The Trump resistance has hit high gear. The Washington Post has even noticed, running the headline “The Standoff Between Trump and Green Groups Just Boiled Into War.”
In the wake of Trump’s attacks on the environment, the Center for Biological Diversity’s response has been swift and aggressive. Last week we filed two lawsuits in two days: one to take down Trump’s senseless plan to bring back dirty coal mining on public lands, the other to stop him from ramming the Keystone XL pipeline through thousands of miles of wildlife habitat for as many as 20 rare species, including whooping cranes. The next day we convinced the Oklahoma Bar Association to investigate whether EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lied to Congress under oath.
You can support our actions with an emergency donation to the Trump Resistance Fund. Thanks to a generous Center member’s matching gift, your dollars will go twice as far.
Trump’s revival of some of the world’s filthiest fossil fuel projects would put us back decades, poison our air and water and edge the climate toward a point of no return. He’s also planning to revoke Obama’s Clean Power Plan and hijack the Paris climate agreement — and he just sneakily signed legislation last night allowing bears and wolves to be slaughtered in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges. If Trump gets his way, his industry friends will get even richer — but the price will be steep and severe for the planet.
Since Trump’s inauguration, we’ve already filed 9 different lawsuits and even more legal actions, including one against the EPA for approving a highly toxic pesticide called Enlist Duo and one we launched today to ban Wildlife Services’ use of M-44 cyanide bombs — the same poisonous landmines that recently injured a 14-year-old boy in Idaho, killed his Labrador retriever Casey, and killed an endangered wolf in Oregon. Every move Trump makes will be countered by the resistance: We’ll fight him in the courts, the streets, and the halls of power.
The Center’s got this — but it’s going to be expensive, and we need you by our side. Resist Trump’s anti-environment agenda with a donation to the Center’s Trump Resistance Fund. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.
Earth to Trump: We’ll see you in court.
Center for Biological Diversity
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UK travel firm becomes the first to drop zoos. There was “no justifiable reason” to keep animals in captivity.
UK travel firm becomes the first to drop zoos
Responsible Travel withdraws trips that include visits to zoos but will continue to work with sanctuaries and rescue centres.
A UK travel company has pledged to stop promoting zoos and laid down guidelines for the kinds of animal facilities it will continue to work with.
Responsible Travel said there was “no justifiable reason” to keep animals in captivity, in an announcement backed by the Born Free Foundation and actor and animal welfare campaigner Joanna Lumley.
It gave four key reasons for its decision:
Issues in animal welfare have long been recognised
There are many ways of educating people about wildlife that don’t involve keeping animals in captivity.
While some zoos do fund worthwhile conservation programmes, on average zoos are only encouraged to spend 3% of their expenditure on conservation.
About 90% of animals kept in zoos are not endangered.
So far, Responsible Travel has removed six trips from its site that include visits to zoos. It is also conducting an “in-depth audit” of all captive animal facilities visited on the trips it sells, which it says incorporates a significant proportion of the itineraries it offers around the world, to ensure they comply with its new guidelines.
The site will still promote legitimate animal sanctuaries and rescue centres for animals that cannot be returned to the wild, as well as rehabilitation centres for animals that will be returned to the wild, as long as no captive breeding takes place in these facilities.
It will also promote “genuine endangered species conservation centres”.
Responsible Travel, which works with 375 tour operators around the world, is the first travel company to make a strong statement regarding zoos, a move that comes as a growing number of tour operators are coming under pressure to take a stand against animal attractions.
In February, Virgin Holidays said it would no longer sell or promote any new attractions or hotels that featured captive whales and dolphins for entertainment purposes (though it continues to sell to around 30 attractions that currently do so), and last October TripAdvisor announced it would discontinue selling tickets for specific tourism experiences where travellers came into physical contact with captive wild animals, such as elephant rides, petting tigers and swimming with dolphins.
In a blog on the issue, Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis said: “Our conclusion is that zoos are not appropriate in 2017. They are relics of the past, and the arguments to justify keeping animals in captivity no longer stand up.”
He added: “In our view, rather than being self-proclaimed conservation organisations they are in fact businesses that exploit animals for profit. We hope that other travel businesses and tour operators will join us in creating a movement for change that recognises that zoos are outdated, unethical and unnecessary.”
On October 4, 2016, human rights activist Gaspar Matalaev was arrested in Turkmenistan, Central Asia. He has reportedly been subjected to torture by electric current to force him to confess to false charges of minor fraud. Gaspar’s family was promised time and again that he’d be released, but this never happened.
Gaspar is a prominent human rights activist in Turkmenistan, where he has been monitoring the state-orchestrated forced labor system in the country’s cotton fields. His work has helped draw attention to the Turkmen Government’s annual mobilization of tens of thousands of citizens, including children, forced to pick cotton under threat of punishment.
Gaspar’s arrest came two days after he published a report on the extensive use of forced labor and child labor in the 2016 cotton harvest and one day after the Minister of National Security was severely reprimanded by the Turkmen President at a State Security Council meeting for not properly repressing activism in the country. It is clear Gaspar’s arrest was politically motivated.
It is now up to the international community to speak out and demand action on behalf of courageous monitors like Gaspar who put themselves at risk to help others.
Zoe, Joanna, Vittorio and the Freedom United Team