A new kind of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will kick off a nationwide circus tour this month, this time without a single animal caged, held captive and forced to perform for public entertainment. The Humane Society of the United States is celebrating this momentous change.
Today, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States released her blog about the show.
Block says: “Once people have seen images of captive elephants escaping from chains or gunned down in city streets, circus trainers being mauled by tigers in front of horrified spectators, and undercover investigations that revealed the tremendous behind-the-scenes cruelty endured by captive wild animals, it becomes impossible to view animal acts the same way.
Other circuses, unable or unwilling to change with the times, ultimately closed, including Ringling, an iconic circus that had operated for nearly 150 years. As it folded its tent in 2017, Ringling cited changing public sentiment as a primary factor in its decision. Obviously, the swelling number of ordinances in major cities that prohibited animal acts, and the negative publicity concerning animals’ mistreatment, powerfully shaped the outcome.
But, while some in the industry have evolved, there are others, like Shriner circuses, Carden Circus, Loomis Bros. Circus and Culpepper & Merriweather Circus, that continue to use wild animals. At many county and state fairs and festivals, tigers, lions, bears and sea lions are still forced to perform circus tricks. Our Minnesota state director witnessed an act at the Carver County Fair featuring stressed tigers just weeks ago.
The exhibitors trailing at the end of the parade toward kinder and better entertainment—without animals—need to accept the basic premise that people don’t want to see animals bullied into performing tricks with bullhooks, whips and electric prods. For our part, we’re glad to be able to celebrate Ringling and other entertainment companies that have taken the beautiful step forward toward animal-free entertainment….”
LONDON -- British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described American XL Bully dogs as a “danger to our communities” and announced plans to ban the breed following a public outcry after a series of recent attacks.
Sunak said he has asked government ministers to bring together police and canine experts to legally define the characteristics of the American XL Bully, which is not recognized as a breed by groups such as the Kennel Club in Britain or the American Kennel Club in the United States.
“It is not currently a breed defined in law, so this vital first step must happen fast,’’ Sunak said in a video statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.’’
The government has been under pressure to take action after an 11-year-old girl was attacked and seriously injured by an American XL Bully on Saturday in Birmingham, England. Those concerns deepened on Thursday after a man was killed in an attack that may have involved this type of dog.
“The American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children,’’ Sunak said. “I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we’ve all seen.’’
Four breeds of dogs are currently banned in the United Kingdom: the pitbull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro.
Some campaigners have called for the American XL Bully, which was originally bred from the American pit bull terrier, to be added to the list because they believe dangerous characteristics have been bred into the animals.
The XL Bully is not recognized as a breed by the U.K.’s Kennel Club, which has argued that no breed of dog is inherently dangerous. The organization says breed-specific bans do not address the most important factors contributing to attacks, primarily irresponsible dog owners who train their dogs to be aggressive.
The bully breeds get their name because they were originally used in blood sports, such as bull baiting. The dogs have a muscular build and a heavier bone structure than pit bulls.
At a hearing in Bend, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to prohibit wildlife killing contests for coyotes and other species classified as unprotected mammals in the state. A coalition of 22 local and national wildlife and conservation organizations and hunters, wildlife management professionals, scientists, veterinarians and advocates across Oregon submitted testimony in support. Oregon is now the ninth state to end these gruesome competitions.
In wildlife killing contests participants compete for cash and prizes to kill the most, the largest and the smallest coyotes and other vital wildlife within a specified time period.
The Humane Society of the United States has gone undercover at dozens of these contests across the United States, including a 2018 investigation at a Hines, Oregon contest.
More scientific studies find that these contests do not reduce coyote numbers or prevent conflicts with livestock, and may even increase them. Instead, more economical and effective methods are available to help Oregon farmers coexist with native wildlife.
“Wildlife killing contests are abhorred by the Oregon public and have no place in our state,” said Kelly Peterson, Oregon state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Engaging in wanton waste of a native wildlife species as part of a contest for prizes is abhorrent and we are grateful that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to end these cruel, gruesome competitions.”
Organizations that supported the proposed rule included the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, Bitterbrush Broads & Bros Leadership Team, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Central Oregon LandWatch, Endangered Species Coalition, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Voters Oregon, Lark Ranch Rescue and Rehabilitation, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Oregon Humane Society, Oregon Wild, Portland Audubon, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, Think Wild, Western Environmental Law Center, Western Watersheds Project and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.
