• Don Lichterman

The Road to Yulin…and Beyond, Vanderpump Dog Foundation, Big Cat Public Safety Act, Tiger King, G.W.

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

With the government now banning wildlife consumption, it's time to end China's cruel and dangerous wildlife trade completely, to spare animals from torture and slash the risk of human disease. Outlawing wild animals for food was an important step, but enforcement is crucial -- and as long as wild animal slaughter for medicine is still legal, the cruelty will go on. Help stop the cruelty. Sign the petition to urge China to end the wild animal trade for good. Shockingly, the Chinese government recently recommended using bear bile as a treatment for coronavirus, and a recent report from Daily Mail suggests China's deadly live animal markets are still selling dogs, cats, bats, rabbits, ducks and more. Following these reckless and unsanitary markets to continue is a serious threat to both global human health and animal welfare. People deserve better. Animals deserve better. The world deserves better. Sign the petition

Stop animal cruelty at roadside zoos Contact your elected representatives today!

A new docuseries, “Tiger King,” featuring several roadside zoo owners, has captivated the nation. But behind the drama and big personalities are animals facing a lifetime of captivity, abuse and neglect. Though it offers the viewer a glimpse into roadside zoo life, “Tiger King” largely glosses over the rampant animal cruelty that is inherent in cub encounter operations and roadside zoos.

Take action today to end animal cruelty at roadside zoos!

Over the years, the Humane Society of the United States has conducted several undercover investigations of roadside zoos, including an investigation into G.W. Exotic Animal Park, owned by the show’s protagonist, Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka Joe Exotic).

These investigations found tigers “trained” through physical abuse, cubs forcibly handled despite cries of despair and sick animals denied proper veterinary care.

You can help put a stop to big cat abuse! Contact your two U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative today and ask them to cosponsor and support the Big Cat Public Safety Act, S. 2561 and H.R. 1380. This crucial legislation will protect big cats—like tigers and lions—by keeping them out of the hands of people who would exploit them or not care for them properly.

No one should keep wild cats as pets or patronize roadside zoos. Let's tell Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act and leave the abject cruelty on full display in “Tiger King” on the cutting room floor.

From illicit drug use to murder-for-hire allegations, Netflix’s newest hit docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the twisted world of the big cat industry.

Despite the wildly entertaining storyline, Tiger King unfortunately fails to offer anything more than a brief glimpse into the intense suffering endured by the big cat industry’s main victims — the animals.

While the show does reveal moments of animal cruelty — a particularly shocking moment is when Joe Exotic, the owner of an exotic animal park, uses a metal pole to pull a newborn tiger cub from her mother moments after birth — Tiger King refuses to marinate on the issue for longer than a few minutes, using the animals more as pawns to move the plot forward than the targets of an abusive multi-million dollar business.

One of the show’s primary subjects, Carole Baskins, frequently mentions the Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA), but as a less-than-idolized character who is repeatedly accused of killing her husband, the bill tends to get overlooked. Here’s why the BCPSA actually matters:


Tiger King focuses on two or three roadside zoos, but the problem is much bigger than that. The number of captive tigers in the United States outnumber the amount of tigers in the wild, according to National Geographic.

Joe Exotic, Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, and Jeff Lowe’s outlandish behaviors might be unique, but their possession of big cats is not. In the United States, over 90 percent of captive tigers live in privately-owned locations – from roadside zoos and private breeding facilities to truck stops and urban apartment buildings. Specifically, 6 percent of tigers live in facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This poses a threat to the safety and wellbeing of both the animals living in inadequate conditions and the people interacting with them.


How is it possible that so many people – including those living in apartments – are able to have tigers as pets? With no federal law, the rules and regulations are decided by each state; and currently, only 20 states have comprehensive bans on owning wildlife. Of the remaining states, 13 have partial exotic wildlife bans, 14 permit private ownership of exotic wildlife with a license or permit, and 4 don’t even require a license or permit to own exotic animals.

In some jurisdictions, it is easier to own a tiger than adopt a dog, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. The Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which currently prohibits interstate and foreign big cat trade, is clearly not enough. Without stronger federal regulations, the big cat industry will continue to thrive.


So, why should the big cat industry be shut down anyway? Tiger King hints at the answer – public health and animal welfare.

