ACTION: Help Stop the Slaughter of African Lions for Sex Potions

Save African Lions - Avaaz PosterDoes the idea of murdered cats get you hot? If by “hot” you mean “angry,” we’re inclined to agree — and, thankfully, so are the African courts.

For decades, tigers were slaughtered because their bones were highly valued by certain  manufacturers of “male sex enhancement” products for the Asian market. Bones, fierce animals… we trust you get the idea. But international outrage over these practices resulted in laws  passed to protect endangered tigers. Since then, the focus of the dubious trade has turned to other “manly” animals.

According to Avaaz, which has been active in campaigning to protect the rapidly-declining lion population in Africa:

Lions are farmed under appalling conditions in South Africa for “canned hunting,” where rich tourists pay thousands to shoot them through fences. Now experts say lion bones from these killing farms are being exported to phony ‘medicine’ makers in Asia for record profits. Trade is exploding and experts fear that as prices rise, even wild lions — with only 20,000 left in Africa — will come under poaching attack.

… There is a solution: banning and punishing the trade of lion bones and organs. South Africa is currently the largest exporter of lion trophies, bones and organs — it is also the only African country actively breeding lions in large numbers to supply trophy hunting.

Avaaz placed awareness posters and ads in airports in South Africa, but these were quickly taken down by the government. Avaaz then challenged the decision, and the courts ruled that the censorship was inappropriate and ordered the ads to be restored.

But the battled continues. So far, South African President Jacob Zuma has refused to take action to stop the lion slaughter. According to Avaaz:

But if we can show that allowing this senseless trade can hurt South Africa’s booming tourism industry and make visitors flee, president Zuma could be forced to act.

Follow the link below to add your name to the voices of concern and send a letter to President  Zuma and Environment Minister Edna Molewa asking them to put a stop to the brutal trade in lion bones and other body parts:

ACTION: Help Stop the Navy’s War on Whales & Dolphins

According to Greenpeace, the United States Navy is seeking a permit to conduct training drills using explosives that will injure and kill countless dolphins and whales. From Greenpeace:

The Navy would be testing sonar and explosives so powerful, the blasts can destroy a whale’s hearing, cause brain hemorrhaging, and leave marine mammals so disoriented that they beach themselves.

All the Navy needs in order to secure their proposal is approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and right now NMFS is considering giving the Navy what it wants. Only with enough public outrage will NMFS stand up to the Navy.

Please help us and Greenpeace speak for the millions of whales and dolphins that cannot speak for themselves. Sign the Greenpeace petition to demand that the National Marine Fisheries Service rejects the Navy’s plan.

ACTION: Protect Elephants from Ivory Poaching

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has launched a new petition drive to curb elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade, which have been increasing across the globe, with an unprecedented number of seizures of illegal ivory worldwide.

According to IFAW’s petition on Care2:

Within about 30 days in early 2012, 300 to 650 elephants were killed by heavily armed poachers in a single national park in Cameroon, out of an estimated national population of 3,000 to 5,000.


IFAW believes that even one elephant killed for its ivory is one too many. We will not stand by idly while elephants are needlessly slaughtered to meet a demand for luxury goods.

Join the fight to free elephants from the threat of ivory poaching.


Please sign this petition to urge the European Union to take immediate action to stop the poaching and to help protect the world’s elephants from the continued threat of ivory trade.


You can sign the petition here.

ACTION: Petition to UVA President: Stop Cruel Trainings Using Live Cats for Practice


The University of Virginia continues to use an archaic, ineffective, and extremely cruel practice that other medical schools have long abandoned: using live cats as practice dummies for intubation trainings in their pediatric residency programs, resulting in great pain and long-term injury to the cats.


According to Dr. Roberta Gray, M.D.:

During their training, residents in their program repeatedly force breathing tubes down the throats of cats, sometimes as many as 19-22 times in one day, This can cause bleeding, bruising, scarring, permanent injury and significant residual pain. At least two cats have had their teeth broken and another had adverse effects lasting days. Cats are used over and over again. People who have had a breathing tube inserted for anesthesia during surgery will often tell you that recovering from the tube was as bad as recovering from the surgery.

This is all the worse because it does not actually help in the proper education of the pediatric residency students, due to the anatomy of cats being quite different from that of humans. Modern methods, such as the use of artificial infant simulators, are clearly superior and cause no harm, so there is no excuse (nor any valid reason) for continuing the archaic and inhumane method of “practicing on cats.”

Please sign Dr. Gray’s urgent petition at to ask the UVA President to end this cruel program. You can read the petition and sign it here.


New Animal Abuser Registry in New York Goes Live

Animal abusers in one county in New York now have more to fear than bad karma.

In 2010, Suffolk County (on the eastern half of Long Island), passed a law to create the first-ever registry of animal abusers, and the bill came into effect this month. Under the new law, those convicted of animal abuse charges in the county will be listed on the registry for five years, with their names, addresses and photographs displayed online, and convicted abusers who fail to furnish the required information will face fines and jail time. The goal is to serve as a deterrent to animal abuse, much as “Megan’s Law” is designed to deter sex offenders from repeat offenses.

The law also requires pet stores, breeders and animal shelters to check the registry before selling animal companions or offering them for adoption, and prohibits them from giving custody of animals to anyone named in the registry, according to the Animal Law Coalition.

The law was prompted by 362 recent animal abuse cases in Suffolk Country, including some rather horrifying incidents that received enough media attention to bring the issue into the public awareness, generating support for the bill.

