Heal Our Planet Earth
Dear friends of animals and of Mother Earth,
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE - www.HOPE-CARE.org ) founder and leader of its Global Emergency Operation (GEO) Anthony Marr will be interviewed by Rick Habgood on CFUV radio for one full hour on RUNAWAY GLOBAL HEATING by METHANE (see www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr , top video and www.HOPE-CARE.org ) and his 40-states-&-4-provinces-in-6-months REBELS WITH A CAUSE continental motorcycle tour starting June (for itinerary and route map see www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr ).
Time of interview: January 6, 2009, 7-8 pm EST / 4-5 pm PST
Radio station: CFUV, University of Victoria, 101.9FM / 104.3 CABLE or listen online live at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca/listen/listen.html
Please tune in and pass this on
Canadian environmentalist ribbon-tags the new U.S. coastline
and asks American mayors to join the USCM boycott of dirty Canadian tar sands oil
As of 2006, both sea ice and land ice have been melting much faster (in 2007 by 3X) than even the worst case scenario projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Of special concern to the mayors and citizens of the cities of coastal states is the melting of land ice, which has two devastating effects, one local and the other global.
"The melt down of Greenland's ice cover, for example, will raise the global sea level by some 7 meters, or 23 feet. This alone will inundate many coastal cities, including this one," says Canadian environmentalist and wildlife preservationist Anthony Marr, who is currently conducting a Future Submerged Cities Tour by road. "While the roads are still above water," quibs Marr.
"But this won't occur in isolation," Marr continues. "Mountain glaciers, including the 2000-3000 in the Himalayas, and of course the Antarctic ice shelves, are melting along with it. So we don't need a complete meltdown of Greenland ice to raise the sea level by 23 feet. Conversely, if/when all land ice melts off, the sea level will be raised by 100 meters or 330 feet, which would submerge entire coastal states, especially those in the U.S. northeast, east, southeast and south."
Globally, the effect would be even more devastating. "Of special concern is the permafrost in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic, which is also melting as we speak," says Marr. "The melt down of the permafrost would be even more devastating than detonating all the nuclear weapons simultaneously, plus setting off all the chemical and biological weapons if you like, becaue it would release into the atmosphere astronomical quantities of the most dangerous substance on Earth bar none - the hitherto trapped or frozen methane (methan clathrate). Methane is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide by far (25-75X), and can drive global warming into runaway global heating, raising the global temperature by well over 15 degrees F, which could exterminate over 85% of all species on Earth."
"In this, carbon dioxide is only the fuse; methane is the bomb," Marr warns. "This is not just theory. It's happened at least four times before. The End-Permian Mass Extinction 251 million years ago, for example, caused indeed by methane global heating which drove the world temperature up by more than 16 degrees F, wiping out 75% of all land species and 95% of all marine species within decades. This is a definite case-precendent, and we are heading the same way."
"First and foremost is to phase out combustion technology without delay, that is, stop investing in oil and put your money into green technologies at once," says Marr without hesitation, "and I don't mean ethanol either, the cultivation of which is destroying the Amazon rainforest as we drive! The remaining use of the fossil fuels must be prioritized, top on the list being to R&D green technologies, and bottom of the list is to fuel lawn mowers and feed the Christmas materialistic craze."
While visiting the Future Submerged Cities, Anthony Marr will be meeting with their mayors, asking them for one item of action to help keep the above calamities at bay. In June this year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors signed a collective resolution to ban the use of any fuel derived from the ultra-dirty Canadian tar sands in their city-fleets (for the exact wording, see the Resolution below this release).
"The tar sands operations, planned for tripling by 2020, have already wantonly dumped into the environment enough pollutants to have poisoned the entire Athabasca watershed, causing tumors and deformations in fish and toxicity in moose-meat, rendering the native peoples cancer-ridden. While the Exxon Valdez oil spill, puny by comparison, is accidental, this tar sands monstrosity is deliberate," fumes Marr. "And its inefficiency is such that 2 units of energy have to be burnt to extract 3 units of energy to be burnt later. What is being planned for the tar sands over the next decades is an act of suicide, as well as biocide and ecocide, on the part of our species."
