Protect Foxes and Other Wildlife from Illegal Hunting

Target: Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Strengthen hunting restrictions and severely punish those engaging in illegal hunts.

Animal rights groups in Britain claim that over 500 illegal hunts were reported across the country last year, with the fear that this number is simply ‘the tip of the iceberg.’ It is believed that thousands of foxes, hares, deer and other animals are being cruelly slaughtered annually using packs of hounds, even though this practice has been banned for over a decade. It is far past time that those engaging in illegal hunts be found and punished, and that this ‘tradition’ be finally brought to an end.

Although most forms of hunting using dogs have been banned in the UK due to the fact that it causes suffering and harm for both wildlife and dogs, there are allegedly many hunters who are flagrantly violating these laws, using a legal loophole known as ‘trail hunting’ to cover their tracks. In addition to hunting down and barbarically killing innocent animals, packs of hounds have allegedly harmed domestic pets and run into traffic, resulting in dangerous situations for animals and people alike.

Reported incidents such as these indicate a need for Britain to crack down on these illegal activities. Sign the petition below to demand that all violators be found and punished, and that hunting restrictions be tightened to avoid more needless and cruel bloodshed.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

There have been hundreds of reports of so-called ‘trail hunters’ who have been illegally using packs of dogs to kill various forms of wildlife, including foxes and hares. While this method is touted by hunting advocates as a humane alternative involving no live quarry, it is believed that many hunters are using this as a cover for traditional hunting methods using hounds to kill live prey. Because trail hunting so closely resembles old fashioned tactics, it is easy for hunters to potentially deceive investigators and other local officials.

As long as hunters can use this legal loophole as a cover for illegal activities, innocent animals will continue to be subjected to cruel and painful deaths. That is why we, the undersigned, demand that trail hunting be made illegal and that all those found in violation of hunting laws be punished severely.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: K Hill

Stop Marine Animals From Drowning in Abandoned Fishing Gear

Target: Benjamin Friedman, Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Goal: Eradicate ghost gear that pollutes the water and severely disrupts delicate marine ecosystems.

Fishing equipment lost or discarded in the ocean, also known as ghost gear, is killing over 100,000 marine animals every year. The abandoned refuse pollutes waters, and it’s an accumulating threat to the delicate balance of the oceanic environment. Animals that become entangled in ghost gear suffer physical injury and drown, while other unfortunate creatures remain entrapped to die of starvation.

Fish, turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, birds and more get ensnared in ghost gear, unable to free themselves. Frighteningly, the entire wildlife food chain is affected because when one animal is caught up in the debris, its predators attempt to consume it and also become relentlessly trapped. Just one ghost fishing net, line, or trap can kill an enormous number of oceanic dwellers.

Tons of ghost gear ends up at the bottom of the ocean, continuously killing animals for no reason. In addition to destroying marine life, it also harms the underwater habitats of sediment-dwelling organisms and coral reefs. Making matters worse, ghost gear is composed of highly resilient and durable material that is estimated to take up to 600 years to deteriorate.

Every effort must be made to correct this problem before it is irreversible. Our government has a responsibility to protect the environment, and the problem will only worsen if effective steps are not taken to address the threat of marine garbage. Sign the petition to demand that ocean clean-up research be conducted and intensive action taken to save the ocean and its inhabitants.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Deputy Undersecretary Friedman,

Every year, lost or abandoned fishing nets, lines, and traps claim the lives of countless sea animals that become ensnared and unable to escape. This refuse problem, classified as ghost gear, has become increasingly threatening with the expansion of globalized fishing operations. Furthermore, the discarded fishing gear was designed and manufactured for durability and could take up to 600 years to break down.

The research and efforts that have been made to abate this problem are simply not enough. The issue of overall marine debris must be addressed in order to halt and reverse the obvious damages to oceanic ecosystems. This mounting environmental issue also directly harms human beings by creating pollution and diminishing food sources.

