Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tiger and Bobcat Comments due by 9/11/09

To: USFWS Re: CoP15 FWS-R9-IA-2009-N0103; 96300-1671-0000 FY09 R4 

Thank you for considering measures to help protect the tiger and other exotic cats.  I am writing specifically about tigers and bobcats, but the perils they face include all species of exotic cats.  In the case of the tiger, there are U.S. facilities that openly market lion meat in restaurants such as Spotos in Dunedin, FL, Czimer's in Chicago, IL and on the Internet at 1/800-Steaks.com.  No one can discern between lion meat (legal) and tiger meat (illegal)

Tigers:  There are less than 3,500 tigers left in the wild and we are losing one tiger per day to poaching.  The demand for tiger parts has continued to rise as developing nations have become more affluent.  China is the largest consumer of illegal tiger parts with the U.S. running a close second.  The private possession of live tigers in China and the U.S. have provided a legal cover for an illegal trade.  Until such practices are banned there will be no way to effectively protect the tiger in the wild.  Demand for tiger parts will always place a higher value on authentic, wild caught tigers.  Killing a tiger in the wild is much cheaper than raising a tiger to a size necessary to fill demand when it costs $7,500 a year to feed and care for a captive tiger who will not reach full size for 4-5 years. 

These must be done to save the tiger: 

1.  Ban the private possession of tigers.

2.  Repeal the exemption for "generic" tigers from the Captive Bred Wildlife permit requirement and require that all tigers be registered in a publicly accessible database, accounted for during their life and upon death, microchipped, and kept from breeding outside of AZA sanctioned Species Survival Plans.

3.   Demand that all who parties who possess more than 8 tigers at any one facility provide a written plan for how they will immediately stop breeding and begin scaling back on their numbers of tigers held by placing them in legitimate sanctuaries that are open to public scrutiny.

Keeping tigers captive is clearly a violation of the intent of the Endangered Species Act.  Being bred into a life of confinement and deprivation as part of a collection, whether that collection be publicly or privately owned, violates the definition of "take" provided in the ESA on several levels.  

First of all, the definition clearly says endangered species and those similar enough in appearance to "substantially facilitate the enforcement" (ie: tiger bones vs. lion bones) may not be collected.  That statement alone would prohibit all captive collections of endangered species, such as tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs and most other exotic cats.   

Harming, harassing and killing are also prohibited by law.  When cubs are ripped from their mothers to be used as photo props, that is a violation.  When adults are killed to make room for new babies for display, that too is a clear violation.  When big cats are hoarded into tiny, filthy cages and given only putrid food, inadequate amounts of food and algae covered water to drink that too is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. 

Even at the height of prosperity in this country there was never enough funding to properly regulate the trade in exotic cats.  In this economic downturn there will be even less oversight of an industry that should not exist.  Captivity by its very nature is inherently cruel to wild animals who were designed to roam over many miles.  There are only a handful of offenders who breed exotic cats for their own profit and pleasure.  More than 75% of the public polled said they would support bans on ALL exotic animals in private possession.  Of the estimated 5,000+ tigers in the U.S. only 256 are in the AZA sanctioned Tiger Species Survival Plan.  The rest should be sterilized and phased out over time as they die of old age. 

Bobcats:  Due to the Russian demand for bobcat fur, their pelts now draw some of the highest prices among trapped furs, commanding as much as $550 for a single hide. As the price has gone up, the number of bobcat skins exported by the U.S. has nearly tripled in five years, to 49,700 in 2006.  Some trappers are capturing bobcats in states with quotas and bringing them to Wyoming, which has no limits, said Scott Adell, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department investigator.  No one really knows how many bobcats live within their state boundaries and scientists have found that births are dropping rather dramatically.  As a rehabber we are seeing case after case of bobcats who are suffering from the effects of a poisoned environment, such as mercury in their food sources.  Bobcats live in areas where the endangered Canada Lynx is struggling against extinction and the same traps that are set for bobcats injure and kill their endangered cousins.  For these reasons as well as moral ones the bobcat should not be removed from Appendix II protection. 

Tigers and bobcats especially need your voice before September 11, 2009.

