The Damage Done by Trump’s Department of the Interior

by Elizabeth Kolbert as published in The New Yorker

Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea.

“Killing Innocent Animals is KOOL!” ~ Dinky Zinke

On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, last March, Ryan Zinke rode through downtown Washington, D.C., on a roan named Tonto. When the Secretary is working at the department’s main office, on C Street, a staff member climbs up to the roof of the building and hoists a special flag, which comes down when Zinke goes home for the day. To provide entertainment for his employees, the Secretary had an arcade game called Big Buck Hunter installed in the cafeteria. The game comes with plastic rifles, which players aim at animated deer. The point of the installation, Zinke has said, is to highlight sportsmen’s contribution to conservation. “Get excited for #hunting season!” he tweeted, along with a photo of himself standing next to the game, which looks like a slot machine sporting antlers.

Nowadays, it is, in a manner of speaking, always hunting season at the Department of the Interior. The department, which comprises agencies ranging from the National Park Service to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, oversees some five hundred million acres of federal land, and more than one and a half billion acres offshore. Usually, there’s a tension between the department’s mandates—to protect the nation’s natural resources and to manage them for commercial use. Under Zinke, the only question, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, is how fast these resources can be auctioned off.

One of Zinke’s first acts, after dismounting from Tonto, was to overturn a moratorium on new leases for coal mines on public land. He subsequently recommended slashing the size of several national monuments, including Bears Ears, in Utah, and Gold Butte, in Nevada, and lifting restrictions at others to allow more development. (In December, acting on these recommendations, President Donald Trump announced that he was cutting the area of the Bears Ears monument by more than three-quarters and shrinking the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument, also in Utah, by almost half.) Zinke has also proposed gutting a plan, years in the making, to save the endangered sage grouse; instead of protecting ten million acres in the West that had been set aside for the bird’s preservation, he’d like to see them given over to mining. And he’s moved to scrap Obama-era regulations that would have set more stringent standards for fracking on federal property.

All these changes have been applauded by the oil and gas industries, and many have also been praised by congressional Republicans. (Before Zinke became Interior Secretary, he was a one-term congressman from Montana.) But, to some members of the G.O.P., Zinke’s recent decision to open up great swaths of both coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling represents a rig too far.

Last week, Zinke backtracked. Following a brief meeting with the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, at the Tallahassee airport, the Secretary said that he was removing that state’s coastal waters “from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms.” The move was manifestly political. In the past, Scott has supported drilling for oil just about everywhere, including in the Everglades, but, with Trump’s encouragement, he is now expected to challenge Florida’s senior senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in November.

“Local voices count” is how Zinke explained the Florida decision to reporters, a remark that was greeted with jeers from elected officials in other states, who noted that some “local voices” were more equal than others. “Virginia’s governor (and governor-elect) have made this same request, but we have not received the same commitment,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, tweeted. “Wonder why.” Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, noted that the Florida coast happens to be home to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s winter White House cum dues-collecting club. He suggested that the Secretary “look up ‘banana republic’ ” and then “go fly a Zinke flag to celebrate making us one.”…(CONTINUED)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/22/the-damage-done-by-trumps-department-of-the-interior/amp?__twitter_impression=true

BLM Sets Hearing on Wild Horse Mismanagement

Story by the Idaho Mountain Express

The BLM is inviting the public to submit comments as part of a statewide hearing regarding motor vehicle and helicopter use in wild horse management operations on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 1-2 p.m. at its Challis Field Office.

The public hearing is being held to obtain information, views and suggestions about the BLM’s use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in managing wild horses in Idaho during the coming year (February 2018 to January 2019).

The Challis Field office is at 721 E. Main Ave., Suite 8 in Challis.

 Anyone unable to attend the hearing to submit comments can submit written statements to BLM_ID_WHB_MotorizedHearing@blm.gov. Comments should include address, phone number and e-mail.

Feel Good Sunday: Mini and Pony Video Compilation

“Hold your horses, er, ponies; what else to bring a smile to your face but interesting video clips of the “lil” ones at play.  It’s a day of rest but why not expend a chuckle or two over these bodacious little guys having one heck of a good time.  Take a breather and relax a bit my fellow advocates.  You deserve the day off.  Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.