The ghost gear resting at the bottom of the ocean is deadly to countless aquatic animals, and it subjects living creatures to physical harm and a lingering death for absolutely no reason. It wreaks havoc on the entire wildlife food chain as predators also become imprisoned to await an agonizing death. I demand that extensive efforts be made to research the escalating problem of ghost gear in our oceans, and I insist that appropriate and intensive action be taken to protect the ocean for current and future generations.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: ECONYL

Stop Trophy Hunters from Hunting Giraffes to Extinction

Target: Greg Sheehan, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Ban the import of all giraffe hunting trophies into the United States.

The world’s tallest animal is in danger of vanishing thanks to the greed of trophy hunters. Over the past 30 years, the sub-Saharan African giraffe population has plummeted by nearly half, as foreign hunters, many from the United States, have hunted the majestic creatures for their spotted skins or simply for the bragging rights. Experts warn that unless trophy hunters are prevented from bringing coveted giraffe trophies back to the United States, all giraffes may face a “silent extinction.”

Over the past decade, it is believed that American trophy hunters have brought back over 21,000 giraffe bone carvings, roughly 3,000 skin pieces and thousands of other miscellaneous hunting ‘souvenirs.’ Each trophy represents a part of a once-living animal and attests to the fact that American hunters have slaughtered thousands of these creatures needlessly. Yet the United States government has failed to recognize the giraffe’s plight, as none of the nine subspecies of giraffe are currently considered endangered.

Giraffes are unique inhabitants of African savannas and woodlands that deserve to have a future in the wild. Please sign this petition to demand that the United States stop allowing trophy hunters to drive them to extinction.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Sheehan,

The giraffe is one of the world’s most recognizable mammals and one of Africa’s most iconic species. Yet as beloved as these creatures are, they are at grave risk of extinction thanks to trophy hunters, many of whom are traveling from the United States with the hopes of bringing back hunting souvenirs, including skins and bone pieces. Giraffes are being killed at unsustainable rates, and if this is allowed to continue, it is likely they may disappear forever.

Your department has a responsibility to protect endangered wildlife. That is why we, the undersigned, are urging you to at long last classify giraffes as endangered and prevent the import of all giraffe hunting trophies into the United States.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Miroslav Duchacek

Success: UK to Introduce Ivory Ban

Target: The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Goal: Praise United Kingdom for finally introducing a ban on the ivory trade.

The United Kingdom will be banning all ivory sales, thanks to public pressure and persistent efforts from conservationists. The ban will reportedly be “the toughest in Europe and one of the strictest in the world,” cracking down on the sale of products containing ivory made in the last 30 years and containing more than 10 percent ivory; there is nothing to be done about vintage products with trace amounts, but the ban assures that no new products will be made or sold.

This ban has been a long time coming. For five years, the UK was the largest exporter of legal ivory in the world, with thousands of elephants per year being killed to produce it. Public pressure and petitions such as this one on ForceChange have challenged this grim reality, fighting for the rights and welfare of the elephants targeted by poachers and ivory dealers for their tusks, and these efforts have finally paid off.

The news of this ban is most welcome after years of the UK stubbornly clinging to their ivory trade. Every country that stops the sale and exportation of ivory is a step towards the phasing out of ivory products overall, meaning a brighter future for the elephant population. Sign this petition to thank the UK government for finally stopping their irovy trade.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister May,

The United Kingdom’s recent announcement of a ban on ivory sales is most welcome. For years, the UK has been one of the chief ivory exporters in the world, causing the deaths of thousands of African elephants each year, and the most reluctant to change this despite mounting public pressure. At last, though, the efforts of environmentalists and animal conservationists have paid off.

Ivory is fast on its way to becoming as obsolete as fur coats, as objects traditionally made of ivory are now crafted with other materials, and the more countries that reflect this, the better. This ban is a major step towards a brighter future for the elephant populations and is much appreciated. Thank you for listening to the demands of the public and putting the welfare and survival of elephants above the sale of an obsolete material.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sokwanele Zimbabwe

Protect Migratory Species of The World

Target: Jim Kurth, Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Protect migratory wildlife from expanding construction and urbanization.

