HUMANS ARE THE MOST OVERPOPULATED ANIMALS ON THE PLANET ANTI-TROPHY HUNTING CAMPAIGN: ‘MONEY DOESN’T MAKE KILLING OK’ CECIL'S LEGACY
COVER FEATURE FoA’s new anti-trophy hunting campaign: ‘Money doesn’t make killing ok’
5 NEWS Death sentence lifted for NY's mute swans thanks to FoA's campaign 6 NEWS Victory Lap: The latest news about FOA’s advocacy 8 NEWS Primarily Primates year in review 10 FEATURE The most fulfilling New Year’s resolution? Make a commitment to animals 12 FEATURE Our report on human overpopulation and what needs to be done to save animals and the environment 20 NEWS Millennials are choosing pets now, children later 24 SPECIAL SECTION: CECIL’S LEGACY - Q&A with conservationist Brent Stapelkamp - Why Cecil’s Law matters 35 NEWS U.S. CITES delegation fails African elephants 38 NEWS Child actor uses his celebrity to provide a voice for animals 39
BOOK REVIEW Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History 40
41 CHEERS & JEERS
WHO WE ARE Friends of Animals is an international non-profit animal-advocacy organization, incorporated in the state of New York in 1957. FoA works to cultivate a respectful view of nonhuman animals, free-living and domestic. Our goal is to free animals from cruelty and institutionalized exploitation around the world. CONTACT US NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 777 Post Road Darien, Connecticut 06820 (203) 656-1522 firstname.lastname@example.org WESTERN OFFICE 7500 E. Arapahoe Rd., Ste 385 Cetennial, CO 80112 (720) 949-7791 PRIMARILY PRIMATES SANCTUARY P.O. Box 207 San Antonio, TX 7891-02907 (830) 755-4616 email@example.com VISIT US www.friendsofanimals.org www.primarilyprimates.org FOLLOW US facebook.com /friendsofanimals.org facebook.com /primarilyprimates.org MEMBERSHIP Annual membership includes a year’s subscription to Action Line. Students/Senior membership, $15; Annual membership, $25; International member, $35; Sustaining membership, $50; Sponsor, $100; Patron, $1,000. All contributions, bequests and gifts are fully tax-deductible in accordance with current laws.
OUR TEAM PRESIDENT Priscilla Feral [CT] www.twitter.com/pferal www.twitter.com/primate_refuge firstname.lastname@example.org VICE PRESIDENT Dianne Forthman [CT] email@example.com DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Robert Orabona [CT] firstname.lastname@example.org DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Dustin Rhodes [NC] email@example.com ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT Donna Thigpen [CT] SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT Shelly Scott [CT] SPAY/NEUTER PROJECT Paula Santo [CT] CORRESPONDENT Nicole Rivard [CT] firstname.lastname@example.org SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Meghan McIntire [MA] www.twitter.com/FoAorg email@example.com DIRECTOR, WILDLIFE LAW PROGRAM Michael Harris [CO] firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Jenni Best [CO] email@example.com EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PRIMARILY PRIMATES Brooke Chavez [TX] firstname.lastname@example.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jane Seymour [NY] email@example.com
REPRODUCTION No prior permission for the reproduction of materials from Action Line is required provided the content is not altered and due credit is given as follows: “Reprinted from Action Line, the Friends of Animals’ magazine, 777 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820.” Action Line is a quarterly publication. Issue CLXXI Fall 2016 ISSN 1072-2068
Printed on Recycled Paper
BY PRISCILLA FERAL, PRESIDENT
IN MY VIEW HOPE IN THE DARK Rebecca Solnit, the American writer, explores two profound themes in her vital book, Hope in the Dark: “Your opponents would love you to believe that it's hopeless, that you have no power, that there's no reason to act, that you can't win. Hope is a gift you don't have to surrender, a power you don't have to throw away.” She also writes that, “Joy doesn't betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politic that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine act of insurrection.” Maybe both of those concepts seem unfathomable right now, with all the uncertainty in the world. You may feel overwhelmed by the stark division in our country and around the world. Yet it is imperative that we don't lose hope or abandon joy. Friends of Animals was advocating for animals during the Civil Rights Movement; through marches for women; several anti-war movements and through multiple presidents and administrations who have been unkind and sometimes downright hostile toward animals. We’ve been here for the totality of the modern animal rights movement; we’re not going anywhere. Animals need us, and Friends of Animals needs you. With your support, you can count on us to take risks, instigate, agitate and inspire others not to water down principles or throw in the towel. Our mission—our raison d’être—is to stop animal exploitation, and when government policies seek to diminish animals’ lives and the environment in which we are all interdependent, we don’t lose hope or abandon joy. We work harder...and we cling to hope and joy as if they were life preservers. In 2017, we will celebrate 60 years of never wavering from that mission no matter what was happening in the world. That’s right! Friends of Animals turns 60 in 2017 and we’re throwing a party to celebrate in Brooklyn, N.Y. in July. Please join us (details will be available in the next
“YOUR OPPONENTS WOULD LOVE YOU TO BELIEVE THAT IT'S HOPELESS, THAT YOU HAVE NO POWER, THAT THERE'S NO REASON TO ACT, THAT YOU CAN'T WIN. HOPE IS A GIFT YOU DON'T HAVE TO SURRENDER, A POWER YOU DON'T HAVE TO THROW AWAY.” issue of Action Line) as we look back on our accomplishments, and, just as importantly, look to our future. We envision a future where trophy hunting of the African Big 5 species is extinct. And we have just launched a national anti-trophy hunting campaign—which raises awareness of Cecil’s Law, legislation we drafted that would ban the importation, sale, possession or transportation of lions, buffalo, leopards, black and white rhinos, elephants and their body parts. It is already moving forward in Connecticut and New York and we plan to get it across the finish line in 2017, and we hope other states will follow suit. Please share our video, which is available on our website and YouTube. As always, details of our work fills the pages of this very magazine. Please also renew your commitment to supporting Friends of Animals now and in the years ahead. If the world seems dark to you right now, let our work together for animals create light. Our work now takes on a new urgency, and we need to operate on the assumption of success rather than failure. It is a radical act to see the glass as half-full. Let’s make a commitment to that kind of optimism—for the sake of all animals, ourselves included.
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Save the Date!
Friends of Animals is turning..
Dinner, entertainment and silent auction to be held in Brooklyn, NY. More information to follow.
DEATH SENTENCE LIFTED FOR NY’S MUTE SWANS THANKS TO FOA’S CAMPAIGN!
Photograph by Igor Kaliush
n December of 2013 the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) declared its intent to wipe out mute swans by 2025 and to officially classify them as a "prohibited species. Friends of Animals (FoA) recognized the need for legislative action to halt the plan and contacted NY state Sen. Tony Avella, a longtime defender of animal issues. The legislation he introduced in 2014 with FoA's input and that of ornithologists was finally signed into law by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Nov. 28, 2016, saving the state’s 2,200 mute swans from a government-sanctioned death sentence. After being vetoed twice by the governor previously, this is an example of the victories that can be achieved with perseverance and the support of FoA members, who took action and urged the governor to sign the legislation into law. The law will establish a two-year moratorium on the DEC's controversial 2013 plan, which had been under revision because of backlash from FoA and the public. The law also requires DEC to demonstrate that the swans have caused actual damage to the environment or to other species, including humans. “Since the 1980s we have lobbied in the northeast to protect mute swans from nest destruction, egg addling and hunting, which have all been considered as wildlife ‘management’ schemes. Governors have been
deceived by the agencies that come up with these insidious plans that lack scientific evidence,” said Priscilla Feral, president of FoA. “We are ecstatic about this victory and that NYDEC’s hateful attitude towards mute swans has been reversed—it is out of step with the very residents of New York whose tax dollars fund the agency.” Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz
was the legislation's House sponsor. “Friends of Animals is thankful that Sen. Avella responded to our urgent request to file this legislation and that he and Assemblyman Cymbrowitz remained steadfast in getting it passed. We had been swamped with phone calls and emails from frantic New York residents horrified that mute swans may be wiped out completely,” she added. The DEC tried to justify its poten-
tial killing spree by claiming mute swans are aggressive towards people, destroy submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), displace native wildlife species, degrade water quality and are hazards to aviation—yet offered no demonstrable evidence of these absurd claims. While the diet of mute swans consists of SAV, studies have shown that runoff from fertilizers, pesticides and animal agriculture waste contribute significantly to the loss of SAV in other areas, like the Chesapeake Bay. Since mute swans constitute only about one half of one percent of the approximately 400,000 waterfowl in New York counted by the DEC, and the nearly half a million waterfowl also consume aquatic vegetation, killing a relatively small population of mute swans would not contribute significantly to SAV recovery. “This is a major victory for the mute swans, as well as other animals who may face similar eradication in the future,” said Avella. “The people have spoken and I’m pleased that the governor has listened,” Cymbrowitz said. “Tens of thousands of New Yorkers signed petitions, sent letters and emails to the governor’s office. People were very vocal about their support of this bill, and I have to believe it made all the difference."
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VICTORY LAP BY NICOLE RIVARD
BLM halts gruesome wild mare sterilization research project under pressure from FoA The Bureau of Land Management withdrew its decision to conduct unnecessary, gruesome mare sterilization research on 225 wild mares, including at least 100 pregnant mares, imprisoned at the Wild Horse Corral Facility in Oregon after Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit in August. The BLM’s decision was formally vacated by the Interior Board of Land Appeals a month later. “This is good news for Oregon’s wild horses and we are bolstered by this victory,” said Jennifer Best, assistant director of Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “The Bureau of Land Management is obligated to protect wild horses under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 and has absolutely no authority whatsoever to experiment on wild horses with new and risky surgeries. In fact, Congress has expressly prohibited the use of funds for activities that would kill wild horses as this experiment may have done.” Despite extending its public comment period on this so-called research, and receiving thousands of comments in opposition of it, the BLM, in its eagerness to appease cattle and sheep ranchers who
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despise wild horses, had approved of the project. What was so appalling about this case is BLM made the decision despite acknowledging in its 2016 Environmental Assessment that the three methods of sterilization—ovariectomy via colpotomy; tubal litigation and laser ablation— would likely cause death or necessary euthanasia and that the sterilization procedures would not stop unless the major complication rate for any gestational stage group exceeded 20 percent. In no uncertain terms, that meant that the BLM could destroy, or kill, up to 45 wild horses before stopping the experiments.
“Not only was the proposed project horrific, it would have been an unnecessary waste of American taxpayers’ money because there is not an excess of wild horses on public lands; there is an excess of cattle and sheep being allowed to graze on public lands,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. “We are adamant cattle and sheep be removed from Herd Management Areas and that ecological zones, free from exploitation and management, be designated for America’s wild horses before they are managed to extinction by the BLM.”
THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT FOA’S ADVOCACY AND ACHIEVEMENTS FoA intervenes; judge upholds USFWS’ ban on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe On Sept. 30, a D.C. federal judge upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 2014 decision to ban imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, striking down a challenge brought by the Safari Club and the National Rifle Association. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth granted summary judgment to the government on most of its assertions that it had followed the Administrative Procedure Act when determining that sport hunting in Zimbabwe would not enhance the survival of the elephants, a requisite condition for allowing such imports under a special rule that the USFWS enacted in 1978 under the Endangered Species Act.
