Friday, March 1, 2013

NATURE: Loving Mother Earth And Ending The Abuse Of Animals - Wildlife Crime Is The Most Urgent Threat to Rhinos, Elephants, and Tigers; Honey Bees Are In Trouble, EFSA Identifies Risks To Bees From Neonicotinoids; Sick, Abused Elephant Set to Perform in UniverSoul Circus; And Cherokee Elders Attempt To End Abuse Of Captive Bears On Tribal Land!

March 01, 2013 - NATURE - In 50 years of conservation, we have never seen wildlife crime on such a scale. Wildlife crime is now the most urgent threat to three of the world's best-loved species—elephants, rhinos and tigers. The global value of illegal wildlife trade is between $7.8 and $10 billion per year. It is a major illicit transnational activity worldwide—along with arms, drugs and human trafficking. High-level traders and kingpins are rarely arrested, prosecuted, convicted or punished for their crimes.

Wildlife Crime: The Most Urgent Threat To Elephants, Rhinos, And Tigers.
Tigers: Every part of the tiger—from whisker to tail—is traded in illegal wildlife markets. Poaching is the most immediate threat to wild tigers. In relentless demand, their parts are used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and increasingly as a status symbol among wealthy Asians.

Panthera tigris sumatran subspecies.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia).
African Elephants: Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks. In 1989, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the international trade in ivory. However, there are still some thriving but unregulated domestic ivory markets in a number of countries, which fuel an illegal international trade.

African Rhinos:
At least one rhino is killed every day due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure diseases. The main market is now in Vietnam where there is a newly emerged belief that rhino horn cures cancer. - Causes.

WATCH:  The Wildlife Crime Story—From Africa to Asia.

URGENT: Sick, Abused Elephant Set to Perform in UniverSoul Circus.
Thanks to you, we collected over 28,500 signatures in under two days asking UniverSoul Circus to stop doing business with Hugo “Tommy” Liebel and not to force Nosey, a sick and suffering elephant, to perform. We have delivered your signatures to UniverSoul’s CEO, Cedric Walker, in advance of Nosey’s first scheduled performance on February 22nd. An elephant in her 30s named Nosey has been tortured for a long time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) even filed a formal complaint against her owner, Hugo “Tommy” Liebel. Liebel faces close to three dozen charges of violating the Animal Welfare Act, most of which are about the luckless Nosey. The rest are about his two spider monkeys, for whom he has no more compassion than he does for the elephant.

Let’s put this guy out of business.

If we act fast, we may be able to lose him his next big deal. UniverSoul Circus is currently on tour and plans to feature Nosey in its Florida appearances February 22-27. Sign the petition below to ask UniverSoul to cancel these appearances and not to affiliate themselves with Liebel and his cruel, law-breaking ways.

So here’s the deal on Liebel’s treatment of his animals, straight from the USDA, which says “The gravity of the violations…is great.” Liebel tries to fly under their radar by using different names for Nosey (Tiny, Dumbo, Peanut) and for himself, and not registering changes of address. That hasn’t gotten him out of unannounced inspections going back to 2007, which revealed pathetic conditions for the animals.

WATCH: Liebel/Liebling circus Nosey the elephant (aka Tiny).

Every one of the following problems violates the law, which is really saying something given that the law isn’t all that strict.

 •   In one inspection, the government found that in Nosey’s cage “a portion of the metal wall…was detached, exposing a sharp metal edge that could injure the elephant.” On another occasion the inspector found “nails protruding into” Nosey’s “enclosure.” Two years later similar violations remained.

•    Nosey has “a visibly poor [and painful] skin condition” that Liebel persistently ignores, illegally denying her necessary veterinary care. This malady is observed and noted at pretty much every inspection.

•    In 2009, an inspector caught Liebel keeping Nosey tethered “in such a manner that the elephant could only move a few feet from side to side, in willful violation” of the law. This could cause “behavioral stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort.” She was “tethered by chains around [her] left front and right rear ankles that were so taut that they permitted little movement; the elephant was unable to lie down on her side, or to make any forward or backward movement, and could only move a few feet from side to side.”

•    Liebel was having a particularly illegal day that day: Nosey’s trailer “contained loose metal ceiling panels, exposed bolts and peeling, chipping and flaking interior paint.” It also “contained accumulations of equipment in close proximity to the elephant during transit.”

 •   A couple months later Liebel tied Nosey up even tighter so she couldn’t even “stand comfortably.” (See video above.) Again he had the chains around her ankles that “were so taut that they permitted little to no movement; the elephant was required to maintain her left front foot in a forward position.”

•    In October 2009, government inspectors found that Liebel “failed to store supplies of food in facilities which adequately protected such supplies against deterioration, molding, or contamination by vermin, and specifically an open trailer used for food storage was cluttered, dirty and had holes in the floor, there were open bags of feed, and evidence of” rodents and vermin. Yum, vermin.

•    In February 2010 Nosey “was observed to have lost weight.” Liebel did not consult a veterinarian.

•    A year later a veterinarian finally instructed Liebel to weigh Nosey. Of course he didn’t.

•    An “examination of the elephant’s feet revealed overgrowth of the soles, with trapped manure and leaves in flaps of the front feet and the right rear foot.”

WATCH: Nosey the elephant with Liebel Circus at Osceola Flea Market.

This is not an elephant who should be performing tricks in a circus; she should be on bed rest with a strict regimen of pampering and medical care. Other venues have already canceled their arrangements with Liebel. UniverSoul Circus should do the same. Please sign the petition below to persuade it to shun Liebel.

