Don’t Let Hunters Slaughter Grizzly Bears

Target: Keith Culver, President of the Game and Fish Commission, Wyoming

Goal: Do not allow the hunting of grizzly bears in Wyoming following the Trump administration’s removal of their endangered species protections.

Wyoming is pushing for grizzly bear hunts to begin this fall after Yellowstone grizzly bears were stripped of their endangered species protections. Although the bears are still protected within Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, they will be at risk of being killed when they roam outside those borders. As a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity stated, “Wyoming’s reckless hunt ignores the fact that grizzly bears remain endangered in Yellowstone and across the West. It’s tragic that these imperiled animals will be shot and killed so trophy hunters can stick heads on their walls.”

Unlike Wyoming, Montana—which also contains land in these national parks—has recommended that grizzly hunting not be allowed. The bears are still at risk as a species because of isolation from other grizzly populations, the loss of vital food sources, and deaths caused by humans via hunting and other activities. Yellowstone’s bears in particular are so isolated that the government must truck bears into the area regularly. They also face the collapse of food sources in their ecosystem, like white bark pine and cutthroat trout. These threats will only increase with droughts and climate change. Currently, grizzly bears occupy under 4% of the land that they once did in the United States. Sign below to protect the iconic grizzly bear and demand that Wyoming put a stop to grizzly hunts.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Culver,

Allowing grizzly bear hunts in Wyoming is dangerous and irresponsible. Despite their removal from the endangered species list, Yellowstone grizzlies still face serious threats. Isolation, the loss of their food sources, and human-caused deaths from hunting are major risks that could threaten the species with extinction once again. To allow these animals to be hunted when they roam off the lands of the national parks is unacceptable.

Montana has made moves against grizzly hunting this year, for good reason. Apart from conservation alone, Yellowstone grizzlies are famous—they provide a major tourist attraction for your state. As Andrea Santarsiere of the Center for Biological Diversity says, “Yellowstone’s amazing grizzly bears are loved by people around the world and they deserve a real shot at survival. It’s horrific that Wyoming doesn’t see the intrinsic value that these bears bring to the state’s landscape.” I urge you to follow Montana’s lead in protecting these iconic and innocent animals. Please do not allow the hunting of grizzly bears.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: I-Ting Chiang

Trump: Reinstate Trophy Ban on Elephant Parts

Target: Donald Trump, President of the United States

Goal: Reinstate ban on elephant part imports that promote trophy hunting.

President Trump has repealed a ban on the import of legally hunted elephant remains, or “trophies,” from Zimbabwe and Zambia that was put in place while President Obama was in office. This is the second time this year that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has brought up the idea of easing trophy import restrictions. The first time, Trump criticized trophy hunting, calling it a “horror show.” This time, however, his actions speak louder than words.

In November 2017, when discussions on lifting the elephant part import ban first came up, public outrage ensued. Conservationists as well as celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Leonardo DiCaprio spoke out about opposing the lift of the ban. In response to the outrage, President Trump announced that he would “review all conservation facts” before making any decision. He went on to say that he would be “very hard-pressed” to lift the ban and that, in his opinion, big game hunting doesn’t help the “conservation of elephants or any other animal.”

Despite the remarks that President Trump made in November, an official FWS memo dated March 1, 2018 states that imported trophies will now be considered “on a case-by-case basis” as opposed to banning the trophies outright. The agency has rationalized the decision by assuming that big game hunters will assist in conservation efforts in an attempt to be able to continue their cruel leisure activity. Conservationist groups like the Humane Society and Save the Elephants have stated continuously that trophy hunting is never beneficial for the animals being hunted and is especially worrisome for the elephant populations in the countries that the ban was protecting: Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sign this petition to urge President Trump to reinstate the ban on all elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Trump,

In January of 2018, Piers Morgan interviewed you. You stated that you “[didn’t] want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this [country].” You have also referred to big game hunting as a “horror show.” These public remarks contradict the actions taken by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under your command to lift the Obama-era ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Big game hunting needs to be stopped not only in order to save animals that are endangered or part of a declining population, but also because the practice itself is cruel towards other living things. I urge you to stop considering any big game hunting appropriate, even on a case-by-case basis, and reinstate the ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Charles-J-Sharp

Don’t Force Animal Control to Slaughter Wildlife

Target: Cameron F. Clark, Director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Goal: Do not require animal control officers to euthanize healthy ‘nuisance’ animals removed from properties.

