Calls study sensational, distorted science that relies on old or discredited research
BETHESDA, MD – Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, responded to a biased study on cats and wildlife published in the journal Nature , which it called a veiled promotion by bird advocates to ramp up the mass killing of outdoor cats.
“This study is part of a continuing propaganda campaign to vilify feral cats,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies. “It seems as if the authors landed on a conclusion first and then cherry-picked through studies to support it. Some of the research they cite is more than a half-century old. They even cite discredited researcher Nico Dauphine, who was convicted by a D.C. jury for trying to poison cats and then fired from her job at the Smithsonian. The researcher convicted of trying to poison cats worked for Marra, one of the authors of this study.”
“This so called ‘survey of research’ seems just another misguided attempt to draw attention to the decline of wildlife by manufacturing a fake debate. The study conveniently sidestepped the primary culprit of decline of wildlife populations which, of course, is human activity including habitat destruction.
“The authors also neglect to mention that their proposed ‘solution’ really endorses continuing the same failed policies of the last century which call for the mass killing of cats. Tens of millions of healthy cats have already been killed in animal pounds and shelters, at great taxpayer expense, without achieving anything. A policy of just more killing can never be the right answer,” she said.
Robinson noted that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) does work to end reproduction and to stabilize the population of feral cats, and that is why every year a growing number of communities turn to TNR as an innovative, compassionate and common-sense approach.
“Because of the success of TNR—which stabilizes and then reduces the population—places where there were once large colonies of feral cats have seen those colonies fade away. There is good reason for cities to change from ‘catch and kill’ to ‘neuter and return.’
“The threats to birds and wildlife with real impact—pollution and habitat fragmentation and destruction—are the ones without ‘easy’ answers,” said Robinson. “Americans should not be fooled by sensational headlines and bad science. Killing cats will not save species of birds or mammals.”
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About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has more nearly than a half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities and organizations save and improve the lives cats and kittens nationwide. Their website is www.alleycat.org.
(Jan. 30, 2013)—Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to the study published in Nature Communications by scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on cat predation:
“The HSUS values both cats and wildlife. There is a legitimate issue with free-roaming cats preying on birds and other wildlife, and we are working to change that in a meaningful way. Despite the scientific rigor with which this report was prepared, like others recently published, it tries to attach a number to something that is almost impossible to credibly quantify. While further data collection and analysis is important, the larger issue here is finding practicable and humane actions to mitigate the impact of cats in our communities. Cats are an important part of our lives, and whether owned or free-roaming, are loved and cared for by millions of Americans who celebrate the human-animal bond. The best way we as a society can reduce impacts on wildlife from cats is to spay and neuter our pets and keep them indoors.
“For free-roaming and feral cats, there are thousands of organizations and individuals who manage cat colonies through trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs in the United States and Canada, and they constitute a large and indispensable volunteer labor force working to reduce the numbers of cats outdoors. By using TNR responsibly and finding homes for kittens and adoptable cats, this strategy can help reduce reproduction while improving the lives of existing ferals. The outdated strategy of trapping and killing feral cats is generally ineffective, since it doesn’t address the sources of the problem. Moreover, if that were the only alternative, we’d lose overnight the enormous investments in cat management made by TNR practitioners and cat lovers, since they would never participate in a round-up and kill approach.
“The presence of free-roaming, abandoned and outdoor cat populations in and around human communities and in other settings has proven divisive within the humane, conservation and scientific communities. As advocates for both cats and wildlife, with large program departments on wildlife and companion animals and a history of examining this issue, we believe that we can find solutions to these problems through engagement and innovation. That’s why The Humane Society of the United States convened a conference in Los Angeles last month—‘The Outdoor Cat: Science and Policy from a Global Perspective’—designed to take the measure of contemporary research and science concerning outdoor cats, and to advance the integration of such evidence into better policy that protects cats, birds and other wildlife.”
“While this issue will not be solved overnight, progress is being made across the country, with bright spots being seen in many areas. This issue holds great promise for a new frontier in protecting both cats and wildlife that can bring together diverse interests, identify common goals and acceptable options and begin to build a community of trust and respect across the traditional lines of conflict. Pet owners should remember that spaying and neutering cats and keeping them indoors not only saves cats’ lives but also protects wildlife.”
Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our "HumaneTV" app.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the Web at humanesociety.org.
Website Exposes Bloody Ivory Trade and Tracks Global Ivory Seizures and Poaching Incidents
Born Free USA calls on public to act now
Washington D.C., January 15, 2013 -- Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, global leaders in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, have launched a compelling website www.bloodyivory.org, which reveals the shocking truth behind the criminal illegal ivory trade and the challenges facing elephants throughout their natural range.
Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA says, “The ivory trade is a brutal business, devastating entire elephant families, causing massive suffering to individuals - and now severely impacting populations in all four regions of Africa. It may be putting some of the most vulnerable at risk of extinction. Our site www.bloodyivory.org shows what is really happening to elephants and encourages all compassionate people and ‘Elefriends’ everywhere to lend their voice to the chorus declaring ‘no more ivory trade!’” Bloodyivory.org has been updated and expanded, and features new information exposing the depth of this ongoing crisis. Just last week, news out of Kenya reported that an insidious criminal cartel had wiped out an entire family of 12 elephants for their ivory in the worst single incident of its kind in the country.”
On January 5, Hong Kong’s customs seized 779 ivory tusks weighing more than one tonnes and valued at more than one million dollars. This, the most recent of the four largest seizures in four months (which totals 12 tonnes) is clear evidence that Asian demand continues to drive brutal elephant poaching and ruthless international profiteering.
Human lives are also lost as well-armed poachers have gunned down park rangers in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and elsewhere across Africa.
Virginia McKenna, OBE, Founder and Trustee of Born Free, expressed her sadness over the current plight of African elephants and called on the international community and the public at large to fight for elephant protection. In a statement released today, McKenna said, “Elephants are living treasures. Nature’s gardeners. Nature’s great teachers. For many, the symbol of Africa. Tragically some people don’t give a damn. They prefer the dead trinket to the living treasure. It’s all about bloody ivory.”
This vital new site includes a Petition calling on the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) to reject any future proposals for trade in ivory and to support improved protection for elephants. The 176 CITES Parties will meet this March in Bangkok and elephant ivory trade will be high on the agenda. The Born Free team will attend this critical meeting to fight for elephant conservation.
Travers concluded, “There are currently 38 African countries with wild elephant populations. Within five years I estimate that between five and 10 could see their elephants disappear forever unless intensive action is taken. Elephants need Elefriends now more than ever. I urge everyone to visit www.bloodyivory.org and make their voice heard before it’s too late.”
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at bornfreeusa.org; twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.
California retains first place; South Dakota holds last
(Jan. 15, 2013)—The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, has released its fourth annual “Humane State Ranking” report, a comprehensive analysis of animal protection laws in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The HSUS graded states on the strength of a wide range of animal protection laws, including public policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research, and farm animals.
California earned first place for the fourth year in a row, while South Dakota remained in last place. Ohio was the most improved state, leaping ahead in the ranks by passing laws regulating puppy mills and the private possession of dangerous wild animals. To see the complete 2012 Humane State Rankings, click here.
“Members of The Humane Society of the United States want to know what their state lawmakers are doing to improve animal welfare. Our Humane State Ranking report demonstrates which states are falling behind important protections for animals, and which states are leading in the effort to create a more humane and civil society,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “Ohio made great progress, but the Dakotas are lagging badly and are clearly out of step with so much of the rest of the country when it comes to animal welfare policies. Animal protection matters to Americans, and our laws must line up with our values.”
California stayed on top for the fourth year in a row by passing a number of new laws, including a law banning the hound hunting of bears and bobcats. Other top states are Massachusetts (tied for second place) for passing a law allowing pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders, and banning gas chambers for euthanasia; Illinois (tied for second place) for passing a ban on shark fin products; Oregon (fourth place); New Jersey (tied for fifth place) for passing a horse slaughter ban; and Maine (tied for fifth place).
South Dakota earned the lowest score (51st place). Other states near the bottom include Idaho (50th place), Mississippi (49th place), North Dakota (48th place) and South Carolina (47th place).
South Dakota and North Dakota received especially low marks in part because they are the only two states in the country with no felony-level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. North Dakota could have pulled ahead this year, but voters rejected a ballot measure to increase penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty on the November 2012 ballot, keeping the state squarely at the bottom of the list.
In 2012, The HSUS helped pass 74 new laws and regulations to protect animals and helped to defeat more than 100 harmful measures.
The ranking was based on 75 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; wildlife abuse; exotic pets; companion animals; use of animals in research; farm animals; fur and trapping; puppy mills, and equine protection.
Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land
By Steven I. Apfelbaum and Alan Haney
In the Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series, authors Steven I. Apfelbaum and Dr. Alan Haney educate readers on the considerable benefits of land restoration and show them how to restore an ecosystem to its natural state.
The first book, Restoring Ecological Health to your Land, introduces the process and importance of ecological restoration using specific examples from the authors’ experience. The first several chapters offer ten steps to improving land health for any property. The final chapters apply the process to restoration projects of specific ecosystems, including grasslands, forests, wetlands, streams, and deserts.
The Restoring Ecological Health to your Land Workbook expands on the first book, with a chapter dedicated to each of the ten restoration steps. It picks up where the first left off, focusing on what can be done and how to do it. Readers are shown how to examine the natural features of a property, develop restoration plans, estimate project costs, determine necessary equipment, and more.
