We have a big cheer today for California, which this week became the first U.S. state to ban commercial and sport trapping of bobcats, amid growing controversy over hunting the predators whose pelts can fetch hundreds of dollars.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to approve the measure, which was supported by Project Coyote and other conservation groups that gathered 30,000 signatures in an online petition.
The move comes less than a year after California took pioneering action by banning contests that award prizes for killing animals like coyotes that are not subject to hunting regulations.
We commend the state's willingness to lead the way in predator conservation and stewardship. Back in 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown had signed into law The Bobcat Protection Act, which was originally intended as a ban on the commercial trapping of bobcats. But it was amended before he signed it only to prevent traps around wildlife refuges, national and state parks and wildlife areas in California.
According to media reports there are approximately 100 licensed recreational and commercial trappers in California, who in recent years have tapped a market for fur used in coats and other apparel in China and Russia.
Apparently China and Russia have not evolved enough to recognize that fur is a thing of the past. It’s not cool or modern to wear fur, in fact it’s unnecessary, indulgent and an affront to non-human animals.
Bobcats, named for a short – or bobbed – black-tipped tail, are roughly twice the size of an average house cat and, although rarely seen, are the most abundant wildcat in the United States and has the greatest range of all wild cats in North America, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
More proof that plant-powered athletes are taking the world by storm…we have a #cheer for David Carter, known as the “300 Pound Vegan”, who signed a one-year contract last week with the Chicago Bears! Though he has played for the Arizona Cardinals during 2011–12 and the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, this upcoming season with the Bears is the first Carter will play on a vegan diet.
He has said in interviews that going vegan has drastically improved his performance both off and on the field, explaining to Plant Built magazine, “Before being vegan I suffered from tendonitis, arthritis, a dislocated finger from college that never healed correctly, nerve damage to my right hand and arm, muscle fatigue in my right arm (in football these are small injuries). In just two months of a plant-based diet all of those small injuries have gone away.”
Carter is also an animal rights activist and campaigns for veganism on a regular basis. His website, The300PoundVegan.com, details his journey to a completely vegan diet and explains that not only has going vegan helped him physically, it’s given him greater purpose as well:
“Converting to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle was the best decision I could have ever made for my body, mind, and spirit. The average lifespan of a professional football player is only 56 (due to extreme consumption of animal products which leads to heart disease, stroke, cancers, and other chronic illnesses), by making this one small change not only have I saved my own life but the countless lives of voiceless and defenseless animals everywhere. Not to mention veganism is great for our planet as well. Becoming vegan has given me a greater purpose, something bigger than myself to fight for, and fight I will”
We’re glad to see vegan athletes getting the recognition they deserve in the professional sports world…which is why we’re dedicating the feature article in our upcoming edition of ActionLine Magazine to notable and inspiring vegan athletes! Learn about their journey, what motivates them, and how veganism has changed their life. You can sign up for our print magazine by becoming a member with us today, or sign up for our email newsletter to receive a digital copy as well.
Friends of Animals (FoA) is disgusted by the slaughter of Africa's beloved lion Cecil (shown to the right in the last photo of him ever taken), a tragedy that only inflates the ego of yet another well-heeled trophy-shooting tourist. But we hope that the public awareness and backlash from this bloodshed can boost support for the African Big 5 Bill, drafted by Friends of Animals’ (FoA) Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris. The bill would stop trophy hunting in its tracks!
The bill, introduced by N.Y. state Sen. Tony Avella in April, would ban the import, possession, sale or transportation in New York of five species of animals native to Africa. The legislation would protect the African elephant, lion, leopard, black rhino and white rhino, all of whom are threatened by illegal poaching and sport hunting. The African Big 5 bill passed in the NY Senate this past session, but it still needs to pass in the Assembly, so it will be reintroduced in January. If you want to help end trophy hunting…contact New York Assembly members and tell them to vote yes to the African Big 5 bill.
“The primary reason that each of the African Big 5 species is facing extinction is human sport hunting,” Harris said when the bill was introduced. “Many of these hunts are purchased by Americans, and the trophies are imported into or through the state of New York. Domestic legislation like that being proposed today is vital to any hope of long-term survival of these species.”
Too many Americans continue to see sport-hunting as romantic, or for that matter as ethical. Until we can get national bans put in place to reduce the number of sport-hunted African big 5 species brought into this country, it is vital that state’s like New York, where a large number of these trophies are imported into because JFK airport is a major point of entry from Africa, take action on their own.
Dr. Walter Palmer is the dentist from Bloomington, Minn., who has been identified as the hunter who paid $55,000 to hunt 13-year-old lion Cecil, living in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The beloved animal, known as Africa’s most famous lion, was allegedly lured with meat out of Hwange National Park—a protected area that bans hunting—into an adjacent hunting zone where he was shot with an arrow on July 1. The lion was then followed for 40 hours before he was ultimately killed with a rifle.
The Facebook page for the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association posted a statement noting the guide who led Palmer and the campaign against Cecil was a member of its group and that he has since been suspended indefinitely. The guide/hunter, identified as Theo Bronkhorst, was placed under arrest earlier this month after reporting the “mistake,” along with the landowner of the hunting area. Both are due in court on Aug. 6 for poaching charges.
Currently the African lion is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and classified as moderately protected under CITES—an international wildlife protection agreement—but is allowed to be hunted in some countries. Trophies can be easily imported into the U.S. as long as a CITES export document is obtained from the country the animal was killed in.
However, if there is any evidence to show a trophy was illegally obtained, a hunter could be found in violation of the Lacey Act, and face civil fines and criminal sanctions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to media reports, this isn't the first time Palmer has come under fire for his hunting techniques. In 2008, he was placed on probation for one year and fined $2,939 after lying to federal authorities twice about where he shot a black bear in Wisconsin.
1. If you want to help end trophy hunting…contact New York Assembly members and tell them to vote yes to the African Big 5 bill. This bill would ban the import of hunting trophies through NY airports which are major point of entery from Africa, and the passage of the bill will help other states enact similar legislation. Find the list of Assembly Members here to choose who you'd like to contact and after doing so, leave a comment below to complete the pledge!