Thousands of wildlife species’ migration patterns are threatened by 40 million miles of concrete. These roads are highly dangerous to the animals forced to cross them; many are killed by motorists each year, and they provide next to no nourishment to sustain them during their lengthy journeys. Those who are not endangered on these roads are blocked from travel by the settlements and developments they lead to, while aquatic wildlife are blocked by over 400 dams.

Migration is highly important to many species. It is how they seek out others of their kind to breed and increase their numbers, and it is how many protect themselves from adverse weather effects. With this inborn instinct and life pattern of theirs blocked by settlements such as dams or endangered by dangerous road conditions, these animals remain isolated. They suffer the negative effects of summer or winter, and are unable to reproduce. This has already led to the endangerment of many species, and will possibly cause extinction of some down the line.

These structures are beneficial to human beings, but these benefits should not come at the expense of wildlife and their natural patterns. Sign this petition to demand safe passageways for all migratory wildlife.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Kurth,

The migratory patterns of thousands of wildlife species are in jeopardy due to the increasing amount of roads and settlements being built. While these roads and settlements are vital to humans, many animals are killed by passing motorists, or blocked in by dams or other structures. Migration is highly important to the survival of these animals, as it aids them in seeking out others of their kind for reproduction and allows them to seek protection from adverse weather effects.

You must aid in making the roads safer for wildlife, and ensuring that there will always be passages for these species on land, in water, or in the air. If unable to migrate, these animals will become endangered or even go extinct due to adverse weather and a lack of chances to breed and increase their numbers. It is possible to allow for urban development without destroying these animals’ way of life.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Western Arctic Reserve

Save Wildlife Habitat From Being Turned Into a Golf Course

Target: Catherine McCabe, Acting Commissioner, NJ Department of Environmental Protection

Goal: Help stop destruction of wildlife habitat to make way for a new golf course area.

Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey is attempting to turn 21 acres of urban wilderness into another part of their course. Caven Point is a critical wildlife habitat zone, and is a rare public natural area. It serves as an educational area for hundreds of children, and as the last beachfront access for taxpayers. Liberty National is offering a “First Tee” program to help underprivileged children of New Jersey, but this is a sloppy attempt at appeasing citizens and conservationists without real care for public well-being.

Leasing the land to Liberty National will only exacerbate exploitation of the environment by the wealthy. This narrative is what has led to environmental degradation, environmental racism, and environmental injustice across the world. New Jersey has a chance to demonstrate that natural areas belong to the public to enjoy, not to companies to profit off of. Liberty National’s owner believes that expanding the golf course will attract more high-profile golf tournaments and boost the regional economy, but this is simply not feasible. The venue is too small to hold large tournaments, and even hosting minor events will not greatly impact the economy.

The New Jersey Department of Environment needs to reject this land lease proposal, and protect the urban wilderness area. Sign the petition below to call on the department to honor and protect its lands from corporate exploitation.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Ms. McCabe,

Liberty National Golf Course is requesting the Department of Environment to lease land in Liberty State Park to expand its golf course. This expansion will see three golf course holes moved to a critical wildlife habitat area, which serves as an outdoor classroom for hundreds of children, and as a public natural area for citizens. Liberty National claims that it will create a program for underprivileged youth in New Jersey on this land, but they already have undeveloped lands where they can make this plan possible.

I hope that you continue to protect state lands from corporate greed, helping steer the hegemony from exploitation to conservation. The New Jersey Department of Environment has a chance to prove that it cares more for its lands and citizens’ well-being than potential economic profit. Although the owner of Liberty National Golf Course claims that this development will attract major golf tournaments, this is not the case.

Three new added golf course holes will not qualify the golf course as a likely host for these tournaments. It is simply too small. The potential economic benefits of hosting more tournaments, even minor ones, are not significant to the regional economy. I urge you to reject the appeal to lease this land. This area should remain open to the public and wildlife, not to a privileged few.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michael Karas

Prevent Ocean Dead Zone, Clean Up Animal Farm Waste

Target: Lee Heng Ken, Deputy Director General of the Department of Environment, Malaysia

Goal: Stop animal waste from polluting water and killing fish. 

