Categories
Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs

Feld Entertainment Circus Elephants Finally Find a Home

Take equal parts dealing with Trump as President and then COVID and you have an explanation for why I didn’t notice that there was a piece of outstandingly good news beginning in 2020.

The Feld Entertainment/Ringling Brothers elephants I had written about in the past have finally found a good and loving home in a sanctuary in northern Florida.

For years I followed the animal welfare court cases related to Feld Entertainment’s indifferent and callous care of the elephants in the organization’s famous circus. I had though of writing a book on the longest of the court cases, Animal Welfare Institute (formerly ASPCA) vs. Feld Entertainment. Even today, one of my most popular web pages is a PDF listing incidents with elephants in circuses in North America.

When Kenneth Feld retired the Ringling Brothers Circus, and the circus elephants, they were out of sight out of mind but we all knew their care would continue to be indifferent, their future dismal.

Now, the elephants run free at the White Oak sanctuary, in a lovely home with lakes and forests and they’re no longer chained up for days at a time on cold concrete.

Though Feld Entertainment is attempting to paint themselves in the best light with this move, they sold the elephants to the sanctuary; they did not give the elephants to the sanctuary. I suspect the reason why is equal parts Feld’s daughters telling him to move on and the cost and upkeep of the elephants when Feld Entertainment was hit by COVID losses. Regardless of the underlying reasons behind it all, we can celebrate the fact that Feld no longer has elephants and the elephants, and we, can all move on to something better.

 

Categories
Critters People

The Rule of Small Deer

There were three deer on the path in front of me.

They didn’t run when they saw me. They just stood there staring at me. Finally, as one, they moved: one pawed the ground, one began eating the leaves from a small bush, the third started walking towards me.

Deer are supposed to run from people, not approach us. I walked closer to the deer coming towards me and it didn’t stop.  I stamped my foot and it didn’t stop. I raised my arms and waved and it didn’t pause, didn’t blink, didn’t stop. I turned around to go back and only then did it head back to the other two.

I turned around, back towards the deer. The little bold one swung around back to me, as if it were on a string pulled by my movements. I began to walk towards it, thinking this time it would shy away. It didn’t. I moved closer until I could see the ragged edges of its fur and the tiny black at the center of its eyes. Still, it came.

I didn’t know what to make of the deer, but I could imagine.

I imagined it had run from humans one too many times. Run from the food and the best footing and the last of the sunshine. Run back into the trees and the shadows and the low branches waiting to trip it and the bushes already picked clean.

Probably decided to hell with it. Yes, that’s it. To hell with it. You push anything hard enough, even a small deer, and they’ll think to hell with it.

Categories
Critters Photography

No Worries

two chimps in a tree

Categories
Critters Environment

Deception and the House SAVES Act

The House Committee on Natural Resources will debate five bills related to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on Wednesday. Though these bills are couched in reasonable sounding phrases and catchy acronyms, promising to make the Endangered Species Act better, make no mistake: these bills are an attack on the ESA.

The bill known as the SAVES Act, H.R. 2603, is particularly dangerous, made more so by its deception. At first glance, the bill seems to be beneficial to endangered species in the United States. Its purpose is “To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide that nonnative species in the United States shall not be treated as endangered species or threatened species for purposes of that Act.”

It’s a reasonable sounding suggestion. After all, why should we be concerned about non-native species? We have enough work just to protect our native species.

However, removing protections for non-native species means removing protections for animals ranging from African elephants to the Green Macaw. This means that a company like Feld Entertainment would no longer need a permit from Fish & Wildlife to ship endangered big cats to circuses in Europe, and wealthy hunters can import skins from freshly killed leopards.

As US Fish & Wildlife Services notes:

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires the Service to list species as endangered or threatened regardless of which country the species lives in. Benefits to the species include prohibitions on certain activities including import, export, take, commercial activity, interstate commerce, and foreign commerce. By regulating activities, the United States ensures that people under the jurisdiction of the United States do not contribute to the further decline of listed species. Although the ESA’s prohibitions regarding listed species apply only to people subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S., the ESA can generate conservation benefits such as increased awareness of listed species, research efforts to address conservation needs, or funding for in-situ conservation of the species in its range countries. The ESA also provides for limited financial assistance to develop and manage programs to conserve listed species in foreign countries, encourages conservation programs for such species, and allows for assistance for programs, such as personnel and training. (emph. added)

People in the United States have been responsible for the decimation of species all over the world. Removing non-native species from the ESA would remove the ability to hold Americans accountable for our actions. It would rapidly increase the risk to any number of endangered species.

Implying that removing non-native species from the ESA is a ‘positive’ action for endangered species is a lie. The SAVES Act is a lie.

 

 

Categories
Critters Documents Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

USDA APHIS Inspection Reports posted online

The Memory Hole just posted links to thousands of inspection reports. They’re research facility inspections for 2000 through 2007.

Trump and his minions just don’t understand the way the internet works. If they build a wall, we’ll put a hole into it.

Guaranteed.

When I get any new info from the FOIA request or HSUS’s action, I’ll post an update. If I find more documents, I’ll post a link to this post.