BLM Set to Stampede and Remove 1,500 Wild Horses from their Rightful Range

Unedited propaganda as published in BLM Press Release

2018 Triple B Complex Wild Horse Gather

The gather will tenatively begin on January 23.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Purpose of Gather:

The purpose of the operation is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, ensuring public safety is not at risk due to the overpopulation of wild horses and providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses.

Details of Gather:

The BLM plans to gather 1,500 wild horses and remove approximately 1,000 excess horses.  The BLM will release approximately 250 mares that will have been treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the animals remaining on public lands.  PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years.  In addition, approximately 250 gathered stallions will be selected and returned back to the range.

Public Observation:

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations.  The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.  The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on January 23, 2018, weather and logistics permitting.  Those wanting to view gather operations must notify Public Affairs Specialist, Greg Deimel at (775) 388-7078 prior to the desired viewing date to be added to the attendee list and receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food.  The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle.  Public restrooms will not be available onsite.

Background: 

The Triple B Complex is located in both the BLM Ely and Elko Districts and consists of the Triple B HMA (Ely), Maverick Medicine HMA (Elko), Antelope Valley HMA west of Hwy 93 (Elko), and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (Elko).  The gather may also take place in areas outside of those HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling regularly across Jiggs Road.

The current population estimate for the Triple B Complex is approximately 3,842 wild horses.  The cumulative Appropriate Management Level for all the Herd Management Areas within the targeted gather area is 472 – 884 wild horses.  AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock.

The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register. For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada/2018-Triple-B-Complex-wild-horse-gather

Animal rights group presses Army on wild horse roundups

by By JANET MCCONNAUGHEY as published in Stars and Stripes

Animal rights advocates want a federal court to make an Army base in western Louisiana stop rounding up hundreds of wild horses on land it owns or uses…

Horses graze in front of an armored Humvee at Fort Polk, La., on Sept. 20, 2014. Animal rights advocates want a federal court to make an Army base in Louisiana stop rounding up hundreds of wild horses on land it owns or uses. Court papers filed on Jan. 8, 2018, say Fort Polk began escalating efforts in November and may be trying to eliminate the herds before a judge can decide whether the roundups are legal. WILLIAM GORE/U.S. ARMY

Fort Polk began escalating efforts in November, and some captured horses are treated poorly and many may be slaughtered, the Pegasus Equine Guardian Association said in court papers backing up its request for a preliminary injunction.

People and groups that might adopt the horses, “are being arbitrarily rejected and removed from the potential adopter list, increasing the likelihood that ‘kill buyers’ will be able to acquire the horses,” the association wrote.

Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said in an email that the department cannot comment on pending litigation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay scheduled a hearing Jan. 30 in Lake Charles.

The association sued the Army and Fort Polk’s commanding officer in December 2016 over plans to get rid of about 700 “trespass horses” the Army considers a safety risk in training areas.

Most of the horses are on about 48,000 acres (19,400 hectares) in the Kisatchie National Forest — part of 90,000 acres (36,400 hectares) of forest land that the base uses for training, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Caldwell has said.

The Army has lists of tax-exempt rescue groups and people interested in taking the horses. Its plan calls for notifying them after roundups of up to 30 horses. Any rescue group unable to take every horse from one roundup is struck from the list. Individuals who can’t pick up the number of horses they commit to within five days also are removed.

The horses have been there for decades, possibly more than a century. Some people speculate that the herds are descended from Army cavalry horses. Monday’s court filing, however, asserts the horses have roamed the area at least since the early 1800s. Fort Polk was founded in 1941.

Some look like descendants of horses acquired by Choctaw Indians from Spanish colonists, according to a letter from Jeannette Beranger, senior programs manager of The Livestock Conservancy, filed in the court record.

Some horses from isolated areas should get a closer look, which might prompt DNA tests to see if they are “Choctaw horses” or similar strains, wrote Phillip Sponenberg, a professor at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, in another document filed Monday. He said such horses would be valuable for conservation.