Untreated pig and chicken farm waste from mainland Valdor, Malaysia spilling into the sea will likely cause jellyfish blooms that will kill off fish. When this untreated waste finds its way into canals and into the sea, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium cause an overgrowth of microscopic plankton, depleting oxygen, causing fish to die off. Because jellyfish need very little oxygen to survive, they thrive. Furthermore, they catch fish larvae and fish numbers cannot stay up to suffice for human consumption.

This area is an urban-rural migration zone that helps relieve congestion on the island, but more and more are complaining about the farms. In an area of 345 acres, there are 43 pig and 57 chicken farms crammed next to each other. The Universiti Sains Malaysia Centre for Marine Coastal Studies have been studying jellyfish populations (which are growing) and water quality since October 2017. Water tested from a canal containing animal waste water contained ammoniacal nitrogen that exceeded a class five (severely polluted) river by 94 times.

Although the farmers are required to adopt closed farming systems by 2019, there must be something done in the meantime. We should not let fisheries die off; there is no telling how or if they will recover if we continue to let untreated animal waste pollute canals and the sea. The Department of Environment should act and enforce stricter regulations now or help the farmers adopt closed farming systems sooner. Urge the department by signing the petition below.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Heng Ken,

Pig and chicken farm waste from mainland Valdor is contributing to potential dead zones in the sea where fish cannot survive, and jellyfish thrive. The nutrients from animal waste cause microscopic plankton to bloom, choking out fish. In addition, jellyfish need little oxygen to survive and catch fish larvae, further diminishing fish populations for human consumption. Fisheries near water waste pathways will suffer, harming livelihoods and the environment.

Malaysia’s centre for coastal studies has been conducting research on jellyfish and water quality. They tested water from canals near the farms and it was 94 times more polluted than a class five (severely polluted) water, according to the Department of Environment standards. A State Environment Committee chairman asserts that they are aware of the issue, and that the area is vital to relieving congestion on the island.

Be that as it may, the state should be doing all it can to prevent this catastrophic event from occurring. Jellyfish populations should not be allowed to increase to the point where fisheries no longer exist. I implore you to enforce stricter regulations on farms in addition to the requirement to adopt closed farming systems by 2019. If possible, you must address the issue of helping farmers reduce water waste pollution, and help them adopt closed farming systems sooner. I hope that you take into account the destructive consequences untreated animal waste can have, and act to protect the environment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pxhere

Revive the Northern White Rhino From Near-Extinction

Target: Jim Kurth, Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Support scientific endeavors to bring the northern white rhino back from near-extinction.

Scientists have discovered a way to preserve the northern white rhino as a subspecies even after the last remaining male died from health complications. This method is in-vitro fertilization coupled with stem cell science; frozen sperm from deceased male rhinos plus the eggs of the two last aging females would be implanted into the womb of female southern white rhinos.

However, this method is both controversial and still a fledgling idea. Currently, eggs and sperm alike have been frozen until scientists can figure out a foolproof way to implant them. But more than that, the idea has proven controversial, as conservationists believe the money required to fund this revival should be used to protect other species. While technically true, the northern white rhino’s near-extinct status should render it a priority at the moment, thus the need to back this endeavor.

A species hunted to near-extinction so rarely has the chance to be revived, and the northern white rhino deserves that chance. Sign this petition to support funding for the IVF and stem cell methods in saving this species.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Kurth,

The northern white rhino is on the brink of extinction after the last remaining male died of illness, but scientists have discovered a way to preserve the population via IVF. The eggs of the two remaining females plus sperm frozen from other deceased males would be implanted into the uterus of female southern white rhinos.

