Tag Archives: humane society

Dog named ‘Pig’ dances ballet in ‘Mutt-cracker’

Even casual dance fans have heard of the Christmastime classic “The Nutcracker,” but what about “The Mutt-cracker” ballet?

An Alabama humane society fundraiser features a misshapen little mutt named “Pig” as the pirouetting pet of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The show has been performed by the Birmingham Ballet for the past five years.

This year’s version was staged to a near sellout crowd at the city’s main concert hall.

During the show, a black Great Dane cavorted with Drosselmeyer, who presented his niece Clara with a magical Nutcracker and a spaniel trotted out on stage with cast members.

A pack of pugs did what pugs normally do: They sat and snorted.

Pig, outfitted in a pink tutu, was a featured performer, dancing alone with the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Born with a condition called short-spine syndrome, the 3-year-old dog hops somewhat like a frog to stand up and has hunched shoulders that make her gait appear somewhat gorilla-like.

Owner Kim Dillenbeck said being around so many people and dogs in the theater was unnerving for Pig, whose Facebook page has more than 100,000 followers.

“She is so easily startled because she can’t move her head at all; her head is fused at her shoulders,” Dillenbeck said. “So for her to come to a place that has lots of noise and stuff is very difficult.”

But Pig was a trouper, especially when given an incentive: During a rehearsal, ballerina Katherine Free held a treat up in the air to get her to twirl about at the end of a leash.

Free marveled at Pig and the 28 other dogs cast for the show. Only a few of the animals were trained performers, and many were rescues.

“They give so much to the stage and project to the audience more than you might think, and it’s amazing to see them grow from even their rehearsals to being on the stage,” Free said.

MoveOn, Humane Society launch ‘I’m with Purr’ push for Clinton

 MoveOn.org Political Action and the Humane Society Legislative Fund  teamed up to launch a new online ad highlighting Hillary Clinton’s record of animal protection and her “expansive” pro-animal campaign platform.

The ad was developed after MoveOn members said protecting animals is a key issue for them and the Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed Clinton for president.

MoveOn.org represents millions of progressive members nationwide, according to a news release, and HSLF is a nonpartisan political advocacy organization that makes endorsements based on a candidate’s support for animal protection policies.

In their announcement for the campaign, the groups said: “During her eight years in the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton was a consistent supporter of animal protection policies, earning a 100 percent score in HSLF’s Humane Scorecard for the 108th Congress, a perfect 100 score in the 109th and an 83 in the 110th.”

In Congress, Clinton:

• Led efforts to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals, which allow them to be crammed into overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary factory farms;

• Cosponsored legislation to prohibit the transport and receipt of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption;

• Cosponsored the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act  (S. 261) to prohibit the interstate transfer of animals for animal fighting;

• Cosponsored the Downed Animal Protection Act (S. 1779) to stop the processing of “downer” livestock;

• Cosponsored the Puppy Protection Act (S. 1478) to crack down on abusive “puppy mills” where dogs are treated like production machines;

• Signed letters requesting funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to step up enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the federal animal fighting law

The statement from the groups said as secretary of state, Clinton led international efforts to crack down on wildlife trafficking and, through her work at the Clinton Foundation, she helped launch a major campaign against the illegal ivory trade and poaching of elephants.

Here’s the transcript of “I’m With Purr”: Humans aren’t the only ones with a stake in this election. Hillary has a bold platform to protect animals and wildlife.  She wants to:  Strengthen “puppy mill” regulations.  Reduce the overuse of antibiotics.  Pass the “Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act.”  Vote Hillary Clinton.  #ImWithPurr.

Dogs raised for meat rescued, find Oregon homes

Megan Watkins never wanted a dog until she met Florence, a Tosa mastiff rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm.

Watkins, who manages a Starbucks in Bend, Oregon, hosted a grand opening block party in August. She remembers stepping outside the coffee shop and happening to see Florence being walked by Humane Society of Central Oregon Outreach Manager Lynne Ouchida.

Watkins, an owner of two cats, knew she found her dog.

“I felt instantly connected to her,” she said. “She just had this really tough, sweet, calm energy.”

Watkins offered the dog a puppuccino, a small cup filled with whipped cream that Starbucks employees give to customers’ dogs.

“We say it was a match made over a puppuccino,” Ouchida said.

Rescued dogs

Florence is one of 28 dogs brought to central Oregon in March from a dog meat farm in Wonju, South Korea. All but three of the dogs have since been adopted, and two had to be euthanized, reported The Bulletin.

