• Don Lichterman

Yosemite is a blast w/out Humans, Wins in CA/HI, Dogs, Lawsuit, Trumps Wall, Santa Anita, Tiger Farm

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Welcome to the Animal & Wildlife Welfare, Abuse & Crime Report brought to you by the Sustainable Action Network (SAN)!
Wild Animals are Having a Blast Without Humans at Yosemite National Park
A Win for California's Wild Cats

Mountain lions in Southern California and along the Central Coast are a crucial step closer to protection under the state's Endangered Species Act. Responding to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Mountain Lion Foundation, the California Fish and Game Commission just voted to make these regions' six mountain lion populations candidates for protection. This means cats in those areas will get immediate protections while the state agency conducts a year-long review to decide if formal safeguards are warranted. Mountain lions face a long list of threats, including genetic isolation, car strikes, poisonings and sanctioned depredation kills. "This is a historic moment for California's big cats," said the Center's Tiffany Yap. "These ecosystem engineers face huge threats that could wipe out key populations. But with state protections, we can start reversing course to save our mountain lions." If you spoke up through a Center alert for California's big cats, you made a difference. We made a video to say thank you — check it out on Facebook and YouTube. And please consider supporting our work to protect mountain lions with a donation to our Saving Life on Earth Fund.

Endangered Species Act Lawsuit Against EPA

On Tuesday the Center launched a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to suspend monitoring and reporting requirements for major pollution during the pandemic. Our notice of intent to sue urges the agency to ensure that the suspension doesn't harm endangered and threatened species. "The Trump administration must not be allowed to use the pandemic to give polluters free rein to foul our air and water and hurt wildlife," said Center attorney Jared Margolis. You can help: Tell the EPA to enforce laws intended to protect our environment.

Trump's border wall is inching closer to a critical jaguar corridor between the rugged mountains of Sonora, Mexico, and the Sky Islands of Arizona.

The Center's Southwest Conservation Advocate Randy Seraglio explains what's at stake. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.

Oregon's Wolf Population Higher — But Not Recovered

A new report shows that in 2019, Oregon's gray wolf population increased from 137 to 158 animals and now includes 22 packs. Livestock-wolf conflicts decreased notably, and no wolves were killed by agency staff over livestock issues. But six wolf deaths last year were human caused, and the population is still low. "We saw that educating livestock operators on nonlethal conflict prevention can help," said Center wolf expert Amaroq Weiss. "Still, this limited population uptick shows that wolves are far from recovered in Oregon or across the United States. They need continued protection." Read more.

Another (11th this year alone) Horse Death at Santa Anita which begs me to ask how are they running during this COVID-19 Pandemic?

While Santa Anita cynically pushes local health officials to allow it to reopen on “humanitarian” grounds (desperate backstretch workers), the track has killed yet another (11th on year) horse. Yesterday, M C Hamster was felled in a morning “workout” – “fracture[d] ankle…unrecoverable…euthanized.” She was four. This is horseracing?

I invite you to read about my recent visits to Asian "tiger farms" and how you can help wild tigers and other endangered wildlife—even from home.

Just a few months ago—although it feels like it was years ago—I visited two "tiger farms" in China and Vietnam. What I saw was truly upsetting. But it reminded me why my work to conserve wildlife is so important. And if you can, I hope you will help.

What Are Tiger Farms?

Tiger farms in Asia exist for the purpose of breeding these beautiful cats for commercial sale or trade in their parts and products. These farms house at least 8,000 tigers—that's more than double the number of tigers left in the wild!

These farms can feed—and may even grow—the demand for tiger parts. And that demand means wild tigers will continue to be poached.

Will you help me put an end to tiger farms and protect vulnerable wildlife around the world?

When you become a WWF monthly donor today, you protect nature 365 days a year and sustain WWF's critical global work, from saving endangered wildlife to eliminating tiger farms to ending deforestation.

Yes, I'll protect nature every day of the year - Inside Tiger Farms

Late last year, I visited one of the world's largest tiger farms: the Harbin Siberian Tiger Park in China. The facility's hundreds of tigers are kept in various enclosures, including over 50 kennels. Tigers are solitary animals, with enormous ranges—seeing them packed into the farm like livestock was gut-wrenching.