“This is an important victory for African elephants,” Michael Harris, director of Friends of Animals' WildLife Law Program, which intervened in the case, told Law360. “Zimbabwe is one of the worst wildlife managers on earth.”
The hunters had argued that if the USFWS wanted to ban the imports, it needed to make an “affirmative finding” that sport hunting in the country would not aid elephants’ survival, not simply that the regulator “lacked” information to conclude so. The judge also struck down the hunters’ arguments that the USFWS should have solicited public comment after deciding to keep the enhancement finding requirement, even though in 1994 the requirement was removed from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty. The USFWS had first announced that it would suspend trophy imports from Zimbabwe in April 2014. The service expressed concern about the management, funding and resources of wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe, noting a lack of data on the population numbers in the country. After receiving more information from the Zimbabwe government, the USFWS enacted its final ban in July 2014. In March 2015, the service again found that trophy hunting in Zimbabwe could not be shown to enhance the survival of the species, and later that month Judge Lamberth allowed Friends of Animals and the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force to intervene in the suit.
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YEAR IN REVIEW! STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICOLE RIVARD
s we prepare to ring in the New Year, we are feeling extremely grateful for all the wonderful things that happened in 2016 at Primarily Primates—Friends of Animals’ sanctuary in Texas that is home to 350 animals, mostly primates—thanks to the generous support of our members. We rescued some new animals, including Hillary, a 14-year-old long-tailed macaque, who was released from John Hopkins University, and Amber, a Japanese snow macaque who had been dumped off at a vet office in Texas after being stolen from her primate family and imprisoned as a pet. Amber’s red face and bottom, as well as her short tail, distinguish her from the other macaques at the sanctuary. In fact there is only one other snow macaque at Primarily Primates—2-year-old Louie, who arrived in February of 2015 after also being exploited as a pet. Japanese snow macaques live in areas of Japan where snow covers the ground for months each year. Researchers have documented the first case of cultural innovation in nonhuman primates with this species. A female learned to wash sand off of provisioned sweet potatoes and then clean sand off of wheat by putting it in water. Hillary’s arrival in May brought with it the good news that John Hopkins is no longer required to perform a scan in a non-human primate before going into the clinic with a new radiotracer. Radiotracer is what is injected into a patient's arm or breathed in as a gas prior to PET scans, which use radiation, or nuclear medicine imaging, to produce three-dimensional, color images of the functional processes within the human body. Unfortunately for long-tailed macaques, because many of their body systems — such as their immune and nervous systems — are similar to humans, they have a history of being exploited by medical research. The long-tailed macaque is best known as the first clinical test animal for the development of the polio vaccine. PPI is home to seven other female and 30 male long-tailed macaques.
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TINY HOUSE HUNTERS Our smallest residents, seven cotton-top tamarins and a marmoset, got new larger habitats that better emulate the tropical forests of their native South America. In the humid tropical forests of Colombia where tamarins are from, there are multiple vertical layers of growth, from the short understory to the tallest trees in the canopy. Cotton-top tamarins use multiple layers of the tropical forests in which they are found, moving vertically between the understory and canopy. Marmosets have claw-like nails, allowing them to cling vertically to trees, run quadrupedally across branches and move between trees by leaping. Located in a wooded area of the sanctuary, which provides a natural canopy, their new exterior enclosures are eight feet tall, five feet wide and eight feet deep, providing a spacious area for PPI’s smallest primates to explore and forage in. The typical daily routine of cotton-tops involves Rowdy, a marmoset, takes a break from running across the branches in his new habitat.
In the meantime, we thought you’d like to get to know some other animals to sponsor for the gift that keeps on giving. KALPANA Among the 350 animals at Primarily Primates, there is one unlike any other—and that’s hanuman langur Kalpana. Endangered hanuman langurs, named after the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman, are considered sacred in India. They are also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma. When Kalpana arrived at PPI from University of California Berkeley, where she was used for behavioral research, we received little information about her past. Our staff decided to name her after Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-born female U.S. astronaut. She has a reputation among care staff for her gentle nature.
Kalpana, a hanuman langur, is known for her gentle nature.
an alternating pattern of foraging, resting and traveling. The new habitats also feature dirt bottoms and potted trees and flora from which they can cling to and leap from, much like they would in Colombia. Export of cotton-top tamarins from their native Colombia was banned in 1974, but before that they were often exported for the pet trade and zoos. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is estimated that 20,000-30,000 were exported to the United States for biomedical research. They were often used for colon cancer research. Our cotton-top tamarins arrived at PPI from a biomedical research facility. Today, cotton-top tamarins are among the most endangered primates in the world due to destruction of habitat for agricultural activities. And unfortunately, cotton-tops are still also captured and illegally sold as pets. Speaking of new habitats, we are thrilled to announce that on Oct. 4, 2016, we raised more than $30,000 on Great Apes Giving Day, which will be used to renovate our chimpanzee bedroom areas. PPI cares for 42 chimpanzees, and sponsoring a chimp makes a great Christmas gift for that special someone in your life who has everything! You can visit our website to “meet” some of the animals looking for sponsors.
SPIDER MONKEYS PPI is home to 12 spider monkeys and four live in a large grassy habitat built around an old Hackeberry tree at PPI. WC and My Boy are the leaders of the group, but Rosie is their protector. Scooter is the eldest in the group. With one-armed strides, using their 35-inch muscular tails as extra hands, they like swinging, climbing, and suspending themselves, and watching their movements is joyful. In the rainforests of Central and South America, spider monkeys live about 27 years. Their habitat is shrinking due to the conversion of forests into plantations and the cattle grazing. At PPI, the spider monkeys love food enrichment that includes grapes, sweet potatoes, apples and peanuts, as well as scent enrichment, which sometimes includes patchouli, coconut and cinnamon incense. Spider monkey Rosie shows off her swinging and climbing skills.
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Making a commitment to animals in the New Year
10 RESOLUTIONS YOU CAN KEEP IN
2017 BY DUSTIN RHODES
We’re all guilty of making New Year’s resolutions we abandon two weeks into the new year: those promises to go to the gym five days a week and lose 20 pounds by Feb. 1; our pledges to stop watching so much television before we binge-watch three entire T.V. series in one weekend on Netflix. Or is that just me? Here at Friends of Animals, we have found a commitment to being kind to animals is the most rewarding one you can make. So in 2017, let’s pledge, together, to make it one of the best years ever for animals. Here are 10, mostly simple (not always easy, mind you) resolutions that—if followed—will make a meaningful difference for animals. And guess what? You don’t have to diet or take a yoga class or give up your addiction to "House of Cards"!
#1 TRY BEING VEGAN We know that many of our members at Friends of Animals are not vegan or vegetarian, and we also know that all of us share a passion for animals. Eating a plant-based diet is the most effective way to stop animal exploitation—our
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mission at Friends of Animals. Instead of tackling eating habits in an all-or-nothing approach, which for many is a set-up for failure, start by dipping your toes into the vegan waters. Begin by making a commitment to a few vegan meals each week. We have two cookbooks for sale in the back of Action Line. Every time you go to the grocery store, try a new plant-based` substitute for one of your favorite indulgences like ice cream, cream cheese, deli meats, etc. You can also start making many of your own staples (we recommend The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner). Many mistakenly think that going vegan means sacrificing foods, when in reality you are opening yourself to all sorts of new food! Download our Vegan Starter Guide at www.friendsofanimals.org.
#2 GET INVOLVED IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT One reason our members reach out to us is to ask for help in stopping animal exploitation that’s happening in their respective communities. When animal issues are on the local agenda—whether it’s about letting a circus come to town or voting on a proposed hunt by a wildlife agency wedded to hunters (yes the agencies get funding from selling hunting permits)—it’s important to show up at city and town council meetings or county commission meetings. Even though there are far more people who want to protect wildlife than those who want to destroy it, they do not always take action. Recreational hunting interests have big mouths.
#3 VOLUNTEER AT AN ANIMAL SANCTUARY Friends of Animals took over management of Texas-based Primarily Primates in 2007, and since that time we have developed an extensive volunteer program. People come to chop produce, create enrichment opportunities for our residents; some assist in building climbing structures and put their carpentry skills to good use. We have volunteers who help us with data-entry and even fundraising. Animal sanctuaries could not survive without the help of volunteers, and it’s a great, hands-on way to make a difference for animals (and make new friends in the process). Chances are, there’s an animal sanctuary in your community that needs you.
#4 LEND A HAND AT YOUR LOCAL SHELTER My very first volunteer job as an adult was at a local humane society, where I spent part of my Sundays taking shelter dogs for walks. Not only did I give dogs respite from the confines and stress of the noisy shelter, but I got a lot of exercise in the process. Regardless of one’s skill-set(s), there’s really something for everyone.
#5 BE A VOICE FOR ANIMALS One of the simplest—and effective—ways to be a voice for animals is to keep your pen and paper handy. Which is to say, write! Respond to news stories. Whether it’s a local or national newspaper, magazine or online publication, there are limitless opportunities to be a positive voice for animals. Newspapers usually have word limits for letters to the editor or op-eds, so stick to facts and pack a punch. You can find a lot of useful information about animal issues on our website, www.friendsofanimals.org.
#6 THROW A PARTY! After you’ve mastered some plant-based cuisine and found some recipes you adore, it’s time to share the love—and vegan lasagna! Invite friends over for a vegan dinner party, and help spread the message of compassion. Some tips: Make your favorite recipes; don’t make a big deal about the food being vegan (in fact, you don’t even have to tell them until after they’ve raved about your amazing risotto). If a friend asks about something on the menu, explain that you’ve been experimenting with a plant-based diet and recommend the cookbook you used.
#7 CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES Hopefully, you’re doing that anyway…but, seriously, consider changing what you wear. Clothing made from
animals causes enormous suffering; this includes fur, wool, down, leather, cashmere and more. These days, there are synthetics and natural fabrics like canvas, cotton, “future leather” and even textiles made from recycled products like plastic bottles, so it’s easy to eschew animals used as clothing. You don’t have to get rid of everything you own and replace it, either. But when your pair of leather shoes falls apart, replace them with a synthetic. Next time you need a winter jacket, buy something without down or fur trim. Learn more about how animals are exploited by the apparel industry on our website, www.friendsofanimals.org.
#8 LET GO OF THE NOTION OF THE PERFECT YARD Human overpopulation—which goes hand-in-hand with over development—is one of the most important issues of the modern era. We’re crowding out wild animals and destroying their habitats and homes with our insistence on occupying and developing every square inch of land. Allow some of your lawn and/or garden area to go wild, as trees, bushes and undergrowth can be habitat for many kinds of animals. Eliminating all pesticides and making native plants a part of your landscape will also go a long way to attracting and protecting wildlife.
#9 JUST SAY NO TO ANIMAL TESTING Sadly, millions of products are still tested on animals. What makes this even more confusing is that many products say “cruelty-free,” but still contain animal ingredients. We wish this issue weren’t so confusing, but it is! In 2017, vow to make sure your household products aren’t tested on animals and don’t contain animal ingredients either. Brands such as Seventh Generation, Method, Mrs. Meyers and many more offer great products that are easy to find (and won’t break the bank). Many labels now say “vegan” or “contains no animal ingredients” in addition to claiming to be “cruelty-free,” so make sure to read the label.