Animal removal specialists may soon be required to euthanize any animals they take from properties if a new rule change occurs in the state of Indiana. According to some pest control experts, the change could result in the wholesale slaughter of raccoons, opossums, coyotes and other animals, along with the possibility that domestic animals such as chickens could be targeted as well. Demand that this inhumane proposal be stopped in its tracks before it has the chance to potentially endanger many innocent lives.

Currently, healthy animals removed by state animal control officers and licensed specialists are released in designated areas. Changing the rule to require that all captured animals be killed, regardless of their health or temperament, will likely result in thousands of animals being needlessly slaughtered each year. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has stated that the population of raccoons, coyotes and other species must be controlled to prevent the spread of disease, but there is no scientific evidence to back up their claims.

This rule change is reckless and harmful not just to native wildlife but to all animals in Indiana as a whole. Sign below and demand that animal control officers be allowed to conduct their jobs humanely.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Director Clark,

Currently, animal control officers and pest removal specialists are permitted to humanely release healthy wildlife removed from properties in specially designated areas. Your department’s proposal to change this rule and instead require that all captured animals be killed is appalling. Not only will it likely result in the slaughter of thousands of native creatures each year, it may also put livestock and pets at risk.

There is no scientific evidence that killing so-called ‘nuisance’ animals will control their populations or lower the incidence of disease. That is why we urge you to not to enforce this unconscionable rule that will endanger all animals living in Indiana.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Darkone

Stop Killing of Jaguars for Construction

Target: Xi Jinping, President of China

Goal: Stop China’s use of endangered jaguars’ body parts for their construction projects.

The South American jaguar population is on a rapid decline, and Chinese construction projects have just been uncovered as the main reason. Endangered animal parts such as bones, fangs, and skins have been in high demand in China due to their alleged medicinal properties, particularly the organs of the jaguar and other big cats. Over 100 jaguars have been killed in less than a year to provide these parts.

We cannot let this continue. Not only is the trade and use of animal body parts unethical and technically illegal, the loss of any species is detrimental to the ecosystem. Jaguars are beautiful and graceful animals who have already been facing endangerment for years, and now they could disappear completely thanks to these projects. Worse, South America is enabling the loss of this species via an illegal trade route to China, providing them with the parts they claim to need.

In order to stop the illegal trade of jaguar body parts and save the species, we must attack the root of the problem. Sign this petition to demand China stop their purchase of jaguar parts and revise their construction plans to be more ethical and environmentally friendly.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Xi,

Construction projects in China are the root of the near-extinction of South America’s jaguar population. Construction workers are purchasing the skin, bones, and fangs of jaguars through an illegal trade route, claiming the need for the parts’ medicinal properties. This is both unethical and dangerous, as the loss of the species will damage South America’s ecosystem.

You must call for a ban on the purchase of jaguar parts immediately. Jaguars deserve better than to be killed and chopped up for parts, especially parts whose medicinal properties may very well just be a myth. Furthermore, these projects must be revised to comply with environmental protection standards overall. Animals should not have to die for progress and development.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: cmart29

Justice for 200 Birds Found in Cockfighting Raid

Target: Alan Blankenship, Associate Circuit Judge, Stone County Circuit Court, Missouri

Goal: Ensure that the criminal leading a cockfighting ring serves the maximum sentence and pays maximum fines.

More than 200 birds were rescued from a property associated with cockfighting in Missouri recently. Investigators found birds in ramshackle wire cages, with no access to food or water. Several birds were found with injuries that were in line with cockfighting; cockfighting paraphernalia such as gaffs, spurs, and drugs (to maximize injury and enhance performance, respectively) were also found on the property. The cockfighting operation was discovered during an investigation that initially involved a search warrant for narcotics. The ASPCA was contacted, and both authorities carried out the warrant.

Cockfighting causes extreme injuries to the animals. Common injuries include broken bones, punctured lungs, and pierced eyes. The gaffs and spurs found cause these injuries, and the steroids cause enhanced aggression in the birds. There is a maximum fine of $10,000 and separate sentences of up to four years in prison for possession of paraphernalia and possession of birds.

