Activism Updates: Link Spam

This edition of Activism Updates is of the link spam variety, containing opportunities for activism in Canada and the United States.

Canadian Residents and Interested Friends

Senator Mac Harb reports via the Huffington Post that he has received a humanitarian award from PETA for introducing Bill S-210 to end Canada's commercial seal slaughter. He writes:

As a result of overwhelming support, my bill was seconded, and the Senate recently unanimously consented to continuing this debate in the coming months. This is historic, and every single person who has taken action has made a difference.

I encourage you to contact members of Canada's Senate and call on them to support my bill to end the nation's commercial seal slaughter. Your efforts are making a difference, and I thank you for your encouragement and support.

Readers of this blog will remember that I am none too fond of PETA, but I do support this legislation and encourage Canadian residents to do the same. Canadian senators and members of the House of Commons can be contacted via the Parliament of Canada web site.

Michigan Residents and Interested Friends

The Detroit Free Press reports that Russ Mason, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, has rejected a proposal from the Humane Society of the United States calling for a voluntary moratorium on the "lethal control of free-ranging mute swans except in emergency situations". Instead, the DNR will propose that HSUS volunteers become more actively involved in egg oiling, a process that coats Mute Swan eggs in vegetable oil so that no oxygen can pass through them, which kills the embryo. In short, the DNR plans to continue killing Mute Swans at the current rate but asks that HSUS volunteers help to control the population by oiling eggs.

To read more about the Humane Society's position on Mute Swan killings, visit the organization's information page on the topic. To protest the killing of Mute Swans directly, sign the HSUS petition and contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Minnesota Residents and Interested Friends

The reports that on August 9th, protesters gathered outside the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to rally against the upcoming wolf hunt. After 40 years on the federal endangered species list, the Minnesota Gray Wolf has recently been taken off it placed under the management of the Minnesota DNR. However, after making a commitment to wait five years before proposing wolf hunting, the DNR has reneged and set November 3, 2012 as the opening date for the first season.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, President and Founder of Howling for Wolves has delivered a petition to the Minnesota DNR that states:

The DNR has no data to show that randomly hunting non-problem wolves provides a solution to livestock depredation problems. Instead, the DNR is recklessly risking the health of the Minnesota wolf population to satisfy special interest groups.

To find out more about the wolf hunt and register your protest, visit the Howling for Wolves Take Action page and contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Washington State Residents and Interested Friends

The International Business Times reports that yet another horse has died for the sake of the Omak, Washington "Suicide Race", raising the death toll to twenty-three in the last twenty years. In Defense of Animals describes the race this way:

After a galloping start, horses plunge over an almost vertical drop (62 degree angle) of about 225 feet. The horses do not realize where the ground is until it is rushing beneath them. They cannot see horses ahead of them...Horses are pushed to breakneck speed, with inevitable collisions and pile ups that cause serious injury or death....At the bottom of the downhill charge, the horses are pushed to survive the swift current of the rocky, deep Okanogan River. Horses may have already sustained injuries from the steep downhill run of this race and then must brave the waters; horses have panicked and drowned. If they land sideways, which happens frequently if they lose balance, they can wrench their necks, causing severe neck and back injuries and further trauma...Exhausted horses are pushed on to an uphill sprint another 500 yards. With this continuous overexertion, recovery is nearly impossible, and with reduced oxygen flow, muscles are doomed to permanent damage.

Despite the danger involved to both horses and riders and the withdrawal of national and international sponsorship, the City of Omak continues to resist the decades-long protests of animal rights organizations and individuals, likely because of the revenue the race brings to the region. The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that:

Some 80,000 people attend the rodeo and Suicide Race every year, many from the Western U.S. and Canada but some from as far away as Germany and France, according to organizers of the event. City and race officials say the race is the main draw. In 1999, a dispute between the tribe and the city cancelled the race, and rodeo attendance fell by more than half...Race organizers estimate the economic benefit at $6 million, but the city, taking into account indirect revenue, says the return is probably twice that.

The Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has a F.A.Q page about the race, which I encourage you to read for more information. I also encourage local, grassroots action on this issue, since it appears the residents of Omak and their elected officials are inured against protests from people outside the region. So if you live in Washington State, please contact local businesses that support the Omak Stampede and tell them you plan to boycott their products and services until they stop supporting the Suicide Race. Then contact the organizers of the Omak Stampede and tell them what you've done. You might also volunteer for PAWS and other local groups working to end this annual display of willful animal cruelty. If you live outside Washington State, write the City of Omak and the Omak Stampede anyway, whether they're inured against such protests or not. We cannot allow ourselves to be driven away from doing the right thing.

That's all for this edition. Thank you for reading, and thank you for everything you do to make the world we share a better place.