• Don Lichterman

Cher, Jimmy Kimmel, TikTok, Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers, Cyanide Bombs, Animal & Wildlife Report

Welcome to the Animal & Wildlife Welfare, Abuse & Crime Report brought to you by the Sustainable Action Network (SAN)!

Coronavirus Update: Your Pets are Not in Danger

While your pets are not in danger of getting infected from the coronavirus, you should still take precautions to make sure your pets are being taken care of should you fall ill.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said that domestic and international health organizations have confirmed that pets are not able to contract or spread the coronavirus.

Sheila McClelland, the founder of Hong Kong-based Lifelong Animal Protection Charity (LAP), in a letter to the Hong Kong authorities, said, “Present evidence suggests that dogs are no more of a risk of spreading (coronavirus) than inanimate objects such as door handles.” The CDC reports that the disease is spreading person to person when through respiratory droplets or close contact.

The Cleveland Animal Protection League, APL, is recommending that pet owners prepare for pets’ needs alongside their own. Sharon Harvey, President & CEO of the Cleveland Animal Protective League, said, “We don’t want people to panic, now’s the time to stay calm. This is emergency preparedness, we need to have back up plans for our pets so they get the care they need too, because they’re part of the family.”

Precautions like identifying a pet sitter that’s available if you are not, having excess crates, food and supplies ready, making sure pets’ vaccinations are up to date, checking pets identification tags, and having a list of pets’ medications ready are always a good idea.

Harvey said, “The best thing pet parents can do is not panic and stay healthy for your pets by practicing good preventive measures, such as hand washing and avoiding close contact with other people. Every single day of the year it is crucial that you have a back-up plan in place for your pets in the event you become ill and cannot care for them for a period of time – even when there’s not a looming threat of pandemic.”

Scientists believe the coronavirus started in Wuhan, China when it was passed from an animal to a human at an exotic animal market.

You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

Billboard reports that songstress Cher is doing her part for the animals. She is a known animal rights activist who’s most recent involvement is part of an art display in London.

Cher has collaborated with artist Zoobs Ansari to sell 11 original portraits. All proceeds from the portraits will go to Cher’s animal non-profit Free the Wild. The portraits are multimedia works inspired by Cher’s recent tours, including the O2 Arena London concerts and Here We Go Again tour.

See examples of the art on Instagram, below:

In a comment released to the news media, Cher said, “I co-founded Free The Wild with my friends Mark and Gina (Nelthorpe-Cowne) because of our common goal to help better the lives of animals in captivity. When Zoobs learned about FTW, he jumped in with an idea to raise funds. I am so touched by his very generous donation of original artwork.”


The artwork will be displayed at “Insanity Fair,” a London exhibition housed at Elephant West. The show will run from March 13 to April 9. Cher’s portraits will be available for purchase and prices range from $10,000 to $13,000. All proceeds will be donated to Free the Wild.

According to an investigation by the Sun Online, the hot new platform TikTok is becoming a platform for sharing animal abuse.

Because the app doesn’t require age verification, the social media site is open to all ages.

Footage found by the Sun reveals users shouting at animals, hitting them on the head and other cruel treatment. Many TikTok users participated in the #PutItInABun challenge, where pet owners tie scrunchies or rubber bands around their pet’s ears. This challenge’s hashtag received 120-million views. It’s a move that PETA and animal rights activists call cruel and unnecessary because pets are visibly uncomfortable in those situations.

PETA has spoken out against animal treatment on TikTok and other social media platforms. Speaking to the Sun about TikTok in particular, PETA spokesperson and director Elisa Allen said, ” They normalise treating animals disrespectfully, even physically abusing them, and there’s a risk of ‘copycat’ behaviour by people who are desperate for publicity and attention – even the negative kind. We call on digital platforms to ensure abusers are permanently banned.”

PETA wrote open letters in 2019 to social media platforms including TikTok urging them to ban animal abusers from sites. “Videos like these are extremely dangerous, because they may “normalize” treating animals disrespectfully or even physically abusing them—particularly for impressionable viewers, including your platform’s younger users. They also increase the risk of “copycat” behavior by people who are desperate for publicity and attention—even the negative kind.”

See examples of animal abuse on TikTok, below:

Leg-hold traps snatch creatures by the leg, and force them to endure a long, suffering death.

The best they can hope for is to chew through their own flesh and escape.

