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LCA Blog

Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

Victory! Davey the Puppy's Torturer DEPORTED!!

Victory! Davey the Puppy's Torturer DEPORTED!!

Duanying Chen, who brutally tortured 5-month-old puppy Davey in Santa Barbara, CA, in May 2015 was finally banished from the U.S. and deported to his homeland of China on March 8, 2016. While this can never undo the unthinkable pain inflicted on Davey, it is a powerful victory in the fight for tougher penalties for crimes against animals.

LCA and activists including Diana Basehart, Gretchen Lieff and Lynnie Shaw fought relentlessly to achieve justice in this horrific case. Nearly 900 protesters attended the rally in Santa Barbara and the Davey's Voice petition demanding stiff punishment for Chen garnered thousands of signatures. Our voices were heard.

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Anniversary of Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster - A Look Back at LCA's Animal Rescue

Anniversary of Japan's Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster - A Look Back at LCA's Animal Rescue

When a 9.0 earthquake shook Japan on March 11, 2011, the Earth shifted four inches on its axis. Then came the unexpected tsunami; a giant, three-story wall of water slammed into the shore, crushing seaside towns like matchsticks.

Radiation levels at the swamped Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began their deadly spiral. Nearby, just shivering specks in the unthinkable rubble, were countless terrified, abandoned animals.

 

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In Honor of My Friend Sam Simon on the One-Year Anniversary of His Passing - A Special Post from LCA Founder and President Chris DeRose

In Honor of My Friend Sam Simon on the One-Year Anniversary of His Passing - A Special Post from LCA Founder and President Chris DeRose

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 marks the one-year anniversary of my good friend Sam Simon’s untimely death at age 59. Sam may be gone, but I will never forget his wit, great humor and incredible acts of kindness.

Sam, co-creator of The Simpsons television show, learned that he had late-stage colon cancer in 2012 and was told by doctors he had three to six months to live. Sam vowed to make the most of every day he had left, and focused all of his energy into easing the suffering of both humans and animals.

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Why the US Government Calls Animal Activists 'Terrorists'

Why the US Government Calls Animal Activists 'Terrorists'

On February 19, 2016, cable channel Pivot aired an episode of their acclaimed docu-series Truth and Power  that focused on the nefarious link between the animal agriculture industry and the U.S. government. The episode, entitled “Activists or Terrorists?” details the ongoing struggle to expose animal cruelty on factory farms, especially since the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) in 2006. This freedom-crushing legislation was promoted by the medical research industry to target the anti-vivisection movement and was fast-tracked through Congress without hearings, debates, or even an official vote.

“Vivisectors call anti-vivisectionists ‘terrorists,’” says LCA founder Chris DeRose. “But who is it that is inflicting pain and death in procedures too awful for a sane person to imagine?”

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Another Year of Terror – But Fresh Hope – at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

Another Year of Terror – But Fresh Hope – at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

Last Chance for Animals' Special Investigations Team witnessed nightmares during the June 21st Yulin Dog Meat Festival, a brutal "celebration" to mark the summer solstice. Piles of dead dogs, skin scorched to a crisp; puppies awaiting death in festering cages; and butchers hacking up the corpses of former pets. Puppies begged for attention, only to be bludgeoned and sold as meat. 

But despite the heartbreaking scene, new hope exists. People across the globe spread the word about the horror via social media, and more than 400,000 people signed LCA's petition to shut the Yulin Dog Meat Festival down. Due to this public outcry, an estimated 20 percent fewer dogs were killed for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in 2015. Chances are better than ever of shutting next year's festival down entirely.

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After MTA Ban, LCA and NYClass Take Matters Into Their Own Hands to Stop Horse Carriage Cruelty

After MTA Ban, LCA and NYClass Take Matters Into Their Own Hands to Stop Horse Carriage Cruelty

With our anti-carriage ad banned by the MTA, Last Chance for Animals had to get creative. LCA's current billboard — placed between New York City council members’ offices and City Hall, urging officials to outlaw horse-drawn carriages — is set to come down at the end of the month, and the MTA will not allow LCA to change the copy or extend the ad.

But LCA does not give up that easily. Working with NYClass, we printed out a full-size version of the censored ad for volunteers hold up at City Hall. LCA and our fellow activists are determined to drive home the point that carriages are a danger to horses and humans alike. As the ad states, a dozen horses have lost their lives in ugly traffic incidents. With the public also at risk, it makes no sense to allow this dated and dangerous industry to continue in New York City.