#10 CONNECT WITH US! One of the best things you can do is to get more involved— and support our work—at Friends of Animals. You are reading this piece because you are a champion of the work that we do—together. Make a commitment to get more involved. Make sure to follow us on social media and engage with our programs. There are always ways we can work together to make 2017—and beyond—the best time for animals yet. And please consider making a commitment to Friends of Animals by making us a part of your personal philanthropy. If you haven’t made your year-end donation, please do so now.
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BY NICOLE RIVARD
HUMANS ARE THE MOST
OVERPOPUL ANIMALS ON THE PLANET PERIOD.
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L AT E D
“And baby makes seven. Tori Spelling is expanding her family once again,” begins a People magazine article published in October. The article goes on to say the star of the 1990s TV drama “Beverly Hills 90210” admits her impending fifth child with husband Dean McDermott “was a total surprise. But we always wanted a big family.”
nfortunately, Spelling is not alone in her shock about bringing another child into the world. By the best estimates, some 80 million pregnancies around the world are unintended annually. The unintended pregnancy rate in the United States is significantly higher than in many other developed countries. Currently about half of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. While the number of unintended pregnancies among adolescents is down overall in the United States, the disparity among some states remains high due to factors such as the availability of comprehensive sex education, knowledge about and availability of contraceptive services and cultural attitudes. If you look at popular culture, it seems to reflect a collective attitude about what people see as their birthright — to reproduce with impunity. Over the summer, media outlets celebrated Mick Jagger, at age 73, becoming a father again—to his eighth child, and touted hip hop artist DMX becoming a dad again for the 15th time. Should we celebrate, or cry?
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IF IT SEEMS STRANGE FOR AN ANIMAL ADVOCACY GROUP TO BRING UP THE TOPIC OF OVERPOPULATION, IT MUST BE SAID THAT IT COULD EASILY BE ARGUED THAT MOST PROBLEMS ANIMALS FACE ARE THE RESULT OF HUMANS; AND MORE TO THE POINT, HUMAN OVERPOPULATION IS THE BIGGEST THREAT BECAUSE OF HABITAT LOSS. Evolutionary biology says that multiplying is programmed into our DNA—we have a biological “need” to reproduce. But, today, in 2016, when the world’s population has reached 7.3 billion, we have to start asking ourselves: How many people is too many? There’s no denying that Americans are obsessed with lurid reality shows about outlandishly large families: Jon and Kate Plus 8 once ruled the airwaves; there’s the infamous Duggar family from 19 Kids and Counting. Millions of people tune in to these shows to be entertained; many even admire these overgrown families. At Friends of Animals, we are concerned that these celebrity stories and TV shows are reflections of our reckless and irresponsible attitude about what it means to be human on a planet with finite resources. They represent our insistence on occupying and conquering every square inch of this planet, with complete disregard for the billions of nonhuman animals we share this planet with; that’s not to mention diminishing resources like access to clean water,
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which is already a burden for millions across the globe. If it seems strange for an animal advocacy group to bring up the topic of overpopulation, it must be said that it could easily be argued that most problems animals face are the result of humans; and more to the point, human overpopulation is the biggest threat because of habitat loss. As humans expand and continue to devour land and other natural resources, we must remember that our ecosystem is complex and dynamic. Animals—both human and nonhuman— depend on one another. That’s why it is critical humans start considering the animals with which we share the planet and start changing our course of action if we are to ensure there is room for all of us. While it may not be obvious to most people why human overpopulation is an issue, in our work at Friends of Animals, we are all too familiar with non-human animals being accused of overpopulation—from wild horses on America’s public lands in the West and black bears in the Northeast and deer everywhere...to mute swans along the East coast and barred owls in the Pacific Northwest. Humans have become fixated with “managing” animals and controlling their populations—such as attacking bird species through egg addling and forcibly drugging all other wildlife who dare to exist with fertility control— which is ironic since we are all but ignoring our own. We don’t think it’s helpful to be unrealistic and put out the message that the definitive answer is “stop having children.” We are not anti-child; we are pro family planning; pro-contraception for humans and pro taking a rational approach to leading a fulfilling life, which we believe can be found whether we choose to have children or not. However we do hope to see a future where all people who have children did so by choice.
AROUND THE WORLD ARE UNINTENDED ANNUALLY.
CONSEQUENCES OF OUR REPRODUCTIVE
oA has been educating the public about human population growth and how it’s the single largest threat to animal life since our founding in 1957. The good news is others are beginning to break the silence on population control too, and it’s getting mainstream media attention in publications like Scientific American and the New York Times. Oregon State University’s 2009 study “Family planning: A major environmental emphasis” put the consequences to having children on the table by calculating the extra carbon emissions a person helps generate by choosing to have children. The study was meant to draw attention to the overwhelming importance of reproductive choice and its effect on the environment and it did! It revealed:
Illustration by Sebastian Gomez de la Torre / illseabass.com
The carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives—things like driving a high mileage car, recycling or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. While most of the world’s population growth is taking place throughout Africa and India, industrialized countries’ energy consumption levels take a larger toll on the environment. The average long-term carbon impact of a child born in the U.S.—along with all of its descendants—is more than 160 times the impact of a child born in Bangladesh. The long-term impact of a child born to a family in China is less than one fifth the impact of a child born in the U.S.
As the U.S.’s human population reaches further and further into remote areas in search of room to build cities and houses and takes up more land for animal agriculture, wetlands are being destroyed and water supplies are being stretched to the breaking point. We are squeezing wildlife into ever small habitat refuges. Of course, wildlife isn’t aware of invisible boundaries we’ve put in place for them, and human wildlife encounters/conflicts increase, and wild animals end up paying with their lives. Unfortunately we have had a bird’s eye view of how the U.S.’s unchecked population growth and overconsumption is already having devastating consequences with the deaths and displacement of animals through misguided wildlife management plans. Here are some recent examples that we’ve been protesting and taking legal action against: In 2010, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection approved a Comprehensive Bear Management Policy that included the first black bear hunt since 2005. The hunt has been taking place for the last five years (at press time the 2016 hunt kicked off) and we have been protesting it ever since. The agency claimed that the northwestern New Jersey bear population had grown from 500 bears in 1992 to 3,400 bears in 2010, and that overall the population has been increasing and expanding southward and eastward from the forested areas of the northwestern New Jersey. But guess what? New Jersey’s human population increased by 1,044,144 people from 1990 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census. And northern New Jersey, along with New York and Long Island tied for the most populous metropolitan areas in 2000 and in 2010. Sadly, 2,941 New Jersey bears have paid the price of human overpopulation with their lives since the hunts began in 2010. Winter 2016-17 | 15
Overconsumption of resources has led to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attempting to kill 3,600 barred owls in the Pacific Northwest. In approving the Barred Owl Removal Plan, the agency identified the barred owl as a new threat to the Northern spotted owl. But the plan only scapegoats barred owls instead of recognizing the primary threat to Northern spotted owls, habitat destruction, primarily from human logging of old growth forest in California, Oregon and Washington. We filed a lawsuit against the plan and the District Court ruled against us, however we filed an appeal and continue our legal case in the courts. We recognize the significance of this case, as it legally cuts a massive exception to the stringent protections once provided under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. FoA persevered and stopped the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s 2013 plan to eradicate all wild mute swans in the state by 2025 and declare them a “prohibited species.” (see complete story page 5) DEC’s flimsy attempt to blame the state’s 2,200 mute swans for causing significant environmental damage lacks scientific evidence. While the diet of mute swans consists of sub aquatic vegetation, studies have shown that runoff from fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste from animal agriculture contribute significantly to the loss of SAV in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, for instance. Compared to stable population of 2,200 mute swans in New York State, in 2012 there were 494,109 doomed cattle, 579,216 poultry, 19,082 swine and 34,286 sheep in animal agriculture in NY State. About 23 percent of the state’s land area, or 7 million acres, are used by 36,000 farms. Animal agriculture accounts for 25 percent of NY State’s Bay watershed land use and according to a 2009 study delivers approximately 42%, 55% and 40% respectively of the total nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment loads from NY State to the Bay watershed. The Environmental Protection agency reported in June of 2016 that all states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have collectively fallen behind in implementing a plan to reduce nitrogen pollution in the country's largest estuary. And don’t forget that New York’s human population grew from 18,976,457 in 2000 to 19,378,102 in 2010.
16 | Friends of Animals
WORLDWIDE POPULATION GROWTH AND
uly 11 was World Population Day. And According to the Population Reference Bureau, 237, 211 more people are added to the planet every day as every second worldwide, five people are born and two people die. Already the world population is 7.3 billion and it’s growing by 80 million a year. And we are fast becoming a single human-dominated species as we have already used about half the world’s land surface to grow crops, raise livestock, construct roads, and build towns and cities. So where does wildlife stand in relation to 7 billion people? According to the Center for Biological Diversity, worldwide, 12 percent of mammals, 12 percent of birds, 31 percent of reptiles, 30 percent of amphibians and 37 percent of fish are threatened with extinction. And Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson estimates that 30,000 species per year, or three species per hour, are being driven to extinction. Compare that to the natural background of one extinction per million species per year, and you understand why scientists refer to it as a crisis unparalleled in history. For the Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon, it’s already too late. The kokanee steadily declined as Seattle sprawled eastward, polluting its water and destroying it spawning habitat. It went extinct in 2001. These animals have also gone extinct in the wild recently thanks to human overpopulation and overconsumption:
WEST AFRICAN BLACK RHINO—2011 PYRENEAN IBEX—2000 CARIBBEAN MONK SEAL—2008 GOLDEN TOAD—2007 SPIX’S MACAW—2000 LIVERPOOL PIGEON—2008
Here’s a brief look at some other animals who may follow suit if the world ignores human population growth. The Center for Biological Diversity warns that the Florida panther is also on the brink of extinction. Only about 100 individuals remain in just 5 percent of the species’ historic range. While the panther’s numbers have plummeted over the last 30 years, Florida’s human population has nearly doubled. From 2000 to 2010, Florida’s population increased by 2,818,932 people. As the coasts become fully developed, Florida development is increasingly moving inland, where it comes in direct conflict with panthers. The five counties that contain the last remaining panther population are projected to grow another 55 percent in the next 30 years. The spotted leopard is in jeopardy. A study released in May by National Geographic reports that 75 percent of the spotted leopards’ habitat is gone. Once upon a time, they roamed 13.5 million square miles of habitat in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The big cat’s habitat has shrunk
to just 3.3 million square miles and stands to shrink even more because of booming human populations, animal agriculture and other development to house and feed people. In California, the endangered giant kangaroo rat and endangered San Joaquin kit foxes are suffering from fragmentation because of urban development and ranching. And a four-year drought is making matters worse. A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley reveals a 95 percent population loss since 2010. And as the kangaroo rat disappears, so do a variety of other threatened animals that rely on this keystone species, an animal that plays a crucial role in the ecosystem, to live, such as snakes, badgers, weasels, kit foxes, coyotes and birds. Just in the United States and its outlying territories alone, more than 2,500 species are listed as endangered and threatened species. And as human population continues to grow in the U.S., reaching up to 400 million by 2050 (as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau), many more species will be added to the list. Even worse, many species already on the list will likely become extinct.