In a another court document, Jeff Dorson, head of the Humane Society of Louisiana, said he received complaints this month from tipsters who aren’t Pegasus officers about inhumane treatment of the horses.

Pegasus has received other allegations that “current contractors or subcontractors are not treating the horses humanely, failing to provide adequate and non-moldy hay and sufficient clean food and water, using inhumane round-up techniques, or engaging in practices that will favor moving the horses to kill buyers over animal welfare organizations or humane adopters,” the organization said.

One contractor or subcontractor, Jacob Thompson, “has been in legal trouble with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, State of Texas, and State of Oklahoma for abuse, theft or other violations involving livestock,” according to Pegasus’ filing.

Thompson was fined $3,150 on Friday for violating five Louisiana regulations including selling livestock without a permit, Veronica Mosgrove, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, said in an email. She said his only state-licensed business is Thompson Horse Lot. The lot’s Facebook page states that it’s in Pitkin, which is near Fort Polk.

A call to the number on Thompson Horse Lot’s Facebook page was answered by a man who said, “We’re not interested in no press.” The man said he was not Jacob Thompson and hung up when asked his name.

https://www.stripes.com/news/army/animal-rights-group-presses-army-on-wild-horse-roundups-1.505920

The Private Company Selling Off America’s Public Lands

story by Mya Frazier as published on OutsideOnline.com

EnergyNet, an online auction company from Amarillo, Texas, is set to make a fortune from oil and gas leases.  And good luck finding a way to protest.

When Texas oilman Bill Britain started the auction site EnergyNet in October 1999, it wasn’t exactly a state-of-the-art operation. Its homepage used a generic design template, an add-on to the Virtual Auctioneer software Britain bought from a Dallas firm. Like hordes of other entrepreneurs at the time, Britain hoped to bring the billion-dollar auctioneering model of eBay to an industry where he had a toehold. A decade and a half after graduating from West Point, Britain had started J-Brex Co., an Amarillo-based energy company, and had oil wells scattered all over Texas. If there was one thing he knew well, it was how to buy and sell drilling leases.

Britain boasted of “changing the way the oil and gas industry did business.” He pitched his auctions as “ON LINE REAL TIME,” but the technology was hardly game-changing—bidders were notified by email when they were outbid—and his timing, at the apex of the dot-com bubble, was terrible. “It burst almost the moment we got started,” Britain recently told Forbes.

Despite such inauspicious beginnings, by 2012 EnergyNet had become one of the industry’s biggest auction sites for oil and gas leases, even if overall sales on the platform were relatively modest. But over the next couple years, Britain began inking exclusive contracts to host lease auctions of public lands, including with state land agencies and, most notably, in 2015 with the Bureau of Land Management.

The platform took off. Less than a year into the Trump administration, transactions have risen to $1.25 billion. About half the transactions through the first three quarters of 2017, or about $600 million, were leases of public lands.

EnergyNet typically earns a 2 percent commission with state agencies; federal land commissions are set at 1.5 percent. By October of 2017, EnergyNet had earned an estimated $9 million auctioning off America’s public lands, based on an Outside analysis. Once fourth-quarter transactions are finalized, earnings could potentially rise to $15 million or more. (EnergyNet, a private company, doesn’t disclose profits.)

Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to unleash America’s estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves—a vision now being executed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Once-protected national monuments, like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, are now vulnerable to drilling. And Britain’s once-obscure auction site provides the platform through which this massive opening of federal lands for energy extraction will happen—all without the pesky problem of public protests.

So how did a private company become the biggest seller of America’s public lands?…(CONTINUED)

https://www.outsideonline.com/2269336/obscure-texas-company-selling-public-land

Feel Good Sunday: The Inexplicably Strange History Of Mr. Ed The Horse

story by as published on Ranker.com under Unbelievable Animals

“Today we escape into our past and date ourselves by remembering a well known animal actor that we all loved and adored…Mr. Ed was my first exposure to horses, even though he was only 2 dimensional.  But none the less; today I see a lot of  “Talking Horses” when I casually stroll through our pastures and love to hear what each and every one of them have to say. (the secret is to listen)  May their love speak to our hearts and uplift our spirits.” ~ R.T.


