Golden eagles die from “snares upon theirs”

Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations

Yesterday we awoke to the news that three golden eagles had been caught in trappers’ snares set in Montana east of the Divide. Two are dead; one requires surgery to remove the cable now embedded in her wing and shoulder. Whoever came upon the bird was carrying cable-cutters (likely the trapper, but this is unknown); that individual cut the cable but provided no assistance to the severely-injured bird. Thankfully, she’s now in the care of the Montana Raptor Conservation Center in Bozeman (visit their Facebook page, which is the source of the accompanying photo).

There is no defense for the use of snares. They are designed for one thing only: to provide animals with a cruel, terrifying, and gruesome death, the wire cable cutting deeper into their bodies as the noose tightens the more they struggle. Continue reading

The lion sleeps tonight–and so should you. List the lion!

Photo from Current Tonight, June 23, 2010Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations

This post contains a call to action with an approaching deadline.

It’s a safe bet that when President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, African lions weren’t anywhere on his radar. “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed,” he wrote in his signing statement on December 28th. “It is a many-faceted treasure…”

Thirty-seven years later in 2011, a coalition led by the International Fund for Animal Welfare petitioned the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to list Panthera leo leo under our nation’s ESA (find the petition here).  It lists the usual culprits–loss of habitat and loss of prey due to human activity–as serious threats to lion survival. Throw in human population growth, the bushmeat trade, civil unrest, and desertification, and the King of the Jungle is hurting. Lions have disappeared from 78% of their historic range–which was most of Africa with a few exceptions–very dry deserts and very wet forests.

But why should a foreign species be listed under America’s Endangered Species Act? Continue reading

Bear pits are the bare pits


Biting bars in desperation; PETA photo–click image

Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations

Financial greed is a huge motivator for our species–ain’t no new news here–so I don’t wonder about the callous low-lifes who imprison bears in concrete pits and sell tickets to gawk at ’em. I DO wonder about the ones who buy the tickets, though. What motivates them? Are they callous? Are they clueless? We’ll hear from them later.

You’ve probably read about the latest undercover sting at the Chief Saunooke Bear Park. It’s a PETA investigation, so there’s been plenty of press. Cherokee, NC in the sylvan Smoky Mountains is the setting for this, our latest installment of It’s a Speciesist Life. Continue reading

Deer in Rock Creek Park


For years debates have been raging across the country on how to best manage populations of white-tailed deer.   Many argue that most management tools are costly and that a cull is the easiest, and the cheapest, management solution.   However, many animal welfare advocates believe that immunocontraception is the proper management tool- one that has been used in test locations throughout the country with success. 

Immunocontraception is a birth control method, which when used can prevent pregnancy in white-tailed deer and therefore serve as a solution to overpopulation issues.   It has been used, with success, to reduce deer populations in locations throughout the country including Fire Island National Seashore, N.Y. and Fripp Island, S.C. The problem is that immunocontraception remains controversial. Those who oppose the use of contraceptives in wildlife populations argue that it is more expensive, and less effective, than the use of a traditional cull. Both of these arguments have been refuted with evidence from past immunocontraception test sites, but the battle still wages- and the National Park Service is very heavily involved.

On October 25, 2012 a lawsuit was filed, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to prevent the National Park Service from proceeding with a lethal cull of white-tailed deer in Rock Creek Park.   The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the Park Service has an obligation to preserve the park (thus including its wildlife) in a natural condition, and that engaging in a lethal cull fails to meet this obligation.  Within weeks of the filing of the suit, an agreement was reached between the parties which halted the cull of deer within Rock Creek park for the 2012-2013 season.  However, a final court decision has not yet been made and advocates are waiting with baited breath in the hopes that these deer (and hopefully others like them throughout the country) will be spared a death-sentence.

What are your thoughts? Do you think immunocontraception is the way to go?

Check out a podcast on the issue.

Bless the beasts and children: Violence, animals, and honesty

Kathleen Stachowski Other Nations

Click for movie

National soul-searching over the root cause of violence consumes us in the wake of another horrendous mass shooting. The slaughter of children is anathema to our vision of who we are: we protect the innocent and powerless. We protect the young—those yet unable to wield their voices or our laws—with especial vehemence. Yet, in the swirling, anguished and angry debates about guns and violence, something is missing—something looming so large that we can’t step back far enough to see it. Violence against species other than our own is so pervasive, so normalized, that we don’t even perceive the endless, brutal, bloody slaughter as violence. It’s part and parcel of who we are. It’s how things are. Continue reading