Photograph by Martyn Seddon
A Spotted Leopard
Winter 2016-17 | 17
HOW YOU CAN HELP SAVE
ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
ritical factors to slowing population growth are
improving access to family planning, better education and health care, and improving the status of and options available to women. In Iran, the fertility rate dropped from 7 in 1980 to 1.7 in 2010. The country attributed their success to education for girls, along with free access to birth control, and media and government mobilization around advertising the importance of contraception.
populationgrowth.org), Planned Parenthood Federation and Engenderhealth (www.engenderheatlth.org) work on these specific issues. In Travis County, Texas, where the teen pregnancy rate exceeds that of the state’s, Engenderhealth works directly with young people between the ages of 14 and 16 who are at a high risk of becoming teen parents. And in both Austin and Dallas, it is partnering with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas to educate young people about how traditional gender norms and intimate partner violence can influence their risk of pregnancy.
Please consider these other ideas: Together, we can make the biggest difference by reducing the number of children we have— voluntarily. If everyone strives to have no more than two children, the overall fertility rate would drop to 1.5. Also, consider alternatives to childbirth, such as adoption, foster parenting or sharing the responsibility of friends’ and relatives’ children. Get involved in national and worldwide efforts to halt population growth through ensuring that women everywhere gain access to affordable birth control, reproductive health care and literacy. Groups such as Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth, www.
18 | Friends of Animals
Adopt a vegan lifestyle. While adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle is not a cure for all of our planet’s woes, it remains an effective way to combat climate change and most atrocities that are waged against animal populations all over the world. Nearly half of earth’s entire land mass is used for farming—with a staggering 30 percent of Earth’s land surface used for doomed livestock. And of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states. And all lands used for “free-range” cattle and sheep farming decimate habitat that belongs to wild horses, bison, wolves, coyotes, foxes and other animals who are often killed to benefit ranchers.
Photograph by Michael Kahl
Elect leaders who are not afraid to address the urban sprawl issue. Case in point: Paul Danish, a journalist who ran for City Council in Boulder in 1975 and won, mounted a citywide referendum fight for a 2 percent growth limit. Boulder voters approved a 2% growth limitation referendum, known as the Danish Plan. It expired in 1982 but has been succeeded by a series of similar measures, bolstered by a 55-foot height limit on all buildings, an aggressive, voter-approved sales tax-financed open space purchase program, and a master plan agreement with Boulder County that essentially gives the city veto power over most new development in the area. Support leaders who protect women’s access to birth control and reproductive health care and don’t attack vital Title X funding for family planning providers here in the U.S. Low-income American women face the real threat of having crucial family planning programs de-funded. We also need leaders who support U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund. UNFPA is a critical partner in the effort to expand access to contraceptives and to provide women with basic reproductive health care.
lifestyle choices that influence the environment. In Oregon, for example, a high school education program called Living Within Limits has been designed by Alternatives to Growth Oregon. Population Connection offers curricula and teacher training workshops as well. Become a member of Friends of Animals. Friends of Animals places critical habitat, wildlife protection and veganism at the core of animal advocacy. Our Wildlife Law Program remains steadfast in filling a niche between animal and environmental activism and we will continue to use state, federal and international environmental laws as a means to protect the rights of animals to live free from human interference, which remains crucial until humans resolve their overpopulation problem. YOU CAN of Order HOW copies our new HELP SAVE ANIMALS AND 4 overpopulationTHEbrochure to distribute to ENVIRONMENT family and friends or at events at www. friendsofanimals.org. 5 Critical factors to slowing population growth are improving access to family planning, better education and health care, and improving the status of and options available to women. In Iran, the fertility rate dropped from 7 in 1980 to 1.7 in 2010. The country attributed their success to education for girls, along with free access to birth control, and media and government mobilization around advertising the importance of contraception.
decimates habitat that belongs to wild horses, bison, wolves, coyotes, foxes and other animals who are often killed to benefit ranchers.
Elect leaders who are not afraid to address the urban sprawl issue. Case in point: Paul Danish, a City Council member in Boulder, Colo., in 1975, mounted a citywide referendum fight for a 2 percent growth limit. Boulder voters approved the “Danish Plan.” It expired in 1982 but has been bolstered by a 55-foot height limit on all buildings, an aggressive, voter-approved sales tax-financed open space purchase program, and a master plan agreement with Boulder County that gives the city veto power over most new local development.
Support leaders who protect women’s access to birth control and reproductive health care and don’t attack vital Title X funding for family planning providers here in the U.S. Low-income, American women face the real threat of having crucial family planning programs de-funded. We also need leaders who support U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund, a critical partner in the effort to expand access to contraceptives and to provide women with basic reproductive health care.
Please consider these other ideas:
Together, we can make the biggest difference by reducing the number of children we have— voluntarily. If everyone strives to have no more than two children, the overall fertility rate would drop to 1.5. Also, consider alternatives to childbirth, such as adoption, foster parenting or sharing the responsibility of friends’ and relatives’ children.
Dustin Rhodes contributed to this report. 2 2.
If you are an educator, introduce curriculum that increases students’ awareness of population and consumption habits and inspires them to consider their personal
Get involved in national and worldwide efforts to halt population growth through ensuring that women everywhere gain access to affordable birth control, reproductive health care and literacy. Groups such as Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth, www.populationgrowth.org), Planned Parenthood Federation and Engenderhealth (www. engenderheatlth.org) work on these specific issues. Adopt a vegan lifestyle. While adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle is not a cure for all of our planet’s woes, it remains an effective way to combat climate change and most atrocities that are waged against animal populations all over the world. Nearly half of earth’s entire land mass is used for farming—with a staggering 30 percent of earth’s land surface used for doomed livestock. And of all the agricultural land in the U.S., 80 percent is used to raise animals for food and grow grain to feed them—that’s almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states. And all lands used for “free-range” cattle and sheep farming
If you are an educator, introduce curriculum that increases students’ awareness of population and consumption habits and inspires them to consider personal lifestyle choices that influence the environment. In Oregon, for example, a high school education program called Living Within Limits has been designed by Alternatives to Growth Oregon. Population Connection offers curricula and teacher training workshops.
HUMANS ARE THE MOST OVERPOPULATED ANIMALS ON THE PLANET. PERIOD.
Become a member of Friends of Animals. We place critical habitat, wildlife protection and veganism at the core of animal advocacy. Our Wildlife Law Program remains steadfast in filling a niche between animal and environmental activism and we will continue to use environmental laws as a means to protect the rights of animals to live free from human interference. 777 Post Road | Darien, CT 06820 Tel: 203-656-1522 | Fax: 203-656-0267
Winter 2016-17 | 19
BY MEG MCINTIRE PHOTOGRAPH BY ALVIN BALEMESA
f you were to believe what some media outlets have been reporting the last few years, millennials have been ruining everything. An online news search reveals article after article about how the real estate industry is suffering because millennials just won't buy homes; the auto industry can't figure out how to reach them; and they singlehandedly destroyed Blockbuster and Radio Shack. But one thing they can’t be blamed for is pet homelessness. Why? Because the fact is, millennials, roughly defined as the population born between 1980 and 2000, are not only putting off buying homes, they are also delaying getting married and having children until much later than previous generations, opting instead for four-legged family members. That young people are moving away from the dated notion that success means quickly getting married and having a bunch of kids is good news for Friends of Animals, as we are always concerned about human overpopulation. According to a study done by the research group Wakefield, the average millennial gets his or her first pet at the age of 21, much earlier than Baby Boomers, who waited until 29. And 57 percent of millennial households own a dog versus 51 percent
20 | Friends of Animals
of all U.S. households, according to research firm GFK. While both groups do think of pets as family, many millennials approach pet ownership as preparation for future adult responsibilities. For them, pets offer companionship plus a sense of responsibility, but require less maintenance than a child at a time when many millennials’ lives can feel a bit unstable. And pets allow millennials more freedom. “Dogs need heaps of love and attention, but not constant monitoring like a human child,” writes Erin Lowry in the article, “Why are so many millennials opting for pets, not parenthood?” published in Forbes in August. “It isn’t considered an abusive (or illegal) practice to leave your pup at home alone while you head off to work. Parents don’t have the luxury to do this with a child. Kids need to be watched all the time and the price tag of childcare runs from about $720 per month to $2,230 depending on the type of care a parent selects. Not to mention needing a babysitter for
date nights, ladies’ nights out, or just because you wanted to go do something spur of the moment.” Kaitlin Crowther, a 25-year-old graduate student from Massachusetts who is studying to become an occupational therapist, explains, “At this point in my life, I feel like I’ll know I’ve made it when I have a golden retriever. I’m not going to have a dog until I have a yard for it to play in and I’m settled in my career with a steady income. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else’s life, dog’s or child’s, if I’m not 100 percent positive I can provide for them.” But just because millennials may not be opting for human children, they are certainly treating their pets like surrogate kids by pampering their furry family members. According to studies, millennial pet owners today are more sensitive to the life experiences of their animals and cater more than other
groups to their pets’ comforts, spending more money on nonessential pet items. They own more pet clothing, toys and prefer to purchase roomier crates for traveling or to board their pets in kennels that provide plenty of exercise and other amenities. Their concerns about pet health and wellness has also played an important role in the introduction of healthier food, nutritious pet treats and healthcare options to the pet industry overall. Pet owners in the 18- to 34-year-old group focus on the contents of the food they feed their pets, with 68 percent agreeing that they read the ingredient list of their pet’s food. Although this group of consumers can be price sensitive, they are more likely to use pet foods with formulations that enhance the health of their pets than past generations. But it’s important to note that while data may paint millennials as people willing to throw money away on nonessential items, it’s actually
a better financial decision when compared to the cost of having a child. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people my age spending a little extra money on their pets. Like if you have some money left over at the end of the month and want to buy your dog a sweater, you should! They’re like your family, but cheaper... and easier to please,” Crowther added with a laugh.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING PLUGGED IN The fact that millennials are more active on their smartphones and involved in various types of social media can also have a positive effect on pets who already have homes and those who don’t. For Kady Lone and Eli Omidi, co-creators of Cats of Instagram, which is described as “daily doses of original, cute, cat photos and videos, the internet provides a way to share
useful information about pet care and increase the visibility of people’s pets. “If someone sees something going wrong [with a pet] online they’re going to post about it, and let people know,” Omidi said. Furthermore, because the online community brings together passionate pet owners from all over the world who wouldn’t otherwise meet, followers are able to share information about every conceivable pet-related issue, like reliable adoption services, fostering, behavioral training techniques and how to assist special needs pets. While looking at all of these factors as a whole, it would appear that pets have it pretty good thanks to millennials. And for millennials who aren’t financially and emotionally ready to take the plunge into the traditional life milestones—a dog or cat can provide love, companionship and happily ever after.