Please send a letter to both of these addresses:
Div of Management Authority, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 212
Arlington, VA 22203
or via e-mail at: CoP15@fws.gov
or via fax at: 703-358-2298.

Div of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Svc
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 110
Arlington, VA 22203
or via e-mail at: scientificauthority@fws.gov
or via fax at: 703-358-2276.

For more details:  http://www.bigcatrescue.org/laws/2009/CITES.htm

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ANOTHER TIGER TRADER NABBED BY POLICE

ANOTHER TIGER TRADER NABBED BY POLICE

(Hanoi) July 21, 2009 – ENV congratulates the fine work of the Hanoi Environmental Police in this week's seizure of the frozen remains of a tiger, and bones from at least one other tiger. The tigers were seized from a taxi in Hanoi on the morning of July 16. Three men have been arrested in connection with
the case including the alleged owner of the tiger, the driver of the taxi, and an accomplice.

Environmental Police has been working with ENV for nearly seven months, on an investigation of the tiger trade in Vietnam, with the aim of identifying key figures in the illegal trade and better understanding the trade network from source to consumer.

Another study by the Environmental Police, the Forest Protection Department, and ENV has focused on surveying tiger farms to determine the number of tigers currently in captivity in Vietnam. ENV will soon produce a report for senior government officials detailing the findings of both investigations.

At present, there are more than 80 tigers in captivity in Vietnam. However, this number does not include circus animals or all of the animals known to be kept at zoos. ENV is working to ensure that Vietnam does not follow the path of China where tiger farming has developed to the point where about 5,000 tigers are in captivity, and tiger farmers are lobbying to legalize trade. ENV and other conservation organizations acknowledge that this would have a devastating impact on remaining populations of wild tigers throughout their range. Although consumer trade of tiger products is illegal in China, the black market trade continues, and
many experts believe that Chinese tiger farmers are selling tiger products out the back door of their farms.

"The same situation may be beginning to develop in Vietnam", says Nguyen Van Anh, manager of ENV's Wildlife Crime Unit. The tiger case this past week is highly suspicious given some of the circumstances surrounding one of the subjects. At this stage it is too soon to tell the extent to which Vietnamese tiger
farmers may be using the cover of "breeding for conservation or education purposes" to engage in illegal activities.

A new DNA study being conducted by the Environmental Police and ENV will help identify the source of tigers that have been confiscated in the trade over the past two years. Police will collect the samples and hope to learn the subspecies identification of some of the tigers that have been seized in trade, and if possible, the country of origin. This information will help investigators determine the source and mechanism involved in the illegal trade of tigers throughout the region.

ENV has also sought to work closely with leaders in relevant ministries and within the National Assembly to strengthen the protection of tigers and other fully protected species, such as bears and gibbons, both relatively common in illegal trading. Last month, at a meeting organized for key members of the National
Assembly. At that meeting, ENV representatives expressed concern over the possibility that regulations allowing breeding of protected species like tigers and bears will open the door for commercial trade as Vietnam implements its new Biodiversity Protection Law in 2009 which permits the establishment of
"conservation breeding farms" for some endangered species.

Vietnam may have fewer than 100 tigers remaining in the wild. About 3,500 tigers are believed to remain in the wild throughout Asia. However, with tougher laws and stricter punishment on the books, ENV and others on the front lines of conservation are hopeful that Vietnam will not follow, but lead regional efforts to
protect tigers.

"Our focus might have once been about protecting our own tigers," says Van Anh. "However, we can no longer afford to think just about our own tigers. The illegal tiger trade is a global issue transcending borders, and we in Vietnam need to step up and take responsibility as a member of the international
community to 'do our part' and help stop the illegal trade of tigers before they are lost."

