WildAid releases statement on California’s move to strengthen ivory ban

No Gravatar

WildAid has released a statement concerning California AB 96, the bill set to toughen up California’s ivory ban.

I hope we will see other states follow, but it would be great to see similar legislation at the federal level.

“” “”

The bill introduced today by California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would close loopholes that have made if difficult, if not nearly impossible, to enforce California’s 40-year-old ban on ivory.

For decades, criminals have used the legal trade of ivory imported prior to 1977 in order to launder illegal ivory from Africa, where 33,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year. With the passage of this bill, California would join New York and New Jersey in closing this loophole and adopting stiffer criminal and civil penalties on the sale of ivory.

WildAid supports AB 96 and encourages California’s legislature to join us in our fight to save Africa’s remaining elephants before it’s too late.

ABOUT WILDAID
WildAid is the only organization to focus on reducing the demand for wildlife products. WildAid works with hundreds of Asian and Western political figures, celebrities and business leaders, including the Duke of Cambridge, Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, Edward Norton and Sir Richard Branson, to dissuade people from purchasing endangered wildlife products. WildAid’s public service messages and educational initiatives reach hundreds of millions of people per week in China alone through donated media space. “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”

“” “”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

California representative introduces bill to strengthen ban on the sale of ivory

No Gravatar

Toni G. Atkins gets a Pack of Compassion Award for this effort. The following is a full release from the speaker of the assembly’s office:

“” “”

Speaker Toni G. Atkins Introduces Bill to Protect Elephants and Rhinos from Poachers

SACRAMENTO–In response to the global wildlife crisis in which an average of 96 elephants are being slaughtered daily for their ivory in Africa, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins today introduced AB 96 to close loopholes that prevent the effective enforcement of existing California law prohibiting the sale of ivory. Senator Ricardo Lara is the Principal Co-author of the bill.

“The slaughter of elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns is as senseless as it is cruel,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “California recognized that and enacted a law almost 40 years ago to end the ivory trade here, but that law needs strengthening in order to be effective. AB 96 closes the loophole that allows the illegal ivory trade to continue to flourish and adds real enforcement teeth to the law so California can do our part to end the slaughter.”

“Elephants and rhinos are being slaughtered and mutilated at an unprecedented rate and driven to extinction due to demand for their tusks and horns,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “If we are serious about protecting endangered species and ensuring that they will be here for future generations to appreciate, California must take a decisive step in stopping, once and for all, the sale or trade of ivory and rhinos horns.”

International, federal and state laws are all being strengthened to protect iconic species from cruelty and extinction. The states of New York and New Jersey recently enacted strong prohibitions on intra-state ivory and rhino-horn commerce and the federal government has proposed strengthened ivory trade and import regulations.

In a new report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Elephant Ivory Trafficking in California, USA, the investigator examined more than 1,250 ivory items offered for sale by 107 vendors in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He found that up to 90% of the ivory for sale in Los Angeles and approximately 80% in San Francisco was likely illegal under California law—much of it advertised as antiques and/or crafted to look older so it would appear legal, though the pieces were more likely from recently-killed elephants. Additionally, the incidence of what appears to be ivory of recent manufacture roughly doubled from approximately 25% in 2006 to about 50% in 2014.

AB 96 would prohibit a person from purchasing, selling, offering for sale, possessing with intent to sell, or importing with intent to sell elephant ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as specified under very limited educational and scientific circumstances, and would make this prohibition enforceable by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bill would make a violation of this provision a misdemeanor subject to specified graduated criminal penalties.  In addition to the specified criminal penalties, the bill would authorize the department to impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for a violation of this provision or any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant to this provision.

AB 96 is supported by a host of community, environmental, and animal protection groups including the NRDC, The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International, Wildlife Conservation Society, California Zoo & Aquarium Association, Oakland Zoo, and the Asian Pacific Alliance for Wildlife & Sustainability. Additionally, nearly a dozen state lawmakers including wildlife policy committee chairs in both the Assembly and the Senate have already signed on as co-authors of AB 96.

The provisions of AB 96 would become operative on July 1, 2016.

What others are saying:

“We are grateful to Speaker Atkins and Senator Lara for pursuing closure of the loophole in California’s decades-old ivory ban that has allowed this pernicious trade to flourish in our state,” said Jennifer Fearing, a consultant with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. “Californians don’t support trade here in products that put elephants and rhinos in jeopardy of cruelty and extinction.”

“It’s shocking how much ivory is being sold in California. Up to 90% of the ivory being sold in Los Angeles and 80% in San Francisco is likely illegal, according to an independent study commissioned by NRDC, with much of it being altered to look older so that it will appear legal,” said Elly Pepper, an NRDC wildlife advocate. “Too much ivory is slipping through the cracks. It’s time for California to do more to protect the lives of elephants, and we are thrilled to see the California legislature take this huge step.”

