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Cheers and Jeers

December 13, 2013 | Cheers and Jeers

A jeer today for SeaWorld and the public letter it released in an attempt to “set the record straight” after the backlash and negative attention it has received from the documentary Blackfish which exposed SeaWorld’s abusive treatment of captive whales.   

The letter, which was printed today on expensive full page ads that ran in some of the nation’s biggest newspapers, was an attempt to portray SeaWorld as a leader in wildlife conservation and animal advocacy and spread SeaWorld’s skewed version of the truth to as many people as possible.  

The statement includes a long list of “facts” about SeaWorld’s treatment of captive whales, claiming they have only two wild-born whales in their care now, that whales in captivity live longer than those in the wild,  and that they only remove baby whales from their mother in extreme circumstances. 

Many of the points, which are thinly veiled lies at best, can be easily refuted by simple online searches. For instance, SeaWorld claims they only own two wild-born whales at the moment when in fact, they own more than 5 whales who are on loan to different aquatic parks and not included in SeaWorld’s tally. 

It is a blatant publicity stunt by SeaWorld in an attempt to save face after many performers who had shows scheduled at SeaWorld next year, cancelled due to the park’s inhumane treatment of whales in captivity.  


It is also an example of how SeaWorld would rather spend huge amounts of money crafting and publishing propaganda to save their brand’s image instead of spending it on improving the conditions of the dozens of whales they keep in captivity.



Federal officials choose wind energy over wildlife

Jeers to federal officials for putting the bald eagle in jeopardy.

Federal officials announced Dec. 6 that some wind power companies will be allowed to accidentally kill or injure Bald and Golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty if they have a federal permit under a revised rule. Previous permits expired after five years.

Friends of Animals is baffled by this decision considering it is a huge step backwards after the Obama administration and the U.S. government just took a step forward in protecting eagles. They enforced environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities, winning a $1 million settlement Nov. 22 from a power company that pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two Wyoming wind farms.

The Associated Press reported that to reach the $1 million settlement, the Obama administration used the same law against oil companies and power companies for drowning and electrocuting birds. The case against Duke Energy Corp. and its renewable energy arm was the first prosecuted under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act against a wind energy company. 

All the deaths, which included golden eagles, hawks, blackbirds, wrens and sparrows, occurred from 2009 to 2013. 

FoA believes that when wind farms are developed, each potential site must be considered individually, with all local animals in mind, not just birds. The sites should be part of a comprehensive approach that seeks other alternatives, including tidal power and solar panels. It is crucial to encourage the right development in the right location.

Until Nov. 22, not a single wind energy company had been prosecuted for a death of an eagle or other protected bird — even though each death is a violation of federal law unless a company has a federal permit.

In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a permitting program under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act applicable to developers of renewable energy projects and other activities that may “take” (injure, kill or otherwise disturb) bald and golden eagles. The Eagle Act allows the Service to authorize the programmatic take of eagles, which is take associated with, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity and does not have a longterm impact on the population.
The revised rule extends the maximum permit tenure to 30 years, subject to a recurring five-year review process throughout the permit life.  Only applicants who commit to adaptive management measures to ensure the preservation of eagles will be considered for permits with terms longer than five years.  Any such increased measures, which would be implemented if monitoring shows that initial permit conditions do not provide sufficient protection, will be negotiated with the permittee and specified in the terms and conditions of the permit.




Cheers and congratulations go out to Tom Scholz, founder of the rock band BOSTON, Friends of Animals’ member, vegetarian and animal rights advocate on his new album, Life, Love and Hope

All the tracks on his new album have the characteristic BOSTON trademark guitars, harmonies and immaculately-crafted sound, Scholz says. 

Scholz founded the DTS Charitable Foundation in 1987 so he could donate a major portion of his personal earnings from the music business for the promotion of the vegetarian lifestyle, and prevention of cruelty and suffering to animals both nonhuman and human. According to the foundation’s website, Scholz’s concern grew out of his own adoption of vegetarianism in late 1979, and his resulting discoveries of the realities of the treatment of animals used for food and products by American businessmen. 

The new album is available at, iTunes and Best Buy.




He’s baaack! A Jeer goes out this week to Johnny Weir, the former Olympian and reality TV "star," who will be in our living rooms this winter as an NBC commentator for the Olympics, and he still hates wolves, foxes and minks, so Friends of Animals is still not a fan. 

Weir’s Instagram account is a smorgasbord of fur-clad photos, alongside photos of his dog that he claims to love. The figure skater recently made the news for dismissing criticism of Russia's draconian anti-gay laws, calling gay activists "idiots," while simultaneously coming under fire for taking a job with NBC to cover the winter Olympics, even though he admits to working for the Russian government. (Who's the idiot, exactly?)

Clearly, Johnny Weir is very confused.

We're not. We think ALL animals deserve respect. 

“Fur Is A Thing Of The Past” is the message of our stunning billboards in Times Square and in the heart of the Broadway Theater District, which were unveiled Oct. 21, and accompanying viral video and print ads in several publications.  The bold, far-reaching campaign urges consumers to evolve beyond the Neanderthal mentality that the bloody fur industry is selling.

“New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and our bold billboards, video and print campaign strikes at the heart of attempts to portray fur as glamorous. We want fur to go extinct in the fashion industry—and the cavewoman draped in fur, chomping on an animal leg is in the heart of Times Square and the Theater District, looming above millions of shoppers, tourists and New Yorkers,” says Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals. 

Birnkrant will take to the streets of NYC Dec. 15 with Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF) for an anti-fur demonstration outside The Fur Source of NY, one of the city's most hideous furriers. 

Over the past decade U.S. fur sales have declined—in 2003 sales totaled $1.80 billion, in 2012 sales totaled $1.27 billion. In February 2013, VauteCouture made history as the first all vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week, with its first full ready-to-wear collection complete with fur-free winter coats. And in September 2013, the home of high fashion and glamour, West Hollywood, banned the sale of fur apparel in retail stores, becoming the first city in the United States to do so. 

Unfortunately, for some like Weir, vanity at its worse persists and it’s stronger than their desire to evolve. Here in the United States, more people buy fur in New York than any other city, followed by Chicago. Global fur sales actually increased in 2012, driven by growth in Asian markets and increased designer use.  

Luxurious alternatives to fur are readily available — there’s no way to justify slaughtering more than 50 million animals raised on fur farms around the world who are killed for their pelts annually in addition to the approximately 10 million animals trapped in the wild. (This number does not include rabbits.)

Fur is a thing of the past. Click on this video and spread the word.

With any luck, Johnny Weir's popularity will be a thing of the past, too.


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