22 | Friends of Animals
FOA'S NEW CAMPAIGN TO MAKE TROPHY HUNTING
EXTINCT BY NICOLE RIVARD
riends of Animals believes the trophy hunting industry is as grave and immoral as other things that occur because of the “almighty dollar”—from the sex trafficking industry and the illicit trade in “blood diamonds” to greedy, dishonest doctors profiting from the disease of addiction. Money and greed may blind people to the severity of these atrocities—but those things certainly don’t make them ok. That is the bold message that Friends of Animal’s new anti-trophy hunting campaign is built upon—starting with a chilling, emotionally driven short film that confronts all of the above. The creative to support the video includes compelling posters, which appear in Manhattan and Brooklyn, because New York is the top port of entry of trophy hunted animals. From 2005 to 2014, 159,144 trophy hunted animals were imported into New York. In addition, the social media component includes Facebook and Instagram ads and art, as well as an animated gif featuring images of trophy hunters and a counter that brings awareness to the number of animals that are killed regularly by American trophy hunters. The goal of the new campaign is two-fold: to raise money to bolster our efforts to end the importation of threatened and endangered trophy hunted animals into the United States by 2020, and to raise awareness about one of the tools we are using to accomplish that goal—Cecil’s Law. The legislation, created by Friends of Animals, would ban the importation, sale, possession and transportation of African elephants, lions, leopards, and black and white rhinos and their body parts. The legislation has been introduced in Connecticut and New York, where lawmakers became concerned about trophy hunting following the killing of the beloved African lion Cecil by a well-heeled American dentist. Walter Palmer, like other American trophy hunters who go to Africa for their kill, believe they are entitled to deny the world of such a grand animal like Cecil because they have plenty of cash to do so. They also perpetuate the myth that their money contributes to conservation.
But what Palmer didn’t expect was the public backlash ensued, and Friends of Animals’ new campaign is designed to harness that emotion and to tell the majority of non-hunting Americans that they have the power to make trophy hunting go extinct! While developing the campaign targeting trophy hunters, Chris Breen, Chemistry Atlanta's chief creative officer, said he was struck how big the trophy hunting industry really is. “We are talking about tens of thousands of beautiful and rare animals who are being slaughtered for money,” Breen said. “The video is meant to elevate the conversation and humanize the problem—to show that the industry fueling this senseless loss of life is just like other horrible problems humans face. Whether its 'blood diamonds,' the sex trade or drug addiction, people often think that money somehow makes things ok. “The other atrocities also served as a great juxtaposition. Rich trophy hunters think they can get away with murder. We wanted viewers to see these villains for who they are—but also realize that there are millions of people who oppose trophy hunting. Their money has power too.” Breen gave kudos to Ryan and Santos, the directors at Plus Productions in Los Angeles, whose vision helped tell the story in a very sobering and emotional way. “As a team, we thought it was important to create a dark cinematic mood that was big and sweeping, yet still very intimate,” Breen explained. “We wanted to connect viewers to the sense of entitlement trophy hunters feel. We want the viewers to see through each villain to show that it’s not just about the hunt. It’s about being able to hang a trophy and post pictures on social media. It’s about power. It’s the taking of a life as a sick form of a status symbol.” Breen hopes the campaign will get the millions of people who oppose trophy hunting to do something about it. “Friends of Animals does amazing work. Cecil’s Law is an important piece of legislation that has the potential to deliver a serious blow to the trophy hunting industry as Americans make up the greatest number of trophy hunters travelling to Africa,” Breen said.
Winter 2016-17 | 23
Cecil looks out in the distance on May 27, 2015, the last day the photographer would see him alive.
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CECIL'S Legacy WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
BY NICOLE RIVARD / PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRENT STAPELKAMP
Winter 2016-17 | 25
bove Brent Stapelkamp’s photograph of Cecil the lion laying next to his ally Jericho, taken May 27, 2015 in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, is the caption: “on the morning that was to be the last time Brent would see Cecil.” Reading it, one feels a wave of mixed emotions. Overwhelming sadness and anger on the one hand, and on the other … hope. And that’s just what conservationist and photographer Stapelkamp wanted when he agreed to exhibit his photos of Cecil and his pride at Six Summit Gallery in Ivoryton, Conn., over the summer and to give a lecture about his decade of work as a lion researcher for Oxford University’s Hwange Lion Research Project. Stapelkamp’s primary role was to mitigate conflict between lions and the local community, a hallmark of in situ conservation, while collaring, tracking and studying the lions themselves. Because of the project, Stapelkamp got to know Cecil intimately, and no one felt the loss of the lion, whose life was taken illegally by an American trophy hunter in July of 2015, more than him. “So much has been made of Cecil’s story and the tragedy of it,” Stapelkamp said at the beginning of his lecture. “But I’m very much an optimist, and I want to look to the future. It seems like no story in the history of the world, in regards to animals, has touched so many people as the story about Cecil. So now we have to harness that momentum, that passion, that awareness and really do something tangible for lions.” Friends of Animals couldn’t agree more. We are more inspired than ever after meeting Stapelkamp and seeing his exhibit, a heartfelt tribute to Cecil, to move
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Cecil’s Law across the finish line in Connecticut and New York in 2017 and introduce it in other states as well (see article, page 32). Cecil’s Law would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of the African elephant, lion, leopard, and black and white rhinos or their body parts—all threatened and endangered species. We thought you would be inspired by Stapelkamp too, so we sent him some questions in Zimbabwe, where he and his wife have started the Soft Foot Alliance, which serves to design and implement long-term sustainable solutions that promote human-wildlife co-existence. His responses provide insight into the plight of African lions and how legal trophy hunting is contributing to their demise. Friends of Animals was one of the first international organizations to challenge the long-held belief that regulated hunting can be a valuable conservation tool for endangered animals and we remain steadfast in our commitment to end importation into the U.S. of trophyhunted threatened and endangered animals by 2020. “The trophy hunting industry really doesn’t like me,” Stapelkamp said. “I’ve had some really aggressive encounters with trophy hunters. But still, I like to look at the bigger picture—all I’ve got in my defense is truth. And that’s what I am trying to promote. I am trying to get away from all of the aggression, and try and look to the future.”
Why did you agree to put your photos of Cecil on exhibit in galleries in Connecticut and New York after his tragic death? Do you hope to motivate people to contribute to true conservation efforts in Africa and to help get legislation passed to end trophy hunting of African lions? I have been a budding wildlife photographer for years now, so to say it was all selfless, my motives to exhibit my work, would be untrue. But you hit on a very good point. Photography can be many more times direct and inspiring in a world brim full of empty rhetoric, and so deeply I hope that my images touch people and spark a want to work for wildlife. I also hope to show a side of wildlife in
Thousands of hours in the company of lions gave you a unique perspective of their lives and the threats that they face. What would you say is the biggest threat to African lions—is it human overpopulation and loss of habitat because it leads to more and more human/lion conflict? How many lions in your study died because they killed cattle or were perceived to be a threat to cattle? Seventy-five percent of the habitat African lions have lost was lost in the last century. And that is one of the major issues facing lion conservation now—they are simply losing land to people. And where people live lions don’t do very well.
"It seems like no story in the history of the world, in regards to animals, has touched so many people as the story about Cecil." Africa that many don't, and that is the reality that the idea of ‘wilderness’ is a fallacy. Lions sleep on railway lines and bump into cyclists and elephants drink out of swimming pools, etc. Can you talk a little bit about the Hwange Lion Research Project and its main objectives? The Hwange Lion Research Project is one of the largest (in terms of study animals) and longest (17 years) lion studies in Africa. It was started by Dr. Andrew Loveridge and Professor David MacDonald of Oxford University’s WildCRU in 1999. They wanted to answer the question "What effect does lion hunting outside Hwange have on the park lions?" And that answer led to a hunting moratorium for four years, from 2004 to 2008. With an increasing lion population, in the absence of hunting, new questions emerged. The conflict with livestock owners on the peripheries of the park was a big issue and that is really where I fit in. The Hwange Lion Research Project’s conservation work is based on a very strong scientific foundation, and it is recognized for its successes. Cecil of course was one of the Project’s study animals and has really brought its work and indeed the real story around lions to the forefront.
I couldn't give you an exact number of lions killed for conflict as I no longer have access to that data, but I remember that approximately 40 percent of the lion deaths in our study were attributed to direct retaliation for killing cattle, or sometimes preemptive killing for a perceived threat. Habitat loss in Africa is a very serious threat to lions and is one that creeps up slowly with little sign until one day you realize that a lion hasn't been heard for years, and then it's too late. There are just 20,000 lions left today. That’s a 43 percent decrease in the last 20 years. I was trying to think about how to put that into context. Princess Diana was killed 20 years ago. You can imagine how fresh that still is in your mind. And in that amount of time we lost 43 percent of our lions. It’s drastic and it’s happening right now. Cecil’s story is not unique. Throughout our work to get Cecil’s Law passed in Connecticut in the beginning of 2016, one hurdle was getting legislators to understand that just because trophy hunting is legal, doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean it contributes to conservation? Can you talk about how legal trophy hunting exacerbates human/lion conflict? For instance, can you explain how it directly contributes to it in communities because it interferes with the social dynamic of lions?
Winter 2016-17 | 27
A young cub, not content to sleep like the rest of the pride, yawns and gets ready to go and cause chaos.
Absolutely! I have seen this many times now, a direct link between trophy hunting and months of chaos and anger in surrounding communities and lions being blamed, and killed. Many times one part of my job was to answer a call from a trophy hunter to come and retrieve our collar off a lion he had shot. Invariably it was shot just a 100 meters from the park (any deeper into the hunting concessions would be useless because those lions were shot out long ago). I would then have to prepare my Lion Guardians and their communities for the conflict that would surely come in a matter of weeks. When a male lion dies, his male offspring leave home early. If Cecil was alive, his offspring would only leave the pride at 3 ½ or 4 years old. By that time he weighs at least 120 kilograms, is proficient in hunting and has a good chance of finding his own territory right away. But when the father dies early he leaves home early, sometimes as young as about 16 or 18 months, which means he’s inexperienced, physically small and doesn’t have any confidence. So where does he go that he doesn’t get beat up by other lions—smack dab amongst people. Because of the social structure in lions, there is a process called infanticide. That means that in the absence of a father to protect the cubs, new males will come in to take his place. But they can’t afford to wait for those cubs to mature before they can mate and get their own genes into the system, so they are going to kill the cubs. I’ve seen cases where four brothers, all of them were killed,
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and then their 16 cubs died very quickly after that. So because of four trophy hunted lions, you lost 20 lions. And as you can imagine a lioness, a mother, won't allow her cubs to be killed without a fight or without trying to take them to safety. And where, in Africa, where there is so much pressure on land, can she go to avoid this infanticide? Among people. And what is there to eat among people where her natural prey has been exterminated? Cattle. So because of trophy hunting, those two demographics start moving in and killing people’s livestock. Then people become angry, because their entire livelihood disappeared in one night. So when a lion comes in and kills your goats at night in Zimbabwe, literally the next morning you have to tell your child he or she is not going to school next term. So that’s why you have a heightened increase in conflict, yet I am trying to tell people they shouldn’t kill lions. It’s a very difficult job. Another negative side effect of trophy hunting is it weakens the overall gene pool. You see the male shot by a trophy hunter would inevitably be the pride male because the trophy hunter wants the biggest, blackest maned lion and nature makes sure that he is the pride male. After a hunter has shot the strongest male, lions who were weaker and perhaps lost the fight before, kill the strong cubs and add their weaker genes into the mix. The trajectory changes completely.
You mentioned Lion Guardians? Who are they and what do they do? The Lion Guardians are known as the Long Shields and there are now 14 of them between the south of Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls. They are men and women recruited and hired to work from their own homes in communities on the edge of the park. Those lions that 'conflict' with cattle are identified and collared in satellite collars. The Long Shields receive the lions location every morning via the smartphone app WhatsApp, and if that lion is deemed to be a threat to cattle then the guardian jumps to action. He races there on his bike, makes sure no cattle are around and in danger and shares the warning with his or her own WhatsApp group that includes school teachers, parents, etc. If the lion is too close to people or livestock their job is to chase it back to the protected area. Firecrackers and vuvuzelas (plastic horns used at football matches) are used to scare the lion. It has been very successful with more than a 50 percent decrease in cattle killed since they started four years ago. Soft Foot Alliance will work alongside the Long Shields.
