Tag: Moves

Breaking! Despite Public Outrage, Namibia Moves Forward With Their Controversial Plan To Auction Off 170 Wild Elephants

This morning, WAN was shocked to read the official statement from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism of Namibia, we were appalled by the attacks against true conservationists and the animal welfare community who has worked so hard to protect and save 170 wild elephants from being auctioned off by the Namibian Government for so-called ‘conservation’ and financial gain. 

Reportedly, while the details of the elephant auction have yet to be publically shared, the travesty took place on January 29th despite over 100,000 concerned petitioners who have urged the Namibian government and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to stop its plan.

The population of Namibia’s elephants is estimated to be only 24,000, but in comparison to neighboring countries like Botswana, which has 130,000, Zimbabwe, which has 80,000, and Zambia, which has 50,000, Namibia’s elephant population is still very low despite their claim that it has tripled since 1995.

Conservationists argue that the government’s numbers are inflated and fail to factor in elephant migration. They estimate that between 73%-84% of the government’s quoted elephant population figure consists of ‘trans-boundary’ elephants, those moving between Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Botswana. They put the resident elephant population in Namibia at only 5,688. They are worried that with 170 elephants being auctioned off, that Namibia will be losing 3% of its elephant population.

The Namibian Government said in a statement that the ‘off-take’ of the 170 wild Namibian elephants is extremely ‘conservative’ and below sustainable ‘off-take’ levels. The government does not define the term ‘off-take’ or specify what will happen to the elephants who are auctioned off. This leads us to believe that the elephants will be auctioned off to trophy hunters.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism of Namibia announced in a statement on February 1st, that the money made from the auction will be deposited into the Game Product Trust Fund this week to be used for so-called wildlife ‘conversation’ and rural development projects. There has also been speculation that the government is making room for extensive oil drilling in Namibia’s Okavango Basin.

Meanwhile, elephants being one of the most intelligent species on the planet with very strong family bonds and groups will be torn apart at the hands of the Namibian government. Tragically, bull elephants, mothers, and their babies, will all be killed for money and greed.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism is defending the elephant auction as a way to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, to control their small elephant population, and raise money for ‘conservation.’ Ironic, considering a 2019 bribery scandal resulting in the imprisonment of the Ministers of Justice and Fisheries has raised major concerns about the controversial auction.

Shockingly, Namibia was among three African nations denied permission to sell off its stock of ivory by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Those who vetoed the appeal said they feared the one-off sale would create a sharp increase in the demand for ivory and a spike in poaching. 

It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism of Namibia made false accusations in a statement on February 1st, about conservationists and the animal welfare community. Regardless of the unwarranted attack, we must continue to fight to protect Africa’s last iconic species for the future and health of our planet.

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Breaking! The UK Government Moves To Ban The Cruel Practice Of Live Animal Exports For Slaughter In England & Wales

UK Secretary of State for Environment, George Eustice, announced plans to ban the export of live animals for slaughter. The move marks the beginning of renewed efforts from the UK Government to raise standards on animal welfare even further, including taking steps to ban primates as pets and crack down on the illegal smuggling of dogs and puppies.

“We are committed to improving the welfare of animals at all stages of life. Today marks a major step forward in delivering on our manifesto commitment to end live exports for slaughter,” Eustice said in a statement. “Now that we have left the EU, we have an opportunity to end this unnecessary practice.”

Live animals commonly have to endure excessively long journeys during exports, causing distress and injury. Previously, EU rules prevented any changes to these journeys, but leaving the EU has enabled the UK Government to pursue these plans which would prevent unnecessary suffering of animals during transport, making it the first country in Europe to end this practice.

An eight-week consultation on the plan launched today in England and Wales to review ways on how to better protect animals during transport.

The government is also consulting on plans to further improve animal welfare in transport more generally, such as:

  • reduced maximum journey times

  • animals being given more space and headroom during transport

  • stricter rules on transporting animals in extreme temperatures

  • tighter rules for transporting live animals by sea

An estimated 6,400 animals were transported from the UK directly to slaughter in continental Europe in 2018.