Add your name if you want to ban these vicious traps once and for all! Imagine what it would be like to have your foot caught in a pair of steel jaws. They're too strong to pull apart. Your leg is broken, so you lay there in agony. As time passes, you hope someone will help you. But rescue never comes. It dawns on you that you're going to die here. That's the reality for many animals whose legs are caught in one of these wicked traps. "No tool in Wildlife Services' arsenal kills more nonselectively – or slowly – than the leg-hold trap. "Since 2000, more than 90 species of wildlife have died by mistake in agency traps, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, river otters, swift foxes, badgers, porcupines and federally protected bald eagles, government records show. "But whether animals are caught accidentally or not, they often struggle for days and die of exposure, injuries and other causes long before a trapper returns to the site," reported the Sacramento Bee. "They suggest traps be checked once a week, but that's all it is, a suggestion. "There are traps that are not checked for literally months at a time," said Gary Strader, a former Wildlife Services trapper in Nevada from 2006 to 2009. Add your name if you want to ban these vicious traps once and for all!

2020 Tangier Shrine Circus, exhibitor David Donnert

At the 2020 Tangier Shrine Circus, exhibitor David Donnert tried over and over to force a visibly distressed horse to lie down by striking him on the legs and hauling on the reins, which undoubtedly caused severe pain as the bit was pulled through his mouth.

Trying to force a horse into a highly vulnerable position in front of rowdy crowds is unquestionably inhumane.

Donnert also whipped a camel in the face, and notorious exhibitor Vicenta Pages hit lions and tigers with a prod as the animals flinched in fear and frantically searched for a way escape the ring.

This is animal abuse, and PETA is calling on the Tangier Shrine Circus to make this the last year it uses animals. Please, never attend a circus that uses animals.

The Iditarod

These are the LIES the Iditarod tells teachers: “Mushers take good care of their dogs… they love their dogs…if they were abused or misused they would not want to run”.

The dogs DON’T want to run, they’re forced to until their bodies break down.

They’re kept chained up year-round in the freezing snow, pouring rain, and sweltering heat. Don’t be fooled by the Iditarod’s deception.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race: 21st century Sled Dog Slavery.

We should end this falsely glamorized cruelty to sled dogs NOW!

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a grueling expedition from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, which takes place every March. It is like racing your dog from Orlando to New York, depriving him of sleep to complete the course as quickly possible,  mushing through waist-deep water and ice, with the dog losing about 10 pounds through the ordeal.

About 1,500 dogs start the Iditarod, but more than one-third are flown out every year because they become sick, injured, or exhausted from being forced to run for hours  through jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, and desolate tundra in biting winds, blinding snowstorms, and temperature fluctuations from 40 degrees above to 60 degrees below zero. The dogs - usually husky mixes weighing only 40 to 45 pounds - are usually tethered to 400 pound sleds in teams of 15. 

They must run about 125 miles per day, often racing as many as six hours at a time, with just a few hours' sleep  each day.

This harsh race can take nine to 14 days. Click here to help stop this race.

Please sign and share a new petition to U.S. Congress asking to ban trophy hunting imports!

Elephant hunting season in Botswana starts in April and will go through September.  272 elephants have been slated for this hunting season.  The time is now to tell the U.S. government to protect elephants and other precious wildlife.  Please click on the link below to sign the petition to the U.S. Congress asking members to support the Cecil and Protect Acts.  Both of these bills will restrict the import of trophies of species listed under the Endangered Species Act which includes elephants.  Please sign and share this petition: https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-u-s-congress-ban-trophy-hunting-imports-and-end-elephant-slaughter Imagine 272 elephants gone in just five months who are already critically endangered.  Then compound this loss with poaching and wildlife trafficking of other elephants and wildlife.  We do not have time to waste and we cannot give up on this fight.

Carriage Horse Who Collapsed in the Streets
This Carriage Horse Died so Tourists Could Have a Few Minutes of Fun

The video is almost too sad to watch. On February 28th, an exhausted carriage horse that had fallen over in the middle of Central Park struggles to regain its footing. As it advances with its forelegs, its back legs drag against the concrete. It tries again, but to no avail, and finally collapses onto its side. It was yet another tragic end for such a majestic animal. The horse was euthanized shortly afterward. Enough is enough. Sign to demand New York City bans horse-drawn carriage immediately. While Care2 often shares with you the stories of horses that have collapsed while drawing carriages, this story is a little different. In some cases, the horses recover enough to keep working, a horrible reward for recovering from an avoidable injury. But in this case, the horse didn't recover and was put down. Perhaps the saddest part of the story is that his handlers didn't even try to get the animal the help it needed. Instead of calling a vet to check on the equine, the carriage driver, along with several of his colleagues, carelessly threw ropes around him and pushed and pulled him into a trailer where he was then spirited away and put down. "Out of sight, out of mind" was their apparent hope. But let's not let these carriage drivers get away with their negligence and cruelty. Not only should the Mayor immediately halt carriage rides in NYC, but the drivers should be investigated for animal cruelty, and their licenses should be revoked. Sadly, NYC is one of many American cities that still allow the wholly unnecessary and completely inhumane practice of horse carriage rides to persist despite protests. Throughout the country, from Charlotte to Cleveland, horses are forced to pull tourists — sometimes through extreme conditions like snowstorms, torrential downpours, and heatwaves — all the while unaware of the real cost to the horse. Horses are not meant to walk on concrete all day long, breathing in car exhaust, and the effects on their bodies is often disastrous. This practice needs to end today. Sign the petition and say no more carriage cruelty.