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign: “The Wildlife Conservation Society and the 96 Elephants campaign praises Speaker Atkins and Senator Lara for their leadership in moving toward passing a statewide ban on ivory. We are driving these magnificent animals toward extinction across Africa unless we stop the killing of an estimated 96 elephants each day, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for ivory. As long as demand for ivory remains high and enforcement efforts are low, the legal trade will continue to serve as a front for criminal syndicates. A California ban on ivory sales is an important step forward in this global effort to save elephants.”

“Research shows that Asian Pacific Americans are among the strongest supporters of conservation and environmental protection. On behalf of Asian Pacific Americans everywhere, the Asian Pacific Alliance for Wildlife & Sustainability (APAWS) is proud to support Speaker Toni Atkins’ AB 96 to close down illegal ivory trafficking in California that contributes to the cruel global decimation of elephants and other precious wildlife,” stated Judy Ki, chair of APAWS.

“” “”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Purchasing poaching products particularly putrid

No Gravatar

Those who are buying products made from elephant tusks or rhino horns or any other threatened or endangered species are the root cause of the horrors of poaching.

And now we know that terrorists are funding their operations in part through poaching. So anyone who purchases ivory now or rhino horn products or any poached items have become promoters of terrorists.

Let’s go ahead and tell it like it is. Too many people in countries like China and Vietnam are buying these products in full support of the terrorists. And clueless people in the United States are supporting the horrors too. A 2008 study showed the US is the No. 2 market for ivory.

Are some people here in the US – supposedly the most advanced of nations – really that uneducated? Stop – You don’t need to tell me. I know … I know. It’s true.

It is pure evil in every way. Poaching is driving animals to extinction and killing innocent people in staggering numbers. And it is driven by clueless people who either wrongly believe rhino horns have medicinal value or are so vain and stupid that they value a trinket over the lives of innocent people and animals.

It’s sick and it’s evil.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

IFAW praises New York bill to ban sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn

No Gravatar

The International Fund for Animal Welfare submitted the following press release concerning a bill in New York to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn:

“” “”

IFAW Statement on New York Ivory Ban: We Love New York

Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2014) – Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding a bill passed last week by the New York state legislature which bans  the sale and purchase of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhino horn:

“A big victory for endangered elephants and rhinos, as New York enacts a landmark law to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn.

These bans are important tools for regulating, and, we hope, eventually ending the ivory and rhino horn trade. Every 15 minutes on average, an African elephant is slaughtered for its ivory tusks to support a mass consumer demand. Rhinos, which are also poached for their horns, are similarly threatened. The U.S. ranks as one of the largest ivory consumers in the world and New York serves as one its biggest entry points and markets.

Promising regulations are gathering momentum at the federal level. As one of the first states to pass such legislation, New York is carving a path for others to follow.

We love New York’s actions and congratulate and thank our coalition partners in encouraging the passage of these bills.”

To learn more about IFAW’s work to crush the ivory trade, please visit http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/elephants/ending-ivory-trade.

“” “”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Horrible, evil, sick people are killing elephants

No Gravatar

Among the planet’s most evil elements are those who are killing endangered elephants and rhinos for their horns and tusks. I will never understand what goes through the minds of people who can torture innocent people and animals – sometimes for nothing more than a motive for profit.

There most certainly is a special, incredibly hot corner of hell waiting these individuals.

The latest news is more than troubling, in that over 20,000 elephants were victims of poachers in 2013.

If the pace of killing continues, our kids could receive the news too soon that some evil humans have wiped two incredible species of animals off the face of the Earth.

The message splashed across the news headlines of late too often involves nasty levels of greed – be it from poaching to massive pay for CEOs, while hiring levels are not where they should be to more.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Hall of Fame drummer drums up support for ivory ban

No Gravatar

I just received the following release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW):

“” “”

Matt Sorum Drums Up Musicians’ Support for U.S. Ivory Ban

(Washington, D.C. – June 4, 2014) – Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, legendary Grammy Award-winning drummer of Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult and Kings of Chaos, and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) supporter Matt Sorum, penned an open letter urging fellow musicians to support the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, which seeks to dramatically reduce the U.S. role in elephant poaching by enacting new rules on ivory trade.

Under the new regulations, owners of ivory objects would still be allowed to own their items, or give them as a non-commercial gift. However, owners (including musicians with instruments that include ivory) would not be allowed to sell them without removing and replacing the ivory first. Additionally, musicians would need to secure proper documentation before they travel with their instruments overseas.

As Sorum noted in the letter, “This is an issue that needs the attention and support of the music community. We need to be a part of the solution, not the problem.  As much as we all love our instruments, they are in the end just things – not worth contributing to the demise of a species.”

Elephants are being poached for their ivory at an alarming rate. The elephant population in Africa has declined up to 95 percent in the last century, and on average, poachers are killing one elephant every fifteen minutes. Some populations are well on the path to extinction.

“Elephants are in crisis. This rule will bring about meaningful action to reduce the amount of illegal ivory smuggled into the country, while helping to protect this dynamic and most intelligent species. But we need the support of many stakeholders to ensure its success,” added Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director, IFAW. “We thank Matt for bringing attention to this important issue and hope fellow musicians will band together to protect elephants.”