What I saw in Vietnam in January alarmed me as well. A small, ramshackle facility with six tigers in five concrete-floored kennels, much farther off the beaten path—and much easier for enforcement authorities to miss. In short, a facility where illicit trade in tiger parts and products could easily fly under the radar.

With you by WWF's side, we can make tiger farms disappear before wild tigers do—and protect other vulnerable species and habitats around the world. Will you start your monthly gift now and make a difference for global conservation?

As a WWF Monthly Member, you will help:

  • ban commercial trade in all tiger parts and products, not just from farms, but from any source

  • stop illegal wildlife trade

  • protect vulnerable wildlife and their habitats around the world

  • build a future where people live in harmony with nature

Help save endangered animals and make our critical conservation work possible. Start your monthly gift today. I can't protect tigers—and nature worldwide—without you.

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.

Foals only weeks old are raced until they collapse!

A terrible scourge of bush racing is sweeping through rural South Africa, causing enormous suffering for horses. With your help, we can fight it and save countless horses (and foals) from excruciating suffering and death.

In the Gouda area in the Western Cape, horses are stolen and abused by delinquent children who outrageously mishandle them in illegal races. Horses are forced to run up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) on treacherous rocky pathways through the African bush, often in scorching hot weather.

Even babies only a few weeks old are raced until they collapse from exhaustion! Please help now. The children and the gangsters who run illegal betting rackets on the race outcomes don’t care at all about the horses. They are stolen to be raced until they drop.

That’s what happened to a loving mother and her sweet little foal our team rescued.

We named the pair Molly and Lady. Molly and Lady had been ridden for almost 20 miles (32 kilometers) without rest, food, or water. The foal had collapsed from exhaustion after trying to keep up with her mother.

The mother and her baby were found by a farmer who identified the young thugs as no more than 12 or 14 years old. We are in the process of tracking them down. Molly and Lady have been relocated to a sanctuary and will never have to endure pain and suffering again.

Then, there was Caller. When we found him, he was thin and so weak he could barely move and had fly-infested wounds on his back. Our team rescued him.

You have no idea how cruel these bush racing kids can be.

One of the horses had sticks shoved in her private part while the boy doing it laughed!

Our team was able to rescue four horses on that mission, but we counted another 40 that needed rescuing.

If we can count on your generous donation today,we will go back to save more, even though the coronavirus lockdown has made it difficult to travel.

Our partner, Have a Heart Equine Sanctuary (HAHES), has permission to confiscate abused equines, and our team is working with them to fight this barbaric practice. The most urgent need is for a horse trailer to transport the rescued horses to the sanctuary. They need $5,000, and we promised to ask our supporters for their help.

It’s hard to believe children can be so cruel, and it’s easy to brand them as ‘wicked,’ but we have to remember these are kids from shanty towns and have no role models or guidance, and many of their parents are drug addicts who don’t care. They’ve never been taught to care about animals, and we have to teach them. Once the lockdown is over, we will return to the community and start an outreach program to help young people understand how animals should be treated.

When Franky’s body washed ashore in plastic bags on a beach in Maine, his family couldn’t believe this dog was their beloved Pug. Franky had been stolen from their home a few days earlier.

In his final hours, he had been beaten, shot, and drowned. He was bloated — and barely recognizable.

Right now, when many of us are spending more time at home with our animal companions and feeling the comfort they bring, Franky’s story is a reminder that not every animal and not every family is so fortunate. Animal abuse doesn’t stop — and neither does the heartache of a family like Franky’s. Our fight against cruelty can’t stop either.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is committed to protecting animals and holding abusers accountable — and we still need you with us.

During our Anti-Cruelty Campaign so that your help goes twice as far to fight cruelty and win justice for victims like Franky.

Animal victims can’t speak for themselves. They need a voice in the courtroom speaking on their behalf, and that’s exactly what your matched gift now can provide.

In response to Franky’s death and with your support, the Animal Legal Defense Fund helped pass Franky’s Law in Maine— which gives animal victims like him a powerful legal voice and helps to ensure abusers get the punishment they deserve.

Franky’s Law is a Courtroom Animal Advocate Program (CAAP) law, empowering judges to appoint trained volunteer attorneys or supervised law students as courtroom animal advocates to represent the interests of animal cruelty victims. The laws make it more likely that an animal’s needs will be considered and that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes. Now we’re fighting to establish similar laws in other states — and we need your help.