Tell the Mayor of New York City to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC and ask the NYPD to investigate the horse death tragedy of February 28th, 2020.

BBC Two announces Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers, an investigation into illegal tiger farms in South East Asia

I hope this film raises awareness of the complex issues that surround the trade and the threat it poses to endangered wild tigers mainly amongst those who ultimately have the power to stop the trade and protect them.

Later this year BBC Two will screen Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers, a one-hour documentary from Grain Media in which former Royal Marines Commando Aldo Kane exposes the shocking secrets of the illegal tiger trade in South East Asia and those who profit.

It’s estimated 96% of the world’s wild tigers have disappeared since the turn of the 20th century. With fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, Tigers: Hunting The Traffickers also highlights the plight of a majestic species on the brink of extinction. It explores how tiger farms continue to drive consumer demand for tiger products perpetuating the illegal trade and fuelling poaching.

There are up to 8,000 tigers held in captive facilities across China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Captive tigers are often bred and trafficked to meet demand for illegal products like tiger-bone wine and tiger bone glue, which are believed to have medicinal values in parts of Asia, mainly in China and Vietnam.

Working alongside fearless wildlife crime investigators and covertly filming tiger traffickers, Aldo embarks on a perilous journey along key trafficking routes connecting Malaysia, China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. From tiger wine breweries in China, to small backyard holdings in Vietnam, the programme uncovers shocking evidence of demand for tiger parts that threatens to wipe out wild tigers entirely. Evidence includes footage of frozen tiger cubs in freezers at a breeding facility in Laos; tigers held in high security holding pens in Thai zoos; a trader openly selling tiger products in Laos with a street value higher than cocaine; and caged tigers fattened in a dark basement in Vietnam to be killed and cooked to order.

Armed with the secret filmed evidence from the investigation Aldo travels to Geneva where it is presented to international decision-makers at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to act on.

Aldo’s fascination for wild tigers and conservation started during his military training in the South East Asia jungles, home to a declining number of wild tigers. In recent years he has also used his specialist military skills to train anti-poaching units in Africa.

Aldo Kane says: “I have spent years in the fight against wildlife poachers and this has given me an unique insight into a criminal underworld, where wild animals are worth more dead than alive. Nothing could have prepared me for what I uncovered about the illegal tiger trade in South East Asia. Here tiger trafficking is big business, often controlled by organised crime units, and yields huge profits. It’s ruthless and cruel and wild tigers pay the ultimate price. The growth of illegal tiger farms across South East Asia is threatening the survival of one of nature’s most beautiful creatures, where a premium is paid for its wild provenance. I hope this film raises awareness of the complex issues that surround the trade and the threat it poses to endangered wild tigers mainly amongst those who ultimately have the power to stop the trade and protect them.”

Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “This is a powerful and urgent film revealing the shocking scale and devastating consequences of the trade in captive tigers. Aldo and the team have shown remarkable bravery and tenacity to reveal the depths of the issue. It is an imperative part of BBC Two’s mission to bring such compelling filmmaking about the changing planet to the broadest audience.”

Tigers: Hunting the Traffickers, a 1x60’ for BBC Two, is made by Grain Media. The executive producer at Grain Media is Monica Garnsey and the executive producer at the BBC is Roger Webb. Laura Warner is the director. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, and the Commissioning Editor is Tom Coveney.

More than 330,000 customers have signed our petition to urge Aldi to eliminate gestation crates in their pork supply chain within a specific timeframe.

Yet Aldi is still refusing to address our campaign and commit to going 100% crate-free.

Consumer demand helped convince major grocery stores, like Target, Costco, and Kroger, to commit to phasing out this inhumane practice. Let’s make sure Aldi is the next chain to announce a public timeline to eliminate gestation crates.

To launch off March, join Crate Free Illinois in a quick action to let Aldi know customers aren’t letting up in 2020.