In July, Anthony Marr flew over the 6 current tar sands mines for 1.5 hours and videoed them from above. He urges all to view his new footage and read his comments, and arrive at a conclusion for themselves - see www.YouTube.com/AnthonyMarr .
Anthony Marr, founder and president
Resolution No. 57
The Honorable Kitty Piercy
Mayor of Eugene
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Mayor of San Francisco
The Honorable Marty Blum
Mayor of Santa Barbara
The Honorable T. M. Franklin Cownie
Mayor of Des Moines
1. WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has previously adopted strong policy resolutions calling for cities, communities, and the federal government to take actions to reduce global warming pollution; and
2. WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has declared that climate change could have severe economic and environmental impacts on U.S. cities in the coming decades; and
3. WHEREAS, the production and burning of conventional fuel such as gasoline, and diesel by motor vehicles, contributes to air pollution, and increased carbon dioxide emissions that have been linked to global climate change; and
4. WHEREAS, the health of the planet, including its oceans, wildlands, rivers, air, and climate, faces increasing threats from our continued dependence on fossil fuels; and
5. WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has previously adopted strong resolutions to encourage clean, renewable energy sources and discourage our dependence on fossil fuels; and
6. WHEREAS, the production of fuels derived from unconventional sources, such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale, emits even greater amounts of global warming pollution than conventional petroleum sources; and
7. WHEREAS, the production of tar sands oil from Canada emits approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as does conventional oil production and significantly damages Canada's Boreal forest ecosystem--the world's largest carbon storehouse; and
8. WHEREAS, the continued production and purchase of these higher-carbon unconventional or synthetic fuels slows the United States' transition to clean, renewable energy sources,
9. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports federal legislation that prohibits government use of unconventional or synthetic fuels, such as tar sands, liquid coal, and oil shale, with lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions greater than fuel produced from conventional oil sources; and
10. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages the use of life cycle analyses that evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions from the production-including extraction, refining, and transportation-of fuels, including unconventional and synthetic fuels; and
11. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the creation of clear Federal and State guidelines for tracking the origin of various types of fuel in order to facilitate life cycle analysis; and
12. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors encourages mayors to track and reduce the lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions from their municipal vehicles by preventing or discontinuing the purchase of higher-carbon unconventional or synthetic fuels for these vehicles.
Media release - for immediate release
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Emergency Operation (GEO)
to save 10+ million species from
On June 30, 2008, Anthony Marr, founder of Vancouver-based Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE – www.HOPE-CARE.org) and leader of its Global Emergency Operation (GEO), will kick start the first of 3 long tours over 3 years towards rallying nations worldwide to join forces in saving future generations and life on Earth from global warming.
On his car are signs saying (see www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr):
· Fix Global Warming or kiss our children’s future good-bye. (right side)
· Runaway Global Heating HAS BEGUN! (left side)
· +6oC/10oF Global Warming = 85% Mass Extinction (rear)
The objectives of HOPE-GEO are to:
· campaign-tour the world 2008-2011
· build a global coalition of environmental and preservation organizations to collectively combat global warming
· shut down the Alberta Tar Sands within 3 years
· launch 100+ Time-Capsules-of-HOPE-2060 to let future generations know the truth about the Global Warming War of the early 21st Century, the first to be buried in Alberta, containing a jar of tar sand, a bottle of Athabasca Lake water and a brass plaque engraved with “Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach - Canadian Criminal Against Nature and Humanity #2”, among other things
· establish a $130 billion/yr UN Global Green Fund by a 10% across-the-board reduction of the $1,300 billion global military expenditure (Google: “Secretary General Global Green Fund”)
The HOPE-GEO-1 (2008) tour itinerary is as follows:
· AB - 07-01 --> 07-06
· MT - 07-07 --> 07-10
· ND/SD - 07-11 --> 07-12
· MN - 07-13 --> 07-16
· WI - 07-17 --> 07-21
· IL - 07-22 --> 07-25
· IN - 07-26 --> 07-29
· MI - 07-30 --> 08-02
· OH - 08-03 --> 08-08
· WV - 08-09 --> 08-12
· VA - 08-13 --> 08-19
· MD/DC/PA/DE/NJ/NY/CT/RI/MA/NH/VT/ME - 08-20 --> 10-15
· QC - 10-16 --> 10-18
· ON - 10-19 --> 10-25
· MB - 10-26 --> 10-27
· SK - 10-28 --> 10-29
· AB - 10-30 --> 11-04
· BC – 11-05 -->
While in Washington DC , Anthony Marr, considered a leading activist in the United States , will deliver 10 different speeches at the Animal Rights National Conference August 14-18 (www.ARConference..org), where he aims to transform the Animal Rights movement into a powerful force in the world global-warming arena.