Both books are appropriate for people from all walks of life and all levels of experience—from landowners to patio gardeners to land trust property stewards and agency personnel responsible for restoring lands in their care. The authors avoid jargon and break down each concept for readers with minimal ecological training, while at the same time offering suggestions that even those with considerable experience will value.
An informative and easy read, the Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series shows readers how to:
· Appreciate and improve the value of a property’s ecological health
· Recognize natural processes and ecological trends occurring on the land
· Work with – rather than in opposition to – nature
· Perform simple tests to solve a property’s ecological problems
· Encourage key stakeholders and family members to take part in land restoration
“Restoration is a necessity, not a luxury, if we want to have a supply of food and clean drinking water and an earth rich with biodiversity,” says Apfelbaum. “Nature needs our help. The Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land series provides a clear, step-by-step process to develop and implement effective restoration plans for a project of any scale.”
Steven I. Apfelbaum, M.S., is among the world’s most well known leaders in the fields of ecosystem restoration and conservation development. He founded Applied Ecological Services (AES), one of the largest ecological restoration companies in the world, with ten offices in the United States and two branches abroad. He is also the author of Nature’s Second Chance, a thirty-year, personal account of the restoration of his family’s Wisconsin dairy farm. Apfelbaum received the Aldo Leopold Foundations’ John T. Curtis Award for Career Excellence in Ecological Restoration in 2010.
Dr. Alan Haney holds a Master's Degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Ph.D. in forest ecology from the State University of New York at Syracuse. A leading ecologist, he has taught – and inspired – thousands of students at three different universities and worked with ecosystem restoration in theory as well as practice for more than 30 years.
TALKIN PETS NEWS
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H.R. 4214 would ban Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide used in lethal wildlife control
NEW YORK—As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds U.S. Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) for introducing H.R. 4214, legislation to protect pets and wildlife from the deadly poisons Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide. These dangerous chemicals, already banned in several states, are used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency to kill wildlife species considered by ranchers and landowners to be nuisances. However, unattended traps and poisons often expose domesticated animals and humans to these lethal poisons.
“We commend Reps. Campbell and DeFazio for introducing this common sense legislation to ban Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide M-44 devices,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “As long as Wildlife Services continues to use tax dollars for inefficient and indiscriminate lethal methods of wildlife population management, the agency places our pets at risk and inflicts terrible suffering on thousands of wild animals each year.”
Compound 1080 is an extremely lethal poison with no antidote; just one teaspoon can kill up to 100 people. After the misuse of Compound 1080 led to many human deaths in the 1950s and 1960s, the Environmental Protection Agency banned its use in 1972. Unfortunately, after intensive lobbying from the livestock industry, the poison was re-approved in the 1980s for use in “Livestock Protection Collars,” devices worn by sheep and other livestock that release the poison when punctured by wild predators.
Furthermore, M-44 devices are spring loaded traps that release a deadly dose of sodium cyanide when an animal makes contact with the device. Baited with a substance that attracts canines, M-44 devices indiscriminately discharge poison across an area of up to five feet. Often left unmarked, these devices not only endanger pets, but humans have also suffered from inadvertently springing the traps. Just last year in Texas, a pet dog named Bella was killed by a M-44 device containing sodium cyanide set by Wildlife Services less than a mile from her family’s home.
"Data reported by the USDA shows that less than one percent of livestock are killed by predators, yet the federal government hands over millions in taxpayer-subsidized wildlife extermination services to private agribusiness every year,” said Representative Campbell. “Through the use of very dangerous toxins like Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide, this extermination service oftentimes kills indiscriminately and results in the targeting of non-predatory wildlife and household pets. With more humane and effective predator control methods already in use, banning these poisons is a reasonable measure that protects both animals and the taxpayer."
“Compound 1080 and M-44 sodium cyanide capsules are lethal, dangerous, and unnecessary poisons,” added Representative DeFazio. “They pose a very serious threat to our nation's citizens, wildlife, and domesticated animals. I am pleased to support this legislation which would halt the use of these needlessly dangerous poisons permanently.”
Last year, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Ill. fielded more than 165,000 phone calls about pets exposed to possibly poisonous substances. If your dog or cat accidentally ingests a potentially toxic substance, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for immediate assistance. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. More than one million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/aspca.
Born Free USA founder, legendary actress Virginia McKenna featured in winning film
Washington D.C., October 7, 2011 - - Elsa: The Lioness That Changed the World (Brian Leith Productions/BBC/WNET) captured the prestigious Conservation Hero prize at the 11th Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Awards yesterday. In the competitive world of documentaries, the work and legacy of pioneering conservationists George and Joy Adamson won plaudits from judges and the public.
