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
continue to fight to protect Africa’s last iconic species for the future and health of our planet.
The post Breaking! Despite Public Outrage, Namibia Moves Forward With Their Controversial Plan To Auction Off 170 Wild Elephants appeared first on World Animal News.
A lawsuit was filed against the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for new regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that will shield federally-funded factory farms — known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) — and slaughterhouses from environmental review. The new regulations also limit the ability of the public to know about and challenge harm caused by these facilities.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations generate massive amounts of waste, contaminating air, drinking water, and surface waters, and impact the health of both people and animals; all while farmed animals are cruelly confined to small crates sometimes where they can barely stand or even turn around.
One way the federal government props up this cruel industry is by providing millions of dollars annually in financial assistance to new and expanding CAFOs and slaughterhouses.
Under previous NEPA regulations, federal agencies were required to assess and make public the environmental impact of a new or expanding factory farm or slaughterhouse before any federal funding was approved.
CEQ’s new rule allows the government to continue supporting the CAFO industry without accounting for any of the environmental impacts, all the while keeping the public in the dark.
“Factory farms and slaughterhouses already operate with little accountability or transparency for the harm they cause to animals and nearby communities,” Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Executive Director, Stephen Wells, said in a statement. “The NEPA environmental review provides the public with information about the harm these facilities cause and a chance to speak up before the government helps build and expand factory farms and slaughterhouses in their communities.”
“Often, the CAFO industry shows up in rural areas without any notice or consideration of how it will impact people’s health or the local environment, injuring residents without any chance for them to be heard or a clear remedy,” stated Kelly Hunter Foster, Waterkeeper Alliance’s Senior Attorney. “NEPA requires that people be considered stakeholders when major projects are proposed in their communities. CEQ’s new regulations attempt to rewrite these clear statutory requirements to shield a major polluting industry from environmental review.”
Without the transparency provided by NEPA’s environmental review, communities may not even be aware of the construction of slaughterhouses and new factory farms, or the expansion of existing ones, until it is far too late.
CEQ’s new rule specifically exempts Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantees to CAFOs from NEPA review entirely, leaving federal agencies with the ability to guarantee loans for CAFOs that are unable to receive financing anywhere else without having to conduct any environmental review first.
Additional provisions in CEQ’s rule could further limit or prevent environmental review of government support for the factory farming industry, including language that could force federal agencies to overlook the climate change impacts of factory farming.
The Council on Environmental Quality’s new rule will also make it more difficult for members of the public to bring legal challenges when federal agencies fail to adequately review the environmental impacts of the actions, further hobbling communities’ ability to protect themselves.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post Massive Lawsuit Challenges U.S. Regulations That Keep The Public In The Dark About Serious Harm Caused By Factory Farming & Slaughterhouses appeared first on World Animal News.
Born Free USA has launched a new campaign, #TrapFreeTrails, to call for an end to the barbaric practice of trapping animals on public lands, including national wildlife refuges, national parks, and natural preserves.
The National Wildlife Refuge System was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and now encompasses 567 refuges, as well as 38 wetlands management districts. Together, they include 95 million acres of land. Within the system, more than 296 threatened and endangered species are conserved across 356 of the individual refuges.
According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Wildlife Refuge System was established “to conserve America’s wild animals and plants,” and to “provide enjoyment and beauty” to the millions of people who visit these lands each year. With more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails, these refuges are popular destinations for walkers, many of whom are accompanied by companion animals.
Yet, despite this, animal trapping is permitted on 216 of the refuges, a total of 11.1 million acres of public land.
As previously reported by WAN, traps are indiscriminate. While meant to trap specific species, which is unacceptable on its own, companion animals and humans also fall victim to them.
“By their very design, body-gripping traps are cruel, dangerous, and indiscriminate,” Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA, said in a statement. “Their brutality cannot be overstated.”
Once in a trap, animals suffer in agony for hours or even days. In addition to the excruciating pain inflicted by the trap, trapped animals are also exposed to extreme stress, environmental elements, dehydration, starvation, and predation, with no chance of relief or escape.
“‘Refuge should mean just that; that both animals and people are safe from harm while within their boundaries. Clearly, this is not currently the case and it is past time that this cruel practice comes to an end. Furthermore, the fact that this activity is carried out on public lands, whose maintenance relies on taxpayer dollars, adds insult to injury,” concluded Grimes.
Sign Born Free USA’s petition to the U.S. Department of the Interior demanding an end to the use of traps on all public lands, HERE!
The post Born Free USA Launches New Campaign To End Cruel & Indiscriminate Trapping Of Animals On Public Land appeared first on World Animal News.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is among many other animal and environmental protection groups applauding the decision by the Department of Commerce to prohibit Mystic Aquarium from breeding five captive-born beluga whales from Canada as part of an import permit issued Friday. The permit also precludes Mystic from training the whales for performances.
Marjorie Fishman of AWI explained to WAN the significance of the decision, as this is the first time the federal government has placed restrictions on breeding captive mammals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
As previously reported by WAN, the Connecticut Aquarium applied for a permit last year to import the belugas from Marineland Canada, a oceanarium/amusement park in Niagara Falls for the purpose of scientific research. Among other research projects, Mystic proposed behavioral and reproduction studies, including breeding and research on pregnant females and their progeny, raising concerns that the real purpose of the import was to perpetuate the captive beluga population for public display in the United States.
Moreover, under a partnership between Mystic and Georgia Aquarium, three of the whales could eventually be transferred to Atlanta. The conditions of the permit clarify that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) must approve any decision to transfer the animals to another state.
In issuing the permit, NMFS authorized seven of Mystic’s eight research projects; it did not authorize the study related to reproduction. The permit conditions prohibit the aquariums from breeding the whales, using them in public interactive programs, such as for photo opportunities, or training them for performance.
The permit restrictions come after a group of animal and environmental protection organizations submitted comments in December of last year opposing the permit, outlining their substantive legal and policy objections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. These groups urged the inclusion of the no-breeding and no-performance clauses in a permit if one was issued, as well as the clarification that the National Marine Fisheries Service, not the permit holder, make any decisions regarding the disposition of the whales.
NMFS’s decision is indicative of a broader global movement in recent years to end the unsustainable and inhumane cetacean trade and public display. The 2013 documentary “Blackfish” had an enormous impact on the public’s view of captive orcas. That same year, NMFS denied a request by Georgia Aquarium to import wild-caught Russian belugas for public display. In 2016, SeaWorld ended orca breeding at its parks, and, last year, Canada passed a law to phase out the keeping of cetaceans in captivity in the country.
“This latest decision marks another step on the path to phasing out cetacean captivity, an industry built on immense animal suffering,” Dr. Naomi Rose, AWI’s marine mammal scientist, shared in a statement sent to WAN.
Before Mystic can import the belugas, the facility must provide NMFS with a detailed contraception plan to prevent breeding, and Canada must issue a permit to export the whales from Marineland.
Canada is currently developing regulatory procedures for issuing export permits for captive cetaceans under its new law and is calling for public submissions; animal advocates support strong and clear requirements in such permits to prohibit breeding and performances. Many countries do not have comparable laws to the MMPA, and Canada must ensure that any captive cetaceans exported from the country continue to be covered by Canada’s powerful legislative protections.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post NOAA Fisheries Approves A Permit To Import 5 Beluga Whales Into The U.S. But Imposes Strong Restrictions On Breeding, Public Interaction & Training For Performances appeared first on World Animal News.