HOPE-GEO-2 (2009) will cover 25 states in the US west, southwest, midwest, south and southeast, and Mexico .
HOPE-GEO-3 (2010-2011) will cover 20 major countries worldwide.
Vancouver is of significance because it is the home of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE), and the beginning/end point of all three HOPE-GEO tours; it is destined to become a major centre of global warming activism.
Anthony Marr is the first person in world history to make the revolutionary but inevitable declaration that “Runaway Global Heating HAS BEGUN!” (May 13, 2008). In short, the hitherto less than 1oC average global temperature rise since pre-industrial times has been sufficient to effect unprecedented melting of the Artic sea ice (in 2007 3X faster than the worst-case scenario predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - IPCC). Even more alarming is the thawing of the SubArctic permafrost which contains more carbon than in the atmosphere today - in the form of methane, the most dangerous substance on Earth bar none. As a greenhouse gas methane is 20-70 times more potent as CO2. The methane released from the thawing permafrost will warm the atmosphere even more, melting even more permafrost, releasing even more methane, warming up the atmosphere even more… - the Methane Feedback Loop, which, if left unchecked, will spiral into Runaway Global Heating, which, as of the beginning of permafrost methane release, has indeed begun.
Anthony Marr’s focus in British Columbia is the proposed crude oil pipeline leading from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat BC , and the resulting tanker traffic in BC waters. Statistically speaking, tanker traffic means inevitable Exxon-Valdez-level oil spills, average frequency estimated to be once every 16 years. The government of BC, championing the carbon tax while supporting the infamous Alberta tar sands, has a moral conflict it must resolve. (Please see HOPE’s Open Letter to the BC Premier and Environment Minister in the next media release.)
HOPE believes that the Global Emergency Operation is in fact the last ditch effort of an endangered Earth suddenly and abruptly running out of time.
Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Emergency Operation (GEO)
Anthony Marr interview by Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock on animal rights and global warming
Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock interviewed
Anthony Marr for 15 minutes this morning on global warming and its
implications to the animal world and to the animal rights movement.
Radio Ecoshock is also broadcast live at http://coopradio.org/listen by Satellite (Star Choice Channel 845) and by cable (in British Columbia.)
Each program is podcast to a few hundred subscribers, and downloaded at least a thousand times within the first month, and more later.
Our interview will not appear on the Ecoshock website
until the broadcast, but your web page visitors are welcome to a
Anthony Marr's new website on Mass Extinction by Global Warming - "BEST ON WEB!"
Saving Wildlife from Mass Extinction due to Global
Anthony Marr on "Saving Wildlife from Mass Extinction due to Global Warming" - CFUV radio Jan. 29, Tue.
Anthony Marr will be interviewed for one full hour by Rick Habgood on CFUV radio (101.9 FM, 104.3 Cable, or listen digitally http://cfuv.uvic.ca/listen/listen.html) on January 29, Tuesday, 4:30-5:30pm PST (5:30-6:30pm Mountain time, 6:30-7:30pm Central time, 7:30-8:30pm Eastern time).
In the first half-hour, he will talk about his last
30-states-in-5-months (July-December 2007) Compassion for Animals
Road Expedition #5 (CARE-5 - see
http://www.HOPE-CARE.org ) focusing on bowhunting, urban deer
culling, immunocontraception and government corruption issues. What he
saw on this tour blew his Canadian mind, and what he has to report would
blow the minds of all Canadians, and most Americans.
