• Don Lichterman

Nordstrom, U.S. Wildlife Trade, Vermont, New Jersey, University of Memphis, ExxonMobil & WWF on TV!

Weekly Report about Crimes, Abuses and an overall Welfare Report! Wildlife & Animal Report!
Reining in the U.S. Wildlife Trade

Did you know that an important driver of the global wildlife trade is the voracious U.S. appetite for wildlife and wild animal parts?

A report released Monday by the Center for Biological Diversity found that the United States consumes about 20% of the global wildlife market. Over a recent five-year period, almost 23 million whole animals, parts, samples and products made from bats, primates and rodents were imported to the country.

As COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of Americans a week, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit the import and export of live wildlife for human consumption or medicine. The "Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2020" would also close all live wildlife markets for those purposes in the United States and ramp up funding to combat wildlife exploitation.

You can help: Tell Congress to support the bold legislation — and all the animals caught up in this ugly business.

Our fight to stop the extinction crisis is at a critical inflection point.

The 2020 election is the most important of our lives.

Make no mistake about what's on the ballot: the future of endangered species, whether we'll have a livable planet not ravaged by climate change, and the right of every person to clean air, clean water, and a landscape free of toxic chemicals.

We're standing up for wildlife against powerful politicians that put polluters first — and this month we need your help to defeat Trump and elect environmental champions across the country.

Every month the progressive cell phone company CREDO Mobile donates $150,000 to three organizations, and this October we're one of them.

Help the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund earn a bigger portion of the funds by voting for us.

It takes only 30 seconds. Cast your vote and share it with your social networks.

Funding from CREDO will help power the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund's fight against Trump and any elected official whose policies accelerate the extinction crisis, harm our planet, or perpetuate the destruction of the climate.

CREDO has been an invaluable ally in our fight to defend the planet and its amazing biodiversity from a host of threats caused by the greed of corporations and the politicians in their deep pockets.

Your vote for the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund will make our fight stronger.

Vote for us today — and then vote early in the 2020 election for leaders committed to protecting wildlife and the climate. Cast Your Vote

Nordstrom is adopting a fur-free and exotic-skin-free policy!

This is a huge victory that will spare countless animals and makes a clear statement that animal furs and exotic animal skins are unnecessary products of the past. Consumers are shopping more ethically and powerhouse retailers, like Nordstrom, are taking note and adjusting their brand accordingly.

The Humane Society of the United States has worked alongside Nordstrom, as we have with other big-name brands, to help bring an end to the fur trade. This announcement couldn't have come at a better time when it's become quite clear that aside from being overwhelmingly cruel and bad for the environment, fur farming is a major COVID-19 risk, with human infections linked to farms in Europe and the United States. Millions of fur-bearing animals suffer at the hands of these profiteers, living a life (if that's what you can call it) in small, hard wire cages with no joy or stimulation until they're violently slaughtered.

The fight is not over, however. We hope you'll help keep fighting for animals like fox, mink, raccoon dogs and others, who too often are forgotten and shoved back into the dark. Will you keep fighting for them and help make even more big changes?

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy & Black Bears

Black bears in New Jersey are lured to their deaths by trophy hunters, who bait them with sugary food before killing the unsuspecting animals, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Even baby bear cubs aren’t safe from this appalling cruelty, as New Jersey is one of only two states to allow the killing of baby bears.

Black bear hunting season is set to open again in New Jersey soon, unless New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy stops it.

Hunting black bears is prohibited on state lands — including state forest, parks, recreation areas, historic sites, natural areas and wildlife management areas — but hunters use rotting food as bait to lure them away from state lands, where they are legally slaughtered.

Black bear hunting does not improve public safety or reduce bear complaints — it’s simply trophy hunting, according to the Animal Protection League of New Jersey.

Unless something is done soon, black bears will suffer needless cruelty to satisfy trophy hunters.

Sign this petition urging Gov. Phil Murphy to suspend the black bear hunting season in 2020 until legislation to end the baiting and killing of baby black bear cubs is introduced for a full floor vote.

