Day: September 22, 2022

USA: Animal Rights Oppose Seattle’s Proposed Shark Jail.

Animal Rights Activists Oppose Seattle’s Proposed Shark Jail

Animal Rights Activists Oppose Seattle’s Proposed Shark Jail – The Stranger

On Tuesday afternoon, two animal rights advocates in inflatable shark costumes stood shoulder to shoulder in a small “tank” made of what appeared to be clear shower curtains tacked to a wooden frame outside of City Hall. This scenario, the advocates feared, could represent the fate of whichever sharks the Seattle aquarium decides to put in its new shark tank exhibit, the 325,000-gallon jewel of the new Ocean Pavilion between Pike Place Market and Piers 59 and 60. 

At the demonstration, speakers from the Northwest Animal Rights Network and Humane Voters of Washington spoke against the Seattle city council’s recent decision to bail out the Seattle Aquarium’s stalled shark tank project with a $20 million loan, bringing taxpayers’ total contribution to the aquarium’s expansion to a cool $54 million. The $20 million will be paid back with interest, but the advocates would rather put that money elsewhere or use it toward another project. 

“Whether it’s animals in cages at the Woodland Park Zoo or marine animals held captive at the Seattle Aquarium, people’s attitudes towards imprisoning wild animals is changing, and we need our leaders to change with us,” said Alyne Fortgang, a founding member of the animal rights group, Humane Voters of Washington. 

Councilmember Andrew Lewis argued that the council’s vote last month did not approve the shark tank. Instead, the vote approved more funding so that the aquarium could open the Ocean Pavilion on time in 2024. However, the protesters want the Council to take back the loan and spend it on housing, or else use its leverage to force the aquarium to build a virtual shark tank exhibit instead. 

Given that the $20 million comes from the Real Estate Excise Tax, which raises funds from property sales to pay for infrastructure, they argue that spending it on housing instead makes more sense.

But if the City is intent on keeping the Pavilion’s opening timeline, then the animal rights advocates argued that replacing the tank with a virtual exhibit would a good compromise, since it would cut down on energy and water waste and avoid potentially harming live animals. That harm starts, they argued, with the way aquarium sources its animals. 

According to an email between Fortgang and the Seattle Aquarium, the aquarium will try to source sharks from “human care,” meaning animals that are already in captivity, but the email did not rule out taking a shark from the open ocean. The advocates worried “yanking a shark” from the wild would disrupt natural ecosystems. 

Not only that, but the sharks and stingrays in the exhibit will be native to the South Pacific, which wouldn’t do much to educate tourists or locals about the waters near Seattle. 

The Seattle Aquarium did not respond to requests for comment, but it responded to that criticism in a Seattle Times article in 2019. 

Tim Kuniholm, an aquarium spokesperson, argued that teaching people about South Pacific sharks would raise awareness about shark conservation everywhere. “It’s one big ocean. What happens on the other side of the planet is just as important as what happens here. We have orcas in peril here. There are animals like sharks that are also in peril over there,” he said. 

The protesters called any illusion to conservation disingenuous. Real conservation does not involve profiting from the incarceration of animals under the guise of spreading awareness, they said. The aquarium’s plan is simply a tourist money grab that doesn’t benefit locals, said Hannah Thompson-Garner, director of advocacy and mission advancement for Northwest Animal Rights Network.

“We want to see the houseless crisis solved. We want to see plants planted in South Seattle for green spaces, and we want what everybody else wants for a nice city,” she said. “A shark tank is not a part of that.”

Last month, Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Alex Pedersen both voted against the measure to loan the money, arguing it was a waste of taxpayer money, so they might find some allies there. That said, since the bill already passed, the Mayor would need to veto it and send it back for an amendment, which would be a heavy lift. The Mayor’s Office did not respond to requests for comment on the animal rights groups’ demands.

Regards Mark

Animal Rights Activists Oppose Seattle’s Proposed Shark Jail – The Stranger

Ireland: Morrissey Joins Others In Seeking A Ban On Hare Coursing.

SINGER Morrissey has become the latest star to write to Taoiseach Micheal Martin seeking a ban on hare coursing.