So please stand with us during our Anti-Cruelty Campaign because every life is worth fighting for, every being deserves kindness,and we will never turn our backs on animal victims.

Puppy Mills Are Not An Essential Business

Governor Murphy's executive order is allowing NJ pet stores to import and sell puppy mill puppies as an “essential service” during this pandemic! Our advocates are working with his office to halt this cruel service temporarily. Read More

Take action to end the sale of puppies from puppy mills in NJ permanently. Sign the End Puppy Mills Petition and share it among friends and family - Sign The Petition. Write a letter in support of legislation that would end puppy mills and email it to us at info@lesniakinstitute.org.

Help PETA Shut Down Hideous 'Wet Markets'

Despite deadly outbreaks like COVID-19, which is thought to have originated at a live-animal market, animals are still being killed at "wet markets" around the globe. Please help us do more to keep cats, frogs, chickens, and countless other animals from being killed in wet markets, abattoirs, and other hideous places by making a generous gift right now. Help Now

'Tiger King': What You Won't See on Netflix. Have you watched the series yet? PETA US and its supporters campaigned for years to help animals abused by Joe Exotic, yet the show largely skips over serious animal welfare issues, including the horrors of cub trafficking and the problems with commercial cub-petting attractions. Here's what you won't see on Netflix. Read On

Ask Your MP to Support a Ban on Fur Imports and Sales

Millions of animals suffer and die in the fur industry every year for nothing more than bobble hats, keyrings, and fur trim. Now that the UK has left the EU, a ban on fur imports is no longer prevented by EU trade regulations. Please ask your MP to take action for minks and foxes. Contact Your MP

A Delaware chicken company is reportedly being forced to kill and dispose of 2 million chickens because it doesn’t have the adequate staff to slaughter and package them.

Allen Harim Foods is another meat producer hit hard by the coronavirus, where the virus has infected a significant portion of the staff.

While South Dakota meat plant Smithfield Foods’ shut down after increase instances of illness, other manufacturers, like Allen Harim, are open but working a reduced staff and therefore reduced output. Short staff means the plant cannot manufacture its usual number of birds and is forced to dispose of them.


Allen Harim has said that only 50% of its staff has been reported for work, according to a letter sent to Delaware News Journal. “Unfortunately, reduced placements will not make an impact for six weeks and with the continued attendance decline, and building bird inventory daily, we are forced to make a very difficult decision,” wrote Michele V. Minton, the director of live operations at Allen Harim.

PETA has reached out to Allen Harim in an open letter asking that the chickens be killed in methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Associaton for “non-emergencies.”

“These millions of chickens don’t deserve be tossed into an old wood chipper or struck with a two-by-four, as PETA has documented in other ‘depopulation’ efforts,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “The law, veterinary guidance, and common decency all mandate that the chickens receive the quickest and least cruel death possible.”

Urgent Action Needed

Please join Elizabeth Holtz, Animal Legal Defense Fund's Campaigns Manager for Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals, a webinar walking you through the steps to pass a ban, as well as sharing tips that can be applied to any local legislative campaign. 

Other Upcoming Opportunities: 

Animal Law Summer Program

The Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School is offering three courses in animal law this summer: Aquatic Animal Law, The Law & Ethics of Animal Testing, and Animal Rights Law & Jurisprudence. Courses in the Animal Law Summer Program are available for auditing by attorneys and non-law students. 

*Applicants with an outstanding commitment to animal law and a particular interest in anti-vivisection can apply for a scholarship for the Law & Ethics of Animal Testing course. 

Animal Law CLEs

Are you a member of a Bar Association Animal Law Section or Committee planning an online Animal Law CLE in the coming months? If so, don't forget to post the details on our calendar of events. We can help you get the word out!

Take Action, Responsibility & Wildlife...
"Corporations Are People My Friends."
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.

Activism and Sustainability:

  • Gun Safety & Gun Laws

  • Cruelty Free

  • Death Penalty

  • Demand Action

  • Sustainable Action Network

Fairness and Equality:

  • Grammy District Advocacy

  • Privatization

  • Voters Issues & Gerrymandering

  • Private Prisons & the War on Drugs

  • Finance, Housing & the Economy Corporate Responsibility:

  • Candidates, Bills, Laws & Protections

  • Wildlife & Oceania

  • Labeling & Transparency

  • Comprehensive Captivity & Hunting Results Databases

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.