Federal investigators found over 160 dogs riddled with scars and broken bones while investigating 11 Georgia properties suspected of participating in a state-wide dogfighting operation.

Injured, malnourished, and distressed, some of the dogs seized by authorities are in desperate need of serious medical care. One overbred female pitbull was starving and chained up with broken legs, according to ABC4.

For their safety, all the canines were taken to undisclosed, out-of-state locations.

“Illegal dogfighting is a barbaric activity,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “Those who choose to violate the Animal Welfare Act face serious consequences, including federal prison time, where there is no parole.”

It is imperative that justice is served for the dogs subjected to such a torturous criminal operation, showing that dogfighting will not be tolerated. Sign this petition urging Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Bowen Mize to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law, including a life-long ban on having animals.

A man who beheaded a rabbit in a vile case of animal abuse has pleaded guilty to charges of animal torture and trespassing, which includes two years in prison.

In December, KCCI reported that the individual, 64-year-old Bobby Carothers from Iowa, had dismembered a bunny named Petunia at the Animal Rescue League in Des Moines.

The staff at the animal shelter escorted Carothers out of the building during closing time.

“Just minutes after he left the building, we discovered the unimaginable: our sweet bunny, Petunia, had been violently killed,” said CEO Tom Colvin. “The scene was beyond gruesome.”

Carothers admitted to barbarically cutting off the bunny’s head with a stick and leaving her to bleed to death, according to court documents. He claimed to have been hungry and said he was having rabbit stew later that night.

“Bobby Gene Carothers, who brutally murdered a rabbit named Petunia at the ARL in December, pleaded guilty to animal torture and has been sentenced to up to two years in prison … without the possibility of probation,” Colvin wrote in a Facebook post after the judgement. “He also received a $625 fine.”

“This has been an incredibly painful journey of recovery for our team,” he continued, “and while we are relieved to have a resolution in the courts for this case, our fight to improve Iowa’s animal welfare laws continues, and is now more personal than ever before.”

The things companies can hide under the guise of words like “conservation” is terrifying. Polar Bears International claims to want to protect animals, but takes money from a company that profits off the violent deaths of coyotes and geese.

The partnership that exists between Canada Goose and Polar Bears International is hypocritical and makes NO sense.

Wild Animals Shouldn't Still be Suffering in Circuses: It's Time to Ban Them in the U.S.

While countries around the world have acted to stop circus suffering by closing their doors to circuses and exhibitions using wild animals performers, there's now renewed hope the U.S. could be one of the next to join them with the reintroduction of federal legislation that would ban them across the country. This week Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva and David Schweikert have introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), which would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prohibit traveling circuses and exhibitions from keeping a number of wild animals, including lions, tigers, and elephants. While wild animals have been used in circuses for decades, we now know so much more about what they need to be physically and psychologically healthy and the evidence shows that traveling circuses can never meet these needs. Sadly, numerous species continue to be subjected to lives of confinement, where they're denied everything they need to thrive, and forced to perform unnatural and uncomfortable tricks – all for nothing more than our fleeting amusement. Despite defenses of their continued use, research, multiple undercover investigations and media reports have all exposed not only the problems inherent with using wild animals as performers in circuses, but also the heartbreaking abuses they're subjected to both behind the scenes, and right out in the open. Worryingly, not only does their use raise serious concerns about their welfare, it also puts our safety at risk. There have been numerous serious incidents involving the deaths of animals and trainers, and injuries to members of the public. Thankfully people have continued to turn against this type of exploitation, and cities and states across the country have passed a number of bans and restrictions on animal performances. While those victories are something to celebrate, supporters of this bill argue that this issue needs to be addressed on the federal level because the mobile nature of circuses makes it difficult for law enforcement and inspectors to follow up on troubling incidents and violations of the AWA. This leaves them virtually incapable of doing anything meaningful to ensure the well-being of animals, or our safety. Please sign and share this petition urging Congress to protect wild animals and us by passing this historic piece of legislation.

Animal Trainer Replaced on Reported Jimmy Kimmel Line-Up after PETA Reaches Out

Great news! After hearing from PETA, Jimmy Kimmel Live nixed reported plans to bring an animal trainer on the show. The animals in this video look terrified. Animals forced to be on talk shows are often stolen from their mothers as infants & forced to endure noisy crowds & bright lights. PETA thanks Jimmy Kimmel for learning from past mistakes and putting animal welfare before ratings.

Let us get straight to the point of this URGENT appeal: your help is needed now! We have nowhere else to turn.