In the second half-hour, he will discuss his new campaign titled
"Saving Wildlife from Mass Extinction due to Global Warming". For
anyone who has never heard of the term Methane Clathrate or Methane
Hydrate, this is a must listen, since Anthony considers it "the most
dangerous stuff on Earth, far more so than even all the nukes combined".
And he will talk about the End-Permian Mass Extinction 251 million years
ago, which caused the extinction of over 70% of terrestrial species
and over 90% of marine species, rendering the following
early-Triassic Period almost devoid of life, a scenario not far
different from what we face today. He believes that what we do or do not
do within the next decade, starting now, will determine the fate of life
on Earth and the fate of the Earth itself, and that any "next year" will
precipitate wide-ranging, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences
over centuries, millennia, even millions of years. "As is, at this point
of the global warning era, we stand to lose at least 50% of Earth's
species no matter what we do or don't do. But we stand to lose much more
if we don't act, or act foolishly," says Anthony Marr.
Chinatown Undercover, 1995-1996, victory with new law passed in June, 1996.
Ban Bear Hunting In BC Initiative, which included a 2-month, 12,000-km road tour designed and executed by AM, in which he was constantly harassed by up to 120 hunters at a time, but due to the confrontations and controversy, the tour generated over 100 newspaper articles and 1,800 volunteers from the 75 electoral districts throughout the province.
In front to the Legislature in Victoria with Paul George, founder of the 25,000-members-strong Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC or "WC-squared")
The Save the Tiger Walk in Stanley Park, Vancouver, 1997. 2,000 students showed up first try, which involved AM giving his Tigers Forever slideshow to 60 schools beforehand.
Tigresses by the dozens at Tiger Walk '97.
The children dragged their parents out, who otherwise might have gone to play golf.
The Speaker of Honor.
1998-01. Newspaper photo of AM after the physical assault. The good thing about this is that it was a media event unto itself, and it unified the movement to an extent.
Media conference in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, 1999. AM giving Rajasthan media the Tigers Forever slideshow. Over a dozen newspaper articles in one go.
Another media conference in India, this time inside the Big Cub.
Almost 50 newspapers attened, and two TVs.
AM leading the Love the Tiger Walk on St. Valentine's Day, 1999, in New Delhi, India. As in Vancouver, 1997, 2,000 people joined the march, and again, lots of children, of the schools.
Slogans invented by Indian school children
Speakers included P.K. Sen, head of Project Tiger, and Pradeep Sankhala of Tiger Trust, and AM.
In August, 1999, in 100+ degree heat, AM checked out 37 Chinese apothecaries on foot, and found tiger and leopard bone medicines in 9 stores. Media-wise the operation was well covered.
2002, in the horse community of Southlands, Vancouver, a march against using horses for Premarin
In March 2003, AM performed the Funeral March for the Hunted - 100 km/60 mi from Mission to Vancouver, and further to Victoria, solo. The kick-off ceremony was performed in downtown Vancouver at the Art Gallery.
October 2003, on the Compassion for Animals Road Expedition (CARE), AM, Brenda Davis and Cory Davis joined many local events. Of note was the anti-bear-hunting movement in New Jersey. One of the leading activists is Stuart Chaifetz.
While campaigning for office, Governor McGreevy (centre) promised to maintain NJ's no-bear-hunting policy, letter blown up below. Now, in office, he moved to restart bear hunting.
October 2003, in CT, the Audubon Society was opening a bow-hunting season of deer on its own grounds. AM joined the demo against it and spoke his mind.
October 2003, in Bridgeport CT, a well organized and attended anti-Ringling-Bros demo, joined by groups from Animal Liberation to
Parents Against Cruelty
CARE campaigner Brenda Davis standing up for elephants and against abuse.