Humane Society International, a global animal protection organization, goes to dog meat farms and trades services and goods for the dogs. The group teaches farmers how to grow crops or offers rice and berries in exchange for the dogs.

A total of 250 dogs were rescued from the South Korean farm and sent to Humane Societies around the United States.

The Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend took 17 dogs, and BrightSide Animal Shelter in Redmond took 11 dogs. The breeds vary with mixes including Labradors, mastiffs, Jindos and elkhounds.

Each dog had major medical and behavioral issues. The dogs had infections, orthopedic issues and broken teeth from being confined in small cages. Many were fearful at the Humane Society shelters and would hide in their kennels.

“These dogs were not raised with human contact. They were not raised in a social environment,” Ouchida said. “They were raised in wire cages. Their interactions with humans were extremely limited.”

Florence had two deformed legs from growing up in a small cage. She had surgery in September, paid for by Humane Society International. She is now recovering with her foster owner, Watkins, who will be able to formally adopt her from the Humane Society after she recovers.

“We came into her life through the worst of it,” Watkins said.

Two dogs from the farm remain at the Bend shelter; Owen, a 1-year-old Jindo, and Addi, a 2-year-old Tosa-Lab mix. Staffers continue to socialize and train the two dogs before they will be put up for adoption.

Jesse, a 1-year-old Jindo mix, is in foster care with the Redmond shelter.

Overall, 23 of the dogs have been adopted.

“This has been extremely successful for the dogs,” said Karen Burns, Humane Society of Central Oregon manager. “Yes, we have had some heartbreak along the way, but I would like to focus on all the positive we have done. These are success stories. These are dogs that are part of someone’s life and family now because of what we did.”

Changing the culture

Bend resident Debby Bever grew up in Taiwan, where it is common to see dog meat at the markets. She never got used to the sight.

“There were dogs at the market all the time,” Bever said. “There would be chicken, fish and then you would see a dog carcass.”

Consuming dog meat is a cultural tradition, Bever said, where some Asian people believe it will keep them cool in the summertime. The tradition is still popular among older generations, she said, but younger people are slowly changing the culture.

With the experience of seeing dog meat firsthand, Bever felt compelled to help the dogs that came to town in March.

She offered to be a foster owner for a Tosa mastiff puppy named Lana. After less than a month, Bever adopted the young dog.

Bever, who owns two mastiffs, said it has been fascinating to see how Lana interacts with her two large dogs. Lana almost immediately bonded with them, while remaining distant to any human contact. Over time, she has warmed up to Bever.

“They just attach to other dogs and don’t want to be by themselves,” Bever said. “All they knew were dogs and mean people.”

‘Part of the family’

At her home in Redmond, Watkins had a ramp, doggy door and outdoor enclosure built for Florence.

“She is part of the family now, and we set up the whole house for her,” Watkins said.

After meeting Florence at the block party, Watkins visited her at the Bend shelter for two weeks before bringing her home. During those two weeks, Watkins convinced her husband, Jason Watkins, they needed the dog.

He agreed, and Florence has fit into their family ever since.

“I just feel very lucky to have her in our lives,” Watkins said.

On the Web

Humane Society International.

Much ado about poo: Feces fuels Hawaii feral feline debate

Two wildlife issues have collided in Hawaii, pitting one group of animal defenders against another in an impassioned debate. The point of contention? Deadly cat poop and the feral felines that produce it.

Federal researchers believe feces from the legions of feral cats roaming Hawaii is spreading a disease that is killing Hawaiian monk seals, some of the world’s most endangered marine mammals. Some conservationists advocate euthanizing those cats that no one wants, and that’s got cat lovers up in arms.

“It’s a very difficult, emotional issue,” said state Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of a committee that earlier this year heard and then abandoned a proposal to ban the feeding of feral cats on state land after an outcry. “It struck a nerve in our community.”

The problem stems from a parasite common in cats that can cause toxoplasmosis, a disease that killed at least five female Hawaiian monk seals and three males since 2001, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“While eight seals may not sound like a lot of animals, it actually has pretty large ramifications for an endangered population where there’s only about 1,300 seals in existence at this point in time,” said Michelle Barbieri, veterinary medical officer for NOAA’s Hawaiian monk seal research program.

Scientists believe monk seals become exposed to toxoplasmosis by ingesting contaminated water or prey.