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Let’s End the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

Let’s End the Yulin Dog Meat Festival

As summer rolls in with warm winds and longer days, your dog is probably glued to the door, hankering to burst outside into the explosion of summer life. Now imagine that you can't let him outside for fear he could be kidnapped, killed, and eaten. Dog owners in China face this fear – especially in the days leading up to the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

The summer solstice festival turns thousands of innocent dogs into meat, including treasured household pets. Dog meat suppliers ransack Chinese streets in search of any dog they can find. They “package” poor animals for the haul to the Yulin market by tying them up, stuffing them into wire cages, and piling them into trucks like potato sacks. Many animals die on their way to the market, which is almost a mercy; nightmares await the survivors.

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At This Horrifying Festival, People Bash Pinatas Stuffed with Live Animals

At This Horrifying Festival, People Bash Pinatas Stuffed with Live Animals

In a small town called Citilcum on the Yucatan peninsula, residents revel in an annual animal bloodbath known as Kots Kaal Pato. Townspeople stuff animals into vibrant paper-mache statuettes to create living piñatas which they ruthlessly demolish. Even children giggle as they prowl the streets, hunting for iguanas and opossums doomed to fill their barbaric piñatas. Once residents seal the animals into their paper tombs, they hang them up in the town square.

You can probably guess what happens next...

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LCA Fights Ad Censorship By New York Transit

LCA Fights Ad Censorship By New York Transit

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has enacted a sweeping ban of ads across New York City. According to the MTA’s new policy, any ad deemed “political” will be censored, and barred from any MTA property. As a result, Last Chance for Animals’ own ads -- which decry the safety hazards of horse-drawn carriages -- are being hidden from the public eye. But LCA is fighting back, because our important message must be heard.

 

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Brutal Elephant Fighting at the Suwori Harvest Festival

Brutal Elephant Fighting at the Suwori Harvest Festival

At the yearly Suwori Harvest Festival in Assam, India, barbaric elephant fighting is the main attraction. Crowds go wild as riders hoist themselves onto elephants’ backs and beat their heads with sticks until the peaceful animals charge. They collide violently until one elephant forces the other out of the fighting ring; the winner is then cruelly branded to mark the “victory.”

Sadly, the abuse goes well beyond the fight itself. Owners starve and confine the elephants to turn them into fighters. Some even attack the animals with iron hooks to alter their gentle personalities and make them more aggressive. Without social interaction, intelligent elephants suffer from mental anguish and a host of physical ailments like tuberculosis and arthritis. Captivity can decrease an elephant’s lifespan by decades.

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The Rabbit Industry’s Dirty Secret

The Rabbit Industry’s Dirty Secret

Working undercover at the Pel-Freez plant in Rogers, Arkansas, LCA’s investigator spent four grueling weeks as a “blood catcher” to bring you the truth about the rabbit-meat industry. Warning: the reality is disturbing. Zero standards exist for these animals’ welfare, and USDA inspectors stand idly by despite the illness, injury and torture they see.

This is the truth about Pel-Freez, the largest rabbit slaughterhouse in America.

Their rabbits are sick.  

Bald patches and half-healed wounds covered many of the rabbits. Sores sealed their eyes closed. Some males had painfully swollen and blackened testicles from botched castration. LCA’s investigator never heard one word about medical treatment for the sick and wounded.

They slaughter live rabbits.

Workers haphazardly hit rabbits with the flat side of a knife just before slaughter. Their careless blows leave many rabbits awake as the killer breaks their legs, hangs them from a hook, and decapitates them. The conscious rabbits emit tortured screams as they’re ripped apart like rag dolls.

Dull knives make decapitation excruciating.

Pel-Freez knives become more blunt with every decapitation. Workers often have to saw vigorously to remove the rabbit’s head, drawing out a torturous death.

We can help stop this torture by bringing Pel-Freez to justice. Sign this petition to urge prosecutors to press charges against Pel-Freez for their cruel treatment of rabbits. Share on social media, and urge your friends to do the same.