Sorum is among many celebrities supporting the ivory sale ban. In April, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Dave Matthews, alongside a coalition of businesses and conservation organizations, signed a letter to the Administration commending them for their actions to protect elephants.

To read Sorum’s letter, visit g.ifaw.org/mattsletter. Learn more about IFAW’s work to protect elephants.
“” “”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Clueless commentary misrepresents the animal-welfare movement

No Gravatar

Once again, we find someone trying to justify the abuse of animals – as somehow something that should be protected as freedom.

An individual named Michael Rubin produced an editorial for Commentary Magazine, which was posted on March 19 under the headline – “Are Animal-Rights Activists Really Concerned About Animals?”

The writer jumps into two huge propaganda strategies often used by those who wish to defend the abuse of animals. He calls it “animal rights” and he attacks PETA.

In reality, the movement is about animal welfare and yes, we feel animals should be protected from abuse. If he wants to call that animal rights, fine. But anyone suggesting animals should not be protected from abuse is way over on the extremist end of the scale.

And look, PETA is PETA. It sometimes uses provocative means to draw attention to animal abuse. No matter what opinion anyone might have about PETA, talking about it does nothing to alter the reality animal abuse.

But Rubin goes beyond these two diversions to defend the use of animals – particularly elephants – in circuses. First, the use of hooks to train elephants is terrible. Secondly, elephants belong in their natural habitats.

He claims elephants are “healthy and stimulated” in circuses and “often become bored and depressed” when their entertainment days are over. And he uses the typical greyhound-racing defense in calling them working animals. And then he attempts to make two wrongs into a right by suggesting the dangers of poaching means it’s okay to pull them from their habitats for circus entertainment.

The far better option is putting the full effort into protecting the habitat from poaching.

Rubin certainly has a right to express his opinion in a commentary, but this doesn’t mean he can get away with misrepresenting the animal-welfare movement. And certainly he needs to educate himself in the area of animal suffering and self-awareness.

And getting back to the headline, he does nothing to show “animal-rights activists” are not concerned about animals.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Big News: NBC Sports cancels Under Wild Skies

No Gravatar

After finally realizing what a huge blunder it was to ever air a series like Under Wild Skies and after tremendous public outcry after the airing of a very controversial episode, the NBC Sports Network has cancelled the show.

Somehow, some NBC Sports executive thought this show was good idea. And somehow – through the process of shooting the episode where NRA strategist Tony Makris shoots an elephant in the face – and through the process of editing the episode and setting it up to air – someone approved it to be shown on the network.

It shows an unbelievable lack of awareness about the plight of endangered elephants, who are being slaughtered off the face of the earth by poachers and by people like Makris. How could anyone be this clueless about something so prevalent in the news and so important?

I realize people make mistakes, but even considering this show to air is more than a mistake.

After cancelling the show, NBC Sports released a statement that in part said –

Under Wild Skies will no longer air on NBC Sports Network due to the program’s close association with its host, whose recent comments comparing his critics to Hitler are outrageous and unacceptable.”

So the big deal for NBC Sports was his act of comparing his critics to Hitler – but not shooting an incredibly intelligent, important and feeling animal in the face, before openly celebrating the horrible act? It took a good bit of twisted, reverse non-logic to bend around his critics as Hitler. It took a complete lack of compassion to shoot the elephant and celebrate the suffering.

It’s 2013, not 1713. We should have advanced to a point in our society where acts such as those depicted in Under Wild Skies are only shown as part of a criminal investigation or to make a point about the suffering of elephants at the hands of people like this. But apparently, some people are still living in 1713.

The Guardian article I linked to above notes that killing elephants in Botswana will finally be illegal as of  January 1, 2014. How it took so long defies logic. But at least the time is approaching.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The documentary “An Apology to Elephants” should be seen by everyone

No Gravatar

This HBO documentary should be seen by EVERYONE. What we allow, as a society, to happen to animals can sometimes be beyond belief.

Some of the images in the film are heartwarming, while the images of extreme cruelty are difficult to watch – heartbreaking in fact.

The videos of elephants being trained are harsh. How could anyone believe this is NOT a crime? How could anyone be that cruel and uncaring?

Clearly, we desperately need better animal-cruelty laws and clearly we need to outlaw the use of bullhooks. But we also need to ban the exploitation of animals in circuses and in other shows – including racing.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Huge News – Thai Prime Minister pledges to end ivory trade

No Gravatar

The World Wildlife Fund reports Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has pledged to work on ending the ivory trade in her country. A petition calling for this move was signed by more than 1.5 million people.

The WWF quotes the Prime Minister as saying –

As a next step we will forward amending the national legislation with the goal of putting an end on ivory trade and to be in line with international norms.

The WWF also called Thailand the “world’s largest unregulated ivory market.” So this decision could really save the lives of many endangered elephants.

We can only hope this happens – very soon. Evil acts of greed like this need to be fought everywhere.