What Trump’s Triumph Means for Wildlife – Take Part

We are going to have to work harder than ever for  wildlife and wild places. And for farmed animals. The day after the presidential election my Inbox was bombarded with emails from animal and conservation charities throwing up their hands in horror at the result. Understandably. This authoritative post says it all  – Animalista Untamed

by Richard Conniff for Take Part

Get ready for more drilling, mining, and logging on public lands and an agenda that values preserving wildlife—for hunters.

For people who worry about the nation’s (and the world’s) rapidly dwindling wildlife, the only vaguely good news about Donald Trump’s election might just be that he doesn’t care. This is a guy whose ideas about nature stop at “water hazard” and “sand trap.” Look up his public statements about animals and wildlife on votesmart.com, and the answer that bounces back is “no matching public statements found.” It’s not one of those things he has promised to ban, deport, dismantle, or just plain “schlong.”

More good news (and you may sense that I am stretching here): Trump is not likely to appoint a renegade rancher and grazing-fee deadbeat Cliven Bundy to head the Bureau of Land Management. When Field and Stream magazine asked Trump early this year if he endorsed the Western movement to transfer federal lands to state control (a plank in the Republican platform) he replied: “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you know what the state is going to do. I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold.”

This was no doubt the real estate developer in him talking, but his gut instinct against letting go of land will surely outweigh the party platform. “We have to be great stewards of this land,” Trump added. “This is magnificent land.” Asked if he would continue the long downward trend in budgets for managing public lands, Trump said he’d heard from friends and family that public lands “are not maintained the way they were by any stretch of the imagination. And we’re going to get that changed; we’re going to reverse that.”

This was apparently enough, in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s upset election, for Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, to suggest that “we share common interests in the protection of America’s wildlife and our great systems of public lands, which provide endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, wildlife observation, and other pursuits that all Americans value.”

Meanwhile, pretty much all others active on wildlife issues were looking as if the floor had just dropped out from under them, plunging them into a pool of frenzied, ravenous Republicans. At the website for the Humane Society, where a pre-election posting warned that a Trump presidency would pose “an immense and critical threat to animals,” an apologetic notice said, “The action alert you are attempting to access is no longer active.”

They have reason to be nervous. Trump has surrounded hinself with political professionals who do not think sweet thoughts about wildlife. Newt Gingrich, for instance, loves animals-but mainly in zoos rather than in inconvenient places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Reince Priebus, a likely choice for Chief of Staff, was part of a Tea Party revolution in Wisconsin that put Gov. Scott Walker in power. Just to give you a  sense of what that could mean for a Trump administration, Scott handed over control of state parks and other lands to the hook-and-bullet set while shutting out biologists and conservationists. Chris Christie? Rudi Giuliani? Let’s just not talk about them.

Trump’s main advisers on wildlife appear to be his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and they seem to care only about hunting and fishing. Donald Jr. has publicly expressed a wish to run the Department of the Interior, though his only known qualification for the job is his family name. More likely, as he told Outdoor Life during the campaign, he will help vet the nominees for Interior, “and I will be there to make sure the people who run the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and so on know how much sportsmen do for wildlife and conservation and that, for the sake of us all, they value the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”

wolves-64093_960_720You may be stumbling over that Christ-like phrase “for the sake of us all.” But you should really be worrying about the “North American Model.” It’s a code phrase for managing public lands primarily for hunting and fishing and only secondarily, if at all, for nongame species—or for hiking, bird-watching, camping, or other uses. In practice it can mean eradicating wolves because hunters consider them competition for elk or moose. (Donald Jr.: “We need to reduce wolves and rebuild those herds.”) It can mean cutting back funding for songbird habitat and spending it instead on fish stocking.

Like his father, Donald Jr. has opposed selling public lands, mostly because it “may cost sportsmen and women access to the lands.” But he believes states should help govern federal lands, calling shared governance “especially critical when we pursue our idea of energy independence in America. As has been proven in several of our Western States, energy exploration can be done without adverse affects [sic] on wildlife, fisheries or grazing.” (America has come tantalizingly close to energy independence under President Obama—without moving new drilling rigs onto public lands—and there is no evidence for the broad-brush notion that energy exploration is harmless to wildlife.)

Two other major considerations to keep in mind: If Trump goes ahead with his favorite plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, it would cut off vital migratory routes and habitat for jaguars, ocelots, desert bighorn sheep, black bears, and many other species. (It might also impede the flow of fed-up Mexicans heading south.)