10 years here I can honestly say that I have seen almost no reinvestment in conservation from trophy hunting returns. Middlemen and foreign accounts perhaps flourish, but actual reinvestment into the land and its wildlife I have not seen. Corruption and greed finds its way in and the benefits disappear. That leaves the people living with an elephant and a lion to pick up the tab. There are some good trustworthy groups to support such as the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative.
Friends of Animals was one of the first international organizations to challenge the long-held belief that trophy hunting—in this case, of lions—can be a valuable conservation tool for endangered animals. Can you discuss, like you did in your presentation, how this is not the case in Zimbabwe? Can you specifically describe how very little money gets to on the ground conservation efforts and why? On paper it sounds like it could work, the reality is these countries are the most corrupt countries on the planet, particularly Zimbabwe. There are oppressive people just interested in turning profits. When someone pays $50,000 to kill a lion, it just disappears into Swiss bank accounts. And very little gets used for conservation. It’s just not working. The amount of money coming in directly from trophy hunting is not doing enough. We are losing lions hand over fist, so we need to think of something else. So I think the world largely speaking, has had enough trophy hunting. It’s only a small group of people who can even afford it. I was raised and trained here in Zimbabwe to believe in an amazing program called CAMPFIRE! It means the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources and its central premise is that people living with wildlife should directly benefit from it and not just bear all the costs. We would shout its praises from the rooftops but over the years, the crack developed. In my last
There are just 20,000 lions left today. That’s a 43 percent decrease in the last 20 years ... Princess Diana was killed 20 years ago. You can imagine how fresh that still is in your mind. And in that amount of time we lost 43 percent of our lions.
When did you first “meet” and collar Cecil? What was it about him that set him apart from some of the other lions in Hwange? What did tourists appreciate about him and what do you want people to know about him who weren’t lucky enough to see him in the wild? We first saw him with his brother in 2009, I think it was. He was a nervous lion from the bottom of the park. After a big fight with Jericho (he wasn’t Cecil’s brother as the media reported), Jericho’s father and his brothers and Cecil's brother was killed, Cecil settled in a neighboring area, a wonderful area full of tourists. There he lost his
nervous disposition and became so used to vehicles that he once walked underneath three Americans sitting on the tiered seat on the back of a land rover. The neighboring territories existed for a while until two new males chased Jericho and Cecil out. They disappeared for a while and then about a year later they were seen together rubbing heads and licking each other.
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A lion named Lucky who once lived in Hwange National Park where Cecil lived.
They established this coalition, they realized in biological terms that two is always going to be better than one. So they formed an alliance. I would say to folks who will never know a lion, to sit in the company of an animal as grand as Cecil is truly humbling, and that is why I love it. You can forget yourself in their company because there is something truly beautiful and innocent, and they just 'are.' Can you clarify some of the misinformation that was put out in the media about Cecilâ€™s death, when and how he died at the hands of the American trophy hunter, and whether it was a legal trophy hunt? Cecil was poached, or hunted illegally. A minimum age limit for hunting lions is set at six years old by the wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe. Of the five lions legally hunted in 2014, four were under six, so as a penalty there were no lions on license for 2015. Above and beyond that, if you hunt in Zimbabwe with a bow you need a parks ranger with you and if you hunt a lion legally you need a parks
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ranger with you. Palmer had neither. Cecil was shot with the first arrow at 10 p.m. on the night of the July 1, 2015. Wounded, he was left for 11 hours or so, and not 40. Then they found him again and finished him off with a second arrow. That was key because the American trophy hunter wanted a bow hunting record, and if a rifle was used the record would be disqualified. This particular hunter already had several record animalsâ€”all 'taken' with a bow. The collar was removed and walked around for a couple of days to try and fool us that the lion was still alive before being destroyed. We have never seen the collar again. I believe they moved the collar around to fool us and perhaps buy the time to get their client out of the country. Cecil would not be allowed as the record for the bow hunt I am sure, and actually Safari Club International has cancelled Palmerâ€™s membership.
Can you elaborate on what happened to the local guides and the American trophy hunter who killed Cecil after they were investigated? Do you think justice has been served? Justice has certainly not been served. No one has been convicted of anything yet. Zimbabwe dropped its request to extradite the American and the cases concerning the local men have all but died a quiet death.
see the lion so they don’t panic and break out. We can outthink these animals—we don’t have to kill them. We just have to use our brain matter. Part of Friends of Animals’ mission is vegan advocacy. You are a vegetarian. Wouldn’t it make sense to educate locals about eliminating cattle from their diets altogether and adopting a plant-based diet, which would eliminate one of the main reasons for human/lion conflict? Is this something you might If you could meet the American trophy hunter who consider doing with the Soft Foot Alliance? shot Cecil with a bow and arrow so he could obtain It is an interesting point, but people keep cattle not the world record, what would you like to say to him? primarily for meat here, but for something like a bank I'd ask him if he truly believes that he had the right to deny account. So if cattle are not being eaten and are the the world such an animal? Because he has the money, he main cause of conflict, why keep them? They are used thinks the world is there for the taking, illegally or legally? to develop grasslands, stabilize and regenerate soils for fields and agriculture. The people favor maize (corn), You and your wife have recently started the Soft millets and sorghum, but fertilizers are expensive and Foot Alliance in Zimbabwe, a new Trust dedicated to can actually destroy soil fertility, so the cattle manure and improving the lives and landscapes of people living urine focused in the soils by positioning the bomas above on the boundary of Hwange National Park and achiev- the fields is much better. ing a sustainable co-existence with wildlife. Lions, hyenas, elephants, baboons and honey badgers are How is Cecil’s family doing since his death? the main focal species as they impact people’s liveli- Cecil's family has made it. In fact two of Cecil's lionhoods on the park’s boundaries. Can you give a brief esses were seen mating with a new male last week, so description of each of the initiatives you have started that officially means his cubs reached adulthood, and to reduce human/lion conflict? they made it. Soft Foot Alliance is a very broad and holistic project umbrella that has one central theme, and that is improving the lives of people living on the outside of the park. This is the coalface of conservation and where many different projects speak about 'community empowerment and benefit sharing,' it is rarely done. Competition for scarce resources bring people and animals into conflict situations. By maximizing our efficient use of resources we limit that exposure and people’s vulnerability. For example, we have created rocket stoves: These simple to make stoves minimize the need for firewood by using only small sticks readily available closer to home. The tips of the sticks burn efficiently in an insulated chimney and very little smoke is produced. Smoke related disease is a huge problem in rural areas where open fires are used indoors. This stove minimizes the need for women to go into the protected areas to collect firewood, which limits their own exposure to wild animals and reduces their encroachment, which is the major threat to protected areas today. We are also want to provide for the more widespread use of canvas boma livestock enclosures. They are a wonderful tool to keep cattle safe from carnivores and to help fertilize fields. The theory is the lion can’t see through the canvas so it won’t jump over. And cattle can’t Brent Stapelkamp points out lion tracks to his son Oliver.
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CECIL’S LAW MATTERS
BY NICOLE RIVARD PHOTOGRAPH BY SKYLER SMITH
elfishly, well-heeled people from many countries travel to Africa to legally trophy hunt endangered and threatened lions, elephants, leopards and black and white rhinos, unfazed by the $11,000 to $150,000 price tags determined by the animal, length of hunt and accommodations. But Americans should be the most ashamed, since they make up the greatest number— particularly in countries where hunting safaris are most expensive. In Tanzania, for example, 34 percent of the trophy hunters are Americans, and in Zambia, 57 percent of the trophy hunters are Americans, according to a 2009 study by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Its Resources. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), 1.2 million animals were legally killed by American hunters and sent to the U.S. as trophies over the last 15 years. In 2015 alone, 405 lion trophies, 67 elephant trophies, and 217 leopard trophies were imported into the U.S. from Africa. Alarmingly, American tourists account
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for the majority of lions killed for sport in Africa. A 2011 report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare found that between 1999 and 2008, Americans brought home lion trophies (including heads and pelts) representing 64 percent of all African lions killed for sport during that period. Between 2005 and 2014, trophies of 5,605 African lions were imported in the U.S., an average of 560 per year. There was a steady increase in imports from 2011 onward, with imports peaking at 736 lions imported in 2014. That’s why Friends of Animals believes that until there is a national ban in place in the United States to end the importation of sport-hunted trophies of the African Big 5 species, it is critical that states like New York, which have designated ports where a large number of these trophies are imported, take action on their own. And FoA is leading the charge to help states do just that. In April 2015, FoA’s Wildlife Law Program director, Michael Harris, drafted the Africa Big 5 bill, which would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of
the protected species or their body parts. Ivory and ivory products that are otherwise legal to possess, transport, import, and sell under federal law are not subject to the prohibitions contained in this bill. In New York, the bill was sponsored by state Sen. Tony Avella, who later renamed it Cecil’s Law in honor of one of Zimbabwe’s most beloved lions who was killed by American hunter Walter Palmer in July of 2015. During the month of July 2015, when Cecil was illegally killed, U.S. hunters legally killed 69 other lions in Africa for fun who they could mount as trophies back home. While there was overwhelming support for Cecil’s Law in the New York Senate, it has been stalled in the Assembly. In 2016, Cecil’s Law was championed by state Sen. Bob Duff in Connecticut, where it was voted favorably out of the Joint Environment Committee and then passed in the Senate in April 2016. Unfortunately, Cecil’s Law didn’t get voted on in the House because time ran out as legislators were consumed with the budget. Rest assured we are committed to getting Cecil’s Law across the finish line in New York and Connecticut in 2017. And FoA also has its sights on introducing Cecil’s Law in other states in 2017—with an emphasis on the West Coast.
THE IMPACT PASSING STATE LAWS COULD HAVE Generally, all wildlife (including parts and products) must be imported through one of 18 designated ports in the United States. The majority of the Africa Big 5 trophies enter the U.S. through New York. The other top ports are in Houston, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago. Taking into consideration data from the USFWS, FoA is adamant that shutting down states like New York, Texas and California to trophy imports would have a huge impact. Consider New York for example: From 2005-2014, 1,541 African lions were imported as trophies; 1,130 African elephant trophies were imported, as well as 84 pairs of tusks; 1,169 African leopard trophies were imported; and 110 African white rhino trophies were imported, as well as 3 pairs of horns. Since the closest port to Connecticut is New York, the NY data could also be considered a reflection of the Nutmeg state as well since residents could be using New York as an entry point. Even though a state like Connecticut does not have a designated port, USFWS told FoA that it is possible for residents to apply for a non-designated
port permit, allowing them to bring trophies directly into Connecticut, which makes the passing of Cecil’s Law critical. To determine just how much Connecticut residents are playing a role in trophy hunting, FoA submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the USFWS seeking information about trophy hunting permits given to Connecticut residents from 2005-2015. We uncovered that 65 trophy hunting permits were issued to Connecticut residents. All except for six were provided so people could hunt and kill leopards for their trophies; the others allowed residents to kill African elephants in Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. According to the report “The conservation biology and ecology of the African leopard,” published at Plymouth University in 2012, consumptive practices like trophy hunting significantly deplete local leopard populations. Male leopards are the most desired predator trophy in Africa, however, sex determination during hunts is not straightforward and can cause high female mortality. In Tanzania, 77 leopard trophies were genetically analyzed to find that 29 percent were female. Additionally, a deficiency of male leopards—from trophy hunting—could cause a loss of genetic variation due to a declining population size resulting from a skewed sex ratio. Leopards show a high dependency for stable, long-term relationships. Increased male mortality disrupts leopard social structure and spatial dynamics, which can lead to increased intraspecific strife and infanticide.