Oregon becomes the ninth state to ban wildlife killing contests, following Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington. In June, the New York state legislature passed a bill to end wildlife killing contests. The legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.
Telluride, Colorado – A bear’s tragic, and unnecessary death, is making headlines across the nation. According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, agency, a sickly bear, displaying clear signs of pain and distress, was discovered in the Telluride area.
According to the agency, the 400-lb bear showed signs of infection and officials determined that the source of the problem was an intestinal blockage caused by ingestion of human trash.
CPW District Wildlife Manager Mark Caddy described the disturbing items found during the bear’s necropsy:
“The removal of the stomach and intestines showed that the bear was starving due to a plug of paper towels, disinfectant wipes, napkins, parts of plastic sacks and wax paper food wrappers in the pylorus.”
Caddy explained that the bear was starving because of the blockage, “This plug was accompanied by french fries, green beans, onions and peanuts. The small and large intestines were empty of matter. The intestines were enlarged due to bacteria in the beginning stages of decomposition, but we opened them up in several locations and found no digested food matter.”
The bear was killed on Sept. 9. CPW Area Wildlife Manager Rachel Sralla explained why the decision was made, “We could not leave a sick bear like this knowing it was suffering and struggling to survive,” Sralla said. “When you have a very fat 400-pound bear, it will take it ages to starve to death. That’s a horrific way to die, decaying from the inside out for that long. As officers, we had to make an unfavorable call. It’s a call we wish we never had to make.”
It is imperative that people adhere to strict wildlife protection laws, including secure trash receptacles, to help spare other animals from suffering and dying.
Sralla said. “Telluride has an ordinance to address bear in trash issues. We need the community to follow that ordinance to be a better neighbor to our bears and prevent this type of incident from happening again.”
Raeford, NC – A dog who was set out with the trash in Hoke County has been adopted. The dog, dubbed Moe-Moe, was in a crate on Sept. 7 – he was left sitting with piles of garbage meant for trash pickup. Thankfully the waste management employees called animal control for help, and gave him water while they waited for officials to arrive.
According to the Assisting the Hoke Co. Animal Shelter in Raeford, NC Facebook page, the shelter was able to obtain some information about Moe-Moe:
He has previously lived with 3 other dogs with a previous owner (to clarify…not this last home. There are no more dogs) and in this last home lived with children and did great with them. He’s housebroken, walks great on leash
But the bad times are behind Moe-Moe. The shelter was excited to share word of his adoption with Facebook followers this week:
We’re happy to announce that he got a wonderful home today. His new mom is the sweetest and has already sent me some updates ♥️ He’s already enjoying his big beautiful backyard and his new home.
Farmington, Utah – On September 8, surveillance video captured a truck driving on a residential street with two horses tethered behind a trailer. The horses struggle to keep up and the video eventually shows one of the horses stumbling before collapsing onto the road.
A good Samaritan is able to intervene after the horse fully collapses on the street. The truck pulling the horses stops and eventually, the horse is able to get back on its feet. Evidence of the dragging, in the form of visible scrapes on the road, remained after the vehicle and horses were gone.
As reported by KJZZ News, the Farmington police were made aware of the incident but said that it did not warrant animal cruelty charges. However, animal control has taken over an investigation.
Milwaukee County, WI – On Thursday, the Milwaukee County Zoo announced the death of a beloved gorilla named Oliver. In a release, the zoo expressed sadness over the loss:
It is with very heavy hearts that the Milwaukee County Zoo announces one of its male silverback gorillas, Oliver, died Sept. 13. On October 7, Oliver would have celebrated his 35th birthday. But he had been suffering from chronic health issues for years, including chronic heart disease, as well as other chronic illnesses including hypothyroidism, arthritis, dental disease, and gastrointestinal disease.
On the day of his death, he was undergoing surgery to address an infected tooth that was causing him pain; while he was under, he suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest. His veterinary team worked tirelessly to save him but their efforts were not successful. Oliver exceeded the average lifespan of a gorilla in captivity and he was considered to be “geriatric” at the ripe old age of 34.
Zookeepers share that, “Oliver was a well-loved gorilla by the teams at the Milwaukee County and Columbus Zoos alike. He was intelligent and very intuitive, which helped him live a full ‘gorilla social life’ even after it was discovered he was deaf. He did a great job of leading and protecting his troop of females. He will be missed by many!”
