Born Free USA: 2009, the Year in Review
SB 391 prohibits future private ownership of exotic pets, including wild cats, primates, bears, crocodiles, and alligators in Oregon, and was signed into law by Governor Kulongoski in July..
HB 6552 was signed into law by Governor Rell in June and adds great apes to the list of exotic species banned as pets in the state of Connecticut.
In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law AB 708, which significantly increases penalties for illegal poaching of wildlife.
Endangered Asian elephants finally got their day in Federal court when Born Free USA, along with several other national organizations, sued Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for its alleged mistreatment of the elephants in their care in violation of the Endangered Species Act. These elephants often endure beatings with bullhooks; they may be forced to stand chained up to 26 hours on hard surfaces while in transport; and they are forced to perform degrading tricks as entertainment. Our case is now in the hands of Judge Emmet Sullivan. A decision could come any day now.
Rescued from roadside zoos, research facilities and private ownership, more than 500 macaques, vervets, and baboons have found a permanent home and a second chance at life at Born Free USA's 186-acre Primate Sanctuary.
We recently welcomed two macaques to the sanctuary: Tamae is an 8-year-old female snow monkey and Khy is a 2-year-old male snow monkey. Unlike many rescues where the animals are kept in deplorable conditions, these two were well cared for by loving families who came to the conclusion that it was time for their charges to have an opportunity to live their lives as real monkeys. Born Free USA works to give all animals a chance to live in comfort, dignity, and with the company of others of their kind.
In the field
Only 500 Ethiopian wolves remain. To fight their extinction, Born Free USA is waging an extensive campaign to vaccinate both wolves and dogs against rabies. Vaccination is an endeavor that is costly but vital to prevent vicious outbreaks from becoming a deadly epidemic.
We're committed to rescuing lions from zoos, circuses, and other captive situations and relocating them to our partner sanctuaries in Africa. And when news reports surfaced about lion cubs at a zoo in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia being slaughtered and sold to taxidermists to help offset the $1,000 operational deficit each month, Born Free sprung into action and we're now working to rescue all of these animals and transfer them to a new wildlife center in Ethiopia.
We're providing supplemental feeding to prevent more Kenyan hippos from dying of starvation as a result of severe drought on the Horn of Africa.
In March 2010, a Born Free USA delegation will head to Doha, Qatar for the 15th Meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). There, government representatives from 175 nations will decide the fate of bobcats, elephants, tigers, rhinos, polar bears, sharks, reptiles, amphibians, and even bluefin tuna. We will fight hard for these and other imperiled species.
Legislation co-written and backed by Born Free USA is under serious consideration now in the United States Congress. If passed into law, The Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 80) bans interstate and foreign trade of primates for use as pets. Overwhelmingly approved by the House in February, the bill awaits passage in the Senate.
The Bear Protection Act (H.R. 3480) would prohibit import, export or interstate commerce in bear gallbladders and bile, helping to end the senseless slaughter of American black bears for their body parts. While this bill has passed twice in the Senate previously, protection efforts have been thwarted by organizations such as the NRA and Safari Club.
H.R. 3710, the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, sponsored by Representative Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), proposes to ban all body-gripping traps — snare, Conibear, and steel-jaw leghold — from being used on National Wildlife Refuges. If passed, the bill would make it illegal to trap on National Wildlife Refuges, thereby creating a safe haven for wildlife to dwell without unnatural, and cruel, threats.
National Bird Day
Every January 5 is National Bird Day — a day to reflect on the native bird species flying outside our own windows as well as to draw attention to the way in which other countries' native bird species are exploited within the US pet industry. In 2010, we celebrate with city and state proclamations, a Spot Your State Bird contest, educational poster distribution, and various fundraising and awareness activities across the nation. Learn more at www.nationalbirdday.com.
After hosting our inaugural, national fffashion competition in 2009 in which designers entered their fur-free designs for a chance at cash and other prizes as well as a full-page ad in E Magazine, we are already planning a second, successful event in 2010. More information can be found at www.bornfreeusa.org/fffashion.
Read our 2012, Year in Review.
Read our 2011, Year in Review.
Read our 2010, Year in Review.