Watch on Youtube:

The former Smiths frontman, an ambassador for animal charity PETA and a well-known vegan, has pleaded with the Irish Government to take action as he prepares to take to the stage at the INEC in Killarney on Saturday night,

Read the story – Singer Morrissey blasts Ireland over hare coursing – here’s 6 other celebs who are passionate about animal rights | The Irish Sun (thesun.ie)

Regards Mark

Australia: Illegal investigation by animal rights activists uncovers pigs in sow stalls across Victoria – … “rather than implementing laws that target whistleblowers who expose this cruelty, there should be laws targeting the cruelty.” 


Australian Pork Limited says most piggeries do not use sow stalls.(ABC Rural: Jane McNaughton)

Illegal investigation by animal rights activists uncovers pigs in sow stalls across Victoria

A lobby group has accused several Victorian farms of caging mother pigs for an “unacceptably” long period of time, releasing footage of the practice, which was meant to be phased out by the pork industry five years ago. 

Key points:

  • Animal activists have accused several Victorian piggeries of using sow stalls for extended periods
  • The pork industry says a majority of sow stalls in Australia were voluntarily phased out by 2017
  • Farm trespass is illegal in Victoria, with penalties of $10,904 for an individual and up to $54,522 for an organisation 

Animal rights activists with the Farm Transparency Project trespassed onto six farms across the state this year and installed cameras to obtain the footage.

Executive Director Chris Delforce said most consumers of pork would expect better welfare standards for Australian pigs.

“People are being led to believe by this industry that sow stalls are a thing of the past when they are still widely used,” he said.

“It’s clear to us that self-regulation by the industry has failed and it’s time for the government to step in and legislate a ban on these cruel cages.”

Five-day recommendation

Sow stalls are cages measuring a minimum of 0.6 metres wide and 2.2 metres long which inhibit pig movement, and were introduced to control aggression during pregnancy and make pigs easier to manage.

Sow stalls in Victoria are legally required to be a minimum of 0.6 metres wide and 2.2 metres long.(ABC Rural: Warwick Long)

Australian Pork Limited CEO Margo Andrae said the gestation cages were used to protect pigs and people working with the animals.

“There is a short time frame sows are in the stalls, for certified Gestation Stall Free [status] … up to five days to make sure the sow is looked after while she is mating,” she said.

“Over 88 per cent of industry have voluntarily phased out the use of sow stalls for a period longer than five days.

“Trying to understand that footage [taken by the Farm Transparency Project] and look at those time frames is very hard when you don’t know the context and we can’t be sure of what those times are.”

Ms Andrae said the pigs’ welfare was jeopardised by the farm trespass, and the footage was obtained illegally. 

“The activists breached biosecurity regulations and have put those farms at risk with diseases like African Swine Fever and foot-and-mouth disease on our doorstep,” she said.

“The activists have broken the law and need to be held accountable. (Oh dear, how wonderful – WAV)

“Animal welfare is a priority — we do the utmost to protect our sows and our piglets to make sure that we are world-leading in how we operate as an industry.”

But Mr Delforce said his organisation found piggeries exceeding this five-day recommendation and caging pigs for up to 27 days.

“They have enough room to take maybe one or two steps [in the cages] and they’re unable to turn around, a number of them have pressure sores because they are pressed up against metal bars or the hard concrete floor,” he said.

“These are designed to cram as many pigs in as tight a space as possible to make it as efficient as possible but it has nothing to do with the welfare of the pigs.”

Despite tough new laws to deter animal activists from trespassing on farms passing the Victorian parliament earlier this year, Mr Delforce said illegally entering private property was vital research.

“Unfortunately it’s the only way that consumers are ever going to see inside these places,” he said.

“I think rather than implementing laws that target whistleblowers who expose this cruelty, there should be laws targeting the cruelty.” 

Recognising sentience

Victoria is currently in the process of upgrading animal care and protection laws, including potentially recognising that “animals have the capacity to feel, perceive their environment, and to have positive and negative experiences like pleasure and pain”.

However, the new legislation would also distinguish between companion animals and commercial livestock in the application of laws, stating animals can be owned and used for lawful purposes, including farming.

There are no intensive piggeries in the Australian Capital Territory and sow stalls have been banned in Tasmania and countries of economic similarity, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand and some US states.

Regards Mark

Illegal investigation by animal rights activists uncovers pigs in sow stalls across Victoria – ABC News