Felines are the only animals that can shed Toxoplasma gondii eggs, or oocysts. The parasites enter their digestive tract through infected prey then multiply in the small intestine and produce the eggs. Outdoor cats excrete the eggs in their feces, which researchers say washes into the ocean.

The eggs accumulate in invertebrates that live along the sea floor, where monk seals often feed. They can survive in fresh water, saltwater and soil for up to two years.

Any warm-blooded animal can become infected. California sea otters have died from toxoplasmosis, and it’s one of the major reasons the Hawaiian crow, alala, is extinct in the wild. Toxoplasmosis is rarely problematic for people with healthy immune systems, but it’s why doctors advise pregnant women not to handle kitty litter.

Many cities struggle with feral cats, but the problem is particularly acute in Hawaii because of its sensitive ecosystem and at-risk native species, experts say. Only two mammals are native to Hawaii: the hoary bat and the Hawaiian monk seal.

“Everything else here_ deer, sheep, goats, cats, mongoose _ they’re all invasive, they’re all introduced,” said Angela Amlin, NOAA’s acting Hawaiian monk seal recovery coordinator, adding cats have no predators in Hawaii to control their population.

Marketing research commissioned by the Hawaiian Humane Society in 2015 estimated some 300,000 feral cats roam Oahu alone.

Marine debris, climate change, predation and human interaction all threaten the survival of Hawaiian monk seals. But feral cats present their greatest disease concern, Amlin said.

“As conservationists, what we really have to look at is this is what Hawaii’s native ecosystem includes, and cats are unfortunately not part of that,” Amlin said. “When it comes to the feral cat population, there should be a program in place to bring in these animals, adopt the ones that are adoptable and humanely euthanize those that are not.”

Others take offense to that notion.

Classifying animals with labels such as native and invasive creates a “hierarchy in which the protection of certain animals comes at the suffering of others,” Hawaiian Humane Society President and CEO Pamela Burns wrote in a letter opposing the state Senate bill that would have banned cat-feeding on state land. She contended the 300,000 figure overstates the problem because the study looked at how many cats people were feeding and might have missed instances where multiple people fed the same outdoor cat.

Those who care for stray cats advocate trapping, neutering and spaying to help control their population.

The University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus, in Honolulu, started a feral cat management program _ with authorized feeders trained in tasks like trapping and feces disposal _ after the stench and mess from hundreds of cats prompted complaints, especially when children at a campus daycare center got flea bites, said Roxanne Adams, director of buildings and grounds.

The program started in 2011 and appears to have reduced the number of felines, she said.

Euthanizing cats is unacceptable unless they’re extremely sick, said Alicia Maluafiti, board president of animal welfare group Poi Dogs and Popoki.

“I totally disagree with the … generalization that cat people love cats more than these endangered species,” Maluafiti said. “What we just don’t advocate is the wholesale killing, the extermination, of one species … for one.”

NY requiring adoptions for research cats and dogs

New York is requiring universities using cats and dogs for research to offer them for adoption through animal shelters, humane societies or private placements.

The law applies to higher education research facilities that are tax-exempt or receive public money or else collaborate with institutions getting either public benefit.

It first requires a veterinarian at the facility to determine whether an animal is healthy and suitable for adoption once the research is completed.

Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat and lead sponsor, says animals used in scientific, medical and product research across the state are usually euthanized, though some institutions voluntarily maintain adoption programs.

She says beagles are commonly bred for research and used because of their docility.

The Humane Society of the United States says Connecticut, California, Minnesota and Nevada have similar laws.

Humane Society condemns fatal attack on flamingo at Florida park

The Humane Society of the United States strongly condemns the attack on a flamingo named Pinky at Busch Gardens in Tampa and will urge authorities to pursue the case with vigor.

An Orlando man was arrested for picking up and throwing Pinky to the ground, and the flamingo was so badly injured that she had to be euthanized.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said in a statement, “People who abuse animals often don’t stop there, and pose a violent risk to the rest of society. That’s why we’ve worked to fortify the legal framework across the country to punish malicious animal cruelty as a serious offense.”

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, which owns Busch Gardens, also issued a statement. “SeaWorld will strongly urge prosecution in this case, and for any person who engages in this sort of cruel behavior towards animals,” SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby said. “Pinky was a beloved member of the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay family and she will be sorely missed. Our Ambassador team members are appalled by this incident, and I am sure they share my view that our state must have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of cruelty.”