The story of how the Adamsons returned Elsa the lioness to a wild and free life in the face of widespread scepticism, was the subject of a best-selling book published in the early 1960’s. It has been widely credited with changing public perceptions about lions and sparked a wildlife revolution where wild animals are, today, recognized as individuals with many of the characteristics such as affection, remorse, regret and love, previously thought to be the exclusive preserve of humans.
Virginia McKenna, OBE, the legendary actress who co-starred in the 1966 classic movie Born Free with her late husband Bill Travers, and founded the Born Free Foundation, is featured in the film from locations in the remote north of Kenya where the Adamson’s carried out much of their work.
In a statement sent from her home near London, England, McKenna said, “It really is an extraordinary tribute to the pioneering work of George and Joy Adamson that their story, the story of Elsa, continues to touch millions of people 50 years later. It touched my heart when, with my late husband Bill, we made Born Free. It reaches across the world today through the work of the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA. It has touched the hearts of the jury through this remarkable film – so carefully produced by Brian Leith and Clare Brook and sensitively directed by Sacha Mirzoeff - in which I am honoured to have had a role. Elsa truly was the Lioness That Changed the World – and she still is. Her legacy is burning bright – long may it do so!”
The award-winning actress, well-known for her roles opposite such luminaries as Yul Brynner, Gary Cooper, Peter Finch and Paul Scofield, is also internationally recognized for her campaigning work for wildlife, particularly the establishment in 1984 of the Born Free Foundation (www.bornfree.org.uk) and subsequently Born Free USA (www.bornfreeusa.org), charities that today fight against the suffering of wild animals in captivity and champion the conservation of endangered species. She is also the author of the bestselling book, The Life in my Years, her critically acclaimed memoirs and was recently voted one of the most inspirational people of all time in a Daily Telegraph (UK) poll.
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.
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Born Free USA’s Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week June 20 to 24 Encourages Action to Help Protect Wild Animals and the Planet
Washington D.C., June 9, 2011 - - Born Free USA’s third annual Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week June 20 to 24 was designed to encourage people to protect wild animals in their own backyards and around the globe. The official week-long “call to action” supported by celebrities including Ricky Gervais, includes advice, educational tools and online activities to engage adults and children to become more aware and protective of animals in the wild. Keep Wildlife in the Wild week focuses on creating a national movement to stop the exploitation of wildlife and protect our planet.
According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “Lions, tigers, bears and elephants are disappearing because of ruthless poachers. Foxes and other fur bearers are barbarically killed for the sake of “fashion.” Chimpanzees, tigers, and other animals are victims of the unconscionable and dangerous epidemic of wild animals being confined as pets. Wild animals are cruelly forced to perform in circuses or are trapped behind zoo bars. And wild animals are slaughtered for the pot – shark fin soup, lion burgers, smoked chimpanzee meat. Wildlife is suffering and disappearing for too many incomprehensible reasons, and our planet deserves better. Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week -- similar to Earth Day -- will get people to stop, think, and take action.”
From June 20 to 24, a variety of special family-friendly education materials, Wildlife Week actions, and more will be available from Born Free USA throughout the week at (www.bornfreeusa.org/keepwildlifewildweek) including: Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week daily email alerts with simple ideas that can make a difference; a wildlife photo contest; an online auction; celebrity thoughts about why this issue is important to them; and web pages filled with facts, stats, and other useful information.
Born Free USA will offer people dozens of ways they can make a difference during Keep Wildlife in the Wild Week. Among them are these TOP TEN ACTIONS:
- Do not buy any wildlife products, such as sea turtle shell or elephant ivory, when you take your summer vacation to exotic destinations.
- Enter the Born Free USA Wildlife Week Photo Contest for a chance to win prizes and have your photo posted online. Details and rules at www.bornfreeusa.org/keepwildlifewildweek. ;
- Host a fundraiser with your kids to collect money for your local wildlife sanctuary or for Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary, home to over 500 primates. A yard sale, lemonade stand or car wash, teaches kids how to be entrepreneurs for an important cause and make a real difference. Tell us your story and how much money you raised!
- Educate yourself and your community about co-existing with wildlife in your own town. Born Free USA has free brochures offering advice and humane solutions for perceived conflicts.
- Enjoy your own backyard wildlife by creating a bird habitat right outside your window. Wildlife appreciation starts at home.
- Learn about the reality and danger of hidden animal traps, especially if you hike with your dog or have family pets who play outside. Trapping can cause severe injury or death to animals and people.
- Show your support for fur free fashion on Facebook by adding Born Free USA’s Fur Free Retailer page to your list of “likes.”
- Send ten friends a smile today by sharing the High Diving Monkeys YouTube video filmed at Born Free USA’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas.
- Commit to never shop at stores that sell live animals. Retail environment animals are treated like commodities in order for the store to realize a profit.
- Become a Zoo Checker and help end the worst cases of suffering at zoos. Tell Born Free about the conditions for the animals at your local zoo.
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.