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LCA Launches Billboard Campaign to Ban NYC Horse Carriages

LCA Launches Billboard Campaign to Ban NYC Horse Carriages

LCA has launched a new ad campaign that forces city council members to confront the atrocities of the horse-drawn carriage industry, and urges them to vote for Mayor de Blasio's propsed ban on horse-drawn carriages.  From now until the end of June – or longer, depending on when the council votes on the ban – a billboard from LCA, NYClass and the Greenbaum Foundation will greet each council member as they walk from their office to City Hall.

The billboard (shown above) sits on Broadway, right atop the stairs of City Hall Station, where thousands of people pass by every day. The ad will be changed each month with a new message to underscore the many problems of horse-drawn carriages, including animal cruelty and public safety risk.

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Meet the World's Most Endangered Cat

Meet the World's Most Endangered Cat

With its piercing gaze, tufted beard and sumptuous spotted coat, the Iberian lynx looks more like a fearless feline hunter than an animal on the brink of extinction. However, human activities and natural forces have nearly snuffed it out of existence. Only a few hundred Iberian lynxes still survive, making this the most endangered cat in the world.

What’s killing the Iberian lynx?

  • Habitat degradation leaves them dispersed and vulnerable. The Iberian lynx once roamed throughout the Mediterranean, but now they can only be found in a small section of Spain. Roads, dams, railways, and other human structures slice the size of Iberian lynx habitats and diminish mating possibilities by separating groups from each other. Scientists project climate change will further disrupt lynx habitats, making it even harder for them to adapt.  
  • Rabbit disease has robbed the lynx of its favorite food source. The Iberian lynx gets most of its sustenance from rabbits. Unfortunately, the deadly viral diseases myxomatosis and rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) have ploughed through the European rabbit population. The Iberian lynx now struggles to find enough food among the dwindling rabbit population. 
  • Road construction has lead to vehicle strikes. The Iberian lynx doesn’t understand the threat posed by new roads and highways weaving through their habitats. Experts say over 10 lynxes have perished under car wheels in the last ten years, adding up to a large portion of their miniscule population.  

What you can do:

Iberian lynx populations remain too low for us to just sit around and wait for the situation to improve. Doing your part to save the Iberian lynx is just two steps away:

  1. Sign this petition to support important conservation efforts. 
  2. Write or email Sonia Sanchez Mula, Environmental Press Officer from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, encouraging the Spanish government’s full investment in conservation efforts like habitat restoration, captive breeding programs, and decreasing Iberian lynx traffic fatalities. 

Contact details:

Sonia Sanchez Mula,  Press Officer (Environment)

En la Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz (temas Medio Ambiente)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We haven’t lost a feline species to extinction since the saber-toothed tiger. Together we can stop the Iberian lynx from following in its long-forgotten footsteps.

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Tell Canada: Stop the Bloody Seal Hunt!

Tell Canada: Stop the Bloody Seal Hunt!

While most of us welcome the end of winter, this time of year is a nightmare for Canadian seals. Every spring, pregnant harp seals flock to Newfoundland and Labrador on the Canadian coast to give birth. Seal hunters capitalize on this beautiful natural pattern to swarm the coast and slaughter defenseless newborn seal pups during Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt. This is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet.

Past reports have shown that 79% of hunters neglected to make sure the seals were unconscious by checking for corneal reflexes after the first clubbing. That means many seals remain conscious as they’re bludgeoned, bled, skinned, and dragged onto dirty boats, leaving vivid trails of blood in the snow.

Hunters massacre thousands of seals every year, despite the dwindling demand for pelts. Data shows prices for seal pelts dropped $64.50 from 2006 to 2013, yet the hunt survives thanks to millions of dollars in Canadian government subsidies that blindly support a dying sealing industry. Among other activities, hunters may use the money to pay for aerial cameras that allow them to find as many seals as possible with minimal effort.

Powerful countries like the United States and the entire European Union stand against seal slaughter by banning trade on goods procured from commercial seal hunts. Still, the Canadian government spends time and money supporting commercial seal hunting – even though a ban would not kill coastal economies, as the government claims.

The profitable whale watching industry sprung from a similar situation in the 1970s, when Canadian whale hunting was banned.  Experts believe the Canadian government could escape economic damage by shifting funds from the hunt to ecotourism initiatives. The millions who speak out against seal hunting every year could easily become millions of tourists, eager for a glimpse of the captivating harp seal.