Rest in peace Oliver.
Philadelphia, PA – A “crunchy, old, grumpy” dog has found the best home, despite the odds stacked against him. Just a day ago, the Pennsylvania SPCA posted several photos of the 15-year-old dog, Gideon, writing of their hope that SOMEONE out there would open their heart and home to the grouchy old boy: We know there is a home out there for this grumpy old man, please help us find it. The shelter outlined Gideon’s less-than-desirable traits:
Gideon shows his age. He spends most of the day sleeping in one of his two beds. He is clearly blind in one clouded eye. He’s hairless. And, sadly he is lame in his left hind leg. He comes with the old man lumps and bumps too.
And, did we mention, he is grumpy?
Gideon wanted little more than a soft bed and a quiet room to nap in. He did not long for affection, in fact, he really just wanted to be left alone. There was not much in Gideon’s truthful biography that would lure an adopter in. But miracles DO happen, and Gideon DID get a home. The shelter writes:
When you start to get worried about the state of the world, remember there are people who will take one look at a grumpy, crunchy, senior dog who doesn’t want to be touched and say – we’ve got this! And, they’ll give him the best final chapter. Miracles happen, and amazing people exist. ++++++++++++++++++++
Since its inception 75 years ago, Morris Animal Foundation has emerged as a global leader in the advancement of animal health. It stands as one of the few organizations exclusively committed to funding research for all diseases and health challenges impacting dogs, cats, horses and wildlife.
The Foundation supports 200+ active studies annually, including work on improved and novel vaccines for infectious diseases in cats, new drug therapies for heart disease in dogs, as well as critical research to safeguard endangered species worldwide. Every year, the Foundation funds a new suite of impactful studies to meet emerging health needs in companion animals and wildlife.
Additionally, in the 12 years since the Foundation unveiled its Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, it has achieved a significant milestone, documenting 500 cumulative diagnoses of four major canine cancers in the cohort: hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, high-grade mast cell tumor and osteosarcoma. This valuable big dataset, along with biosamples, has been made widely available to help researchers discover and understand potential risk factors for cancer and other diseases in dogs, as well as provide a model for these risk factors in people.
Other recent endeavors by Morris Animal Foundation include:
- Investigating inflammation, cognitive decline and disease in aging dogs
- Evaluating the efficacy of anesthetic protocols for pain control in cats
- Assessing novel nonsurgical sterilization methods for free-roaming cats (both male and female)
- Working toward a vaccine for strangles, a highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract in horses
- Developing better diagnostic methods and alternative treatments for foals with sepsis, a common cause of illness and death for these young animals
- Pioneering strategies to save New Zealand’s yellow-eyed penguins, also called hoiho, from emerging new diseases, that may also help other endangered penguins
- Identifying threats to endangered West Indian manatees to help save this understudied subspecies
Thanks to the Foundation’s long history of funding animal health research, veterinarians and wildlife managers have enhanced diagnostics, treatments and even some cures for diseases and other health challenges that affect the animals in their care and in the field. Morris Animal Foundation envisions a world where animals live full and healthy lives – and it’s only possible with the help of its generous donors and research partners.
Unused coronavirus medication for humans will be made available to treat cats in Cyprus, where they have been dying in their thousands from feline Covid, officials have announced.
The government gave the green light in line with a recommendation from the agriculture ministry.
A variant of coronavirus – feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), not transmittable to humans – has been wreaking havoc on the prolific cat population of the Mediterranean island.
“Stocks of preparations that were used to treat human coronavirus cases and are no longer used can be made available,” the cabinet said in a statement.
The medication, in the form of anti-Covid pills, will be supplied through veterinary services.
Animal activists have said Cyprus was turning into an “island of dead cats”, saying the disease was likely to have killed much of its million-strong population.
But Cyprus’s veterinary association said reports of up to 300,000 cats dying was an exaggeration, and put the number at less than 10,000.
Legend has it that a Roman empress, Helena, first brought cats to Cyprus to combat poisonous snakes about 1,700 years ago.
But archaeological evidence of cats’ domestication on the island dates back to 9,500 years ago to the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos, where the remains of a cat and a human were found deliberately buried together.