Contact ENV for more information about our efforts to protect the region's tigers:
Ms. Nguyen Thi Van Anh
Wildlife Crime Unit Manager vananh.env@gmail.com
Douglas Hendrie
Wildlife Crime Unit Advisor dhendrie@fpt.vn
Some other places of interest to visit:
Visit "A Day in the Life of the Wildlife Crime Unit":
http://www.savingvietnamswildlife.org/Documents/Meet_ENV_WCU_Team.pdf
Saving Vietnam's Wildlife website tiger gallery: http://www.savingvietnamswildlife.org/wildlife/tigers.html
Watch a short film produced by the International Tiger Coalition (ITC) on tiger farming in China:
http://envietnam.org/videos/tiger-trade.html
See the Vietnamese language version of the ITC tiger film produced by ENV:
http://thiennhien.org/index.php?page=documentView&parent=172&id=113
Sign in to Facebook and keep up with our activities:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47162312016
Visit ENV's English-language website and explore other ENV activities: http://envietnam.org/
Visit ENV's Vietnamese-language website: http://www.thiennhien.org/
For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




'Canned hunting' of captive lions banned in South Africa

'Canned hunting' of captive lions banned in South Africa
Published: 7:29PM BST 12 Jun 2009

The controversial sport of "canned hunting", in which trophy hunter tourists pay to shoot specially-bred captive lions, has been banned in South Africa.  The South African government welcomed the move, which followed attempts by lion breeders to block the banning of their trade.  "We need a clean hunting industry, free from unacceptable behaviour which could damage the country's image," said Albi Modise, a spokesman for South Africa's forestry department.
 
Until its ban, South Africa was one of the world's canned hunting capitals, with more than 1,000 lions killed every year by foreign hunters.  Around 120 lion breeders are active in the country, supplying animals for tourists arriving from across the globe in an industry worth almost £1 million a year.  But government proposals put forward in 2007 threatened to crush the industry by ruling that lions bred in captivity could not be hunted until 24 months after they were released into the wild.  Angry breeders challenged the crackdown in court and argued that the regulations should allow captive animals to be shot within a few days of being released from their breeding cages.  But on Friday Bloemfontein High Court judge Ian van der Merwe rejected their claim.

Delivering his verdict, he said biodiversity must be protected and that the breeding of lions in captivity with the sole purpose of canned hunting did not aid their protection.  He added that he believed the breeders only cared about making money.

Animal welfare groups welcomed the judgment.  Animal Rights Africa spokesman Steve Smit said: "Canned hunting is barbaric and South Africa has been shamed by it.  We now hope the government provides adequate provision to insure the new rules are followed. "New laws mean nothing unless they are backed by resources to ensure they are not broken."

Speaking after the verdict, Carel van Heerden, a spokesman for South African Predator Breeders Association, claimed the ruling meant most of the country's 3,000 captive lions would now be humanely destroyed.
She said: "It feels like someone has kicked me in the stomach.  "The practical implications of the verdict are devastating to our industry and to all the people involved in the industry.  "It means that 5,000 breadwinners will soon lose their jobs, and about 3 000 (semi-tame) lions will have to be put down."

The lion breeders have now threatened to sue the government over the decision.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/5516764/Canned-hunting-of-captive-lions-banned-in-South-Africa.html

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Good news for tigers from WWF

From the WWF Tesso Nilo Newsletter, May-June 2009:

Law Enforcement against Tiger Killing in Riau Made a Good Progress


Law enforcement process against tiger killing occurred in Indragiri Hilir District last February and now has shown positive progress. Two suspects who snared and killed three tigers finally were detained by the Judiciary Office of the district in 23 June. Long process of completing the investigation files over this case conducted by the civil investigator (known as PPNS) of the Nature Conservation Agency of Riau finally came to the end. Their investigation file has been accepted by Prosecution Office and therefore the prosecutors can officially detain the two suspects to be processed on the court trial.

Last February four tigers were killed in Indragiri Hilir District. One was killed by community as it attacked two farmers. Other three tigers were killed by poachers after straying into human settlement. Two suspect
poachers had even sold one piece of the three tiger's skins when the PPNS from the Nature Conservation Authority of Riau came to their house to confiscate the evidences.

The scene where the three tigers trapped is actually inside an acacia concession associated with Asia Pulp and Paper group. The scene was a swamp area located relatively far from the capital of the district. The information on this tiger killing was first received by the Tiger Patrol Unit of the project which then made coordination with the BBKSDA Riau and encouraged them to take action. This tiger killing attracted many
attentions from media and even the Minister of Forestry made a statement on national newspaper that he urges police to investigate this tiger killing.