Vermont Moves Toward Banning Endangered Animal Parts

A ban on the sale of endangered species parts appears headed for final approval by lawmakers this week despite strong objections from those who say it unfairly renders some Vermonters' antiques worthless. The Senate on Thursday advanced the bill, H.99, on a vote of 25-5, virtually ensuring that it would receive final passage on Friday before heading to the governor's desk. The House passed the bill last week. The vote followed a vigorous debate that pitted lawmakers who want Vermont to join 11 other states with bans against senators who feel the bill is an overreach that would do little to save the species it seeks to protect. “This bill is about supply and demand,” Sen. Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) told her colleagues. “By reducing demand for items made of endangered species parts, Vermont will play a small but significant part in helping many endangered species survive.” Clarkson explained that there is a federal ban on the importation of illegal animal parts, but trade within certain states, including Vermont, is still legal, making those places “complicit” in the damage done by poachers. Banning the sales would reduce the incentive to import such products and, in turn, reduce the incentive to kill endangered species in the first place, she said. Opponents said they supported the bill’s intent but felt the ban’s impacts on the illegal trade were too speculative to justify the state blocking people from selling private property they or their families might have owned for generations. "This bill, by government fiat, expropriates the value of antiques and other property owned by Vermonters — from heirloom chess sets to scrimshaw collections,” said Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin). The animal parts covered by the bill include those from cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses, jaguars, leopards, lions and pangolins. Parts of extinct mammoths and mastodons are also covered because conservationists say such ancient tusks are similar enough to those of modern elephants to make enforcement difficult. “To me, that’s like outlawing baking soda because it may appear to be cocaine,” Brock quipped.  The bill does provide an exemption for some antiques, but Brock said it was so narrow that it amounted to a “draconian” law that makes most such items unsellable. The bill would not affect a person’s right to own any such products. The law would exempt antiques from the ban, but only if they were documented to be more than 100 years old and the parts in question were “a fixed component” of the antique weighing less than 200 grams. Other exemptions include when the parts are integrated into a firearm, knife or musical instrument, or when they are in the possession of educational or scientific institutions or government agents. Brock wasn’t the only lawmaker concerned about the impact of the law on the value of people's property. Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham) said she had a friend with “a couple of magnificent pieces of ivory” that were older than 100 years but heavy — far more than the 200-gram limit. She said it concerned her that such pieces would not be able to be sold in the state. Sen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington) said she’s been buying antiques for years in the hopes of becoming a dealer in retirement. She noted that she owns some antique umbrellas with carved handles and “a couple of African horn cups that I bought at a rummage sale in the bottom of a box.” She said it would be difficult for her to determine whether the items would fall into the antique exemption. Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) said he worried his 1973 acoustic guitar would be unsellable because it had ivory pins fastening its 12 strings. Other senators assured him that such pins likely weighed just a few grams. Because the law wouldn’t go into effect until January 2022, Clarkson noted that anyone who wanted to sell the valuable heirlooms could do so before then.  Some raised questions about whether the bill would somehow harm instead of help conservation efforts in Africa. Clarkson acknowledged that some conservationists in certain African countries oppose the bans because they harm trophy hunting, but she called such positions the exception. Sen. John Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans) said he felt it smacked of “white privilege” for Vermonters to impose a ban that might affect an African person’s ability to make a living. Clarkson turned that around and noted that the demand for such products is not coming from Africans themselves, but largely from Westerners. “When you talk about privileged white people, who is affording to go on a trophy hunt? A privileged white person, for the most part,” she said.

Kevin McCallum

Kevin McCallum is a political reporter at Seven Days, covering the Statehouse and state government. He previously was a reporter at The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif.

For nearly 50 years, the University of Memphis has brought live tigers to its football games, subjecting the animals to the stress of thousands of screaming fans.

But following the sudden death of its most recent mascot TOM (Tigers of Memphis) III and persistent criticism from activists and the public, the university will end its cruel and inhumane practice.

TOM III, a 450-pound Bengal tiger, passed away at age 12 after falling ill, according to a statement by the university. Efforts to end the use of live tiger mascots precedes his illness, however, with nearly 10,000 people asking university officials to stop carting TOM III to football games.

“We’re deeply saddened by the death of TOM III,” Lisa Levinson of In Defense of Animals said in a press release. “It’s unfortunate that captivity was the only life he ever knew. His death is bittersweet in that he never got to experience life in the wild, but we’re grateful that University President M. David Rudd decided TOM III will be the last live tiger the University of Memphis ever trucks to football games.”

TOM III was forced to sit in a cage at the south end zone during football games and entertain crowds of people at the “Tiger Walk,” where fans marched around and took photos with him. This inhumane practice started in 1972 with TOM I.

Having a live tiger at football games is cruel for the animals (who have to endure loud crowds of screaming fans), undermines conservation efforts for big cats (who belong in the wild and not in cages for entertainment), and present public safety risks.