Joseph Anthony Corrao, 45, on Aug. 2 was visiting Busch Gardens with his mother and his three teenagers when he reached into a pen and picked up a flamingo, according to a police report.

Police said Corrao put the bird down and then picked up another flamingo.

After his mother told him to leave the birds alone, he picked up Pinky and threw the bird to the ground hard enough to nearly severe a foot.

Corrao was detained by park security until Tampa police arrived to make an arrest.

Park officials said Pinky was euthanized because of the traumatic injuries.

“A very sad and hard day for us here,” park spokeswoman Karen Varga-Sinka said, according to the AP.

Corrao made a first appearance in court on Aug. 3.

His criminal record includes a conviction of aggravated assault on a person 65 years or older, felony DUI and fleeing from a law enforcement, the AP reported. Corrao served three years in prison for the assault.

Pinky was a 19-year-old Chilean flamingo that hatched at the park.

Bulletin Board: At the Fork screening set, more events

The Humane Society of the United States is collaborating with community activists and Whole Foods to present screenings of At the Fork. Filmmaker and omnivore John Papola and his vegetarian wife Lisa offer a look at how farm animals are raised. A Madison screening is set for 7 p.m. July 13 at Marcus Point Cinema on Big Sky Drive. Another screening July 13 is at 7 p.m. at AMC Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa. For details and links to tickets, go to attheforkfilm.com.

Lights, camera, action

Milwaukee Film is accepting applications for its Brico Forward Fund, a grant program that supports local filmmakers. Milwaukee Film, which produces the 15-day film fest in the fall, is offering $50,000 in cash and about $90,000 in sponsor-donated production resources, such as equipment rentals and production services.

“We see tremendous value in making sure our brilliant filmmaking community has access to the resources they need,” Milwaukee Film executive director Jonathan Jackson said in a news release. “Our goal with the Brico Forward Fund is providing funding opportunities that go directly into the hands of the filmmakers putting our city on the film-culture map.”

The deadline to apply is Aug. 14. For requirements and applications, go online to mkefilm.org/brico.

Walk, run, wag, rescue

A benefit to improve the welfare of animals housed with the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission takes place at 9 a.m. July 9 in Wauwatosa’s Hart Park.

The Friends of MADACC present the fifth annual Walk, Run Wag for MADACC. The run is a competitive 5K.

For details or to register, go to madaccfriends.org.

Parading, paddling in protest

Citizens for Acting for Rail Safety and Milwaukee Riverkeeper are organizing the Convergence at the Confluence in Milwaukee July 17.

The local events coincide with national actions observing the third anniversary of the rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic in the Canadian province of Quebec.

“After decades of clean water efforts, crude oil train traffic — an ill-advised pipeline on rails snaking through Milwaukee — threatens our water, our health and our safety,” the groups warn.

Events include a parade on Milwaukee River Walk in the Third Ward, a guided river paddle and a convergence celebration at the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers.

For more, go to 2016convergence.eventbrite.com.

NOT TAKING IT LYING DOWN: Demonstrators with the new group Gays Against Guns stage a die-in June 26 during New York’s annual Pride parade. Learn more about the group at its Facebook page. Also marching at the start of the event was presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, a surprise guest. — PHOTO: Billy Beyond
NOT TAKING IT LYING DOWN: Demonstrators with the new group Gays Against Guns stage a die-in June 26 during New York’s annual Pride parade. Learn more about the group at its Facebook page. Also marching at the start of the event was presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, a surprise guest. — PHOTO: Billy Beyond

Egg-producing factory farm focus of undercover investigation

The Humane Society of the United States on June 7 released findings from an undercover investigation at New England’s largest egg-producing factory farm that supplies eggs to several states.

The facility in Turner, Maine, is operated by Pennsylvania-based Hillandale Farms and owned by Jack DeCoster, described by the Humane Society as a notorious egg magnate whose “filthy facilities in Iowa led to a 2010 Salmonella outbreak that was the largest in the industry’s history and that sickened tens of thousands of people.”

The investigation was conducted in the spring at the complex — about 70 warehouses confine about 4 million laying hens, according to the investigators.

In the 10-unit factory farm where the HSUS investigator worked, about 450,000 hens produce 420,000 eggs each day.

The investigator found hens sharing cages with dead animals. Some of the birds were mummified and stuck to the wire cage floor, meaning they’d been lying dead in the cages for months.

• Hens confined in cages packed so tightly, the animals couldn’t spread their wings.

Hens were found trapped by their necks, wings and feet in rusty cages.