Unfortunately, in addition to the practice of rhino IVF still being in the fledgling stages, the plan has generated some controversy due to conservationists feeling other species are more deserving of the funding that would go into this plan. While it is good to protect as many endangered species as possible, the northern white rhino is in dire need of resuscitation. The only two remaining are elderly, and their time on this planet is limited.

You must support this endeavor wholeheartedly. The northern white rino deserves this chance at a revival, and is worth the funds necessary to make it possible. Support the scientists as they work to save this subspecies from completely disappearing.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sheep81

Do Not Allow the Hunting and Slaughtering of Crows

Target: Scott Darling, Wildlife Program Manager for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife

Goal: Put an end to the open season for hunting crows in the state of Vermont.

Wild crows were targeted by a Vermont hunting club that posted an event on Facebook, announcing that a ‘crow shoot’ would be taking place to see who could bring down the largest numbers of these intelligent native birds. The post generated outrage on social media among bird lovers and animal welfare advocates, prompting the hosts to cancel the event. While this is commendable, it does not change the fact that in the state of Vermont, crows can be legally hunted and killed each year in droves for no other reason than the apparent fun of it.

While crows are not an endangered species, they are a part of the native ecosystem in New England. Furthermore, studies have shown that members of the crow family are remarkably intelligent, rivaling the great apes and cetaceans on certain tests used to demonstrate problem-solving abilities. Allowing people to senselessly kill these birds for recreation is cruel and must not be tolerated.

Crows have every right to exist and be given the chance to coexist with humanity. Sign the petition to demand that the state remove its open season on these birds once and for all.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Darling,

Crows are native inhabitants of Vermont that have existed in the state for far longer than humans. They are intelligent, social creatures that are adaptable and can live alongside people in peace. There is no reason to kill these birds, except out of spite or bloodlust. That is why we are calling on you to put an end to the open season for crows in your state.

Crows should not be subjected to killing contests for entertainment or publicity purposes. To prevent hunting organizations from staging these barbaric events, we urge you to ban all crow hunts going forward.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Grendelkhan

Success: Trump Signs Bill to Stop Wall From Destroying Wildlife Refuge

Target: Scott Nicol, co-chairman of the Sierra Club Borderlands

Goal: Celebrate the omission of the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge from the border wall plans.

Earlier in 2018, we at ForeceChange crafted a petition which our community supported, to stop the Trump administration from continuing with the border wall pilot project that would have destroyed habitats for over 4,000 species at the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Recently, a spending bill was passed which omitted the refuge from border plans, saving all the species at the refuge. This haven for animals was an easy target because it was federally owned, and the administration could bypass all environmental assessments without considering the many species that called it home, some of which were endangered. 

Although the wall is still being slated to be built, the Santa Ana refuge is exempt. This is a victory for many environmentalists across the nation, and for the community here on ForceChange. Politicizing the issue brought animal and land conservation to the front and helped save thousands of species. These animals would have had their movements restricted and many would have been trapped by the wall, preventing them from migrating. As a result of the bill, there will be no barriers built in Santa Ana.

Many landowners will also feel relief, as they will not be displaced and their properties will not be jeopardized. Over 400 bird species, 450 plant species, butterflies, and the rare Texas cabal palm will be saved. Let’s celebrate this victory by acknowledging that this was made possible by various environmentalists and lobbyists across the nation in person and online. Sign the petition below to share the victory with Scott Nicol, co-chairman of the Sierra Club Borderlands.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Nicol,

You are aware that the President recently signed a spending bill that omitted the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge from the border wall. There will be no barriers built across the refuge, saving over 400 bird species, 450 plant species, butterflies, and the rare Texas cabal palm from destruction. Homeowners will also rejoice, because they will not be displaced and their properties will be protected.

This milestone was made possible by collaboration and coordination across many different environmental groups and lobbyists throughout the nation. Although the wall is still being built across other areas, the fact that we help saved this wildlife refuge is still something to be celebrated. I hope that you continue to fight for the environment and any injustices that the administration would inflict on our planet. Thank you for all your admirable work.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Eugenio del Bosque Gomez