Please join the voices that stand against seal hunting by sending an email to the Media Relations team of the Newfoundland and Labrador division of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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A Triumph for LCA as Arkansas Gag Bill Fails

A Triumph for LCA as Arkansas Gag Bill Fails

Arkansas’ animals have a lot to rejoice over this week. Following a campaign by Last Chance for Animals, a workplace gag bill has failed miserably in committee long before being voted into Arkansas law. This means that our dedicated whistleblowers can continue to detect, record and thwart animal abuse without fear that crucial evidence will be tossed out of court – or that they will be jailed for recording it in the first place. 

On Tuesday, March 24th, Rep. Mark Lowery’s controversial bill ­– which required consent among employers, their representatives and employees for audio recordings in the workplace – failed in the Judiciary House Committee. Had HB 1774 passed, workers facing harassment or discrimination would have been unable to tape those crimes against them.

The bill would have also greatly affected animal rights groups like Last Chance for Animals, which send investigators to work in animal industries to gather evidence of cruelty.

LCA legal representative Zeynep Graves points out that, “Prohibiting employees from recording their conversations enables injustice to go undetected. Individuals are most vulnerable in the employment setting when they have information of, or are a victim of, unlawful activity.”

Only after LCA contacted Arkansas local ABC news and other regional press did Representative Lowery make concessions and amend the bill, greatly narrowing its scope. As the news story flourished and dissension grew, the bill was killed on the spot this past Tuesday.

Watch the video to see how it happened:

This action is a significant regional win, of course, in the ongoing fight against anti-whistleblower laws that eliminate our rights in the quest for animal abuse justice. It will also help set crucial precedence in other states that dare to introduce such animal and human rights-violating bills.

It’s important to note that Arkansas is a major farming state that supplies livestock to some of the largest meat manufacturers and retailers in the country, such as Tyson Foods and Walmart. In fact, both of these large companies have notably violated employment laws in the last decade, but have settled out of court with the Federal Labor Department. HB 1774 served the interest of these corporations, not the citizens of Arkansas, which is why its failure comes as a relief for the public.

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KFC Attempts to Cover Up ‘Wretched’ Chicken Conditions in a New KFC Documentary

KFC Attempts to Cover Up ‘Wretched’ Chicken Conditions in a New KFC Documentary

The BBC documentary Billion Dollar Chicken Coop is drawing worldwide attention, showing footage of the deplorable living conditions found on a British factory farm that provides chickens to the KFC brand. A single shed is shown housing over 34,000 chickens in an environment completely devoid of fresh air and natural sunlight. Birds are seen walking around in feces-and-sawdust-covered floors before being gassed to death in the name of commercial fast food. Their entire life span lasts only a brief 35 to 42 days.

Animal Rights activist Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid expressed his outrage to London’s Daily Mail. He stated that the chickens live a “wretched existence” while being crammed into “giant windowless sheds stinking with ammonia.” He went on to say that many of these birds will die from dehydration or starvation long before they reach the estimated 42-day lifespan. And he also believes that over 30 million perish in these British sheds every year without any medical care or oversight provided by the property caretakers.

In the documentary, the BBC reporter questions one chicken farmer named Andrew about the health of the animals. Andrew is quick to pick up one bird to show the cameras how wonderfully clean and healthy it is. He even goes so far as to state that if he were a chicken, he would love living at his farm. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for KFC maintains that the animal welfare of all its chickens is “essential for high quality food and is important to our customers.” KFC is also quick to point out that all of their suppliers either meet or exceed UK and EU animal welfare requirements.

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Photo Courtesy of BBC

But activist Tyler vehemently disagrees. He believes that the birds lead “a wretched existence” of deplorable living conditions, stench, and filth. He believes that the chickens “are deprived of everything that makes life worth living.” He notes that many of the birds endure broken legs and other bone fractures as they are mishandled by farm employees while being bundled up for the slaughter. And Tyler is only one of many animal rights activists who are slamming KFC for their abuse and mistreatment of animals.

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The High Cost of ‘Cheap Meat’

The High Cost of ‘Cheap Meat’

Deep in the Nebraska wheat fields lies a gory, little tax-payer funded a factory farm called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.  What goes on behind these doors would make even the most avid enthusiasts of slasher movies sick to their stomachs. Incredibly cruel experimentation is conducted on livestock that includes cows, sheep, and pigs, all in an effort to maximize meat production for the dinner table. To put this another way, the United States has already legalized cruelty to animals as long as the cruelty keeps meat prices lower and the cruelty is government regulated.