A bear that prompted partial closures at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on Monday was captured without incident and is being relocated, according to a news release from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given this situation, staff have captured the animal and are relocating the bear out of the park to an area in or around the Ocala National Forest,” FWC said. FWC added that the animal was an adult female.
Nearly a dozen attractions were closed on Monday at the time authorities were trying to locate the bear at Magic Kingdom, according to the My Disney Experience app. It was not clear if the closures, or how many, were related to the bear sighting. CNN has reached out to Disney for more details about specific closures but has not heard back yet.
In an earlier statement, Disney said, “We are working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and have made the decision to reopen Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park.”
Aerials images captured by CNN affiliate WESH show the bear was captured in a wooded area near the Magic Kingdom’s “it’s a small world” ride. The video shows a team carrying the bear away from the area in a tarp.
Kissimmee, FL – An alligator who lost the top half of her jaw has been trapped and sent to a Florida alligator park to recover and “live her best life.” Gatorland Orlando has welcomed the injured gator as their newest resident and vowed to give her the best care for the remainder of her life.
The park posted a photo of the rescued alligator, writing:
We are beyond blessed to be able to help this little alligator have the very best life ever here with us at Gatorland! This little lady made news around the globe due to the extent of her injury. The park’s team will ensure that the gator will be able to eat in a “stress-free” environment.
The injured alligator, suspected to be the victim of a prop strike from a boat, amazingly managed to live on her own in the wild for an estimated six months of time. Experts believe she was eating small things, like snails and frogs, to stay alive.
Though she was a bit thin by the time she was captured, she appears to be otherwise healthy. Gatorland is confident that she will be able to enjoy a good life at the park. Efforts are underway to select a good name for the mighty survivor. ++++++++++++++
Walmart (Bentonville, Ark.) has opened its first-ever Walmart Pet Services center at its store in Dallas, Ga. – the same location the retailer opened its inaugural Walmart Health center in 2019. The pilot pet center, located in its own space behind a dedicated storefront, will offer routine veterinary care (vaccines, wellness exams and minor medical services), grooming (baths, nail trims, teeth cleaning, ear cleaning and basic hair trims) and a self-serve dog wash.
Writing about the new service on Walmart’s website, VP of Merchandising, Pets, Kaitlyn Shadiow noted that “The data shows we have good timing.
“Two-thirds of U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association, with unprecedented growth in recent years. In fact, it’s reported that 23 million U.S. households adopted a pet during the pandemic, significantly impacting the pet industry, which is expected to reach $277 billion in total spending by 2030. Unfortunately, many pet owners are feeling the burden of rising costs as pricing in the pet category continues to increase higher than the national inflation rate.”
Walmart will work to counter that situation by offering services in keeping with the company’s “Every Day Low Prices” mantra, Shadiow says. “At Walmart, we have an opportunity to help our customers save precious money, time and effort by offering a destination for pet services at the same place they purchase their pet food and supplies,” she writes.
She also noted that “it’s our goal to bring the Walmart Pet Services model to other communities we serve in the future,” but offered no further details.
Bedford, TX – The world’s tallest male dog died this month following a surgical procedure to amputate one of his legs. According to Guinness World Records, the three-year-old Great Dane, Zeus, was diagnosed with bone cancer, prompting the removal of his leg.
Following surgery, he became lethargic and stopped eating. He was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia and passed away on Sept. 12. His owner, Brittany Davis, wrote on GoFundMe:
Our baby boy is gone. Our hearts are broken. He had the absolute best doctors who sat on the floor and cried with us. He fought hard but the pneumonia was just too much. He is not in pain anymore. He is resting peacefully. Thank you so everyone who supported our boy.
The gentle giant secured his spot as the world’s tallest male dog in 2022 after measuring in at 3 ft 5.18 in. Rest in peace Zeus.
Wildlife rescuers with Alaska SeaLife Center bore witness to a dramatic incident in Homer, AK. According to a news release from the organization, laboratory technician and wildlife response team member Natalie Hunter was on a fishing trip with friends when they noticed two orcas nearby.
