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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Reptiles, Daycare, and Mixed Messages

Published 08/25/08
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

Recently I was dismayed to discover that a “special guest” was invited to my daughter’s daycare.

This “special guest” brought in exotic wild animals, mostly reptiles (pythons, hog-nosed snakes, iguanas) who were transported into the classroom in an ice chest and then carried around and restrained while the children were encouraged to pet them.

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Kill a tree or choke a seal?

Published 08/18/08
By Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate

“Paper or plastic?”

It’s a question asked millions of times a day and a decision that many of us make on a weekly basis. ... It’s a loaded question.

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Sacking the Plastic Sack

Published 08/15/08
By Barbara Schmitz, Senior Program Associate

I discovered during a recent phone call with my sister that, sometimes, genetics overrides social norms. Despite living on opposite coasts — my sister lives in Maryland and I live in California — my sister and I have each developed an unusual habit: We pick up trash. We are not the folks who are paid, professional waste collectors. Instead, we are a bit more targeted in our refuse pick-up.

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How to kill an elephant

Published 08/13/08
By Zibby Wilder, Director of Public Relations

On a dreary January morning in 1903, a crowd estimated at some 1,500 gathered in the off-season quiet of Coney Island, to witness what The New York Times termed "a rather inglorious affair."

Topsy, a six-ton, female Indian elephant in a circus, had recently developed a bad temper, and killing three circus workers in as many years. Each had in one way or another abused her. After a failed attempt to publicly poison Topsy by feeding her cyanide-laced carrots, and flawed plans to have her hanged, officials instead decided to electrocute Topsy as part of a publicity stunt on behalf of Thomas Edison.

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Fitting Square Pegs into Round Holes

Published 08/11/08
By Adam M. Roberts, Senior Vice President

It’s been a real revelation in the past two decades to watch zoos (and circuses) cling desperately to their desire to maintain elephants in captivity. I’ve said it hundreds of times, but just because some people want to see elephants up close doesn’t mean that have a right to do so.

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Lawmakers above the Law

Published 08/08/08
By Barbara Schmitz, Senior Program Associate

I’m always intrigued by the headlines blaring out the latest “bad act” perpetrated by an elected official. After many years of advocating for stronger laws for animals, I remain convinced that most public officials care about the needs of their constituents and do their best to advance the public good.

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A Rare Breed of Love and Other Inspirations

Published 08/06/08
By Sandy Haynes, Grassroots Coordinator

I love being inspired. And that’s just how I felt recently at the Taking Action For Animals conference in the Washington, DC area. I was there representing Born Free USA united with API at our exhibitor’s booth throughout the weekend, and had the privilege of talking with many people who are making a difference all around the country for a cause they care passionately about — the welfare of animals.

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The scarier the better!

Published 07/28/08
By Zibby Wilder, Director of Public Relations

It’s summer and, as usual, sharks are in the news. Not for attacks on swimmers, but because the latest studies show that of 21 species of sharks and rays, more than half are being fished to extinction. As are their prey.

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