Stories like this have been in the news before, but never of this magnitude.  60 Minutes should really conduct an investigative report on this place.  They could show footage where scientists regularly submit livestock to cramped and crowded living quarters, harsh and horrific health conditions, and experimental processes that are designed to increase the levels of meat production while simultaneously decreasing the amount of bones.   Animals are killed by inhumane trapping mechanisms, exploding poison-filled caps, and a series of other ghoulish processes that would make our blood curdle.  Show this on TV, and the American Public would be outraged overnight.

Why are we allowing this to happen?

When faced with the problem of “animals as a sentient beings” vs. “escalating world hunger”, it is easy to see why politicians choose the latter as the more critical issue.  But why can’t we solve both issues?  Why does it have to be an “either/or” situation?  Surely our technology has advanced far enough along that we no longer need to inflict cruel and inhumane treatment on any member of the animal kingdom simple to put food on the table.  But, as one scientist recently interviewed by the New York Times recently put it, “It’s not a perfect world.  We are trying to feed a population (that will soon reach) nine billion by 2050.”

Meat Consumption and Global Warming

Meat consumption and global warming are two issues that most of us would assume have no direct connection to one another whatsoever.  But a recent study by Chatham House released in December of 2014 demonstrates that meat production is the single, largest contributor to the release of greenhouse gases that leads to global warming.  Of course, politicians are also in disagreement as to whether or not global warming even exists.

So, it comes as no surprise that this argument carries very little weight with state and federal lawmakers.  The American Public needs to become more involved in the oversight and accountability of our wildlife services.  We must force our politicians to reject animal cruelty while using other methods of alternative research to solve the world’s hunger problems and issues of climate change.   We can solve both issues, but only if we demand change.

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Service Dog ‘Burberry’ Fatally Shot by San Diego Police

Service Dog ‘Burberry’ Fatally Shot by San Diego Police

A 24-year old man is demanding accountability after his beloved pet Burberry was fatally shot by a local San Diego police officer.  The incident took place on March 17, 2015 when Burberry and his master, Ian Anderson, were startled awake at 5 a.m. by officers pounding on the door over a domestic disturbance call. But the police officers had the wrong house, and Burberry paid with his life.

The 6-year old pit bull responded just as any loyal dog would.  When Anderson opened the door, Burberry barked.  The officers identified themselves as Officers “Jackson” and “Bennet,t” and Anderson immediately explained that they had the wrong address.  Surveillance video captured footage of Jackson reaching down to pet the pooch on the head.   And according to Anderson, Burberry then headed over to Officer Bennett simply to “say hello.” That is when the situation became deadly.

The second officer is seen backing away from Burberry while reaching for his firearm.   Anderson reports that Bennett then told his partner Jackson to “step aside.”  Seconds later, a shot is heard off-camera.  Burberry was killed by a single shot to the head.  The immediate reaction of his owner was to run over to his loyal dog, but the officer immediately restrained Anderson, preventing him from being with poor Burberry in his last dying moments.  

Burberry wasn’t just a loving family pet. Burberry helped Anderson overcome long periods of depression and anxiety immediately following his father’s death, when Ian was still in high school.  Burberry was also a trained service animal for children living with autism and Downs syndrome.

Understandably, Anderson is devastated. “My world’s destroyed…I wish I could have taken the bullet instead of (Burberry).”

Now Anderson is demanding action.  He wants the officer to be held accountable, and has initiated a petition that would require all SDPD officers take part in mandatory training classes for animal behavior.  He has also contacted the Huffington Post, who is calling for the identities of the two officers to be released.

Anderson is asking people to sign a petition to have SDPD offiercers take a course that is manditory in animal behavior.

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New Avian Flu Outbreak Plagues Butterball Farms in Arkansas and Missouri

New Avian Flu Outbreak Plagues Butterball Farms in Arkansas and Missouri

A highly contagious new form of avian flu has infiltrated Arkansas and Missouri farms, many of which supply turkeys to the Butterball brand. Butterball is one of the world’s largest turkey sellers, and this discovery has led to a nationwide panic as farmers rush to protect their flocks from possible infection. This new strain of bird flu is also drawing unwanted international attention as countries like China and Mexico demand harsher trade restrictions on U.S. poultry products.