There is no excuse for condoning such a distasteful activity. Demand the criminal who forced these animals to fight and suffer terrible conditions receive the maximum penalty for each offense.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Judge Blankenship,

According to several sources including the ASPCA, more than 200 birds were rescued recently from a property associated with cockfighting in Stone County, Missouri. Police were initially at the site with a search warrant for narcotics, but soon discovered paraphernalia for cockfighting. Authorities found  steroids to enhance aggression in the birds and fighting paraphernalia such as knives and daggers that would be attached to the birds at the property. In addition, birds were found in makeshift wire cages with no access to food or water. As you know, possession of birds and paraphernalia for fighting, and conducting a cockfight, have a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison each. An offender can also be fined up to $10,000.

I ask that you fine whoever led this cockfighting ring the maximum fine and sentence them to the appropriate number of years in prison. This illegal act condemns birds to inhumane conditions and makes them suffer from terrible injuries such as punctured lungs, pierced eyes, and broken bones. Whether it be dog or rooster, no animal should be forced to fight another for human entertainment. I hope that you think of the two hundred birds found at this residence; many of them have already been forced to endure atrocious conditions and serious injuries.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: JohnstonDJ

Make Access to Healthy Environment a Human Right

Target: Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program

Goal: Support framework that would help defend environmentalists, not criminalize them.

John Knox, a rapporteur on human rights and the environment for the UN, is pushing to make the right to a healthy environment a human right. Environmentalists are targeted for defending the environment and vulnerable communities. Even more so in recent years, conservationists have been kidnapped, arrested, prosecuted, and outcasted for their work. Big business and those who have big stakes in natural resources such as land often target environmentalists who oppose their agenda. Last year, 197 environmentalists were murdered, according to Global Witness, a monitoring group.

However, the UN and other nations are showing support for the environment and its allies. The UN is currently scaling up training for judges, prosecutors, and police in environmental law. They also encourage them to work with companies who invest in human rights. Although environmental rights are still yet to be recognized in many nations, Knox is pushing for a UN resolution, which includes a policy framework to help support environmentalists and not criminalize them. His first policy is that states should ensure a safe, clean, and healthy environment that respects, protects, and fulfills human rights. His understanding of human and environmental rights allows him to see the connection between the two spheres.

Furthermore, he is pushing for support for vulnerable groups and acknowledgement of the role of business and governments in environmental and human rights.

Environmental rights are deeply intertwined with human rights. Often, those who cannot defend their own land and resources (water, food, air) suffer from exploitation. Knox’s ideas to implement a policy framework to support environmentalists and for the UN to recognize a healthy environment as a human right will help protect vulnerable communities and environmentalists. Sign the petition below to urge the UN to implement this framework.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Solheim,

The UN Environment Program is committed to improving the quality of life and environment for people without compromising that of future generations. In order to ensure quality of life for future generations, we must recognize that a healthy environment is a human right. Many groups and communities are vulnerable to environmental exploitation, for example through land grabs, illegal development, and development that promotes pollution. John Knox, the rapporteur on human rights and the environment, is proposing that a policy framework be put into place to help protect environmentalists and to also recognize a healthy environment as a human right.

Although the UN is committed to making sure that judges, police, and prosecutors are receiving more training in environmental law, we must extend this consideration to environmentalists and conservationists. Often, they are criminalized, but they are the ones who champion human and environmental rights when authorities and other groups do not.

Environmental health is closely linked to human health. People living in terrible conditions, ingesting polluted waters, inhaling polluted air, and having no access to natural resources, have their human rights revoked. They can no longer live in with dignity when they have no access to a healthy, clean environment. I urge you to push the UN to consider environmental rights as human rights and promote the policy framework to support environmentalists.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Osakabe Yasuo

Protect the Amazon from Deforestation

Target: Juwang Zhu, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development (DESA)

Goal: Amend Brazil’s new Forest Code to protect the Amazon.

The Amazon is in danger thanks to Brazil’s new Forest Code. The code, which was approved in the country’s Supreme Court recently, will have negative effects on the environment, as it places lax regulations around deforestation and does not protect the environment. In short, the new code, which replaces the 2012 code, puts economic interests above environmental protection. This new code is critical to Brazil’s future, as the Amazon nears a tipping point at which the forest will permanently become a savannah. This has implications for biodiversity, water supply, and climate change.

The new code was supported by an agribusiness lobby that ran propaganda in the news promoting ruralist interests and presenting them as scientific information. As a result, many parts of the code allow deforestation and development. An example is that deforesters who illegally cleared forest before 2008 will not be forced to pay the fines enforced on them. A member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences claims that this new code regularizes deforestation and and holds nobody accountable.