In the 1960s, the story of a man and his talking horse captivated the globe. The show was Mister Ed, and it followed the hijinks of a talking horse named Mr. Ed and his keeper Wilbur Post. The show became an instant classic, and the character of Ed has popped up everywhere from rap music and comedy sketches to children’s shows.

Behind the character of Mr. Ed was a real horse. His name was Bamboo Harvester and he was already famous when he stepped onto the Hollywood scene. TV’s most famous horse was born and bred a star. Lighthearted and humorous at times, stubborn and imperious on occasion, the real Mr. Ed was a true trail blazer.

Like most celebrities, his death was untimely and shrouded in mystery. And in the wake of his passing we learned that while he could indeed be imitated, he was one of the greatest horse stars of all time.

This epic equestrian celebrity’s story began in sunny California. He was born in 1949 to two purebred horses, and was eventually owned by Lester “Les” Hilton. His family came from a long line of purebred horses meant for show, and his father Harvester was one of the prized horses of the San Fernando Valley.

Bamboo Harvester was a beautiful and energetic horse that caught the eye of many. He also won awards and accolades as a show horse. While his most notable footprint – or should we say hoof print – in Hollywood was his performance as Mr. Ed, his California neighbors remember fondly for both his spirit and his spunk.

The pilot episode of Mister Ed featured a different horse entirely.  In fact, the pilot was recorded with an entirely different cast altogether. This episode, titled “The Wonderful World of Wilbur Pope” never saw any screen time. If it had, this legendary series would have played out to a totally different tune.

After the Chestnut gelding initially cast as Mr. Ed had a bit of a breakdown, Bamboo Harvester stepped in for the second pilot, which featured the rest of the classic cast and became the first official episode to air on national television. It’s hard not to help but wonder if his life would have been different (and maybe longer) had he not been bestowed with that lead part.

Even though in real life Mr. Ed was a non-talking horse, he had a lot to say. Having grown up in the limelight, his attitude matched that of his human counterparts. Subsequently, he was a bit of a diva. Bamboo Harvester was known to call it quits in the middle of a scene. He decided when the shoot was over by simply storming off stage and refusing to return. He also had celebrity demands. They weren’t quite as specific as bowls full of only blue M&M’s, or an entirely vegan dressing room, although the latter would have been appropriate in this case. So what did he demand? Sweet tea by the gallon and 20 pounds of hay every day…(CONTINUED)

Will Trump put a ‘hired gun’ for ranchers in top BLM post?

by Tay Wiles as published on High Country News

The president is considering a BLM director who has continually fought the agency

Karen Budd-Falen

Nearly a year after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the agency that manages 246 million acres and that is critical to the functioning of the American West still has no permanent leadership. In November, Brian Steed, the former chief of staff for Utah State Rep. Chris Stewart, R, became the third person in 11 months to temporarily take on the duties of Bureau of Land Management acting director. One potential pick for the director job is Karen Budd-Falen — a long-time antagonist of the bureau. In other administrations, her background would make her an unlikely pick. In the Trump administration, she’s a contender.

Budd-Falen is a polarizing figure in the West. She is one of the region’s preeminent property rights lawyers, known for representing ranchers in disputes with federal land agencies like the BLM and U.S. Forest Service.

By the time she was 32, in 1991, Newsweek had dubbed Budd-Falen the “hired gun of choice for ranchers facing court action from federal agencies.” That reputation has only grown; her supporters say she’ll bring positive change to the BLM to curb federal overreach fueled by environmentalists. “Karen will certainly take a look at multiple use from a different set of glasses than previously administrations have,” Utah Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Brent Tanner said. “One of the advantages of Karen … is she has based her career around the legal issues affecting livestock grazing on public lands.”

Critics say Budd-Falen is anathema to the stated mission of the BLM, which is to manage land for multiple uses, not just for ranching or the extractive industry. The attorney has long been a harsh critic of the agency she would lead. “Karen Budd-Falen has attacked the Bureau of Land Management over and over, and now she is trying to secure the top post,” said Land Tawney, director of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. “This tragic irony must not be ignored.”