Related Stories:
Elephants Go First: L.A. Takes Steps to Stop Circus Cruelty
Shocking Video of Britain’s Oldest Circus Elephant Beaten
A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words: Cruelty to Baby Circus Elephants Exposed
  - Care2.

Cherokee Elders Attempt To End Abuse Of Captive Bears On Tribal Land.
An undercover investigation by the animal advocate group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has revealed bears living in deplorable conditions at three road-side zoos located on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina. Details of the conditions of these facilities can be read HERE. Most Cherokee people had no idea what was taking place behind the bars of these road-side zoos. Some Cherokee elders are so appalled that they have decided to take action in an attempt to shut down these facilities and bring a halt to the horrible treatment of these jailed bears. Along with other elders, Peggy Hill and Amy Walker plan to introduce a resolution to permanently close Chief Saunooke's Bear Park, Cherokee Bear Zoo, and Santa's Land in an upcoming Tribal Council meeting. Now that the deplorable conditions are known this will give the Principal Chief and Tribal Council an opportunity to make the right decision on behalf of the bears. The following words reveal some of the deep feelings the Elders hold regarding the inhumane treatment of the bears at these facilities.
Underfed bear begs for food.  ©
"Our ancestors, the Kituwah, have been the keepers of these sacred mountains and all of the various life forms that inhabit our precious home land for more than 10,000 years. Our people have survived and sustained life here for thousands of years by respecting ALL life - whether plant, animal, bird, fish or creepy crawlers. We have been taught to give thanks for all Creation; for Creation itself gives us life. Generation after generation we have lived off the land - gathering plants, fishing, and hunting. With great respect for Creation we have learned the appropriate way - taking only what we need to sustain our lives, leaving plenty for others and maintaining these life forms for future use. Our people knew that Creator had put us in charge of all living things, trusting us with such stewardship and showing us what we could use so that life could continue as planned. Every living thing was intricately designed so as to play a vital role within the circle of life and contributing to the cycle of life. They were placed within specific environments - soil for the plants; water for the fish; air for the birds, two-legged and four-legged beings and crawlers as well. We understand all life requires nurturing and specific elements for sustenance.

Life that is altered or displaced begins to experience psychological, physical, and spiritual deficiencies. We can see how historical disturbances have affected our lives, leaving us with a sense of disconnect which has had an impact throughout all aspects of our lives. When we look at our disrupted life, as native people we should be able to connect, sympathize, empathize, recognize and acknowledge how all forms of life are affected when strange and unnatural circumstances invade a presence. So it is with the bears and other animals when placed out of their natural environment, but especially with an animal as wise and sensitive as a bear."  The elders conclude by saying they want to "give these animals the freedom to live in a semblance of their natural environment just as we have been given the freedom to live in our native culture and homeland. We of all people should be able to relate to the sufferings of these innocent victims. Let us, the People - the Kituwahs, set the example for all mankind to follow when it comes to how we treat and co-exist with Creation."

For More Information Contact: Peggy Hill


Honey Bees Are In Trouble, EFSA Identifies Risks To Bees From Neonicotinoids.
EFSA scientists have identified a number of risks posed to bees by three neonicotinoid insecticides[1]. The Authority was asked by the European Commission to assess the risks associated with the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam as seed treatment or as granules, with particular regard to: their acute and chronic effects on bee colony survival and development; their effects on bee larvae and bee behaviour; and the risks posed by sub-lethal doses[2] of the three substances. In some cases EFSA was unable to finalise the assessments due to shortcomings in the available data. The risk assessments focused on three main routes of exposure: exposure from residues in nectar and pollen in the flowers of treated plants; exposure from dust produced during the sowing of treated seeds or application of granules; and exposure from residues in guttation fluid[3] produced by treated plants. Where the risk assessments could be completed, EFSA, in cooperation with scientific experts from EU Member States, concluded the following for all three substances:
  • Exposure from pollen and nectar. Only uses on crops not attractive to honey bees were considered acceptable.
  • Exposure from dust. A risk to honey bees was indicated or could not be excluded, with some exceptions, such as use on sugar beet and crops planted in glasshouses, and for the use of some granules.
  • Exposure from guttation. The only risk assessment that could be completed was for maize treated with thiamethoxam. In this case, field studies show an acute effect on honey bees exposed to the substance through guttation fluid.
EFSA’s conclusions contain tables listing all authorised uses for seed treatment and as granules of the three substances in the EU and indicating for each route of exposure: where a risk has been identified; where a low risk has been identified; or where an assessment could not be finalised because of a lack of data. In reaching their conclusions, EFSA’s scientists evaluated data previously submitted for the approval of the active substances at EU level and in support of product authorisations at Member State level, as well as relevant literature and monitoring data. They also considered new developments in the assessment of risks to pollinators from plant protection products, in particular recommendations contained in the EFSA Scientific Opinion on the science behind the development of a guidance document on the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees, which was published in May 2012.

This opinion, published by EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR Panel), proposed a much more comprehensive risk assessment for bees and also introduced a higher level of scrutiny for interpretation of field studies. The proposed changes are aimed at improving the level of protection afforded to bees when assessing risks from pesticides. Furthermore, as much of the data were generated before publication of the opinion, a number of shortcomings were identified. And, because the final guidance document for the risk assessment of plant protection products and bees[4] is still under development, there is a high level of uncertainty in the latest evaluations. All of these factors mean that EFSA’s scientists were unable to finalise risk assessments for some of the uses authorised in the EU, and identified a number of data gaps that would have to be filled to allow further evaluation of the potential risks to bees from clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. Finally, it is highlighted that limited information was available for pollinators other than honey bees; therefore the risk to these other pollinators should be further considered. - EFSA.

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