While the group watched the orcas, they noticed an otter nearby who did not try to swim away from the predators. Upon closer observation, they could see that she was carrying a pup. After an “impressive” tail slap from one of the orcas, the mother and pup were separated; the whales turned their attention to the mother and she endured a series of attacks before she finally failed to resurface. The whales eventually left the area and the orphaned pup could be heard crying for her mother. Hunter said:
“My brain was in wildlife response mode during the entire incident, thinking we, unfortunately, may have an otter pup rescue on our hands. It wasn’t until the entire event ended, the wild orcas had left the area, and the pup started crying out for its mother that I knew we had to think about the next move.”
After being given permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the group on the boat was able to pull the otter pup from the water. Hunter said, “Her cries were gurgly, and when we got her out of the water, she was soaked. Her coat wasn’t repelling water and keeping her buoyant like it should have been.”
The pup was transported to the center for care and staff determined that she was no more than a day old…perhaps just hours hold. The pup will receive round-the-clock care to help ensure her survival.
Scientists believe the Arctic sea ice, or the floating ice cover of the Arctic Ocean, has reached its minimum extent for the year, shrinking to the second lowest extent since record-keeping began in 1978.
The Arctic sea ice cover shrank to 1.44 million square miles (3.74 million square kilometers) by September 15, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder announced Monday. This is only 135,000 square miles (350,000 square kilometers) higher than the lowest extent reached in 2012.
“This is telling us that the Arctic Ocean is on a trajectory to have a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean, and this year is another nail in the coffin,” NSIDC director Mark Serreze told CNN. “The 14 lowest sea ice extents have occurred in the past 14 years. It never got any better, and there is no indication of recovery. We are in a new Arctic, something we have never seen before.”
This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice on September 15, 2020, when sea ice reached its minimum extent for the year.
NSIDC/NASA Earth Observatory
Arctic sea ice generally reaches its minimum extent in the middle of September, allowing scientists to analyze the overall health of the ice cover. If the Arctic continues its downward trajectory, which Serreze says it most likely will, there could eventually be no ice in the Arctic during the late summer.
This poses a detrimental risk to ocean ecosystems all the way from phytoplankton to top predators such as polar bears and seals, which depend on the ice to hunt for food.
“This is going to have major impacts on local marine and terrestrial ecosystems. With less sea ice, phytoplankton blooms are increasing, but for animals like polar bears, they are losing their home,” Serreze sad. “As we get to this seasonal ice-free state, we will also see the Arctic become much more prominent for all kinds of geopolitical issues like shipping lanes.”
The melting ice is yet another clear sign of global warming, and was caused in part by the 100-degree Fahrenheit heat waves in Siberia that occurred in June and massive forest fires that have ravaged parts of the Western United States, according to Serreze.
“It seems like 2020 is going to down as the year when it’s the end of any plausible denial of climate change. Any individual event can be blamed on weather, but putting it all together with the heat waves, the fires, the hurricanes and tropical storms, nature is telling us something,” Serreze said. “It’s us. This is all us. Our heat waves are getting hotter, the cold waves are not as cold. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy, and they are us.”
The NSIDC says the ice extent number is still preliminary, and continued melt conditions could push the ice extent even lower.
The summer of 2023 was the hottest on record, according to data from the European Union Climate Change Service released on Wednesday.
The three-month period from June through August surpassed previous records by a large margin, with an average temperature of 16.8 degrees Celsius (62.2F) - 0.66C above average.
Last month was the also the hottest August on record globally, the third straight month in a row to set such a record following the hottest ever June and July, the EU said.
August is estimated to have been around 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than the pre-industrial average for the 1850-1900 period. Pursuing efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a central pledge of the Paris international climate change agreement adopted by 196 countries in 2015.
July 2023 remains the hottest month ever recorded, while August's record makes the northern hemisphere's summer the hottest since records began in 1940.
"Global temperature records continue to tumble in 2023," Copernicus deputy head Samantha Burgess said.
"The scientific evidence is overwhelming, we will continue to see more climate records and more intense and frequent extreme weather events impacting society and ecosystems, until we stop emitting greenhouse gases," Burgess said.
In Europe, August was wetter than normal last month over large parts of central Europe and Scandinavia leading to flooding, while France, Greece, Italy and Portugal saw droughts that led to wildfires.
Well-above average temperatures also occurred over Australia, several South American countries and around much of Antarctica in August, the institute said.
Meanwhile, the global ocean saw the warmest daily surface temperature on record, and had its warmest month overall.
With four months left in 2023, this year is so far the second-hottest on record, only marginally behind 2016.