It’s not just Budd-Falen’s apparent disposition to the mission of the BLM, critics say. Her history would follow her to the agency and could be an added challenge. “I think first and foremost she would have a significant perception challenge with public lands stakeholders,” said Bob Abbey, who served 34 years in state and federal government and was the BLM director from 2009 to 2012. “It will take her months to earn the respect and trust within the organization and among public lands stakeholders. … I don’t think she’s the right person for the job right now.”

Budd-Falen is a fifth-generation Wyoming resident, originally from Big Piney, population 521. Her family members have long been active in Western politics on the side of the Sagebrush Rebellion. Her father, Dan Budd, a rancher who served in the Wyoming legislature from 1981 to 1992, opposed the foundational 1976 Federal Land Policy Management Act, in part because it allowed the BLM to retain vast acreages instead of continuing to pass the land into private ownership, as had been the previous policy since the 19th century.

Budd-Falen earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wyoming. After law school, she worked as a lawyer at the Denver-based Mountain States Legal Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1976 as part of a wave of conservative resistance to new environmental laws, such as FLPMA and the Endangered Species, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. She served as a law clerk to the assistant solicitor for Water and Power and in the office for land and minerals, both at the Interior Department under former President Ronald Reagan. More recently, she was part of Trump’s Interior transition team. She now lives in Cheyenne and co-owns a law firm with her husband, Frank Falen, which focuses on property rights.

Federal land management

Budd-Falen has not publicly taken a stance on the conservative Western movement to transfer federal land to state control. But in November she spoke at a public event in Hamilton, Montana, that also featured a presentation from Republican State Sen. Jennifer Fielder. Fielder is the head of the American Lands Council, a non-profit whose mission is to transfer lands from the federal government to the states. (In an interview, Budd-Falen told High Country News she didn’t know that Fielder would be speaking at the event.) That appearance is one of many examples critics say explain her position on federal land management. “(Budd-Falen) may say she has no opinion on (land transfer) but her career has been spent propping up that ideology,” Greg Zimmerman, deputy director of the progressive nonprofit Center for Western Priorities, said.

For her part, Budd-Falen said she understands that the notion pushed by many land transfer advocates, that the federal government can’t legally administer land in the West, is not upheld by the courts. “Supreme Court rulings have very clearly said… the federal government can hold these federal lands,” she said. “Until you get the Supreme Court to change its mind, then that’s the current interpretation of the Constitution.” When asked if she agreed with that interpretation, Budd-Falen said she did. The Wyoming attorney also said it would be too costly for her home state to take on managing all of its federal lands. “I don’t think it’s feasible,” she said.

On the topic of national monuments, however, Budd-Falen has lauded Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for their 2017 review of designations over 100,000 acres. “I think there is enough land out there, and people are smart enough, that we can have multiple-use and still protect the land (without large monuments),” she told Fox News in May. At the Montana event in November, she criticized the Obama Administration’s monument designations: “If you read the Antiquities Act, it says you are to designate the smallest area possible to protect the artifact you are trying to protect. I looked at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, surely that’s not the smallest area possible to protect these things,” she said. As head of the BLM, Budd-Falen would oversee both monuments, which public lands advocates say were essential to protecting valuable scientific and cultural resources.

Property Rights

The importance of property rights is foundational to Budd-Falen’s worldview. In 2011, at a Constitutional Sheriffs panel event in Yreka, California, she said that all rights in the U.S. Constitution are “based on the right of ownership of private property.” This interpretation stems from an established school of thought in which property rights hold a supreme position in the Constitution, says Gregg Cawley, a professor of environmental politics at the University of Wyoming. In this view of the Constitution, Cawley says: “‘Property’ was a kind of short hand symbol for everything an individual needed to live their life as they wanted…. a ranch is ‘property’ in the sense of land but (that ranch) is also a means for the owners to secure their ‘rights’ to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’”

