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LCA Blog

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

Airline Animal Death Rates Demand Attention

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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How the LA Zoo is Hurting Elephants (And What We’re Doing About It)

How the LA Zoo is Hurting Elephants (And What We’re Doing About It)

Succumbing to loneliness, frustration, and physical ailments, elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo die an average of 10 years younger than elephants at all other North American zoos. And sadly, the facility doesn’t seem to care: they recently spent $42 million to build a new elephant exhibit that greatly enhanced the experience for visitors, but did nothing to benefit the elephants forced to live there. 

Last Chance for Animals won’t stand for this atrocity, and our legal team is fighting hard to stop it. We recently filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in an appeal that seeks to end the suffering of three elephants at the L.A. Zoo:  Billy, Tina, and Jewel. The appeal is based on a taxpayer action filed by plaintiff Aaron Leider, requesting in part that the L.A. Zoo close their exhibit to elephants. LCA's brief was filed in the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, in support of plaintiff Aaron Leider.

 At trial, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John L. Segal said, "the Elephants of Asia exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo is not a happy place for elephants, nor is it for members of the public who go to the zoo and recognize that the elephants are neither thriving, happy, nor content."

"Captivity is a terrible existence for any intelligent, self-aware species, which the undisputed evidence shows elephants are," noted the trial court. “To believe otherwise, as some high-ranking zoo employees appear to believe, is delusional. And the quality of life that Billy, Tina, and Jewel endure in their captivity is particularly poor."

The trial court found that insufficient space, a substandard living environment, and inadequate expertise of zoo personnel has caused the elephants to suffer from multiple injuries, as well as unnecessary physical and psychological suffering. The court also found that the elephants exhibit severe stereotypic behaviors of stress and psychological disturbance, such as repetitive bobbing, swaying, and rocking in place for hours (and in the case of Billy, for nearly half of his observable life). These actions stem from boredom, frustration, and isolation in a stimulant-free environment.

Forced to stand on a hard, cement-like surface, the elephants suffer chronic foot and joint problems – which are only made worse by their stress-induced behaviors.

Despite these findings, the trial court failed to apply the facts to the law, offering only limited relief for the elephants held captive at the L.A. Zoo. Specifically, the trial court ordered the L.A. Zoo to cease using bull hooks or electric shock on elephants, to exercise the elephants at least two hours a day and to rototill the exhibit's soil. Last Chance for Animals argues that the only remedy is to close the exhibit and transfer Billy, Tina, and Jewel to a sanctuary where they may live out their days without suffering.



On 1/14/2016, the court of appeal upheld the trial court’s injunctions requiring that the elephants have specific amounts of exercise time, and requiring the rototilling of the soil in the exhibit. The trial court’s injunction prohibiting the zoo from using bull hooks or electric shocks on the elephants was never challenged by the city, so that will stand as well. Unfortunately, it rejected Leider’s cross appeal, and declined to close the elephant exhibit. 

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The Gruesome Dog Meat Festival You Need to Know About

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.


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.


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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