Privately possessing tigers and other big cats endangers the lives of the people around them. From 1990 to 2012, over 300 dangerous incidents involving big cats happened in the United States across 44 states, according to the Humane Society. In those incidents, 4 children and 16 adults died. Dozens more lost their limbs or suffered irreparable traumatic injuries.

Captive tigers are frequently the victims of animal welfare violations as well. The big cat industry mainly profits off of cubs, meaning adult tigers and other big cats are shipped off to inhumane roadside zoos or killed because the costs of caring for them are too high.

“… the U.S. Agriculture Department says only cubs between the ages of 4 weeks (no longer “neonatal”) and 12 weeks (when they become “too big, too fast, and too strong”) should be used [for petting and photographs],” the Washington Post reported. “That creates an incentive, critics say, for breeders such as [Joe Exotic] to pump out cubs – and a constant supply of 100-day-old tigers that have outgrown their value.”


If Tiger King guarantees one thing, it’s that current laws are inadequate. The Endangered Species Act bans the sale and possession of all species of endangered wildlife, but the rules for captive-bred wildlife are murky and not well-regulated. It is relatively easy to buy, sell, breed and exploit big cats without attracting the attention of law enforcement officers. And the Captive Wildlife Safety Act contains loopholes for roadside zoos like Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.

The BCPSA would amend the Captive Wildlife Safety Act to fully ban all private possession of big cats in the United States. A Lady Freethinker petition urging House and Senate leaders to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act has already garnered over 26,000 signatures. Thank you to those who have already signed. To those who haven’t, please sign and help save tigers, lions and other big cats from a miserable life in captivity.

Bear Bile is Being Recommended to Treat Covid-19, with NO EVIDENCE!

Bears are being slaughtered to make this COVID-19 treatment — but there's no evidence that it works! Sign Now

The spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes in humans, COVID-19, has medical professionals across the globe working tirelessly to uncover possible treatments and develop a vaccine. Unfortunately, it is so early in the pandemic that we are just now starting to understand the virus well enough to even start clinical trials on treatment. Randomized clinical trials are the gold standard for making evidence-based recommendations on treatment options of disease.

That's why it's so dismaying to learn that the Chinese government is now recommending a substance containing bear bile to treat Covid-19.

The substance is called "Tan Re Qing" and the casualties from its use will not be human. They will be the vulnerable population of Asiatic Black Bears that are most commonly farmed for their bile. Some bear bile is procured from bears that are locked up, living horrible and unnatural lives, only to have their bile pulled out as often as possible for medicinal purposes. Reports show that bears on bile farms are often starved, suffering from diseases, and living in isolation. Other bear bile is procured in even more tragic ways — by killing wild bears just for their bile.

Please sign on to ask the Chinese government to protect the bears by retracting this recommendation to protect the bears!

Please join PETA in urging the World Health Organization to call for an end to deadly "wet markets" around the globe.

Wet markets are awful: They sell live and dead animals—often of a wide variety of species—for human consumption. They're called "wet" because water splashes over the sides of open tubs containing live sea animals who will inevitably be killed—and because countertops and floors are streaked red with the blood of gutted chickens and other slaughtered animals.

A Chinese wet market is believed to have been where the novel coronavirus originated, and wet markets exist throughout Asia. This week, PETA wrote to government officials in Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Laos, Mainland China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam calling for the immediate and permanent closure of deadly wet markets. Closing off these sources of infectious diseases is an absolute necessity, as doing so would help prevent future deadly outbreaks.

Please sign PETA's action alert to the WHO urging it to call on governments everywhere to close cruel and deadly live-animal markets permanently.

Thousands of Dogs Will Die During the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Ask NARS to Condemn the Festival Now.

Until 2017, NARS — the legendary French makeup and skincare brand — had been committed to creating cruelty-free makeup. But when they decided to enter the Chinese market, their morals took a back seat to their bottom line.

Chinese law requires brands to test their products on animals in order to sell them. So NARS decided to abruptly abandon its cruelty-free commitment.

NARS's decision was disappointing, but its entrance into the Chinese market means it has a large and prominent platform that can reach hundreds of millions of people.

Which is why we're asking NARS to continue speaking out against horrific animal abuses committed in China — like the Yulin Dog Meat Festival.

The annual event is responsible for the brutal torture and killing of thousands of dogs each year.

Dog meat consumers believe that the meat tastes better when dogs have more adrenaline in their blood, so dog butchers will often torture the animals to death in order to increase their adrenaline flow. Dogs are beaten, burned alive with blowtorches, and tossed into boiling pots of water.

