consulates everywhere first thing Tuesday, 21 January. Those of you living outside of the U.S. can also make repeated calls to the embassy of Japan in your country. Be certain to also call Japanese consulates located in smaller cities. Keep trying until you get a live person. You can find contact information for Japanese embassies and consulates around the world here: http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc/consulate-guide.html

The Seattle consulate phone number is 206.682.9107. They are closed daily from 11:30 to 1:00. We are attempting a Seattle rally response on short notice so bear with us. Given the holiday and timing of the slaughter, this makes your phone calls very important.

Next, email the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, to thank her for her outspoken Tweet that criticized the Taiji killings. “Caroline Kennedy, the recently installed U.S. ambassador to Japan, tweeted that she is ‘deeply concerned by in humaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing.’” (CNN, 1/20/2014) Go to http://japan2.usembassy.gov/e/info/tinfo-email.html

This is the petition we are seeing most at present but there may be more. http://links.causes.com/s/clOHdD

We will post updates on the Green Vegans website, www.greenvegans.org and on our Facebook page.

Please don’t wait. Respond now. Share this information using social media to create more opposition and outrage against the Taiji dolphin slaughter. Thank you.

Will Anderson

Green Vegans / The New Human Ecology

Seattle, WA

Congratulations! Idaho Wolf and Coyote UPDATE

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iStock_000008330410XSmallYour calls and emails are having the desired effect. The only national sponsor of the “First Annual 2-Day Wolf and Coyote Derby” was NAPA (Auto Parts). They have withdrawn their sponsorship. Agencies and sponsors are being flooded with calls from all over the world. In one instance alone, our Tweet regarding Alert #2 was forwarded to 34,000 people. As you’ve seen, other organizations are having a profound impact as well with their parallel alerts.

Feel free to call and thank NAPA for withdrawing from sponsorship of the slaughter by using the contact information you’ll find in Alert #2 at www.greenvegans.org.

In addition, several  organizations have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the refusal of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to require a permit for the wolf and coyote-killing contest on the lands they manage. We will post their press release tomorrow along with an update on the responses Green Vegans has received regarding our letter to the state agencies involved. You’ve made a difference. Thank you and thank yourselves.

Stop the Devil’s Egg Bill aka the Rotten Egg Bill

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iStock_000012708963XSmallUnmoved by critics who condemned what was called the “rotten egg bill” in 2012 (US Senate Bill 3239), the same nonprofit animal welfare organizations have returned with their 2013 effort, The Devil’s Egg Bill. It is weaker and more harmful to egg-laying chickens than last year’s version. The 2013 Senate Bill 820 is a misguided return to an animal welfare mistake that locks you, me and every organization and state out of improving the lives of chickens forever entombed in animal agriculture. Go here to see a side-by-side comparison of the 2012 and 2013 bills. S.820 is fairly convoluted with special rules applicable to California only because of that state’s legislation, Proposition 2, that had set cage and confinement standards for chickens and individuals from other species.

The highlights of S. 820: Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013

AFTER reading this posting, immediately contact your congressional representatives. Tell them you oppose the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments in all bills. Use the information below and feel free to cut and paste it into your emails to them. Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or go to http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

As proposed and posted online 25 April 2013:

  • The 2012 version of the bill used the word “must” consistently as the implementing mandate, as in “must provide environmental enrichment”; the 2013 bill (the “Act”) replaces “must” with “shall” throughout. I’m not an attorney, but “must” and “shall” are implementing words that I fear were changed with intention to weaken the bill. Going to the U.S. Federal Register website, “Drafting Legal Documents / Principles of Clear Writing / Section 3” you will see they believe it correct to, “use ‘must’ instead of ‘shall’” because:

“shall imposes an obligation to act, but may be confused with prediction of future action”
“must imposes obligation, indicates a necessity to act”

The impacts that this (must/shall) language change will have on egg-laying hens is up to Senators and attorneys to debate, but the plain English use of “must” in the original bill appears far more robust than “shall” in the 2013 Act. That change should be opposed.

Environmental Enrichment

  • The 2013 Act: “(a) The term ‘adequate environmental enrichments’ means adequate perch space, dust bathing or scratching areas, and nest space, as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture, based on the best available science, including the most recent studies available at the time that the Secretary defines the term.” The deadline schedule for the Secretary of Agriculture to define “adequate environmental enrichments” has been deleted from the current Act. The deleted section from 2012 read, “The Secretary shall issue regulations defining this term not later than January 1, 2017, and the final regulations shall go into effect on December 31, 2018.”
  • New cages have 9 years to implement environmental enrichment; existing cages have 15 years.

Floor Space

  • Existing cages. At the end of four years and until 15 years post passage of the Act, the larger brown hens get 76 square inches to live within; white hens get 67. After 15 years, browns get 144 square inches; white hens 124.
  • New Cages. Beginning year three and until year six, browns get 90 square inches, whites get 78 square inches of floor space. Between years six and nine, the allotment is 102 for the browns, 90 for the white hens. Nine to twelve years, 116 browns, 101 whites. From year twelve to fifteen years out from passage of this Act, browns get 130, whites 113. After fifteen years, the grand prize is 144 square inches for brown hens, 124 for white hens.
  • Allotted floor space for chickens “shall” be increased incrementally over many years uses a few ways to measure progress. Remember that brown hens are larger than white hens and thus are allotted additional square inches.
  • The first measure is floor space divided by the number of birds still in a cage by certain deadlines as I described above.
  • A second measure was added. At years six and twelve, surveys are taken to see if 25% and 55% respectively of the hens are caged according to the Act. By 31 December 2029, all environmental enrichments, and the glory of 144 square inches for brown hens and 124 for white hens, is the end result of S. 802. A report is made at each of these incremental stages. HOWEVER…

 No person, organization, or state government may improve on any provision of this Act if it differs from the Act though betters the lives of hens. And, there is no sunset language in this bill that would allow individuals, organizations, or states to make improvements after 2029—in effect, forever—unless Congress passed a newer bill.