WWF-Indonesia's Riau program helps and facilitates the civil investigators known as PPNS to file this case from the field into administration matters. Though long process of investigation and filing, the prosecutors finally accepted the file and detained the two suspects comprising of a father and a son. The two suspects were detained based on strong evidences that both are involved in the killing of the three tigers. During the
investigation, the two suspects admitted their act and therefore they break Conservation law number 5/1990 that bans everyone to trap, hurt, kill, keep, and trade endangered wildlife.

To build public opinion on law enforcement against this tiger killing case, WWF will shepherd the process through media monitoring in the hope that the court trial will be in favor of conservation effort. The verdict against this case is expected to give deterrent effect to other perpetrators.

Public Campaign for Law Enforcement against Wildlife Poaching

Wildlife killing is rising nowadays in Riau province. This condition is certainly upsetting and therefore requires public action. Wildlife conservation is everybody's responsibility therefore public awareness on protection of wildlife and their habitat needs to be built. To commemorate environment day, a group of youth clubs with support from WWF Indonesia's Riau Program started their campaign from 5 June to call support for their petition.

The petitions among others call on authorities to stop forest destruction and conduct spatial plan that contribute wisely to the people of Riau and conservation of wildlife, be consistent in implementing regulations in forestry sector, impose law against perpetrators of wildlife poaching and trade, take efforts to handle human-wildlife (especially elephant and tiger). The youth club made some ways to attract sympathy from public to in the efforts to gain support for the petition like holding performances of body painting in main roads, signing the support in a 100-m length banner, and distributing pamphlets and stickers to call for the support through on line number. Besides that, the youth club also paid visits to authority like the Governor of Riau, the Head of Riau Parliament, and Vice

Governor of Riau. As the result, the youth club got written support from these authorities.

The youth club did some performances to get public attention on their effort to get support over their petitions like body painting, distributing stickers and pamphlets. The youth club also opens on line support through sending short message service to the secretariat number besides collecting written support from related institutions. During two weeks of collecting the support, the total support gained reached about
1500 signers. This support will be delivered by the youth club to related authorities through face to face meeting which is planned to be set soon. With this meeting, it is expected that the youth club can convey their call to the government to take action over the petition. The youth club has been committed that they will do similar meeting with the institution to monitor commitment from the authority or at least to share update on periodical basis.

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tony the Tiger Next Step

http://freetony.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Poor Tony the Tiger

I found out today that Michael Sandlin HAS received his "parish" permit to keep Tony. Sandlin is now working on getting his Louisiana state license. We need to start writing letters to Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries.

Please send an email to

Maria Davidson mdavidson@wlf.louisiana.gov

&

Robert Barham Chendrick@wlf.louisiana.gov

Thank you to everyone for all that you do for Tony....

Sincerely, Sky Williamson
 
 

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From pythons to fungi, foreign species are invading America



WASHINGTON (AP) — A pet Burmese python broke out of a glass cage last week
and killed a 2-year-old girl in her Florida bedroom. The tragedy became
the latest and most graphic example of a problem that has plagued the state
for more than a decade: a nonnative species that is wreaking havoc in the
Everglades, threatening people, the environment and native wildlife.

"It's just a matter of time before one of these snakes gets to a visitor
in the Florida Everglades," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Nelson has introduced a bill to ban imports of the snakes, after years of
trying to persuade federal wildlife officials to restrict their entry into
the country.

Nelson was one of several senators who warned about the threat of invasive
species at a hearing Wednesday.

From a mysterious fungus attacking bats in the Northeast to zebra mussels
in the Great Lakes and snakehead fish in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,
native wildlife is facing new threats nationwide.

Lawmakers are considering a variety of measures to address the problem,
including a bill that would more closely regulate ballast water discharge to
ensure that invasive species do not enter the country through oceangoing
vessels. Ballast water, which keeps ships stable in rough seas, is blamed for
carrying zebra mussels and many other invasive species into U.S. waters
where they have overwhelmed native species and caused other environmental
harm.