This is, apparently, the first such database in the USA, despite several prior efforts. Earlier in 2010, lawmakers in California and Tennessee rejected similar bills, and Colorado shot one down in February of this year, but advocates are marching onward. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has organized a national campaign to promote similar legislation across the USA. Nationwide animal abuse registries would make it harder for serial abusers to bypass the restrictions of one county or state merely by moving to another.

According to Care2:

Registries like Suffolk County’s could also prevent crimes that hurt humans. A person who abuses or kills animals is five times more likely to commit violence against humans and four times more likely to commit property crimes, according to a Business Week report on a 1997 study by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA.

You can see Suffolk County’s new online animal abuser registry here.

Action Alert: Domino’s & “Gestation Crates”

Domino’s buys meat from factory farms where pregnant pigs spend their lives trapped in stalls barely bigger than their bodies, called “gestation crates.” They can’t even turn around. Soon after they give birth, they’re re-impregnated. And once their bodies can’t physically endure the constant pregnancies and confinement any longer, they’re killed.

The Humane Society of the United States recently released an undercover video of abuse at factory farm. While other major brands have promised to phase out these cruel practices, Domino’s is continuing to profit from this horrific suffering.

Domino’s can take a very simple step to help eliminate this sort of cruelty. It’s the second largest pizza chain in the world, and eliminating gestation crates will set an incredibly powerful example. Even better, as a huge company buying literally tons of food, if Domino’s changes its practices to stop buying meat from abused animals, others will be forced to follow.

Please sign the petition at

Bill Maher on Ingrid Newkirk’s ‘Free the Animals’

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” has written a poignant (and, as usual, entertaining) article on the new release of Free the Animals, Ingrid Newkirk’s celebrated book that “tells the riveting, real-life story of the people who put on disguises, use fake IDs, or jimmy their way into laboratories in order to carry out the daring rescues of animals used in experiments and of the insiders, the whistleblowers, who risk their jobs to help them.”

One of those rescues involved Britches, an infant macaque monkey who had his eyes stitched closed and some kind of electrical box put on his head in a really lame and truly bizarre experiment. When PETA released photographs of Britches with his eyelids sewn shut, it was a PR nightmare for his tormentors, who switched to doing more benign things — not as benign as, say, knitting, but at least they stopped using baby monkeys.

Maher discusses the progress that has been made since the book was first published twenty years ago, and the work that is still to be done.

Which brings us to something else that’s changed since the book was first released: the widespread awareness that writing letters to your member of Congress isn’t enough and that bold action is needed to get animals out of laboratories, where dogs and rabbits are treated as though they were pieces of lab equipment. That’s something that the surprisingly normal members of the Animal Liberation Front discovered and is discussed in Free the Animals

You can read the full HuffPost article here, and you can buy the book here.

“Free-Range” Poultry & Eggs: Not So “Free” After All

United Poultry Concerns has published a critical analysis of practices at poultry farms advertising “free range” eggs and meats. Some highlights:

  • Birds raised for meat may be sold as “free-range” if they have government certified access to the outdoors. The door may be open for only five minutes and the farm still qualifies as “free-range.”
  • Apart from the “open door,” no other criteria such as environmental quality, number of birds, or space per bird, are included in the term “free-range.” A government official said: “Places I’ve visited may have just a gravel yard with no alfalfa or other vegetation.”
  • “Free-range” hens are typically debeaked as chicks at the hatchery the same as battery-caged hens. Debeaking is a painful facial mutilation that impairs a hen’s ability to eat normally and preen her feathers.
  • Typically, 2,000 to 20,000 or more hens — each hen having one square foot of living space the size of a sheet of paper — are confined in a shed with little or no access to the outdoors. If the hens can go outside, the exit is often very small, allowing only the closest hens to get out. And the “range” may be nothing more than a mudyard saturated with manure.
  • “Cage-free” means that, while the hens are not squeezed into small wire cages, they never go outside. “Cage-free” hens are typically confined in dark, crowded buildings filled with toxic gases and disease microbes the same as their battery-caged sisters. And like their battery-caged sisters, they are painfully debeaked at the hatchery.

The article also includes findings from visits to specific poultry farms claiming “free range” practices.

You can read the full article here.

URGENT ACTION: Tell the USDA not to eliminate inspections of “poultry” facilities.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently inspects all chicken and turkey carcasses for anomalies such as bruises, bile, and feces before they are sent to “processing.” Such inspections function as critical checks and balances for human health and animal rights. Unfortunately, the USDA is now considering a pilot program that would eliminate that mandatory inspection and allow private poultry processing plants the choice to monitor themselves… or not.

The USDA is holding a public commenting period on this proposed change right now. Please sign the petition opposing the privatization of poultry inspection before the public commenting period ends.

Ask Dunkin’ Donuts to Offer Vegan Options

We might as well confess: Donuts are one of the worst things one can possibly eat — deadly rings of fried flour, oil, and sugar (usually all refined) — but we LOVE them! Whether or not you share our soft spot for donuts, however, you probably share our concern for animals, so please join us in asking Dunkin’ Donuts to adopt more compassionate practices.

Dunkin’ Donuts is the largest company of its kind in the world, and it’s also one of the few that offers no vegan options: all of its baked goods contain eggs and dairy. With thousands of stores around the world, that adds up to a lot of needless death and suffering.

That’s why we were happy to see that the folks at Compassion over Killing have launched a campaign to encourage caring people to contact Dunkin’ Donuts and ask them to offer vegan options.

Please visit and take action today.