NARS can use its platform to take a stand against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival and the slaughter of thousands of dogs. Please sign the petition and tell NARS to speak up now.

End the next COVID-19: Ban global wet markets and illegal slaughterhouses now

As the world faces the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic in unprecedented ways, we are learning quickly that infectious diseases pose a significant threat to our global population. Whether it’s COVID-19, SARS, or other recent public health disasters, outbreaks are having a profound effect on global health and the worldwide economy, and the day-to-day lives of billions of people.

What we’ve learned about COVID-19 and what we already knew about SARS is that these outbreaks can be linked to wet markets and illegal slaughterhouses. These markets, a popular source of produce, meat and live animals, are not only prevalent in Chinese cities, but cities across the region and indeed the world.

And they’re so unregulated, many worry that they are going to be regular breeding grounds for viruses and diseases that kill millions around the world. 

That’s why we need solutions now.

What we’re all experiencing today with COVID-19 could have been stopped if these wet markets and illegal slaughterhouses had been shut down, or at least significantly regulated. 

We need global leadership and intervention which is why we’re asking you to stand with us and call on the United Nations and World Health Organization to address the dangerous effects of these animal markets and slaughterhouses. 

Scientists tell us that keeping different animals in close, prolonged proximity with one another and with people creates an unhealthy environment,and that this is the probable source of the mutation that enabled COVID-19 to infect humans.

Viruses long present in some animals show an ability to mutate from nonhuman to nonhuman host, and ultimately gain an ability to bind to human cell receptors.

When that happens, we see tragedy on the scale of what we saw with SARS, and what we’re seeing right now as millions of people get infected, and hundreds of thousands or more die from COVID-19. 

The Vanderpump Dog Foundation has been warning about this for years, as we’ve seen first-hand the brutality and horrific practices that happen in many of these wet markets and slaughterhouses.

In our documentary, “The Road to Yulin … and Beyond,”we uncovered graphic torture of dogs in slaughterhouses, as well as the dangers that come from digesting or coming into contact with meat of unknown origins. 

These risks include rabies exposure to slaughterhouse workers, antibiotic resistance, parasites, and bacterial infections when people eat dog meat.

An estimated 60% of all known human infectious diseases and 75% of emerging pathogens originate in animals, according to the World Health Organization. 

We cannot wait any longer to address this.

Pressure is already mounting on world authorities to address this. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced a study on the prevention and control of the coronavirus including the need to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade. Other cities like Shenzen in China, home to 30 million people, passed a law banning the consumption of dog and cat meat that goes into effect in May 2020.

These are helping,but we need more.To avoid future pandemics, we need a global effort to shut down and/or significantly regulate these wet markets not only in China, but across the world. Any lack of action with regards to addressing the source of the COVID-19 pandemic will present a danger for our future, and the threat that similar diseases will not only re-occur but expand.

Today, please stand with us and urge the UN and WHO to take action, so that wet markets and illegal slaughterhouses no longer pose a global health threat to our planet.

Coronavirus (and lockdowns) put street dogs in mortal danger!

The corona crisis has placed street dogs in frightening danger all around the world. Most countries are in some form of lockdown, and street dogs are in deep trouble – they depend on volunteers and animal lovers to feed them. Many depend on you and NFA.

Not enough food is getting to street dogs – even those “safe” in sanctuaries!

Sanctuaries that we help around the world that care for street dogs are struggling because staff and volunteers, and even vets, are in lockdown, and food and medicine is becoming increasingly difficult – in some cases impossible – to source.

Street dogs desperately need your help in this worldwide crisis. Most street dogs get food from people who feed them at their offices or factories, and those places are now closed. Some street dogs survive by foraging on discarded human food – all that food has gone. Street dogs are hungry now, they are going to be starving soon.

To make the situation worse, our teams are struggling with government regulations that, in many cases, prevent movement. Dogs are getting sick, and getting permission to help them is fraught with problems.

We are receiving URGENT pleas for EMERGENCY help from all over the world. 

People tell us of starving street dogs who are getting no help. Our teams also report an increase in animal cruelty. Vets have reported a surge in injuries caused by beating or kicking. It seems that in some places, people in lockdown are taking their frustration out on animals. Street poisonings are also up.