“There is absolutely no reasonable justification to subject an animal to an unnecessarily stressful journey abroad simply for them to be fattened for slaughter,” stated Chris Sherwood, CEO of RSPCA. “Ending live exports for slaughter would be a landmark achievement for animal welfare.”

More plans to improve standards and eradicate cruel practices is expected to be announced in the coming months.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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Breaking! New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Moves To Put An End To The State’s Barbaric Bear Hunts Beginning Next Year

Yesterday, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the New Jersey Fish and Game Council has proposed changes to the state’s Game Code that would end bear hunting in New Jersey after 2020.

The Fish and Game Council, which has authority over the hunt, has proposed an amendment to the New Jersey Game Code that suspends the hunt and removes the current Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy from the Game Code.

These changes enable the Council and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct a thorough review of the current scientific data to develop a new policy that promotes public safety and welfare while protecting New Jersey’s wildlife, with a focus on non-lethal bear-management techniques.

“With today’s announcement, we will end the bear hunt under my Administration and develop a new black bear policy that keeps public safety at the forefront of our concerns while protecting wildlife in the state,” Governor Murphy said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Fish and Game Council for their commitment to working with the Department of Environmental Protection to address this issue and chart a better way forward.”

“The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), in coordination with the independent Fish and Game Council, is committed to protecting public safety and wildlife,” stated DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “As DFW and the Council embark upon the data and policy analysis necessary to develop a new Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy, we will rely on the best available science, communicate often with the public, and work to achieve the best balance. We look forward to continuing our productive dialogue with the Council on this and other important natural resource management priorities.”

The rules proposed in yesterday’s New Jersey Register are subject to a 60-day comment period. Pending the public comment process, the current Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy will be removed from the Game Code, which means that no bear hunt may proceed unless and until a new Policy is adopted. The Murphy Administration will prioritize non-lethal bear management strategies in any future Policy. Bear hunting will not proceed after the 2020 season under the Murphy Administration.

In August 2018, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order directing the DEP to close all public lands under the Department’s jurisdiction to bear hunting for the 2018 season. That order prohibited bear hunting in all state forests, state parks, state recreation areas, state historic sites, state wildlife management areas, and state natural areas.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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The Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Passes The U.S. House Of Representatives; Now Moves To The Senate For Vote

Landmark legislation to reform the horse racing industry unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) led by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), creates a new independent regulatory authority responsible for establishing uniform safety and competition standards for Thoroughbred horse racing. HISA now heads to the U.S. Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is leading the effort for its passage.

“With today’s HISA passage in the House, we continue our momentum and move one step closer toward historic reform for the horse racing industry,” Barr said in a statement. The congressman has advocated for the development of uniform standards of competition in horse racing since entering Congress in 2013.

“Our bipartisan legislation to recognize a national standard for Thoroughbred racing is receiving support from all corners. Now, it’s earned the approval of the House,” stated McConnell. “I’d like to congratulate Congressmen Andy Barr and Paul Tonko and their colleagues for championing this legislation in the House. I look forward to their continued support as we work to continue to pass this bill into law.”

“After nearly six years working to advance this bipartisan legislation to modernize horse racing in the United States, we are at long last rounding the final turn,” said Tonko. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to advance their companion legislation without delay and deliver it swiftly to the President to sign into law.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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Breaking! New York State Senate Passes Bill Banning The Sale Of Dogs, Cats, & Rabbits In Retail Pet Stores; Bill Now Moves To The Assembly For Vote

The sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores is one step closer to being banned in New York State.

On Tuesday, the New York State Senate passed Bill SB4234, which prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits by retail pet shops; instead, authorizing space in the stores to be used for the adoption of animals.

The bill has now moved to the Assembly for vote. If passed by the Assembly, the critical bill will then head to the Governor’s desk for his signature to establish it as law.

“Today the N.Y. Senate passed my anti-puppy mill bill banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores,” New York Senator Michael Gianaris, who sponsored the critical bill, said in a post on his Facebook page. He further noted that animals that are sold in pet stores are often sourced from cruel and barbaric mills.

Gianaris was compelled to draft the bill after speaking with local pet store owners and researching the violations of their questionable suppliers. He was left “aghast” at the deplorable conditions that these poor innocent animals have to endure.