JUST BECAUSE IT’S LEGAL DOESN’T MAKE IT OK What some members of the Connecticut’s Joint Environment committee didn’t comprehend until FoA’s testimony at a public hearing about Cecil’s Law in March of 2016 was that legal trophy hunting, in and of itself detrimental to African wildlife, also feeds illegal poaching. FoA testified that there is growing scientific evidence that the legal trade of trophy hunted species enables illegal poaching by providing poachers a legal market to launder their contraband. One example is South Africa—the country had seen a marked rise in illegal rhino poaching since it began selling permits for trophy hunted rhinos in 2004. Illegal trophy hunting increased 5,000 percent since 2007. FoA also testified about the myth sport hunters like to perpetuate that African governments would not have money for conservation without trophy hunting. FoA was one of the first international organizations to challenge that regulated hunting can be a conservation tool.
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Brent Stapelkamp, a conservationist who resides in Zimbabwe and studied Cecil for a decade, dispels the myth further in our Q&A with him on page 24. Just last year, in an NBC investigation, former top U.S. officials questioned America’s ability to vet trophy hunting abroad—admitting monitoring conservation programs in foreign countries is challenging for the USFWS. In 2014, the agency even suspended the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, citing lack of information to prove that the sport-hunting programs enhance the survival of the species.
THE TIDE IS TURNING...BUT THERE’S STILL WORK TO BE DONE Sept. 30, 2016, marked a milestone for African elephants: a D.C. federal judge rejected the notion that killing elephants will save them and upheld the USFWS’ 2014 decision to ban imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, striking down a challenge brought by the Safari Club and the National Rifle Association. FoA intervened in the case on behalf of USFWS (see story page 7). And on Dec. 21, 2015, the USFWS, for the first time acknowledged that trophy hunting is detrimental to Afri-
ca’s remaining lion population. The agency listed two lion subspecies as endangered and threatened under the Endangered Species Act. While it was good news for Panthera leo leo, located in India and Western and Central Africa, because you can’t trophy hunt an endangered animal, overall the listing continues to promote trophy hunting of threatened lion species and others. “Any rule that still allows the killing of these animals isn’t a protective rule at all, and it will continue to lead to their demise,” said Harris. “This type of mentality is what led to these animals needing to be protected in the first place. It’s the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service giving in to a small number of trophy hunters who are living in the barbaric past, putting their self-interests above that of the world’s and these animals.” And unlike Cecil’s Law, the ruling completely ignores African elephants, leopards and black and white rhinos. “The importance of Cecil's law is that it recognizes trophy hunting remains one of the main reasons that Africa’s Big Five are heading to extinction. Cecil’s Law sends a strong message to not only people within the states of New York and Connecticut, but all around the country and those in Washington that trophy hunting itself needs to be stopped. Domestic legislation like Cecil’s Law is vital to any hope of the long-term survival of these animals,” said Harris.
TAKE ACTION Now is your chance to make a difference if you were outraged in 2015 when a well-heeled American dentist travelled to Africa and paid a significant amount of money for the experience of breaking the bow-hunting record for killing the largest lion and then illegally shot Cecil, a local favorite who lived on a wildlife refuge in Zimbabwe. When asked what the average person needs to do to help move the legislation forward, New York state Sen. Tony Avella said residents should call their state senators and assembly members and tell them to support Cecil’s Law by becoming a
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co-sponsor as well as voting for it. “This is going to be moved by the people of the state of New York.” A directory of Assembly members can be found here: nyassembly.gov/mem/. A directory of Senators can be found here: nysenate.gov/find-my-senator. In Connecticut, you can get contact info for your state Senators and state Representatives by calling 860.240.0100. Tell them to vote yes to Cecil’s Law in the next legislative session. To find an online directory, visit cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp.
U.S. DELEGATION TO CITES FAILS AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
How can it be that the United States, which takes a very tough stance against tyrants, drug lords and terrorists, is such a pushover when it comes to two-bit, would-be ivory dealers?
BY ZEEV BODED
hat's the lingering question after a delegation from the United States, led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, voted against an African proposal to extend full legal international protection to all African elephants. The disgraceful no vote was cast at the 2016 meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of Parties held in Johannesburg, Africa, Sept. 24 to Oct. 5. The proposal would have restored all African elephants to CITES Appendix I, a classification that would prohibit commercial trade globally— the change we need to end the exploitation of elephants before it’s too late. Sadly, the U.S.’ no-vote contributed to the overall defeat of the proposal and shocked many of America's African allies who are desperate to protect their elephants from the current poaching crisis that has decimated 30 percent of Africa’s elephants over the past seven years. It sent the message that the United States is willing to tolerate loopholes in the international ivory control system—which is the opposite of what the Obama Administration has been advocating for nearly eight years.
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And to top it all off, the vote snubbed the request of nearly five dozen members of Congress, who specifically asked the U.S. delegation to support the Appendix I listing proposal. The U.S. delegation’s move also stimulates the hopes of illegal ivory dealers—giving them the impression America is weak and ambivalent on the ivory issue. To make matters worse, the shameful U.S. position was shrouded in secrecy until the last minute. Despite a large number of American non-government organizations being present, the U.S. delegation and Ashe, soon-to-be president of the Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, kept tight-lipped about its deceitful intentions. There was no transparency at all.
WHY THE PROPOSAL WAS CRUCIAL The proposal would have closed a festering loophole known as “split-listing,” a bad mechanism created by CITES in 1997. A split-listing separates Africa’s elephants into two categories. Most elephants are on CITES Appendix I, which means that all international trade is prohibited. But the elephants of four southern African countries—Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe—are listed on Appendix II, which means international trade in their ivory can be conducted under certain circumstances. CITES-authorized legal trade in ivory was conducted first in 1999 and again in 2009, with a total of about 155 tons being sold to China and Japan. The loophole was promptly exploited by the illegal ivory dealers, who pushed thousands of tons of contraband ivory (the lives of more than 100,000 elephants) into the flourishing legal markets of Asia over the past two decades. All a criminal syndicate needed to do was smuggle its ivory to a country with legal domestic markets and mix it in with the legal stocks. This illegal trafficking has resulted in many crimes of violence, including the murder of more than a thousand African park rangers, and has generated enormous profits for criminals, terror groups and violent militias. The illegal ivory trade today has a retail value of at least $1.8 billion annuallyy—enough to attract the most greedy and violent lawbreakers.
BEHIND THE SCENES AT CITES When the African proposal came to the floor of the CITES meeting, the original 13 sponsors—Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Uganda—were joined by another 19 African countries, including Botswana, which courageously acknowledged its previous position to be an error. They became the African Elephant Coalition;
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32 African countries standing against the remaining three hold-outs: Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It was clear to all that the vast majority of Africans wanted to shut down the split-listing loophole. But certain Asian countries and their sympathizers were not so keen on closing the loophole. And the European Union, which votes as a block of 28 countries, was persuaded to oppose the Appendix I listing, even though individual European delegations privately said they favored uplisting all elephants. Had the U.S. and the E.U. both voted in favor of the African proposal, all elephants would be on Appendix I today, and the hope of future ivory trade extinguished. But the proposal failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority, and Africa’s elephants today remain vulnerable to the vicissitudes of a split-listing. Unfortunately, these delegations failed to see the consequences of validating the Appendix II listing for some of Africa’s elephants. The Appendix II listing enables the horrific ivory trade and is critical to its future. Ivory, like any commodity, responds to market forces. In particular, the illegal ivory trade has many characteristics of the commodity futures market, where investors essentially speculate on marketability and potential profits at some time in the future. When prospects of a future market become brighter, the price goes up and the effort to acquire a commodity intensifies. In other words—intensified poaching!
EXCUSES, EXCUSES The U.S. delegation claimed that it voted against the African proposal because it opened up the potential for member nations to take a “reservation” and use a victory on Appendix I uplisting as a back door to resume trade. A reservation is a legal option that gives countries the right to reject CITES decisions. But that does not mean it would open the back door—or any other door—to any trade. “During discussion about the proposal, Namibia explicitly stated its intention to take a reservation. We are unalterably opposed to resumption of commercial ivory trade, under any terms. Therefore, because of the risk it represented, we felt compelled to oppose a proposal that we would otherwise support,” the U.S. delegation explained. The United States may want to blame being bullied by Namibia for not supporting the Appendix I proposal, but the situation begs the question: Did Namibia’s threat have any substance at all? Even if Namibia went rogue and decided to export ivory—who would buy it? What country would openly disregard CITES? The U.S. knew that even if Namibia did take a reservation, it wouldn't have any place to sell its ivory, because
no market country had even suggested interest in conspiring in some rogue ivory deal. Even China, the world's largest ivory market, has announced its intent to shut it down. It is one thing for a country to turn a blind eye to smuggling, and ignore the abuses of shady domestic markets. But a country openly welcoming a boatload of contraband from a defiant exporter is another. The United States delegation knows CITES has practical experience with elephant ivory reservations and their empty threats. Back in 1989, CITES voted to put all African elephants on Appendix I, and a rash of southern African countries, along with co-conspirators in Asia, filed reservations to reject the decision. Even the British jumped in—on behalf of their then-colony Hong Kong. Despite all the noise those countries made, the Appendix I listing had a decisive impact. The price of ivory collapsed and poachers, not willing to risk their lives for pennies, quit poaching. Elephant habitats remained relatively peaceful until the split-listing decision of 1997. The U.S. delegation should be ashamed of itself for knowing there is a catastrophic poaching epidemic in Africa and ignoring that an Appendix I listing has proved to be a successful remedy in the past. How could the U.S. delegation ignore that an Appendix I listing was supported by 90 percent of the African elephant range countries, some of which are in dire straits trying to fend of waves of criminal gangs. How could it turn
a blind’s eye to their misery? Somehow it all seems so disingenuous. Add to that the U.S.’ furtiveness regarding its intentions, an affront to anyone who believes in governmental transparency, and one gets the disturbing feeling that there was some other shady deal influencing the decision-making process.
ALL IS NOT LOST While some nations failed African elephants—the CITES conference was not entirely bleak for elephants. Participants did manage to pass resolutions calling for the closure of domestic ivory markets, the disposal of ivory stockpiles, tighter restrictions on international sale of baby elephants and termination of the insipid Decision Making Mechanism that used CITES budget, staff time and other resources to plan the trading mechanisms for a future ivory market— even at a time when elephants are being killed in the tens of thousands each year. And don’t forget, Ashe is on his way out. In the meantime Friends of Animals members can donate toward bolstering anti-poaching efforts in Africa. And we continue our work to protect other wildlife in Africa, such as chimpanzees through the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project in the Gambia, and scimitar-horned oryx through the Guembeul Faunal Reserve and Ferlo National Park in Senegal.