Unfortunately, the university is still committed to having a live tiger mascot, TOM IV, who will live at the Memphis Zoo, reported the Memphis Commercial Appeal. This tiger will never go to games, but animal welfare groups are calling on the university to sponsor a wild tiger instead and make a positive impact for wildlife conservation.

Ending the Dog and Cat Meat Trade in Southeast Asia

Millions of dogs and cats in Southeast Asia die every year through the cruel meat trade. FOUR PAWS has been campaigning against this trade and closed down two slaughterhouses in Cambodia already. Please sign and stand up against this horrible industry

Earlier this year, a graphic video was released after a factory farm whistleblower came forward in Iowa exposing the cruel reality of “depopulation,” a term the animal agriculture industry uses to describe its mass killings of farmed animals.

This video showed the reality of a depopulation method called ventilation shutdown. In the video, pigs screamed out in distress as they were slowly cooked to death with high temperatures and steam over the course of many hours. Whatever the industry chooses to call it, these mass killings are torture for animals, plain and simple.

Most people can’t bear to confront the abuses on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. But, you’re not like most. As a supporter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, you know that turning away is what the industry hopes you’ll do. But you won’t let them get away with it.

Unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 has exacerbated the mass killings of farmed animals.

Help win justice for farmed animals.

As you’ve seen in the news, COVID-19 has spread quickly throughout slaughterhouses and processing plants. Forced to work in cramped environments, over 40,000 slaughterhouse workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and 203 have already died. And when slaughterhouses temporarily shut down due to COVID-19 outbreaks, many animals were left in factory farms longer, growing larger and older than slaughterhouses could handle or the industry wanted.

The industry responded by suffocating chickens with foam, gassing pigs with carbon dioxide, and using ventilation shutdown to bake animals alive.

Killing farmed animals this way is, sadly, legal. Despite their vast numbers and the severity of abuse they suffer, farmed animals are exempt from most animal cruelty laws, so they receive only minimal legal protections.

But we are working with lawmakers to help pass laws to protect farmed animals from this kind of abuse.

Please help us fight for factory farmed animals by making a gift that will go twice as far today.

WWF on TV: Tigers

To a tiger cub, a mother’s love is everything. When tigers are killed by poachers, families are destroyed, and innocent cubs are left alone with no protection. Please help us stop this senseless killing today.

A young bear by the name of Teddy urgently needs our help in North Macedonia. We have been informed of Teddy’s unfortunate situation in Zoo Shtip, where he has been kept in captivity since autumn 2017 in a tiny, rusty cage of only a few square metres. The conditions surrounding his captivity are horrible and unsafe. There is a huge risk of Teddy breaking out of his cage. Moreover, the keeping of Teddy in Zoo Shtip is considered illegal as they do not possess a license for keeping bears in their zoo.

Help Stop Mountain Lion Killings

Days ago a mountain lion was found dead along the 101 Freeway in Southern California.

It's believed to have been struck by a vehicle — the same thing that killed a four-year-old mountain lion in the area last year.

Within two decades the Santa Monica and Santa Ana populations of mountain lions could go extinct.

We must move faster to protect these beautiful lions. Please give today to the Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Urban sprawl has isolated these beautiful animals. Penned in by freeways, these big cats unknowingly risk their lives to reach other lions to live and breed with, crossing eight lanes of highway to find a mate.

Others get sick and can die excruciating deaths after eating prey full of rat poison.

But we're doing all we can for them.

We're taking on large developers and pressing local officials to stop paving over mountain lions' habitat with more highways — and to build the wildlife corridors the lions need to survive.

And we've sponsored state legislation to reduce the threat of highly toxic rodenticides, which can wind up killing lions.

Thankfully there's reason for hope.

Earlier this year we helped secure endangered species protection for the lions — for now. And between May and August, 13 kittens were born to five mountain lion mothers.

The way to turn back the extinction crisis and save biodiversity is by fighting for each and every species, especially those, like mountain lions, that are key to keeping ecosystems in balance.

As few as 20 adult lions survive in the Santa Ana Mountains — and even fewer in the Santa Monica Mountains.

We can save California's lions, but we need your help to do it.

Please give today to the Saving Life on Earth Fund.