The Environmental Protection Agency has started regulating the ballast
water of oceangoing ships for the first time under the Clean Water Act,
although many state standards are more stringent. Environmentalists say more
extensive treatment of ballast tanks is necessary to keep invasive species out.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he supports a strong national standard for
ballast water treatment that would remain in place for several years,
giving ship owners time to develop new technology. Levin also supports a ban on
imports of Asian carp, but said the aquatic species plaguing Michigan are
no match — in size anyway — for the Burmese python, which can grow to 18
feet and has been known to eat alligators and even deer.

Photos that showed the python were displayed at a hearing conducted by two
Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittees.

Burmese pythons are native to southeast Asia, but they survive easily in
Florida's warm, moist climate.

Some owners have freed the fast-growing pythons into the wild and a
population of them has taken hold in the Everglades. Scientists also speculate
that a bevy of Burmese pythons escaped in 1992 from pet shops battered by
Hurricane Andrew and have been reproducing ever since.

Lawmakers also discussed the fungus killing Northeastern bats. Since it
was discovered in a cave in upstate New York in 2007, the so-called
white-nose syndrome has spread to 65 caves in nine states, and killed at least
500,000 bats. The disease now ranges from West Virginia to Vermont and could
expand across the country, officials said.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. called the fungus a serious threat to the
health, environment and economy of the East Coast.

"Bats are on the front line of defense in protecting the public's health
and our crops, Lautenberg said, noting that bats prey on insects such as
mosquitoes, moths and beetles.

"With fewer bats, there are more mosquitoes to breed disease and more
insects to destroy the crops grown on New Jersey's farms, threatening the
livelihood of our farmers and damaging our economy," Lautenberg said.

Gary Frazer, assistant director for fisheries and habitat conservation for
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the agency has spent nearly $6
million since 2007 studying the bat problem and trying to find solutions. The
agency and the Forest Service also have closed caves to people on forest
lands in 33 states and urged the public not to enter caves or abandoned
mines in states with white-nose syndrome. While there is no evidence the people
can be harmed by the fungus, they may be contributing to its spread.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said better public education is needed to make
Americans more aware of the dangers of exotic pets and invasive species.

http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2009/07/13/features/outdoors/doc4a565ec8a2d12
355436679.txt

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Thursday, July 09, 2009

“Uphold the ban” says World Bank in Geneva today!

"Uphold the ban" 


World Bank supports ban on tiger trade, calls for phasing-out of tiger farms 


July 9, 2009. GENEVA – The 40 member organizations of the International Tiger Coalition (ITC) applaud remarks by the World Bank today stating that legalizing tiger farming is too great a gamble for the world to take if tigers are to have a future in the wild. 


"Having carefully weighed the economics argument, we urge the CITES community to uphold the ban on wild tiger products and for all countries to continue to ban the domestic trade of wild tigers," said Keshav Varma, Director at the World Bank and leader of the Bank's Global Tiger Initiative at the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Standing Committee. 


Tiger trade is prohibited internationally and banned domestically in all tiger range countries, including China - historically the largest market for tiger products. 


However, a handful of wealthy businessmen who own large-scale tiger farms are asking the Chinese government to lift China's 16-year ban on tiger trade so that wine and other products made from tiger parts can be sold domestically. 


"Given the unpredictability of the market environment along with the fact that there are only 3,500 tigers in the wild, there is no room for experimentation," said Varma to the ITC. "Commercial trading in tiger parts and its derivatives is not in the interest of wild tiger conservation." 

"Farming tigers for trade will only hasten the loss of this irreplaceable species," said Judy Mills, moderator of the International Tiger Coalition (ITC). "The World Bank's groundbreaking statement underscores the fact that tiger trade from any source cannot be allowed if the world wants wild tigers." 



