Animal Welfare Board of India bans circus use of elephants

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:
MUMBAI––The Animal Welfare Board of India on November 15,
2013 announced that it will no longer license elephants for circus use,
and will prosecute circuses that use sick, injured, and unlicensed
The AWBI acted in response to a nine-month investigation by a
team including representatives from the advocacy organizations
PETA/India and Animal Rahat, reported Vijay Singh of the Times of
“PETA/India’s findings will be forwarded to the Central Zoo
Authority for further action,” Singh added.
The Central Zoo Authority in November 2009 decreed that
elephants may no longer be exhibited by zoos and circuses, but had been
unable to enforce the decree against circuses while the Animal Welfare
Board continued to authorize elephant use.
The Supreme Court of India in 2001 upheld a ban on the use of
bears, monkeys, and big cats in circuses. More than 280 lions, 40
tigers, and scores of aging ex-performing bears were transferred to
CZA-accredited Animal Rescue Centres near Agra, Bangalore, Bhopal,
Chennai, Jaipur, Tirupati, and Visakhapatnam. Since many of those
animals are now deceased, some of the Animal Rescue Centre space may
now be converted to house ex-circus elephants.
India has about 3,500 captive elephants, the most of any
nation; a 3,500-year history of elephant use and exhibition; about
28,000 elephants left in the wild, more than half of the total
population of Asian elephants; and the longest record of protecting
both elephants and elephant habitat, beginning about 2,240 years ago.

Walking horse trainer faces state charges after federal case is dropped

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


SHELBYVILLE, Tennessee––A Blount County grand jury on
December 2, 2013 indicted Tennessee walking horse trainer Larry Joe
Wheelon, 68, and stable workers Randall Stacy Gunter, 44, and
Brandon Randall Lunsford, 32, on 18 counts each of aggravated cruelty
to livestock animals and conspiracy to commit the cruelty.
Each faces 13 felony counts plus five misdemeanor counts.
Farrier Blake T. Primm was indicted for one felony cruelty count
and one misdemeanor conspiracy count, both involving the same horse.
The indictments allege that the four men “Did purchase, mix
and/or apply acid or other caustic substances or chemicals to exposed
areas of walking horses, in a depraved and sadistic manner, without
justifiable or lawful purpose, and did purchase, mix and/or apply
compounds, including blistering compounds, to inflict burns, cuts,
lacerations, or other injuries or pain, to the legs or hooves of
walking horses,” in order to force the horses into a high-stepping
show gait called “The Big Lick.”

Read more

Illegal horse track busted

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2013:


ALBUQUERQUE––New Mexico State Police, Valencia County
Sheriff’s detectives and the Department of Homeland Security on
November 20, 2013 raided an unlicensed horse racing track near Las
Lunas that had allegedly held twice-a-month racing cards attracting
hundreds of bettors for years.
“The facility includes starting gates and a well-maintained
track surface,” reported Crystal Gutierrez of KRQE-TV in Albuquerque.
“They were set up for photo finishes at the end,” said New
Mexico State Police Major Ryan Suggs.
The raid came a year after KQRE reporter Larry Barker included
the Las Lunas track in an exposé of illegal activities associated with
horse racing throughout New Mexico. “Barker’s undercover
investigation showed it wasn’t just the horses that drew many to the
events; it was also the money. The investigation revealed the jockeys
also scored big, the races were fixed, and horses were often drugged,”
recounted Gutierrez.

Bands bail on SeaWorld

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  November/December 2013:

ORLANDO,  SAN FRANCISCO,  TAIJI––Shortlisted for Oscar consideration as “Best Documentary of 2013,”  the Gabriela Cowperthwaite exposé of SeaWorld Blackfish between November 28 and December 14,  2013 persuaded all six original headline bands and one of the replacements to withdraw from scheduled performances at the SeaWorld “Bands, Brew & BBQ Fest,”  due to begin on February 1,  2014. Read more

Illegally captured Korean dolphins freed

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

The Korean Animal Welfare Association in July 2013 celebrated the successful release of the bottlenose dolphins Sampal and Chunsam,  shown en route to release,  and Jedol,  who were the surviviors among 11 dolphins who were illegally captured in  2009 for the Jeju Pacific Land marine park. Jeju District Court Judge Kim Kyeong-seon in April 2012  fined Jeju Pacific Land $9,000,  issued suspended jail sentences to the company president and one employee,  and ordered that the five dolphins from the illegal capture who were still alive and still at the marine park be released.  Five dolphins had died. Jedol had reportedly been traded to the Seoul Grand Park Zoo for two sea lions.   Read more

Taiji plans swim-with-dolphins attraction

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

TAIJI,  Japan––Notorious as scene of the dolphin massacres shown by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove,  Taiji “has begun researching a plan to section off part of a cove and turn it into a place where people can swim in the water and kayak alongside small whales and dolphins,”  Agence France-Presse reported in October 2013,  confirming rumors circulating since March 2012. Read more

Blackfish bites, but SeaWorld isn’t tanking

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

ORLANDO––SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc on November 13,  2013 reported partial recovery from a year-long attendance slide,  plus record third quarter revenue of $538.4 million. The financial data cooled speculation that the July 2013 theater release of the award-winning documentary Blackfish might have marked the beginning of the end of profitable marine mammal exhibition.  Blackfish had won increasing critical acclaim since debuting at the Sundance film festival in January 2013. Read more

Jakarta and other Indonesian cities move against monkey acts

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2013: (Actually published on November 20,  2013.)

JAKARTA––It’s curtains for street corner monkey acts in northwestern Java,  hopes Jakarta Animal Aid Network founder Femke Den Haas.  Locally called topang monyet,  meaning “masked monkeys,”  the acts have proliferated over the past decade,  becoming a JAAN campaign target in 2009. Read more

Ending animal acts boosts Nanjing Zoo paid attendance

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  September 2013: (Actually published on October 8,  2013)

NANJING,  China––Ending trained animal acts in 2011 led to two consecutive years of record attendance at Nanjing Zoo,  show attendance figures obtained by the Animals Asia Foundation.  The Nanjing Zoo attracted 867,513 visitors in 2010,  the last year that the zoo featured animal acts,  but drew more than a million visitors each in 2011 and 2012. “Too often zoos fail to realize that they are losing customers because appetites for animal performances and exploitation are diminishing fast,”  commented Animals Asia Foundation welfare director Dave Neale.

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