ExxonMobil has been pumping money into Alaska’s grueling Iditarod dogsled race since 1978, fueling dog deaths, suffering and neglect for more than four decades. As one of the last remaining top sponsors of the deadly race, PETA’s urging Exxon to help end the cycle of abuse by following Chrysler, Alaska Airlines, Jack Daniel’s, and many others that have already severed ties with the Iditarod.

Stabbing animals in the face, dragging them out of their natural habitats, and suffocating them isn’t a hobby; it’s cruelty and it KILLS fish.

Criminals slit open horses’ stomachs to retrieve smuggled drugs.

Our hearts break at what we must tell you about today - we would be so grateful if you could help save these precious lives…

Beautiful wild horses are being forced by drug smugglers to ferry cocaine, heroin and diamonds across the Orange River border between Namibia and South Africa and are dying hideous deaths because of it.

The wild horses are captured, forced to swallow packets of cocaine, heroin and other drugs and then sent on a forced march into the desert and across the 500 hundred-meter-wide (546 yards) river - more than five American football fields wide!

Sometimes the packets of drugs burst inside a horse and the poor creature dies in agony.

Wild horses captured, stuffed with drugs, sent across the border and killed. Please donate now

We were told about three starving horses used for drug and diamond smuggling. Working with our partner Have a Heart Equine Sanctuary (HAHES) and collaborating with Namakwa Dierewelsyn - a small local organization - our team found them on an island in the middle of the river along with two horses that had recently died. 

We named the trio Fabio, Carla, and Carla’s little foal Naughty because he was a mischievous teenager who liked to nibble on fingers! The team patiently coaxed the horses over the river and towards the horse carriers to be transported to safety.

Because of African horse sickness (AHS), the horses must be quarantined. Our challenge now is transporting them to HAHES urgently where they can be properly fedprovided vital supplements, and nursed back to full health.

If passed, a new bill would authorize animal advocates to stand up for the best interests of abused animals in animal cruelty court cases.

New Jersey Bill A-4533 acknowledges that animals are sentient beings, capable of experiencing pain, stress and fear, and that they should be considered the victims of animal cruelty crimes when abused or neglected.

Courts have long allowed advocates for other vulnerable populations, including children. But it wasn’t until October 2016, when a Connecticut bill, known as “Desmond’s Law,” passed, that permitted advocates to legally represent the best interests of abused animals in a court of law. The bill was named after a shelter dog who was beaten and then strangled to death by his ‘caretaker.’

The New Jersey Bill, which is modeled after Desmond’s Law, would allow for attorneys and law students knowledgeable about animal abuse to serve as advocates for animals in criminal animal cruelty cases. 

Appointed advocates would monitor the case, attend hearings, and make recommendations to the court, all the while fighting for justice for the abused animals.

Advocates would also be permitted to make an in-person statement to the court prior to sentencing about the impact the crime had on the animal, as commonly happens with court-appointed advocates who represent children victims.

While critics of the bill have blasted the “legal personhood” provisions for animals, a significant body of research has linked animal abuse to violence against humans, causing many people, including legislatures and prosecutors, to take animal cruelty cases more seriously. 

Assemblymember Annette Quijano (D-Union), who sponsored the bill with several other legislators, noted that “people who hurt animals are likely to go on to hurt people.”

“By protecting our animal friends, we can ensure greater protection for New Jersey residents,” Quijano told Insider NJ. “The first step is to have someone advocating for their best interests during the legal process.”

Nationwide trends show that animal abusers often get light sentences — disproportionate to the seriousness of the crimes they’ve committed — or avoid conviction altogether due to overburdened courts that place higher priority on cases involving people or the limited knowledge of animal abuse by law enforcement or prosecutors involved with cruelty cases.

Quijano insists advocates can help reverse those trends.

“Far too many animal cruelty cases in New Jersey and across the country end without trial or conviction,” she said. “These are pets who’ve faced unthinkable abuse, and yet don’t receive the justice they deserve.”

Lady Freethinker applauds Quijano, all the bill’s sponsors, and animal advocates around the world for speaking up on behalf of animals that are far too often ignored by the U.S. legal system.

Your help Fabio, Carla and Naughty get to safety, feed them, and ensure that they can live long and peaceful lives?

Looking for a career in animal law? Please click here for the Animal Legal Defense Fund's listing of current employment opportunities. Become a Social Media Ambassador

Remote Online Advocacy Representatives (ROAR) are online partners who help us spread the word about important animal issues. Please click here to learn more. 

"Corporations Are People, My Friend."

Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives. Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.  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.

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.