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Likewise, trashing the Paris Agreement on climate change, as Trump has promised to do, would gain the United States nothing and risk committing the planet irrevocably to warmer temperatures, extreme weather events, and massively destructive coastal flooding. That doesn’t make sense even from a business perspective, and much less so for wildlife. The first documented extinction of a species by human-caused climate change occurred this year, when the Bramble Cay melomys succumbed to rising sea levels in its South Pacific island home. Thousands of other species also face disruption of their habitat and the likelihood of imminent extinction.

The bottom line is that a Trump administration is likely to be good for mining, drilling, logging, and the hook-and-bullet set. But for wildlife and for Americans at large? We are facing four dangerous years of self-serving gut instinct and reckless indifference to science, with the damage to be measured, as climate activist Bill McKibben put it the other day, “in geologic time.”

If you are feeling as if a Trump victory is the end of the world as we know it, you may just be right.

Nov 11, 2016
Richard Conniff is the author of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth and other books.

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Mobile zoos: a growing industry and a growing problem for animals

 

Kids really love animals. They love seeing them. They love interacting with them. They love stroking them. Sadly, the love of animals sometimes equates to suffering for those animals. So please don’t take your kids to a mobile zoo this holiday weekend.

Many of us including CAPS have been struggling for years to get a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.  But in spite of giving lip service in support of the Wild Animals in Circuses (Prohibition Bill )2015-2016 this Tory government has repeatedly blocked and thwarted its passage through Parliament. Yet another sad proof of the Tory party’s sad disregard for animals and their welfare.

The tragedy here is that though the numbers of animals in circuses in the UK has declined over the years, now a new problem has arisen in the form of mobile zoos.

Below is the mail I received today from the Captive Animals Protection Society

It’s over 2 years since we carried out our first investigation into the mobile zoo industry and our fears have been confirmed; the industry is growing and the number of animals being exploited is on the rise.

Our new research which we have launched today, shows that we now have at least 187 of these businesses in the UK with 56 new mobile zoo businesses setting up since 2013. These businesses use at least 3500 animals, the majority of them WILD. This number is the absolute minimum we could find and we know it is much higher.

This is extremely worrying, not least because this industry is virtually unregulated and animals are extremely vulnerable as a result.

Read our full report here: http://bit.ly/1UMSsyz

Animals in mobile zoos are transported across the UK to parties, schools, fairs, and other public events, with some businesses operating seven days a week. No mandatory inspections exist for someone setting up a mobile zoo business (unless the animals are deemed ‘dangerous’), despite the owners being responsible for the lives of animals from a range of species, all with very specific welfare needs.

The terrible case of Tropical Inc., is a warning that something needs to be done. When not on the road, this mobile zoo kept animals in dark sheds, squashed into cat carriers and cages piled one on the other. The premises were raided by the RSPCA and over 70 animals moved to safety, although sadly some were so ill they had to be put down.

The Easter weekend is no doubt one of the busiest weekends for mobile zoos, with people expecting to see live rabbits, chicks and other animals at Easter events. 
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Ways to help:

Help us to find the animals being exploited this Easter by doing research in your local area to locate mobile zoo events, then report them to us here: http://mobilezoo.org.uk/report-zoo/

This kind of task might seem a little boring but it is crucial to build the case against mobile zoos and to locate their movements, so we can oppose them. This tactic was used successfully against the circus industry to organise local protest and to appeal to councils to ban circuses on their property – let’s do the same for animals exploited in mobile zoos!

ESCHEW THE ZOO!

Postscript

Circus workers attack animal rights activists and police in Ireland




 

iAnimal at Ground-Breaking Football Club Forest Green Rovers

Based in Nailsworth in Gloucestershire, Forest Green Rovers FC is the world’s greenest football club and has the only fully vegan menu in the game!

Dale Vince, the founder of green energy company Ecotricity, became chairman of the club in 2010 and has since introduced a number of environmental initiatives including the vegan menu, installing an organic pitch, a water recycling scheme and a robotic lawn-mower which is powered through solar panels on the roof of the stadium.

Read a brilliant interview with Dale here

On Saturday 2^nd April FGR are supporting Animal Equality at their match against Wrexham. Fans will have the chance to try on the iAnimal virtual reality headsets to experience a unique immersive experience into the lives of farmed animals as well as find out more about our work.

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FGR are inviting supporters of Animal Equality along to the match for HALF PRICE! To make the most of this offer please email reception@fgrfc.com or call 01453 834860 to arrange your tickets. Kick off for the crucial match against promotion-chasing Wrexham is at 3pm and early booking is recommended.

We are very excited about this opportunity to reach FGR fans with iAnimal and let them discover what the meat industry tries so hard to hide from people. We’re also looking forward to trying their legendary vegan food – and maybe watch a bit of football too! We hope you’ll take advantage of this half price ticket offer and join us!

Toni Shephard

PS: iAnimal has been making headlines around the world, including this great piece!

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