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CHILD ACTOR USES HIS CELEBRITY TO PROVIDE A VOICE FOR ANIMALS BY NICOLE RIVARD
ctor Mace Coronel, 12, plays Dicky on the hit Nickelodeon show “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn,” a show about quadruplets and the adventures that ensue in their lives. Dicky lives a charmed life, and if there's an easier way to do something, he'll find it. But Coronel doesn’t take the easy way out when it comes to being a role model to young fans—he takes his role seriously. So when he was asked to compete in the network’s hit competition series “Paradise Run” and to pick a charity to support, he looked for an anti-hunting organization— and found Friends of Animals. “I realize that people look to me for guidance, and I understand that part of my responsibility as an artist is to also be an activist for what I believe in—including organizations that inspire change, which is important to me, just as protecting animals and fighting for life is important to me. I have a platform to speak for
those who don't have a voice. “We should value animals’ lives as much as we do human lives. There is no reason for hunting. To kill an animal for a trophy is despicable and inhumane....My mom always taught me; if you know the right choice, then make it.” Coronel’s disdain for hunting stems from a connection with nature and wildlife that he developed early on. He grew up in Greenwich, Conn., not from far Friends of Animals headquarters, surrounded by nature. He spent a lot of time in the woods, enthralled by wild creatures. “Unfortunately, people would ask to hunt in our backyard arguing for ‘population control’ and my mom would chase them off our lawn,” Coronel recalls. “When the hunters would park their trucks and make their way towards our house with their bow and arrows and shotguns to ask us if they could hunt in our backyard, my mom and grandma would make as much noise as they
could to scare off the animals who were possibly hanging around. They would use cowbells and my grandma’s loud whistle in hopes that the animals would run far away in case the hunters would be granted permission by our neighbors who we shared the woods with.” We at Friends of Animals are moved that at a young age Coronel, who you might recognize for his recurring role on the “Bold and the Beautiful,” already recognizes the importance of advocating for animals and the environment, and will be cheering for him daily starting Monday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. eastern time. Shot in Hawaii, “Paradise Run” features three teams of actors racing across a luxurious resort competing for charities of their choice, in a series adrenaline-pumping challenges. “I loved being active and I loved being in Hawaii,” Coronel said. “But I hated seeing captive dolphins.”
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REVIEWED BY NICOLE RIVARD
s a child I was enthralled by the nature TV show “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” and my hero was host Jim Fowler, who I recently got to meet since he lives in the same Connecticut town where Friends of Animals is headquartered. The series covered a diverse range of topics from the lives of specific animals to their relationship with other animals—both friendly and predatory. Many of the shows were filmed in the animals' natural habitat—frequently Africa and South America—and to this day I still have a longing to visit Africa. Because the show brought the world’s wildest places and creatures into my living room, a seed of respect and admiration for them was planted in me, ready to sprout in ways I couldn’t have predicted. Now author Dan Flores has managed to make me revere an animal much closer to home—the coyote. Flores reveals throughout his latest book—Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History— an animal so similar to humans that it seems both criminal and insane that this country actually had a federal extermination program that used poison to take the lives of 1,884,897 coyotes from 1915 to 1947 and then another 3.6 million through 1971. And it’s unthinkable that there is a Wildlife Services Predator Research Facility in Utah currently experimenting on coyotes to come up with more tools
to control the coyote population in addition to the aerial gunning that is still employed. Among the fascinating revelations throughout the book is that coyotes and humans are among the few mammals in the world who have evolved fission-fusion societies, the ability to live singly or communally—one of the explanations for the success of us and them. Also, the coyote’s famous howl allows it to take censuses of surrounding coyote populations and adjust the sizes of their litters accordingly. In the 1920s, coyotes actually began mysteriously showing up in places east of the Mississippi River. The unrelenting pressure on them triggered larger litters of pups and colonization behavior that pushed them into new settings everywhere on the outer margins of their core range.
With his book, Flores has painted a picture of an extraordinary animal, who should be admired, not treated as a pest by cattle and sheep ranchers out West and not portrayed negatively in the media when sighted in cities across America like Los Angeles and New York City. While Coyote America is truly “their story,” Flores says that in more ways than you would imagine, “this story is about us. The coyote is a kind of special Darwinian mirror, reflecting back insights about ourselves as fellow mammals.” I couldn’t agree more. Truly the coyote’s story is one of ingenuity, adaptation and resilience, much like our own story as we navigate through life’s ups and downs. Despite campaigns of annihilation employing poisons, gases, helicopters and engineered epidemics, they didn’t just survive, they thrived, expanding across the continent. They are proof that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Coyote America, which also provides a history lesson on the environmental movement in this country and its enemies, will help readers realize that coyotes aren’t going anywhere...and that’s a good thing. www.basicbooks.com $27.50 / 288 pages
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LETTERS A WAY TO HELP URBAN BIRDS
Thank you for your lovely article in your Fall magazine about pigeons. Are you aware of Wild Bird Fund in NYC (Wildbirdfund.org). Another wonderful, highly dedicated organization aimed at treating city birds, frequently pigeons, which have been injured, and returning as many as possible, after rehabilitation, to their lives outdoors. A special delight is watching the release of red-tailed hawks from their office and infirmary into Central Park. TRISH DAYAN • STAMFORD, CT
TOURISM OF NATIONAL PARKS IS INSTITUTIONALIZED EXPLOITATION
While reading through the Summer edition of Action Line, I was increasingly disappointed to learn that Friends of Animals is apparently OK with tourism of the US National Parks. This institutional exploitation directly contradicts FoA’s goal, as stated under “Who We Are” on page 2 of the magazine. As virtually always, humans’ lauded efforts to
management are prohibited. So if these areas were not designated National Parks they would likely already have been exploited by these things, we believe that that cumulative footprint would be far worse than an access road for visitors.
preserve wilderness are not for the sake of the wilderness, but “for the enjoyment of future generations [of humans].” Three hundred million human visitors to America’s national parks in 2015 is not a good thing. Those visitors generate/ require a significant cumulative footprint (e.g., transportation infrastructure) that can be entirely eliminated by staying away from the wildlife habitat that we call parks. We do not need to experience the wilderness to appreciate it. Surely, we now have enough audio-visual recordings to inform humans the world over now and into the future about the ‘natural’ world. Yes, first-hand experience is more individually exhilarating. But it’s at nature’s expense. If we really care about and want to care for the wilderness, then we should protect it from us and otherwise leave it alone. MARK REED • VICTORIA, BC, CANADA
I wanted to write and thank you for your wonderful and informative artice, "Pigeons are misunderstood" in Fall Action Line. My husband and I feed the pigeons in our area almost every day. We both think they are amazing creatures who are like brave soldiers (that's what we call them) who get up each and every day and got out and fight to survive. We wish everyone who calls them "rats" could read your article and would understand what amazing creatures they really are. Thank you again! LINDA AND TOM MORELL • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Editor’s Note: The reason we celebrated National Parks in our Summer issue is because National Parks provide the gold standard in American protected areas. They are the only places where hunting and resource development activities such as mineral extraction, fracking, timber harvesting and artificial habitat
LET’S HEAR FROM YOU! MAIL US: Editor, Action Line Friends of Animals 777 Post Road Darien, CT 06820 E-MAIL US: firstname.lastname@example.org
IN MEMORIAM Friends of Animals has received kind donations in memory of the following individuals: JOYCE HALL
JAIME LUIS ORTIZ
ELIZABETH SAUER FITZSIMMONS
DR. MEG DEGRAVELLES
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VELVET & THOMASINA WILD RABBITS FOR ALL ANIMALS WHO HAVE TOUCHED THE LIFE OF LORNA HELTON & OTHERS JAY JAY CURTIS GUEST
CHEERS FIGHTING WILDLIFE CRIME Cheers to four grand prize winners of the 2016 Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, a U.S.-based competition that put out a worldwide call for out-of-the-box strategies to tackle the colossal illicit trade in animal parts. And the winners are: •
The National Whistleblower Center will use a web portal where potential whistleblowers can securely report evidence of wildlife crime, seek legal advice and learn about their rights. To save pangolins, the University of Washington will analyze the DNA of pangolin scales and meat seized by law enforcement to pinpoint where those animals were poached. New York University will use a web-based tool that incorporates a computational model with machine learning to help law enforcement and other groups monitor illegal wildlife trade over the internet with greater efficiency. The New England Aquarium will utilize their “smart invoice” technology that quickly digitizes customs paperwork for real-time analysis to find illegal wildlife products hidden in legal trade.
TWO NEW NATIONAL MONUMENTS Cheers to President Obama, who created The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine, which abuts Baxter State Park. While we were hoping for a National Park designation, because National Parks are areas where hunting and resource development activities such as mineral extraction, fracking, timber harvesting and artificial habitat management are prohibited, we believe this is a step in the right direction. Several National Parks started out as monuments, including Acadia, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton and Zion. President Obama also recently created the Atlantic Ocean’s first marine monument, preserving a 4,900mile expanse of sea canyons and underwater mountains off the New England coast by making it a no-go zone for commercial fishing and other activities. The area is home to many species of deep-sea coral, sharks, sea turtles, seabirds and deep-diving marine mammals, such as beaked whales and sperm whales.
JEERS CITES FAILS AFRICAN ELEPHANTS We were devastated to learn that all of Africa’s elephants were denied the highest level of international protections during this year's meeting of the Convention in the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in the fall. Jeers to the U.S. delegation, headed by Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which voted not to "uplist" elephants across the continent to Appendix 1, which would have strictly prevented all trade in their ivory. Any explanation is inexcusable, and the U.S. delegation should have had the backbone to make it work. The two-thirds majority required for the uplisting was not reached, with the European Union and its 28 member states (voting in one bloc) also proving to be a key opposing force.
ATROCITIES OF FUR INDUSTRY CAN’T BE REGULATED We have a jeer for National Geographic and its feature story, “Why fur is back in fashion,” in the October issue. On one hand, we are happy that it exposes the horrors of the fur industry. It's crucial now since the fur industry has gotten busy revamping its image since the 1990s. And the leading fur auction houses began seducing design students at the height of the anti-fur movement. Sadly designers and consumers have fallen right into the fur industry’s trap! No pun intended. The distressing result is that the global fur trade is now valued at more than $40 billion worldwide, roughly the same as the global Wi-Fi industry. On the other hand, the author seems to praise the industry for its “reforms” since the 90s. However, the truth is there is no way to regulate the atrocities of the fur industry. That’s why the only option is to never wear fur so the industry fails and disappears for good. We disagree with the author that “our pampered lives” depend on animal production of any kind.
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FoA LIGHTWEIGHT HOODIE
Unisex triblend full-zip lightweight hoodie. Modern fit, hood, front zip, and kangaroo pocket. Designed with a soft refined ribbed triblend fabric. Available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL. $36 including shipping
FOR THE LOVE OF DOG BISCUITS COOKBOOK This 7x7, 64 full-color page book features 12 beautifully illustrated recipesâ€”one for each month, which contain seasonal, plant-based ingredients and complement the holidays. $14 including shipping. Add $3 for a 3-inch dog bone shaped cookie cutter.
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WOLF T-SHIRT Show your support for wolves in this 100% certified organic t-shirt in white. Women’s runs extremely small and fitted so order a larger size. Men’s and women’s sizes S, M, L, XL
VEGAN T-SHIRT 100% certified organic cotton available in black. Also available in white. Men’s and women’s sizes S, M, L, XL. Artwork by Nash Hogan at Hand of Glory Tattoo, Brooklyn, NY
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