On the Senate floor, Gianaris explained that while the public views the “puppy in the window” as cute, most are unaware of the brutal and awful conditions that animals bred by unscrupulous breeders are subjected to; noting that they are treated as commodities and not sentient beings that will become beloved members of people’s families.

“These people are not looking at these animals as lives to be respected, but as a way to make more and more money,” stated Gianaris.

California was the first state to enact such legislation, prohibiting dogs, cats, and rabbits to be sold in retail pet stores; instead promoting adoption from local rescue groups and shelters.

Maryland followed with legislation that only allows pet shops to adopt out dogs and cats that come from local shelters as well.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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WAN Exclusive With John Garcia, Founder Of Soldiers For Wildlife, As The Non-Profit Makes Historic Moves In South Africa

It is not uncommon for people who visit Africa to describe the experience as life-changing. What differs, is what people do after the experience.

For Navy veteran John Garcia, nothing would ever be the same as his life took on a profound new purpose creating the non-profit Soldiers For Wildlife, an organization dedicated to combating the poaching crisis in Southern Africa by creating elite anti-poaching units, uplifting and educating local communities, and working to preserve wild lands.

WAN had the opportunity to speak with Garcia about Soldiers For Wildlife and what makes his incredible organization so unique.

“Soldiers For Wildlife got its name in order to pay homage to the rangers in Africa that have lost their lives fighting to protect not only their heritage, but our world’s most sacred treasures,” Garcia explained to WAN, noting that the organization is focused on making a difference the “right way,” which includes empowering and giving back to the local communities.

While temporarily delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Garcia and his partners are currently coordinating flights to return to Africa to finalize plans for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In an unprecedented move, the local Chiefdom has granted Soldiers for Wildlife the ability to sign a 99-year renewable lease and to take over the protection of more than 150,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the Central Province of Zambia. Soldiers For Wildlife already protects 20,000 acres in the region.

Garcia shared that there are an estimated 10,000 poachers in and around Kafue National Park at any given time. The organization’s increased land coverage is just east of the Park; all of which lie within the most poached region of the country.

While the land currently has no protection against trophy hunters and poachers, the goal is to ultimately have it serve as a safe haven for threatened and endangered species such as African wild dogs and elephants.

Sadly, COVID-19 has also impacted fundraising and constrained resources for this crucial project during this critical time.

“We need to rush to get it going during the dry season, so we need funds by the end of August in order to have the program up and running by 2021,” Garcia told WAN, explaining that not much can be done on the land during the wet months between late November and April.

Both a community and a conservation project, the initiative will create more than 80 jobs for indigenous people, as well as invest in infrastructure that will benefit the local community, including the building and operation of the Dung Beetle Bush School.

“Looking ahead, a primary focus of our ongoing efforts will be education and research into minimizing our footprint and allowing the ecosystem to recover and flourish,” said Garcia. “All branches of our Dung Beetle Bush School will focus on subjects such as: ecology, ethology, anti-poaching, tracking, and more. Each course educates about the crisis facing the wildlife and wilderness of the African continent, as well as the issues our natural world faces on a global scale.”

Dung Beetle Bush School will also serve as a prerequisite for the training of Game Scouts and volunteers if they are positioned in the field.

“Education is at the heart of change. We can fight back all we want against the numerous forces we are up against but if we don’t educate and hit the hearts and minds of people across the globe, we will most certainly lose,” Garcia told WAN. “The fight for our natural world is by far the greatest challenge we face today as a species. It decides if the lives of humans and those that we share the world with today will live on.”

“We should not be doing this because of our own survival, but for others,” continued Garcia, noting that the suffering of Africa’s animals and the mass genocides that are taking place across the globe, as well as the extermination of our natural world, are all due to our own negligence. “We have to do this, because, it is simply the right thing to do.”

There are many ways to help and support Soldiers For Wildlife, such as sponsoring a puppy to become a member of their canine unit team. This team will be integrated for both daily patrols and a quick reaction force in the events of security breaches. More ways to contribute to this amazing organization can be found HERE! 

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