This exalted view of property rights inspires Budd-Falen’s work in defense of ranchers. She has spent much of her career defending ranchers’ rights to water, easements, and grazing federal land. Early in her career, Budd-Falen took on a client who is now one of the West’s most notorious cattlemen, Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada, over a grazing rights dispute. Bundy is now known for leading an armed standoff against federal agents in 2014 over his illegally grazing cattle. Back in the early 1990s, he was just one of about a dozen southern Nevada ranchers Budd-Falen represented in court…(CONTINUED)

http://www.hcn.org/articles/public-lands-will-trump-put-karen-budd-falen-a-hired-gun-for-ranchers-in-top-blm-post?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

10 Wins for Animals in 2017 That Prove YOU Are Making a Difference!

by as published on OneGreenPlanet.org

“Equines not mentioned, here, but you all have kept horse slaughterhouses from reopening in 2017 and have been the voice for the wild ones…so keep up the great works…there is still a lot of work to do.” ~ R.T.


When we sign on social media and are inundated with dozens of news stories of awful things happening to animals, from fur farms to factory farms, it’s easy to feel disheartened. Sometimes it feels like change for animals is happening at a snail’s pace. But we’re here to tell you that there have been plenty of victories for animals over the years from grand national changes to smaller yet still powerful animal rescue success stories.

Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at just ten victories from this year!

1. Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus Shuts Down

Flickr

Animal lovers worldwide started off 2017 with a huge victory: Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus announced they were SHUTTING DOWN. All of the phone calls, protests outside of venues, emails sent, letters to the editor, talking to friends and family… all of your efforts worked! Ringling Bros. shutting down is the perfect example of what happens when animal advocates come together and make positive change.

The fall of Ringling Bros. sent a domino effect in the industry with New York City banning the use of animals in circuses this summer. The message is clear: people no longer want to see animals held captive to perform silly tricks.

2. Taiwan Becomes First Asian Country to Ban Eating Dog and Cat Meat

Flickr

That’s right, Taiwan BANNED the consumption of eating dog and cat meat earlier this year! Where previously the Animal Protection Act, Taiwan’s animal rights legislation, only covered the slaughter and sale of dog and cat meat, the new amendment specifically prohibits the consumption of dog and cat meat as well. Now individuals who eat or trade dog or cat meat can now be fined between $1,640 to $8,200.

With an estimated 30 million dogs killed annually in Asia for the dog meat trade, Taiwan joins Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in trying to put an end to the horrific trade. That’s huge!

3. Vancouver Banned the Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs and Cats in Pet Stores

Flickr

Many U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, and Phoenix, have already instated laws banning the sale of animals in pet shops, instead of requiring pet shops to partner with animal rescues and shelters to promote the adoption of animals. Vancouver banned the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats in pet stores this summer and just recently, Victoria became the first Australian state to ban puppy farming!

According to City Councilmember Heather Deal, over 1,200 concerned citizens sent e-mails voicing their support of banning the sale of animals in pet shops, proving that public opinion truly has the power to create change.

4. Animal Abuse Is Illegal in Lebanon

Flickr

In August of this year, the President of Lebanon, Michael Auon, officially signed an animal welfare and protection law, making animal abuse illegal in the country. Now, Lebanon has a strong and comprehensive law to give animals the legal protection they need and to punish those who abuse them.

Among a long list, the law has general requirements for the handling and keeping of all animals, actual rules for zoospet shops, farms, and slaughterhouses, and stricter punishments for criminals with fines up to 100 million Lira and up to four years in prison. So long, animal abusers!

5. Authorities Deny License Renewal for Horrific Zoo

Flickr

The South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, Cumbria has long been under fire for its astonishing neglect, abuse, and murder of innocent animalsCaptive Animals’ Protection Society (CAPS) has been a voice for the animals, diligently investigating the zoo. Reports detailing the events that occurred within its confines are some of the most gruesome and devastating we have ever heard. Perhaps the most well-known of these tragedies is the death of zookeeper Sarah McClay, who was mauled to death by a tiger. Despite her family’s requests to not kill the tiger, the animal was euthanized with no documented reason why.

After CAPS’s investigations and persistent outcries from concerned animal lovers, this terrible facility has had its renewal license denied. The council describes the zoo’s owner, David Gill, as “not a fit and suitable person” to manage the facilities and properly care for the animals. Well done, animal lovers!