A spokesperson for the Butterball Corporation confirmed that a “limited number” of turkeys from some of their supplying contract farms have indeed contracted the H5N2 avian influenza. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also confirmed, stating that one particular flock of over 40,000 commercially raised turkeys has been infected in Arkansas, with another similarly sized flock having already contracted the disease in Missouri.   

Smaller outbreaks in recent months have already been confirmed in several other states. Previous cases were reported in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, and California. States such as Alabama and Georgia are watching this story particularly closely, as their farms produce the largest numbers of broiler chickens in the U.S. Arkansas is also home of Tyson Foods, the third-largest supplier of chicken products and the second-largest of turkey. If H5N2 were to infect these flocks, the entire poultry industry could be affected.

This wave of sickness comes just as the Arkansas House has proposed a bill  that would make it more difficult to expose wrongdoing at poultry farms and other businesses. HB1774 would make it illegal to record audio in the workplace without the expressed consent of all parties involved. If passed, the new legislation would make investigations into worker or animal abuse extremely difficult to conduct in the state.  

Arkansas is not only the home of Tyson Foods, but of Walmart as well; both corporations have been exposed for animal abuse violations at supplier farms. This latest outbreak of bird flu highlights the need for these undercover investigations, as they are often the only way safety violations are exposed.

In response to the bill, animal advocacy group Last Chance for Animals is circulating a petition to stop the proposed bill and protect the right to record misdoings at factory farms and other businesses. The petition, as well as more information, can be found at endaggaglaws.com.

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The Ugly Truth about Marineland of Niagara Falls

The Ugly Truth about Marineland of Niagara Falls

Once a vibrant sea creature with an infectious personality, Larry the Harbour Seal now sits nearly lifeless in his cage with red, swollen eyes. Housed at Niagara Falls' Marineland's Marine Park, Larry is now blind after repeated neglect and exposure to terrible living conditions that include filthy pool water and poorly maintained cages. Staff and visitors alike are in an uproar.

And Larry isn’t alone. Some eight different Marineland employees have been complaining for several years about the harmful living conditions of the majestic animals suffering within the gates of Marineland. Top Trainer Phil Demers recently quit after 12 years as chief caregiver to the beloved Swooshi the Walrus over his concerns about the park’s management and cleanliness policies. Demers and others complain of both staffing shortages and poorly trained employees as contributing factors to the diminishing health conditions in Marineland.

John Holer, owner of Marineland for some 51 years, denies any wrongdoing. When asked to respond to allegations of misconduct, Holes simply states, “All our facilities are legal.” But Canadian regulations for sea mammal captivity are all but non-existent. According to many of the park’s employees, the question of legality is not the issue. Marineland has a moral obligation to these animals.

  • In October of 2011, five dolphins named Tsu, Lida, Sonar, Echo, and Marina were forced to swim in a cramped concrete pool filled with murky, green water for months on end. Former staffers talk of the dolphins either laying at the bottom of the pool or thrashing about wildly in reaction to the infested water. Over the next eight months, their coloring began to change, their appetites decreased, and massive chunks of their skin began to peel off into the water. The water in their concrete pool was finally changed in May of 2012.
  • On May 28, a baby beluga named Skoot died in the park after a continuous two-hour assault by two adult male belugas. The entire event was witnessed by a single helpless tour guide. She immediately alerted two trainers who were away from the property at the time. During the two hours that it took for the trainers to arrive to help, Skoot’s head and body were badly bitten by the older belugas who then spun her round by the tail before smashing her into an adjacent rock wall where she lay lifeless. When the trainers finally arrived to intervene, Skoot began to convulse and immediately died in their arms.
  • Sea lions Sandy and Baker are also going blind. In 2011, they had to be pulled from the water completely and placed into dry cages to prevent further damage occurring to their eyesight. Baker completely lost the lens in his left eye, and Sandy is often seen sitting in a corner of the cage still and statue-like. A video even exists of them writhing in pain, racing to place their tiny heads into a nearby bucket of pure, clean water.

Many trainers and employees feel that they can no longer stand by and watch these poor creatures suffer. Many feel as if their inability to help affect positive change to the living conditions in Marineland is only enabling the situation to further escalate out of control. As a result, employees like Phil Demers have chosen to leave the facility altogether where they will be free to shine a brighter spotlight on the neglect and abuse going on inside the park. Conditions are slowly improving, but there is still a very long way to go.

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