One of the most iconic images of American life, that of circus elephants joined trunk-to-tail as they lumber along to delight “children of all ages,” as the old saying goes, is about to be debated in a courtroom. Are the beasts docile because they are highly intelligent and respond well to training, reinforced with the promise of apples, carrots, water and kindness at day’s end? Or do they obey because their spirits have been broken and they fear getting hit by their trainers? These are among the questions that will be asked when a lawsuit by a coalition of animal rights’ groups [including Born Free USA united with API] against the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus and its parent company opens in federal court on Wednesday.
Suit Challenges Image of Circus Elephants as Willing Performers
The New York Times
"An animal abuse trial against Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is set to begin next week in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C."
For more on Born Free USA united with API's involvement in this landmark case, which will be heard beginning February 3 before U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, click here.
Trial set on treatment of circus elephants
Natalie Neysa Alund
An African elephant never forgets — especially when it comes to the loss of its kin, according to researchers at the University of Washington. Their findings, published online in the journal, Molecular Ecology, reveal that the negative effects of poaching persist for decades after the killing has ended.
Born Free USA has long recognized the damage poaching has done to elephant populations, as discussed in this recent article.
Human actions are increasing the rate of evolutionary change in plants and animals in ways that may hurt their long-term prospects for survival, scientists are reporting. Hunting, commercial fishing and some conservation regulations, like minimum size limits on fish, may all work against species health. Reproducing at a younger age and smaller size allowed organisms to leave offspring before they were caught or killed. But some evidence suggests that they may not reproduce as well. Fish that are reproducing earlier “on average have far, far, far fewer eggs than those who wait an additional year and grow a few more centimeters.”
Born Free USA has long maintained that hunting to “manage” wildlife is counterproductive.
Research Ties Human Acts to Harmful Rates of Species Evolution
The New York Times
NY Assemblyman Greg Ball (R-Patterson) promised to introduce legislation in Albany to "combat bush meat" — entrees named for their origins, which is mostly the African forest, or bush. The legislation would aim to keep elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, forest antelope and other African and Asian creatures off American plates, helping curtail what some say is a major threat to wildlife and ecosystems around the world. Bush meat also poses a health risk, said Adam Roberts of Born Free USA, an animal advocacy group. Bush-meat consumption has been linked to the transmission of HIV, Ebola and foot-and-mouth disease. Roberts is helping Ball formulate his legislation.
Assemblyman Ball aims to halt bush-meat sales
The Journal News
2008 was a rotten year for many people. And it wasn't only humans who had a hard time. What started as a lark, a review of animal-related news in 2008, [in San Bernardino County,] turned into the discovery that the year's stories of pets and wild creatures were occasionally uplifting, but were often tales of struggle and pain.
Nearly all of the incidents in this story touch on issues that concern Born Free USA.
2008 was a year to forget, even for animals
The Sun (San Bernardino, CA)
The last days of 2008. A new year, full of promise, expectation — and uncertainty — looms. What will it hold? Dreams come true or dreams shattered?
Without doubt, the coming months will turbulent. The hopes of half the world seem to rest on the shoulders of President-elect Obama, hope for a new way of doing things, a new sense of humanity and compassion, a kinder and more inclusive world.