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Will $8.7 billion sale of PetSmart change policies on parrots & pit bulls?

PHOENIX, Arizona––What will the December 14, 2014 sale of PetSmart mean to PetSmart Charities, the $51-million-a-year PetSmart nonprofit arm that funds more spay/neuter surgery and adoptions than any other organization? The short answer is, none of the 54,000 PetSmart employees know yet just what the sale means, including PetSmart Charities executive director Jan Wilkins, program manager Bryan Kortis, and director of grants and field initiatives Julie White. The impact, however, could be significant. Seven of the 11 members of the PetSmart Charities board of directors are associated either with the PetSmart company or with investment funds holding an ownership stake in the PetSmart … [Read More...]

Ric O'Barry in Taiji

Waiting for the Rising Sun: Ric O’Barry’s wish for 2015

by Ric O'Barry 16 December, 2014 It’s just after 5:30 a.m., local time in Taiji. I’m at the harbor now, waiting for the sun to rise. From the moment I leave my hotel, I am surrounded by police. I am glad they are here, as they’re professional, respectful and fair to both sides. It’s a cold, pre-dawn morning, and the forecast is calling for heavy rain in a few hours. A cloudy, storm-filled day has the potential to bring a blue cove – and many smiles of relief as the world watches in anticipation of what the day will bring. On my birthday a couple of months ago, I wanted – and got – a kill-free day. I was filled with optimism and couldn’t help but reflect on this past year. Our momentum … [Read More...]

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Who will fix Vermont cats with Peggy Larson retired?

by Merritt Clifton   COLCHESTER, Vermont––Who is going to fix the feral cats, barn cats, and free-roaming pet cats of low-income Vermonters in 2015? Low-cost cat sterilization, a longtime Vermont success story, took a double hit in 2014 from the faltering finances of the state-run Vermont Spay/Neuter Incentive Program and the retirement … [Read More...]

What does the squirrel have to do with it?

Dear friend of ANIMALS 24-7: Thank you for your support and encouragement during our first nine months online. Already we have reached and helped more people who care about animals, around the world, than I ever have reached and helped before in more than 45 years of reporting about animals and habitat, including 28 years of full-time information … [Read More...]

Trophy hunters vs. horn poachers: an arms race that rhinos can only lose

WASHINGTON D.C., WINDHOEK, JOHANNESBURG–– Who covets rhino horn most, Vietnamese nouveau riché who believe powdered rhino horn can cure them of cancer, or U.S. trophy hunters willing to pay almost any price to hob nob with the elite of Safari Club International? Who is really to blame for driving up the price of rhino horn to the point that … [Read More...]

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Gadhi Mai is a state of mind

by Jim Myers Animal Aid Charitable Trust, Udaipur, Rajasthan After spending days and nights traveling in the remote district of Bihar adjacent to Nepal to help intercept the animal traffic to the 2014 Gadhi Mai sacrificial festival,  two conditions became apparent that are worth noting and hopefully sharing with the … [Read More...]

Netherlands & Mexico ban wildlife use in circuses

DEN HAAG, MEXICO CITY, LONDON––Announcements distributed by Animal Defenders International less than 24 hours apart on December 12 and 13, 2014 heralded Dutch and Mexican national bans on the use of wild animals in circuses. Said Animal Defenders International president Jan Creamer, “Use of animals in traveling circuses is cruel and outdated, … [Read More...]

Scientist sparked revolution in deer management

Willy Burgdorfer, 89, who sparked a transition of wildlife management focus from propagating deer to be hunted to culling deer as a disease vector, died from complications of Parkinson’s Disease on November 17, 2014 in Hamilton, Montana. Burgdorfer had no intention of promoting deer culling. A medical entomologist, Burgdorfer had earned his … [Read More...]

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SeaWorld profits took a dive with the February 2013 debut of the documentary Blackfish.

Sinking SeaWorld shoves 311 staff overboard

ORLANDO, Florida––SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. reportedly threw 311 staff to the sharks of unemployment on December 12, 2014, less than 24 hours after president and chief executive officer Jim Atchison walked the plank, in the wake of a 28% dive in third-quarter profits. SeaWorld stock continued a Titanic plunge from more than $40.00 per share at the January 2013 debut of the award-winning … [Read More...]

(Beth Clifton photo)

EU suspends horse meat imports from Mexico

BRUSSELS––The European Commission on December 8, 2014 suspended a program that spot-checked horse meat exported from Mexico for contamination with banned drugs. Effective on January 15, 2015, “Such suspension results in a ban of the import of horse meat, meat preparations, and meat products from Mexico," European Commission press officer for health matters Aikaterini Apostola said in a prepared … [Read More...]

The Express was among the British media that thought Prince William's timing of a February 2014 hunting trip was bizarre.

Killing wildlife to try to cure cancer is “corruption and criminality” says Prince William, between hunting trips

by Merritt Clifton WASHINGTON D.C.––How does British crown prince William’s attitude toward animals differ from that of the nouveau riché Vietnamese who have funded the poaching deaths of more than 2,000 rhinos in the past two years alone? Many Vietnamese mistakenly believe that powdered rhino horn is a cure for cancer. William just kills wildlife for fun. And mouths the right platitudes … [Read More...]

Woodland Park Zoo elephant pacing her habitat on December 4,  2014.  (Beth Clifton)

Where will Woodland Park Zoo elephants be sent to die?

SEATTLE––The most difficult winter campaign involving elephants since Hannibal Barca tried to march 38 elephants through the Alps in 218 B.C. to attack Rome may be ahead for the Northwest Animal Rights Network subsidiary Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants and the allied Community Coalition for Elephant Retirement, ironically because of an apparent victory. Only three elephants survived … [Read More...]