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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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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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