 

NOTE TO EDITORS: 


B-roll (TRT: 2.06, NATSOT): http://www.divshare.com/download/7307598-cf7 


High-resolution images: http://www.savethetigerfund.org/Content/NavigationMenu2/News/MediaKits/TigerFarmMediaKit/default.htm 


http://www.bigcatrescue.org/InternationalTigerCoalition.htm


For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Sunday, July 05, 2009

Striking at the Root

Striking at the Root

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Perhaps you've heard the story of the person who finds babies floating down the river a few times per day, day after day after day -- saving some, missing most of them. Every day, she waits by the river, knowing there'll be babies to save. Sure enough, every day she pulls some of the drowning babies out of the river, and she feels good about her efforts -- saving lives, every day -- even as she mourns the many who drown.

Finally, one day she thinks, "Who on earth keeps tossing these babies into the river?" She walks upstream, finds the person doing it, and stops him. In that moment, she's saved all of the babies who would have been tossed into the river in the future, and becomes free to dedicate herself to something else that would be helpful in the world.

There's much triage work to be done in our society -- there are many drowning babies, as it were. And obviously the work of saving them is good. But we're convinced that if we can stop people from tossing babies into the water in the first place, we'll be more effective.

In concrete terms, we choose not to focus our incredibly limited time and resources on individual animals, however valuable and rewarding that work is. Rather, we seek to challenge the very structures of oppression against animals and to work to dismantle the system that says animals are commodities we can eat.

To do this as effectively as possible, we must set priorities and, given our limited resources, make some difficult, rational choices.


Why Progressives Should Care About Animal Rights

By Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich, Lantern Books. Posted June 23, 2009.


How Will We Focus Our Energy?

If we agree that the meaning of life is to make the world a better place by exposing and eliminating as much suffering as possible, then the most critical question of our lives is this: How do we do the most possible good in a world where suffering is so widespread?

Again, a basic understanding of human nature can show us potential prejudices and blind spots that might impede us from being optimally effective. Each of us has a bias of concern toward self-interest, the known and the immediate. This applies to activists just as much as to the general population.

Most people working for a better world concentrate on others who are most like them or who are closest to them, geographically and/or biologically. It's almost too obvious to warrant mention, but most people working on gay rights issues are gay, on women's rights issues are women, on civil rights are African American, on anti-Semitism are Jewish, etc.

These causes are important, but they're also issues of self-interest for many. Even with causes such as child abuse, cancer, domestic violence, and so on, leaders are often individuals with personal experience (e.g., when celebrities experience a disease, either personally or through a loved one, they often become spokespeople). Charities working within the U.S. get much more funding than those that do work overseas. Work on behalf of exploited or suffering human beings receives exponentially more funding and attention than work on behalf of nonhuman animals, and demonstrations for human rights attract more people and more moral outrage than demonstrations on behalf of animals.

Some people point to dogs and cats as an exception. In 2007, when investigators pulled 60 abused animals, dozens of animals' corpses and truckloads of dog-fighting paraphernalia from Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's property, there were loud and vigorous demonstrations denouncing his cruelty to animals.

At the same time, though, there were demonstrations supporting Vick, both on the football field and in the community. Many commentators argued that the issue was not worthy of the concern and attention it was getting; others argued he shouldn't be suspended from playing football.

Obviously, no one would have been pro-Vick if dead and battered human beings had been found on his property, or if the rape racks had been for humans, rather than dogs.

Of course, the numbers protesting his actions were still a tiny fraction of the numbers that turn out for an anti-abortion or anti-war rally. Some have expressed surprise or even envy at PETA's multimillion-dollar annual budget. This, too, shows the degree of our species bias -- if we're surprised an animal-protection organization could take in such a "lofty" sum.

Think about it: The largest animal-rights organization in the world has a budget of some tens of millions of dollars per year to work against all of the combined injustices against the more than 10 billion land animals that are killed annually in the United States. Planned Parenthood took in 30 times more for work on women's health; Catholic Charities took well over 100 times more to work on poverty issues. One human disease – cancer -- gets thousands and thousands of times more money devoted to it than is contributed to every single issue related to animal rights. (For a ranking from 2001, see csmonitor.com/2001/1126/csmimg/charitychart.pdf; see GuideStar.org for current budgets of other non-profit organizations.) Indeed, our entire government is focused on human needs, and spends billions each year subsidizing animal agriculture (see ucsusa.org/news/press_release/cafo-costs-report-0113.html).

