April 2012


“…living by voices we shall never hear.”

In this issue:

  • Circus “education opportunity” on the horizon! 4/27 & 4/28
  • Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale to benefit farmed animal sanctuary, 4/22
  • Other Nations blogosphere: The men who prune goats–and more
  • World Lab Animal Day: April 24
  • Would you like unnecessary antibiotics with that?
  • A tribute to Shirley & Jenny, two old friends from the circus 
  • The tail end: Wag it

UPDATE– SHRINE CIRCUS 2012:  The Shrine Circus will appear at the Adams Center in Missoula on Friday, 4/27 for 3:00pm and 7:00pm shows, and Saturday for shows at 11:00am, 3:00pm, and 7:00pm. This is an opportunity for local activists to kindly and respectfully educate circus-goers about the sad, cruel lives of circus animals.  Watch our website for further details.

In the meantime, check out these eye-opening links about Shrine circuses and the animal exhibitors with whom they contract. The circus coming to Missoula has lost its U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (the regulatory & oversight agency) license and now leases animals from other animal exhibitors. Check out the local Shrine circus poster next time you see one posted around town–and check out these links:

*Get the Facts: Shrine Circuses from Born Free
*PETA Fact Sheet on Jordan World Circus USDA violations
*2007 New York Times investigation into financing Shriner hospitals
* “Circus Cruelty is Coming to Town” Animal Defenders of Yuma
* “Jordan Circus Not Welcome By Everyone” at RoundUp Daily
More fact sheets and links at our circus page.

BOTTOM LINE: Charitable work for one species shouldn’t depend upon the abuse and exploitation of another. Rather than attend the circus–which sends all the wrong messages to kids about our obligation toward other species–encourage your family, neighbors, and friends to make a donation to the hospital if they so wish (note this, from the Times piece: The vast majority of the operating expenses for Shriners hospitals are paid from the hospitals’ endowment. Shriners charity events and assessments on each Shriner account for about 2 percent). Or, contact the Western Montana Shrine Club to see if they can earmark a donation for “provid(ing) transportation and lodging for children and their families at the Shrine Hospital for Children in Spokane,” which is what they indicate a portion of the circus proceeds are used for.

Then suggest that, rather than attending coerced performances by captive animals, would-be circus goers do something life-affirming for animals–visit the humane society or another nonprofit adoption agency, or donate to the local farmed animal sanctuary. If you know a Shriner, encourage him to start advocating for animal-free circuses. We have nothing against Shriners…we have everything against animal exploitation.
Even when the circus tickets are free, the cost to animals is too steep!

Addendum: Here’s a recent report on the Shrine Circus in Billings. Interestingly, one  lonely commenter had posted an online comment against circus animal exploitation at this article, but the comment has been removed.

WORLDWIDE VEGAN BAKE SALE to benefit New Dawn Montana farmed animal sanctuary at the Earth Day festivities in Caras Park: Sunday, April 22 , noon-5pm in Missoula. The bake sale is hosted by Garden City Vegans. You need not be vegan to stop by, say hi, and purchase a tasty, cruelty-free treat. Read more about the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale concept here–it really IS worldwide. See you there!


THE MEN WHO PRUNE GOATS:  The Coast Guard motto is Sempre Paratus, “always ready,” but ready for what? And why does it involve goats and tree pruners? The dark truth can be read here.

TITANIC COMMEMORATIONS BRING ON SINKING FEELING FOR DUCKS, GEESE:  Pate de foie gras is on the menu, and how sad is that? If you don’t know what it is, you probably belong to the 99%. Read more here.

DEATH THREAT FOLLOWS POSTING OF TRAPPED WOLF PICTURE:  One unfortunate wolf was trapped, then shot, then used as the backdrop for a grinning “conquest” photo. It’s at our blog–but fear not, you’ll have to make an extra click to see the injured wolf photo.

Gelatin is hidden in the most unsuspecting places–Frosted Mini-Wheats…really?–and if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just a bit squeamish about what it is and where it comes from, read on at our blog. Visit the animal law blog “Animal Blawg” (link provided at end of post); some of the commenters provide links to non-gelatinous treats.

click image

Recognized by the United Nations and observed the world over, World Lab Animal Day kicks off a week of global events designed to raise awareness and educate.

Gandhi wrote: “Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimes that man is at present committing against God and his animal creations.” According to the National Anti-Vivisection Society (U.K.), “No other animals have such systematic suffering inflicted on them in such a cold and calculated way. Animals are burnt, blinded, mutilated, poisoned and given cancer in an industry shrouded in secrecy, protected by Governments, and the propaganda of a multi-billion pound (dollar) industry.”

Animal Defenders International offers some jaw-dropping numbers: “The FDA states, in reference to cosmetics, that Animal testing by manufacturers seeking to market new products may be used to establish product safety, but does not publish the data. A 2001 report merely noted: “In the USA the use of animals in biomedical research, testing of household products and cosmetics contributes to an annual total of between 17 and 22 million animals.”” Say what???  Visit the U.S. National Anti-Vivisection Society here; also, see “New Technology More Reliable and Ethical than Animal Experiments,” here.

Antibiotic Anna - click image

ANTIBIOTICS: It’s what’s for supper
Did you know that 80% of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to factory farmed animals (source)? Not because they’re sick–rather, because the drugs actually promote growth (faster growth=quicker slaughter=more money), and to ward off illness in the cramped, cruel, filthy conditions in which America’s “food animals” are forced to live and die. Thirty-five years after recognizing the public health menace of antibiotic resistant pathogens, the Food & Drug Administration has finally lowered the boom. Well, sort of. OK, not really. The industrial animal production industry is provided with a “gaping loophole” according to one writer at Mother Jones, and the new rules are… (wait for it!)…voluntary. Sigh. It’s past time for consumers to wise up.

Click image for Shirley's photo album

Shirley & Jenny: Disabled circus veterans and BFFs- This isn’t new video, but even if you’ve viewed it before, it’s so poignant you just might want to revisit it. It’s a touching illustration of the complexity of elephants’ lives, the friendships they make and keep, and their long, long memories. And why they don’t belong in circuses. The video is in two parts: In part one we meet Shirley and her compassionate “keeper” Solomon; in part two, Shirley is reunited with friend Jenny at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after a 22 year separation. Have a kleenex handy.

Sadly, Jenny died in 2006; read her memory page here. Shirley has a new friend in Tarra, formerly of Bella (the dog) and Tarra (the elephant) fame. If you missed it in 2009, here’s Steve Hartman’s “Assignment America” segment on the dog-ele duo. When Bella died last year, Shirley stepped in to help Tarra with her grief.

Tail end: Wag it!
Donkeys journey to safety
Baby goat frolic (note: legs required; see the blog entry, “The Men Who Prune Goats“)

Thanks for reading!