6. Guggenheim Removes Cruel Exhibit Featuring Dogs Trying to Fight Each Other

Flickr

The Guggenheim Museum in New York City removed three pieces featuring animals from an upcoming exhibit called “Art and China after 1989” by couple Peng Yu and Sun Yuan. All three of the pieces involved animals, including one that outraged animal lovers everywhere. In a seven-minute video called, “Dogs That Cannnot Touch Each Other,” eight American Pit Bulls are seen trying to attack each other while on a non-motorized treadmill.

Animal lovers protested outside of the Guggenheim and an online petition that asked for cruelty-free exhibits received over half a million signatures. The museum said they were removing the pieces “out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors and participating artists.” Fearing continual public outrage, the Guggenheim finally pulled the exhibit!

7. Vietnam Agrees to Close All Bear Bile Farms

Flickr

Animal lovers worldwide have worked tirelessly for years to end the horrific practice of bear bile farming and it worked. It was announced in July of this year that the Vietnamese government has agreed to a plan with Animals Asia, a rescue group at the forefront of ending the bear bile industry, to end bear bile farming in the country!

Even though bear bile farming has been illegal in Vietnam since 1992 with the country lacking resources to build sanctuaries, households were allowed to keep the bears on the government’s behalf. The MOU states that the government will ensure no bears are kept in private households where illegal bile extraction can take place and the 1,000 bears currently held captive in Vietnam will be moved to sanctuaries.

8. All Slaughterhouses in England Are Getting Cameras 

Pixabay

England took a big step in stopping animal cruelty by mandating that all slaughterhouses be outfitted with closed circuit TV (surveillance systems, cameras, and other recorders meant to monitor an organization or business).

According to a report in the Guardian, the first animals in the industry to receive this surveillance will be chickens bred for meat, followed by egg-laying hens. More animals will be included as they progress. England is proving that it is indeed possible to hold the animal agriculture industry accountable!

9. More Areas Are Banning Declawing Cats

Pixabay

Nova Scotia became the first Candian province to ban the declawing of cats and Denver, Colorado became the first city out of California to pass a law to ban the declawing of cats!

As awareness regarding the dangers of declawing has spread, the practice has become more of a thing of a past as an increasing number of veterinarians refuse to declaw cats. Twenty-one countries and several U.S. municipalities have banned the cruel practice that is likened to amputating a human’s fingertips. Let’s keep the momentum going!

10. More and More Brands Are Going Fur-Free

Pixabay

Just this year, clothing company, Burlington, as well as Michael Kors, Jimmy Cho and Gucci have all gone FUR FREE in a testament to society’s evolving standards.

Animals on fur farms suffer unimaginable cruelty from electrocution to even being skinned alive. Each year one billion innocent animals endure miserable lives of being confined in tiny, unsanitary cages only to brutally tortured and killed. Some of the animals destined for fur coats, boot linings, and other fashion accessories include raccoon dogs, rabbits, foxes, mink, chinchillas, dogs, cats and more.

But thanks to compassionate consumers, fur farms will soon be a thing of the past! To learn more about some other awesome cruelty-free fashion brands, check this out.

You Make a Difference

Because of YOU, these amazing victories (and many more!) were made possible, all in under one year. Feeling inspired? Head over to One Green Planet’s petition page to take action on other important animal welfare issues. Let’s keep up the good fight and help score some more victories for animals!

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/wins-for-animals-that-prove-you-are-making-a-difference/

Feel Good Sunday Video: Horse Dancing the Old Year Out and the New Year In

“Today we put ‘Stupid’ and ‘Lunacy’ on the back burner while we celebrate the upcoming New Year.  Our FGS installation is just such a celebration, a N.O. Police horse dancing in the street, loving life and enjoying the moment.

Dance with your ponies today, even if it is only a mental picture, dance with their spirit and set yours free.

With all of us working together, 2018 will be like no other.  The horses and donkeys will finally catch their break.

Happy New Year my friends, and the very best of wishes to you and yours.  Be safe.” ~ R.T.