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LCA Blog

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

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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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

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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China Joins Fight to Protect African Elephants; Bans Ivory Imports for 1 Year

An estimated 100 African elephants are killed by poachers each and every day, leaving this majestic breed on the brink of extinction.  That’s about one elephant every 15 minutes.  By current estimates, only 400,000 of these beautiful animals remain on the entire planet.  If the massacre continues at this rate, the species could be wiped out in several regions of Africa within only a few years.  


Why are these elephants dying? Because the insatiable demand for their ivory tusks, particularly in the Asian markets, has led to the illegal trafficking of ivory products becoming increasingly more profitable.  In reaction to this global dilemma, the Chinese government has just imposed an immediate one-year ban against imported ivory in all its forms. This comes amid growing worldwide criticism that Chinese consumer demand is a significant driving force behind this escalating violence.  

At LCA, we applaud this new ban – and we hope it is well enforced.

The announcement was posted on the website of the State Forestry Administration on February 26, 2015.  A follow-up statement was issued by a government official stating that China would increase its efforts to prosecute those involved in illegal tusk smuggling to the highest extents of the law.  While the capital city of Beijing has consistently campaigned against illegally acquired ivory, China still remains the world’s leading importer of smuggled elephant tusks.  Over 6 tons of illegal ivory were seized just last year in the city of Dongguan alone.


In 2008, China legally acquired over 60 tons of precious ivory which has only increased consumer demand even further.  

Products that contain ivory have long been considered a type of status symbol among the more affluent communities in China, which is only fueling the poachers’ greedy ambitions to higher and higher levels.  The world has been watching as the African elephant has been slaughtered by the thousands, all in the name of status-conscious consumerism.  
In an open letter signed by several highly regarded conservationists including David Attenborough, a global call-to-action was made to Chinese President Xi Jinping to put an end to the mass killings.  Many are crediting this letter as the final push that resulted in the recent legislation passed in China, outlawing the buying and selling of all forms of imported ivory completely. 


Meanwhile, London’s Environmental Investigation Agency recently issued a scathing report that accuses certain officials of the Chinese government of direct involvement in the importing of smuggled ivory tusks.   Many in the activist community fear that the recent announcement for a one-year ban may only be a political smokescreen.  Is the Chinese government truly committed to ending this murderous rampage against the African elephant?  The world is watching.

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Airline Animal Death Rates Demand Attention

A beautiful, black-spotted guinea pig named Oriole was traveling on a Delta flight from North Carolina to Oregon with his owner last June. But Oriole would never make his destination – his dead body was discovered during the connecting flight in Atlanta. A necropsy was immediately performed by veterinarians at the nearby University of Georgia, where it was determined that Oriole had died from pneumonia brought on by a combination of flight stress and a pre-existing inflammatory condition in the lungs.

Realated Article: Air France's Monkey Business

Believe it or not, the U.S Department of Transportation keeps very detailed records of all animal fatalities, injuries, and losses that result from travel on our nation’s airplanes.  The 2014 report was recently released, and the statistics show that we have significant room for improvement.  With 26 cases of animal injury, 17 cases of death, and 2 incidents of lost pets, most of the cases involve the transporting of dogs and cats.

5 Airlines are involved.

United Airlines reports the highest numbers with 5 pet fatalities and 13 cases of animal injuries. Alaska Airlines followed closely behind with 3 deaths and 11 injuries, while Skywest, Hawaiian, and Delta airlines were responsible for the remaining cases.  

According to the DOT, many of the incidents involved pets attempting to escape from their cages either before, during, or after the flight.  Some managed to successfully escape only to be hit by vehicular traffic at the airport afterward.  Others were bloodied or hurt during the flight, perhaps due to the fear and stress of flying in a confined space and without their masters.

While each of these airlines is committed to reviewing their current policies regarding animal travel, pet owners must remain aware of the difficulties that face dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and other companion animals.  While over 99 percent of airline pet transports result in completely safe transfers, some pets are simply more susceptible to injury or death than others.  A visit with your local veterinarian might provide some invaluable insights along with some beneficial travel tips that might reduce these health risks substantially. 

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The Gruesome Dog Meat Festival You Need to Know About

Can you imagine your loyal, beloved dog kidnapped, trucked long-distance in a cramped wire cage, then butchered for meat in a filthy market stall? This may sound like a horror movie, but the corpses of stolen pets, strays and commercially bred dogs are on full display at the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China, where throngs of people gather each year to gorge on canine flesh.

The scene is hauntingly barbaric, yet the government does nothing to intervene. That’s why Last Chance for Animals has teamed up with the Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project to stop the brutality. And you can help.

If you’re in Los Angeles, join us at a rally against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. With expert speakers and a crowd of fellow animal lovers, you’ll help make a difference by speaking out for dogs who cannot speak for themselves. Here are the details:

Date: Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Time: 12 noon

Location: The Chinese Consulate General's office -
443 Shatto Place, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Once you see this video, you’ll understand why these dogs need us so badly (warning: the images are disturbing):

The Yulin festival is heartbreaking, but compassionate people are doing all they can to ease the suffering. Some people give the dogs much-needed water and affection, to make their last moments as comfortable as possible. Other activists gather in the streets holding signs to denounce the slaughter. Some even spend their own money to buy dogs from the butchers, then feed and soothe the distraught animals and send them to loving homes.

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The best way to save these innocent dogs’ lives is to convince Chinese authorities to shut down this gruesome festival for good. Help achieve this by sending a letter to the Chinese embassy urging them to stop the slaughter. You can use this sample letter – just send it to the embassy’s email or postal address, listed below:

Dear Ambassador Cui Tiankai,

I am adding my voice to thousands of other people
throughout the world in demanding that the Guangxi YuLin
government puts an end to the “Dog Meat Festival” that is
held on June 21.

I have great respect for the Chinese people and Chinese
civilization, but I am horrified to learn that the brutal
Yulin “Dog Meat Festival” still exists in a modern civilized society.
The Yulin “Dog Meat Festival” is internationally perceived as a
disgrace to China. I am adamantly stating my strong opposition to
this gruesome practice. I also urge that your office works with
China’s Department of Agriculture in passing an animal
protection law in China that bans the dog and cat meat trade.

Sincerely,

Name and City

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

Postal Address:

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Attn:Ambassador Cui Tianka

Stay tuned for more information on how to stop this festival of horrors!

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