Conservations are concerned that illegally deforested lands will not be reforested without strict enforcement. Others are doubting the country’s judicial system and its ability to deliberate on complex technical questions regarding deforestation, socio-environmental issues, and climate change. Although the new code recognized the consequences of deforestation and set a basis for future socio-environmental cases, the Supreme Court did not uphold the constitution when it came to protecting the environment. They are allowing development and deforestation to continue. Sign the petition below to urge the Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, which holds the Committee for Forestry, to urge Brazil to amend the new code and implement more pro-environment policies.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Zhu,

In Brazil, a new code that replaced the 2012 Forest Code was approved recently. In it, it is obvious that the agribusiness and economic interests are favored over environmental protection. Farming on floodplains, urbanization projects, and no obligation to reforest illegally deforested areas are only a few of the policies deemed constitutional under the new code. Illegally deforested land may never be reforested again, as offenders are not being held accountable for their actions.

This new code is critical in Brazil’s history as the Amazon might reach its tipping point soon—the point at which the forest will turn into a savannah—causing extremely negative consequences. These consequences are tied to climate change, loss of biodiversity, and social and environmental issues. Without a voice to defend the environment, Brazil’s forests will continue to be cut down, with little hope of recovery.

As the Director of Sustainable Development and overseer of the Committee for Forestry, you are in a unique position to urge Brazil to amend the code. Although the code may now be the law of the land, perhaps they can set a precedent and amend a Supreme Court ruling if it means protecting the environment. I hope that you speak out against the new code and all the future consequences that will stem from it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Josh Estey

Stop Cruel Plan to Slaughter Pigs Faster

Target: Sonny Ramaswamy, Director of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Goal: Stop proposal that would lead to more painful deaths for slaughtered pigs.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System would remove speed limits at pig slaughterhouses. This means slaughterhouses can increase production even more, totaling up to 1,300 pigs or more per hour, an increase from the average 1,100 every hour today. This is problematic for animal and workers’ welfare.

Workers might resort to excess force using electric prods when moving animals down the line. Furthermore, pigs might not be stunned efficiently, meaning they could become conscious during the killing process. Workers might handle the animals more roughly because they are being pressured to work more in order to kill more pigs in a day. This proposal mirrors the National Chicken Council’s petition to speed up poultry slaughter, which was rejected by the USDA.

Slaughtering pigs is already an inhumane act, and this new proposal to remove speed slaughter limits would impose even harsher conditions for animals. Sign the petition below to urge the USDA to stop the proposal and consider animal welfare.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Ramaswamy,

As the Director of the National Institude of Food and Agriculture, you have a responsibility to help solve challenges regarding food and agriculture. Recently, the USDA announced a New Swine Slaughter Inspection System, which would remove the speed limit of killing pigs in slaughterhouses. This would mean an increase from 1,100 pigs to 1,300 pigs per hour. This might also mean pigs are not stunned properly, resulting in pigs gaining consciousness during slaughter. Workers might feel the need to use excessive force through electric prods and rough handling to speed up slaughter and meet daily goals.

There is no need for a greater production from slaughterhouses. Already, they produce over 120 million pigs per year to feed the meat industry. We should be taking measures to reduce our carbon footprint through less meat consumption and looking into plant-based alternatives. Faster slaughter speeds will not only overwork slaughterhouse employees, they will jeopardize animal welfare. USDA has already rejected the National Chicken Council’s proposal to speed up poultry slaughter, and I hope USDA does the same for pigs. It would be hypocritical and unjust for you to pass a proposal similar to one that was rejected. I hope that you speak out against this new proposal and help protect animal welfare.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: PxHere

Investigate Suspicious Death of Imprisoned Wildlife Advocate

Target: Seyyed Alireza Avaei, Iran Minister of Justice

Goal: Urge Iranian authorities to conduct a fair investigation into alleged suicide by imprisoned conservationist.

Iranian-Canadian conservationist Seyed Emami was found dead in a high-security prison, where he allegedly committed suicide. However, his family and the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights suspect foul play and are urging Iranian authorities to conduct a non-biased investigation to uncover the truth. The tension between conservatives and other more progressive groups have led to many disputes, including other environmentalists’ arrests around the same time as Emami.

A sociology professor and director of the private environmental organization Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Emami pursued social and environmental changes in Iran. He was accused of being a spy for the United States and Israel. Authorities claimed that the cameras installed by his foundation to track rare animals like the Persian leopard were actually being used to monitor Iranian missile activities and report to foreigners. Emami’s sons claim that these charges are ridiculous, especially since the cameras are cheap, can be bought anywhere, and could only capture up to 25 meters or 82 feet.