Guiding Principles

An understanding of human nature, along with the recognition of the primacy of suffering, leads to two guiding principles that we've found useful in freeing our advocacy from prejudice:

First, to maximize the amount of good we can accomplish, we should strive to set aside personal biases as much as possible. We should challenge ourselves to approach advocacy through a straightforward analysis of the world as it is, motivated solely by a desire to alleviate suffering to the greatest extent possible.

If the amount of suffering in the world weren't so vast, other considerations would be warranted (e.g., maximizing pleasure). But as long as so many are suffering so horribly, eliminating as much suffering as possible must be our primary motivating factor.

Second, it's vital we recognize that we all have limited resources and time. It's a simple fact that when we choose to do one thing, we're choosing to not do another -- there's no way around it. Instead of choosing to "do something, do anything," we must challenge ourselves to pursue actions that will likely lead to the greatest reduction in suffering.

There are a myriad of worthy pursuits, and of course we appreciate anyone working to make the world a kinder place. However, given the above principles, we challenge everyone -- including ourselves -- to constantly strive to maximize the efficacy of our actions.

Striking at the Root

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Perhaps you've heard the story of the person who finds babies floating down the river a few times per day, day after day after day -- saving some, missing most of them. Every day, she waits by the river, knowing there'll be babies to save. Sure enough, every day she pulls some of the drowning babies out of the river, and she feels good about her efforts -- saving lives, every day -- even as she mourns the many who drown.

Finally, one day she thinks, "Who on earth keeps tossing these babies into the river?" She walks upstream, finds the person doing it, and stops him. In that moment, she's saved all of the babies who would have been tossed into the river in the future, and becomes free to dedicate herself to something else that would be helpful in the world.

There's much triage work to be done in our society -- there are many drowning babies, as it were. And obviously the work of saving them is good. But we're convinced that if we can stop people from tossing babies into the water in the first place, we'll be more effective.

In concrete terms, we choose not to focus our incredibly limited time and resources on individual animals, however valuable and rewarding that work is. Rather, we seek to challenge the very structures of oppression against animals and to work to dismantle the system that says animals are commodities we can eat.

To do this as effectively as possible, we must set priorities and, given our limited resources, make some difficult, rational choices.

Setting Priorities

Peter Singer asks us in "The Singer Solution to World Poverty" to consider the case of a man who just bought a new car. He paid $50,000 for the car and doesn't have it insured yet. His car stalls on a set of railroad tracks, and, before he can push the car off, he sees a small girl also on the tracks, oblivious to an oncoming train. He has to choose between moving his car or saving the girl.

Obviously, if he chose the car, all of us would hold him in moral contempt. Singer asks: What is the real difference between this scenario and buying the car in the first place, when you could buy a perfectly acceptable car for $20,000 or less, leaving $30,000 to dedicate to poverty relief, which would save far more than one child.

Similarly, consider the example of someone who has just bought an extra pair of $200 shoes. She sees a child drowning in the river. If the person chooses not to jump in for fear of destroying her shoes, again, all of us would find her morally reprehensible.

Yet the same moral conclusion can be drawn when it comes to buying a pair of expensive shoes that aren't needed in the first place, rather than giving the money to charity. When applying this to animals, the comparison becomes even more stark, since, for just a few coins, you can put an illustrated, detailed, documented booklet in someone's hands, show someone "Meet Your Meat" (meat.org) through online advertising, or show them a 30-second vegetarian commercial. It takes so little to be the animals' voice, yet few of us even consider utilizing the power we have.

Even though U.S. society is composed mainly of professed Christians, most ignore Christ's words to the rich man: "Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor" (Matthew 19:21). In an attempt to update the principal for our often selfish society, Singer makes the case that a reasonable standard for most of us would be to give away 20 percent of our income.