In times like these, animal lovers must stand together. Street dogs have a tough life in the best of times – now their lives are sheer misery. You can help by donating right now so we can send emergency aid, and stockpile food and certain medicines – already, many borders are closed, and for street dogs in countries like Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia where dog food supplies may come from neighboring countries, this is a complete disaster.

Anything you can donate, any amount large or small, will enable us – at this critical time – to maximize our support for street dogs and the sanctuaries we work with to help them.

Please find it in your heart to help street dogs who may die, without you and people like you.

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is gripping the world right now. And during this time, I want to assure you that even while we respond to this challenge by doing our part to keep our staff and communities safe, our work to protect animals – who continue to be abused and neglected every day – goes on. I know you’ll agree that we cannot let them down, and I’m asking for your help…

We’re kicking off our Anti-Cruelty Campaign this month, to help make sure that animals are not forgotten during this crisis. And you can do a world of good for a defenseless animal by taking one action now:

Sign our Stop Animal Cruelty pledge.

When you sign this pledge, you are committing to a simple, lifesaving act for animals:

Report cruelty when you see it and speak out for animal victims.

Without you, animals have no voice — and many would have no hope for safety, love, or justice. Let me give you just one example of an abused animal who needs your voice.

Riley, a four-month-old Labrador puppy, was abandoned in a California schoolyard with acid burns, a broken jaw, and an eye injury so severe, it appeared his entire eye was gone.

Riley is now in a safe and loving home. But he will never be able to speak to the suffering he endured at the hands of his abuser. That’s why it’s up to us to speak up for him and the countless other animal victims of cruelty. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is fighting to pass a new law in California and other states to help give animal victims of abuse dedicated advocates in the courtroom in criminal cruelty cases, fighting for their interests and for the justice animals deserve.

While we fight to pass this much-needed legislation, you can give animal victims like Riley a voice by signing our pledge.Can I count on you to sign our pledge to report animal abuse and speak out to Stop Animal Cruelty, so we can demonstrate that animal abuse is still a serious crime that deserves attention?

Cruelty in the transport of unweaned calves

Investigation Eyes on Animals & L214 about the hell of the long transport of young calves: waste of the milk industry transformed into meat at low prices, the unweaned calves are transported more than 50h. Stop their suffering, sign the petition! https://www.L214.com/unweaned-calves

Grizzly 399, who lives with her family in the Northern Rockies, is one of the best-known grizzly-bear mothers. Now her life is in danger.

The Trump administration has authorized a plan to kill up to 72 grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem — which could include Grizzly 399 and her cubs if they move into the project area. This barbaric plan can't stand — so we just went to court to stop it. Please support our fight to save Yellowstone's grizzlies with a gift to the Predator Defense Fund. Grizzly bears have come out of hibernation in just the past few weeks. While they were sleeping, the U.S. Forest Service has refused to relent on its plan to let them be killed. It's sickening to think these beloved grizzlies could one day wake up to a gunshot. Female grizzlies with cubs have been documented occupying the areas where bears will be targeted, a grazing area in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest. The Forest Service wants to let up to 72 grizzlies be slaughtered even though grizzlies are protected by the Endangered Species Act. This plan is cruel, and it's also illegal. Giving the go-ahead to kill wildlife as a favor to industry is exactly the kind of behavior that has fueled the extinction crisis. Yellowstone's grizzlies, some of the most beloved in the world, are still threatened. By nature they have one of the slowest reproduction rates of any mammal. Each and every grizzly is precious. We're not about to let them get picked off without a fight. Every day 22 species go extinct — about one every hour. Humans created the extinction crisis due to centuries of habitat destruction, climate change and explosive population growth, but with bold ideas we can fix it. It starts with protecting endangered and threatened species.

Do You Know What Happens to Male Chicks in the Egg Industry?

Because the egg industry deems them useless, male chicks are crushed, ground up, drowned, and even burned alive. Most of them never get the chance to meet their moms, as many are gruesomely killed only at one-day-old.

No doubt you heard the news of the tiger at the Bronx Zoo that tested positive for CoVID-19. It answers a question that we’ve been grappling with for over a month, can non-humans contract the disease?

With so many of chimps either elderly or immuno-compromised, we’ve been enacting strict protocols since the very beginning. In fact, we are in Level 2 of a three level CoVID-19 plan that we developed to make certain our vulnerable chimps stay safe. We were the first to adapt such strict protocols and we are happy and proud we did. But it’s not easy.

What does that look like? Just like your lives, our life a t the sanctuary is completely different....

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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.