Hens were found with bloody prolapses.

Hens were found with facial abnormalities.

Hens were found standing in waste.

Equipment was found coated in cobwebs, chicken feathers and feces.

Poisoned rodents were found and cages and combined with chicken manure to sell for fertilizer.

Chicken manure build-up in barns oozed on floors.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, wrote in a statement, “The last year has seen a torrent of announcements from major companies like McDonald’s and Walmart touting that they’re starting to switch to 100 percent cage-free eggs.

“As important and exciting as these corporate policies are, as of today, nine out of 10 egg-laying chickens in the United States are still locked inside cages where they can’t even spread their wings. We must accelerate the transition away from these inherently inhumane production systems and embrace a cage-free future.”

Hillandale Farms issued this statement in response to the investigative report:

“At Hillandale Farms, we take great pride in the quality of eggs we produce and have high standards for hen care and egg safety.

“When we took over management of the Maine farms last July, we were aware the barns were aging. Since then, we have invested in equipment and process upgrades to enhance our production operations, as well as expanded training for our team members.

“We reviewed the video and we are investigating the practices in the barns where this footage may have been captured to ensure this is addressed immediately. The worker who shot the video did not meet Hillandale’s standard of care and is no longer employed by us. For example, it is our practice that any mortality be removed from cages within a day.

“We have engaged our farm veterinarian, food safety and quality assurance teams to act swiftly to assure that we meet or exceed all animal health and food safety guidelines. In addition, we have reached out proactively to ask the Maine Department of Agriculture to conduct an immediate inspection.”

On the Web…

The egg industry in the United States.

Undercover investigation of a Hillandale egg farm in Maine. — The Humane Society of the United States
Undercover investigation of a Hillandale egg farm in Maine. — The Humane Society of the United States

Poll: Majority oppose removing protections for grizzly bears

A new national poll shows that the majority of voters oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the list of federally threatened and endangered species.

Majorities across all demographics, party affiliations and geographic regions of the United States oppose the proposed delisting, which would hand over management of GYE grizzlies to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The states have signaled they will open up trophy hunting seasons on bears.

The FWS estimates around 700 grizzlies live in the ecosytem and that there may be as few as 800 to 1,000 in the entire lower 48 states, in contrast to the 50,000 grizzly bears historical estimates suggest once roamed North America.

The poll, announced by The Humane Society of the United States, showed that more than two-thirds of Americans oppose opening up a trophy hunting season on grizzly bears in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Also, a two-thirds majority supports the idea of a five-year moratorium on trophy hunting to ensure the full recovery of the grizzly bear population.

The poll  also shows that an even larger majority of American voters — 80 percent —oppose allowing state managers to use certain trophy hunt methods, like hounding— where packs of radio-collared dogs chase bears into trees — and baiting — where piles of rotten and junk foods are used to lure bears in for an easy kill.

Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection of The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement released this week, “These polling results demonstrate that most Americans believe Yellowstone’s grizzly bears should not be killed for trophies. Not only is there no scientific justification for this premature proposal, there is no public appetite. Grizzly bears are far from recovered and face a range of threats including the loss of critical food sources like white bark pine. We don’t want trophy hunting added to that list of threats.”

“The prospect of a hunt is especially troubling, but we were pleased to see that even 50 percent of hunters nationwide oppose delisting of grizzlies, compared to only 33 percent who support it,” added Kent Nelson, executive director for Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. “It’s also gratifying to see that a full 62 percent of hunters support a five-year moratorium on delisting, while just 33 percent support it. This is telling.”

Both groups urged the FWS to reject the proposal and they are encouraging supporters to submit comments by May 10 asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to maintain ESA protections.

 

About the poll

The poll, conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of The HSUS and WWA from April 7-9, surveyed 3,087 voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percent, with a 95 percent level of confidence.