Will that hurt, given that we've grown accustomed to our current level of income? For most of us, it will. At the very least, it will require an adjustment. But can we do it without actual physical harm coming to us? For most of us, yes, we can. Organizations dedicated to reducing as much suffering as possible can use that money to make the world better -- far more so than whatever we might otherwise spend it on. Singer sums up this concept in "How Are We To Live?":

In a society in which the narrow pursuit of material self-interest is the norm, the shift to an ethical stance is more radical than many people realize. In comparison with the needs of people starving in Somalia, the desire to sample the wines of the leading French vineyards pales into insignificance. Judged against the suffering of immobilized rabbits having shampoos dripped into their eyes, a better shampoo becomes an unworthy goal.

An ethical approach to life does not forbid having fun or enjoying food and wine, but it changes our sense of priorities. The effort and expense put into buying fashionable clothes, the endless search for more and more refined gastronomic pleasures, the astonishing additional expense that marks out the prestige car market in cars from the market in cars for people who just want a reliable means to getting from A to B, all these become disproportionate to people who can shift perspective long enough to take themselves, at least for a time, out of the spotlight. If a higher ethical consciousness spreads, it will utterly change the society in which we live.

We Can Do It

Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. -- Elie Wiesel

Consider this: The people we admire are not those who went along with the crowd, who did whatever was allowed by the norms of their times. Rather, the people we rightly respect are those who stood up to the prejudices of their society. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Mohandas Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, and so many other individuals changed their world. We are all called to do no less.

In the face of so much suffering, it can become easy to become despondent and to think that we can't change the world. But if we break our work into chunks, celebrate the "small" victories for what they really mean (e.g., turning one person vegetarian changes their entire life forever and makes a massive, positive impact in the world), and keep ourselves focused on our goals, we can realize what significant progress we're making.

After decades of experience as activists, we're deeply and profoundly optimistic. Every day, we take inspiration in a review of the progress that has been won for social justice and animal protection (as we discuss at greater length in Chapter Five).

There are, of course, many potential targets for our activism: 2 billion people live without access to clean water; 800 million don't have enough calories to sustain themselves; women in many parts of the world suffer unjust treatment and violence; our fellow creatures are abused and slaughtered.

These are a few of our society's current practices that, we're convinced, future generations will look back on with the same sense of incredulity we reserve for past atrocities, like slavery and witch burnings. We are called to be like those we admire for standing up against the prejudices of their day.


For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.




Thursday, July 02, 2009

Pet Burmese python escapes and kills FL toddler

July 1, 2009

Pet Burmese python escapes and kills toddler

Law enforcement officials remove a 12-foot long albino Burmese python

(Will Vragovic/AP)

Police remove the 12-foot Burmese python which killed Shaunia Hare in Florida

Image :1 of 3

A 12-foot pet Burmese python has broken out of its aquarium and strangled to death a two-year-old girl in her Florida bedroom.

Police said Shaunia Hare was already dead when paramedics arrived at her home in Oxford, 50 miles northwest of Orlando.

The albino snake had been owned by Charles Darnell, the boyfriend of Shaunia's mother, who found it in the toddler's bedroom, wrapped around her. Mr Darnell, 32, stabbed the snake until he was able to pry her away, but was too late to save her.

Mr Darnell did not have a permit for the snake, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said tonight, although he has not yet been charged with any offence.

Authorities were pictured removing the snake tonight, while Mr Darnell could be seen standing outside his home hugging his girlfriend Jaren Hare. The snake was said to be wounded but still alive.

Burmese pythons can reach a length of 26 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds. Some owners have freed them into the wild and a population has taken hold in the Everglades. Scientists also believe that several Burmese pythons escaped in 1992 from pet shops battered by Hurricane Andrew and have been reproducing since.

"It's becoming more and more of a problem, perhaps no fault of the animal, more a fault of the human," said Jorge Pino, a state wildlife commission spokesman.

"People purchase these animals when they're small. When they grow, they either can't control them or release them."

At least 12 people have been killed in the US by pet pythons since 1980.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6620394.ece

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org


Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

http://capwiz.com/bigcatrescue/issues/alert/?alertid=9952801&type=CU

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

Twitter:  Follow Me and be invited to enter our Animal Lover's Dream Vacation Giveaway!  http://twitter.com/BigCatRescue

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.