After his funeral, a deputy prosecutor revealed footage from the prison to Emami’s sons. In it, he is seen making the bed, putting a shirt around his neck, and going into the bathroom. Seven hours later they bring him out dead. His sons suspect foul play because the prison is high security and they feel that the whole incident was staged. Furthermore, Emami’s character was positive and unrelenting, and suicide would not have be an option, according to his sons.

Environmentalists should not be imprisoned on weak charges and be put in danger. Urge the Iranian authorities to conduct a fair investigation into his death. This might prevent further deaths for the six other environmentalists being detained with no access to legal council should it be revealed that authorities were involved in his death. Protect rights of people who are only trying to protect the environment; people who serve the public and the environment.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Avaei,

An Iranian conservationist in prison was recently pronounced dead, allegedly having committed suicide in a high-security prison. Seyed Emami was a professor of sociology and director of the environmental organization Persian Wildlife Foundation. He was charged on suspicion of being a spy for the United States and Israel because of the cameras his foundation installed to monitor rare animals such as the Persian leopard. Authorities claimed that these cameras were actually being used to record Iranian missile activities and that these records were being reported to foreigners.

These weak charges are hardly cause for arrest, and furthermore, his family and even the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights suspects foul play. Surveillance revealed that he made his bed, put on a shirt around his neck, and then brought out dead seven hours later. The incident seemed staged, according to his family. The UN is urging Iranian authorities to conduct a fair investigation into Emami’s death, something he deserves. He believed in protecting the environment and the public, and creating positive changes in Iran.

Mr. Avaei, show the rest of the world that Iran has a judiciary system that respects its citizens and allows them a fair trial. Help uncover the truth behind Emami’s death if there was foul play, and conduct a fair investigation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Seyed Emami family

Stop Purging Climate Change Information From EPA Website

Target: Harvey Simon, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Information

Goal: Reinstate climate change information for local governments to the EPA website.

“To reflect the approach of new leadership.” When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently defended the decision to remove anti-discrimination language from HUD’s mission statement, his words echoed an equally controversial defense from EPA chief Scott Pruitt. In mid-2017, the agency began quietly removing any references to human-induced climate change from its website. They more recently compounded this highly questionable maneuver by ‘archiving’ subpages and links intended to help local governments prepare for the effects of global warming. The climate change deniers who now run the EPA are denying the public essential facts and information.

In the April 2017 purge, specific sections devoted to climate change topics were taken down, replaced with indefinite messages about website ‘updates.’  Now, countless pages of scientific studies and factual information have been relegated to the EPA archives. An assistant to Pruitt argued for this purge and touted how the EPA wanted to strengthen its partnerships with local agencies, yet just a few short months later vital sources of information and aid were stripped away from these local partners. The most recent omissions include state strategies for emissions control and extreme weather response. In addition, at least 15 references to climate change on the former Climate and Energy Resources(now simply Energy Resources) page were removed.

Suppressing information is a favorite tactic of current officials, if the alleged Centers for Disease Control list of forbidden words –among these “science-based”—is any indication. Recently released documents show that the Trump administration targeted the EPA website as early as its first week in office. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt personally oversaw all material removed from the website, with special focus on Clean Power Plan goals and a climate change page for children with upwards of one million views monthly.

Do not let the EPA strike another blow through its dangerous denial of the environment’s greatest adversary. Demand the EPA website and, more importantly, the agency itself acknowledge the reality of climate change today.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Simon,

Your website has become a repository of updates and archives. This has allegedly been done to “reflect the priorities of the current administration.” Do not forget that your number one and guiding priority—your allegiance—is found in the very name of your agency: environmental protection.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do….I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” Nearly every reputable scientist in the world would disagree with Administrator Pruitt on this point. The final outcome, however, is not for the Administrator or for any scientist to decide.

The EPA website was designed as a means of connecting the public to this organization. Each individual can draw his or her own conclusion, but this conclusion must come from a well-informed, objective place. Scrubbing evidence that does not fit with one’s personal agenda is doing a disservice to the EPA website’s mission and to the people it serves. More so, failing to connect your local partners with vital information sources that will better equip them to address climate change impacts on their communities is a serious dereliction of duty.

Do the right thing and restore these important aids as well as all climate change information to your website today. Give the people the facts, not “priorities.”

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kentee Gardin