The questions

Q: The grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are found in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton areas, situated on the borders of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, and are considered the most famous bears in the world. Each year millions of tourists travel to the parks from all over the world for the chance to see these animals.  Do you agree or disagree that grizzly bears are a valuable part of the Yellowstone area?
Agree: 81%
Disagree: 9%

Undecided: 10%

Q: What is your opinion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?
Favorable: 54%
Unfavorable: 17%
No opinion: 29%

Q: Grizzly bears once ranged from northern Mexico to Alaska—perhaps as many as 50,000 in the lower 48. In 1975, after decades of being driven to near extinction due to habitat loss and hunting, grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem were granted federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Currently, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population is roughly 2% of its historic range, and the bears are still vulnerable due to a host of threats, including habitat loss and loss of food sources.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed to delist Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act.   Do you support or oppose removing federal Endangered Species Act protections?
Support: 26%
Oppose: 55%
Undecided: 19%
Q: If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes Endangered Species Act protections from grizzly bears who live in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, management of these bears will revert to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  These wildlife managers have already stated they intend to open trophy hunting seasons as early as 2017.  Do you support or oppose opening up trophy hunts on Yellowstone area grizzly bears?
Support: 20%
Oppose: 68%

Undecided: 12%

Q: Should Yellowstone’s grizzly bears lose their Endangered Species Act protections, management of these animals revert to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming who have stated they will open up a trophy hunting season.  Do you agree or disagree that there should be at least a 5-year moratorium on trophy hunting to ensure that the population is fully recovered?

Agree: 67%
Disagree: 20%
Undecided: 13%
Q: Once delisted, it is possible that state managers could allow Yellowstone area grizzly bears to be hunted by the following methods – hounding—where participants release packs of radio-collared dogs to chase bears into trees—and baiting, where piles of rotten and junk foods are placed in a certain location to lure bears for an easy kill at point blank range.  Do you support or oppose allowing trophy hunters to use these methods to kill Yellowstone area grizzly bears?
Support: 11%
Oppose: 80%
Undecided: 9%
Q: Do you identify as a hunter?
Yes: 27%
No: 73%
Q: Do you identify as an angler?
Yes: 34%
No: 66%
Q: Do you identify as a wildlife viewer?
Yes: 78%
No: 22%

U.S. hunters annually import 126,000 ‘wildlife trophies’

U.S. hunters import about 126,000 “wildlife trophies” annually and killed about 1.26 million animals between 2005 and 2014.

Humane Society International and The Human Society of the United States released earlier in February “Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: the United States’ Role in Global Trophy Hunting.”

Trophy hunting is the killing of animals for body parts, such as the head and hide, for display and not primarily for food and sustenance. A recent study examining the motivation for these hunts found that U.S. hunters glamorize the killing of an animal to demonstrate virility, prowess and dominance.

The report uses analysis of hunting trophy import data obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and contains these findings:

• Trophies are primarily imported from Canada and South Africa. They are followed by Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia and Botswana.

• The species most favored by trophy hunters include American black bears, impalas, common wildebeests, greater kudus, gemsboks, springboks and bonteboks.

• Trophy hunters highly covet the African big five. The import numbers for 2005-14 are 5,600 African lions, 4,600 African elephants, 4,500 African leopards, 330 southern white rhinos and 17,200 African buffalo.

All of these species, except the African buffalo, are near threatened or vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

• The U.S. ports of entry importing the most wildlife trophies during the decade were New York, New York; Pembina, North Dakota; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; and Portal, North Dakota.

“This report clearly shows the dire impact American trophy hunters are having on wildlife in other countries,” said Teresa M. Telecky, director of the wildlife department at HIS.

She continued, “It’s outrageous that every year hunters take the lives of thousands of animals, many threatened with extinction, just to win a prize and show off. These animals need protection, not to be mounted on a wall. The fact that rare, majestic species are entering the U.S. in large and small ports of entry should alarm lawmakers and the public concerned about trophy hunting.”

Hunting groups promote the hunts, offering accolades and awards to club members. The largest of these groups, Safari Club International, recently concluded its convention in Las Vegas, where more than 300 mammal hunts for more than 600 animals were auctioned off and other hunts arranged privately on the exhibit floor. An African lion trophy hunt can cost $13,500-$49,000. An African elephant hunt can cost $11,000-$70,000.

SCI often uses the revenue from hunt sales to lobby against wildlife protection measures.

For certain species, including lions, elephants, leopards and rhinos, the United States is the largest trophy importing country.

HSI and The HSUS, in a statement on the report, pledged to continue to seek new protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act for species that meet the criteria for listing.

The African lion is the latest species to receive ESA protection after a multi-year effort by animal protection organizations, including HSI and The HSUS.

The groups also are seeking increased ESA protections for species currently listed in a lower category of protection, as was recently done for the African elephant. HSI and The HSUS are also urging corporations — such as Swarovski Optik  — to end sponsorship of trophy hunting advocacy organizations, as well as reaching out to more airlines and other transport companies to ban the transport of trophies.