In Israel, a haven for abused horses and donkeys is being forced to close. Innocent lives are in danger because they are being evicted from their sanctuary. The animals have been safe and loved at the Starting Over shelter in Kefar Yona, an area north of Tel Aviv. Almost all the animals were rescued from trouble spots – many from areas on the turbulent West Bank.

In certain areas, donkey abuse is routine. Donkeys and horses are used as transport but given only the most rudimentary care. They are semi-starved, whipped, beaten and forced to work until they drop. When they get sick or old, they are often abandoned.

Sharon Cohen, who founded Starting Over, gets pleas for help from all over Israel and rescues every donkey and horse she can. They arrive at the sanctuary terrified and near-death. It takes time and love, but they recover. Now, they face an uncertain future again.

She explained that the landlord has ended the lease and all the animals must be transported to a new home. If that does not happen, they could be returned to a horrible fate. These creatures have already known lives of horror. We can’t let it happen again! Please help Now

The thought of them being tormented again is so bitterly unjust that we have promised that, with your support, we will help pay for transport to a new sanctuary.

Please help the donkeys of Israel find happiness and safety together in a new home.

Animals like Princess, an adorable little donkey…

Princess was only a few days old when she was separated from her mother, brutally tied up with ropes around her legs and neck and left to starve.

Don, these next few words are hard to write because they are so ghastly: cruel children did this for a “joke” and then left the baby to die. Starting Over rescued her. Princess was found shivering from the cold, injured and crying for her mother’s milk.I am sure that must make you feel so sad, but the good is that we helped rescue Princess and have promised to do our best to raise the money to move the donkeys to a new home. We need your help to do it. If you possibly can, do what you can today and know that in a small way you have made lives better for creatures that, without you, have very little hope.

Story of Sheep Raised for Wool Will Bring You to Tears

Workers cared so little about her pain that they dropped her on her bloody wound after cutting off her tail. Australian actor Arianwen Parkes-Lockwood presents the heartbreaking story of one sheep who was repeatedly mutilated, stomped on, and finally killed for wool.

Stores That Sell Live Animals Are Complicit in Their Suffering

Workers packed rats into plastic bags and froze them ALIVE as they squirmed to get out. Another employee callously dumped out a cooler of dead guinea pigs into a trash bag. There’s always suffering involved when you see an animal for sale. NEVER shop at stores like Petco or PetSmart that sell animals like products.

Court Win: Use of M-44 'Cyanide Bombs' Halted in Idaho

We're celebrating a key victory for wildlife this week. The Center for Biological Diversity and allies finalized an agreement setting strict limits on how and where federal agents can kill wolves in Idaho. It also bans the use of M-44 "cyanide bombs" statewide and outlaws using snares to kill wolves on public lands. The new restrictions on wolf snares and the M-44 ban will remain in place until the federal Wildlife Services program finishes a detailed study of the environmental impacts of killing wolves. "Cyanide bombs and traps are vicious and indiscriminate. Often they bring tremendous suffering to wildlife and pets they're not meant for," said the Center's Andrea Santarsiere. "This victory is a step forward in reducing the suffering of animals at the hands of our federal government." Learn more and consider supporting this work with a donation to our Stop Wildlife Services Fund.

During the 12 years from 2001 to 2013, more than 90 of these loyal canines died in Afghanistan and Iraq — mostly from gunshot wounds, explosions, and heat-related stress.

While the U.S. military maintains a trauma registry that keeps track of their injured two-legged service members, there is no trauma registry for the military working dogs (MWDs) who put their lives on the line to save these troops.

By tracking MWD injuries and deaths, a registry tracking trauma for military working dogs could save the lives of our four-legged heroes. In addition to providing veterinarians and handlers with vital information to help these pups heal, it could also help us advocate for them to have better protective gear. These dogs are risking their lives for us — the least we can do is help them make it through their deployments alive.

Sign the petition to urge the U.S. Department of Defense to fund a military working dog trauma registry!

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The Sustainable Action Network (SAN), A Don Lichterman non-profit organization dedicated to building a global community raising awareness of corruption, injustice and the need for action across a full range of issues impacting people and animal/wildlife welfare around the world, such as conservation, climate change, campaign law, lobbying, government action and rescue work. SAN’s vision is to create safer world, free from political, environmental, and social oppression, where all the inhabitants of Earth can live in harmony within their own natural environments. Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.

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Purchase gifts that help animals! The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s holiday shop is now open – for a limited time. Find past favorites and new designs in options including totes, shirts, hoodies, and even options for dogs!

These items make the perfect holiday gift for friends and family who care about animals. Spread the message of compassion and support the Animal Legal Defense Fund. 100% of the profits go to our work to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.