  • Box labels are defined loosely, but there appears to be no penalties (confiscations, fines, criminal charges) for mislabeling. There is only a vaguely worded prohibition in commerce.
  • Insanely cruel practices will continue under this bill: burning of the sensitive tips of beaks; the whole sale slaughter of male chicks at birth; and not a single hen will be spared from slaughter after living a life confined to at most, 144 square inches, a floor area square 12 inches to a side. Aggressive birds may get more, the cooperative, less.
  • There appears to be no companion appropriations bill to pay for overseeing compliance of S.802.
  • There appears to be no penalties for violating the provisions of this bill. If the Secretary of Agriculture in any of his reports finds noncompliance, he submits the reports to various committees, and perhaps declares that provisions are now in effect regardless of compliance (unclear to me if this moves up the timetable for reforms). Eggs without carton labels describing how the hens were raised “shall” not be part of commerce. Eggs coming from covered sources that do not provide the “enrichment” and tiny space allocations less than those as scheduled in the Act are prohibited from commerce. But, again, there are no provisions for confiscations, fines, or any other impediment that would stop that commerce even after a notice, if any, were given. I’m hoping I missed something on this point.
  • S.802 does not protect over 56 million commercial laying hens every month, and many more millions over the course of every year as the egg-laying hens are killed and replaced when productivity declines. Why? “All layers in the United States on April 1, 2013 totaled 348 million…. The 348 million layers consisted of 292 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.11 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs.” S.802 only covers table eggs. IN ADDITION, all flocks of less than 3,000 hens are excluded from this bill. According to the USDA, “Flocks with more than 30,000 layers account for over 80 percent of all layers.” So, the remaining, unknown number of flocks below 3,000 hens are part of this percentage, inferred somewhere below 20%, and not covered by this bill.
  • Forced molting (the deprivation of water, food, and light to increase egg production) is allowed to continue for two more years AFTER the act is passed.
  • The Act allows 25 ppm of ammonia in the air in egg-layer housing but the 2013 version allows temporary increases for unusual conditions. At 25 ppm, “Marked eye, skin, and respiratory irritation” occurs in humans. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) at here.
  • This bill is an ecological disaster. I will post a separate blog on that aspect in the coming weeks.

Specific to California

  • Environmental enrichment. For new cages installed after the Act is enacted, enrichment commences three months after passage of the bill, an item that I would expect to affect a fraction of total cages in California; existing cages have until 1 January 2024. Last year’s bill simply stated that “All caging devices in California must provide egg-laying hens housed therein, beginning December 31, 2018, adequate environmental enrichments.” For the vast majority of California hens, this adds five years before enriched cages are required.
  • Floor Space. There are similar benchmarks and phasing in of environmental enrichment and allocations of floor space in California over time, excepting they are structured differently. The California Department of Agriculture is eventually handed back authority over the provisions of this ACT—after 15 years. California Proposition 2, driven primarily by the Humane Society of the United States, the same organization behind S.802, was decisively passed by voters there in 2008. In part, it provided that, ““Fully extending his or her limbs” means fully extending all limbs without touching the side of an enclosure, including, in the case of egg-laying hens, fully spreading both wings without touching the side of an enclosure or other egg-laying hens.” It is set to go into effect 1 January 2015. If this Act passes, all the work of volunteers and monies spent will be cast aside. Chickens will be denied Prop 2’s provisions for an additional nine years. A similar initiative was stopped mid-signture collection in Washington State as a sign of good will by HSUS to United Egg Producers, the entity they tried to negotiate a fair bill with, but failed in decency.

S. 802 is convoluted and complex in its proposed changes. I’ve not included all of them. Though there are deep disagreements about what strategies best serve laying hens, in this case the end result of this Act leaves intact an insanely cruel industry. For whatever relief supporters of this Act believe they are providing for these hens, most consumers will certainly think the issues about chickens in animal agriculture have been settled. For all the petition-gatherers, and the once believable reputations of mainstream “animal groups”, it is essential they take another look at this disaster of a bill. You tried to negotiate with the largest industry imaginable and lost. This bill must be defeated. Your alliances with industry, pig slaughter businesses, retail meat outlets, and celebrity chefs must stop. Their intent is to increase the slaughter and all the terrible consequences chickens and other species experience in animal agriculture in their awareness minute by minute.

We must review the vegan movement’s mission and the diversity of its messaging. Diversity can be a strength, and I believe it is still. But there are lines that have been crossed. One of them is the arrogant assumption any subset of organizations has a right to stop all future “improvements” and lessen the remaining cruelties, if not end them, by the rest of us, including state governments. We operate within a constantly changing environment that requires adaptive strategies. It’s time to refine those strategies, and stop legislating the institutionalization of the slaughter billions of chickens who need us to stop the industry, not enable its continued existence.

Do we believe consumers are too stupid, uncaring, overwhelmed, and incapable of personal change? Or do we follow the examples of other justice movements that succeeded when it seemed impossible? When we defeat this bill, we will have an enhanced responsibility to stop animal agriculture’s harm and death for all chickens and other species. What could we otherwise accomplish by 2029, when this act “shall” allow up to 144 square inches of living space for some chickens? The New Human Ecology, a vegan human ecology, is an efficient platform we will continue to promote for all chickens, individuals from other species, people, and ecosystems. Kill the bill. And then work together on a different strategy.

FOR ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND and documentation about this proposed Act, be sure to study these websites and support their work as well: United Poultry Concerns and Humane Farming Association.