CARE campaigner Cory Davis (centre) at an anti-fur night demo with the CARE "Raw Truth TV" in Rochester NY
December 2003, in Raleigh NC
February 2004, speaking in Houston City Council about a proposed plan for keeping white tigers in a restaurant downtown
2004, in Houston TV outside of Houston Aquarium
2004, with Brenda Davis and Cory Davis on a radio interview of ACT (Animal Concerns Texas) by Dr. Stephen Best (next to AM) and Greg Lawson
March 2004, on ABC-TV in San Francisco CA, interviewed by Dan Noyes during a Chinatown undercover operation.
with Rafe Mair, highly principled and environmentally aware talkshow host extraordinaire.
August 2004, TV interview by Denver elephant activist Krystal Parks
Kristal Parks is a truly amazing woman, and has done many remarkable things, including sacrificing her freedom for following her heart, which is always in the right place. Her latest act of self-giving was nothing short of stunning. When Ringling Bros came to Denver in 2004, Kristal conducted a water-only hunger strike inside a cage, beside a sign saying "ELEPHANTS LOVE FREEDOM TOO", until Ringling finally left town. Day 13 was her lucky day. Since then, I have asked myself if I could do the same. All I can say is that I've had numerous occasions when doing the same could have brought results, but so far, I haven't. See www.KristalParks.com, www.PachydermPower.org
March 12, 2005, anti-seal-massacre march. Cory Davis (17) on TV
March 12, 2005, anti-seal-massacre march. Carmen Crosland (14) on radio
March 12, 2005, Kelowna BC, anti-seal-massacre march. Carmen Crosland (www.YAAAonline.org) on TV
June 2005, prepping the dozen cars for the 270-mile (350 km) Funeral Motorcade for the Seal, to illustrate the length of a single file of 350,000 dead seals lined up along I-45.
4 Houston TV stations covered the event
Janice Blue and her classic Mercedes was our "mother hen"
July 2005, in San Diego, with the San Diego Animal Advocates
at La Jolla Beach, the last 200'of southern California beach still inhabited by seals, with restrictions on human activities in favor of the seals.
Some locals want the seals evicted and all restrictions removed. "The beach is for humans, not for seals," said one woman AM interviewed. Another said, "The Lord gave us dominion over the earth, to use as we see fit."
Media was keen on the issue.
with San Diego Funeral Motorcade group
July 2005, Funeral Motorcade for the Seals from San Diego to Los Angeles. Activists from SDAA were going to LA to attend the AR2005 conference, in which AM would also be speaking. AM suggested the motorcade, since cars would be going from SD to LA anyway. The idea was adopted, and the motorcade was launched.
August 2005, in demo at Red Lobster near Portland, OR, with IDA.
2005, Portland OR, IDA at Red Lobster.
August 2005, Portland OR, TV interview by American Atheists on the Omniscientific Cosmology
October 2005, in front of the Japanese consulate in Vancouver BC to protest the Japanese dolphin capture-slaughter. Present were Steve Thompson, Bruce Foerster, Ashley Fruno, Erika Caballos, Ian Dakers, Dianna Berton, city councilor Tim Louis and three "dolphins", and we can't forget young Sophie, Erika's daughter. Erika is one of the precious few great dolphin/seal moms..
March 2006, in front of the office the the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in downtown Vancouver BC to protest the Canadian seal massacre. Sighting of the only pair of identical twins in the universe that belong to two different species!
Just one dog, but about 100 humans participated. Ashley Fruno on the bullhorn in the lead.
Never a dull moment.
A picture is worth a thousand words; some words are worth thousands of pictures.
Lori Fitzgerald, who made her own bumper sticker - REAL WOMEN DON'T WEAR FUR!
Personification of passion and compassion - Alysha Jones.
AM addressing the assembly. "The DFO proudly proclaims that 98% of the seals are killed humanely. In other words, the DFO proudly proclaims that only 2% are killed inhumanely. In other words, by DFO's own admission, over 6,000 seal pups are killed inhumanely every year, including being skinned alive. Some estimate over 40% of the seal pups being killed inhumanely, or 130,000 baby seals. A couple of years ago, two Toronto 'artists' tortured a cat to death as art, which raised a firestorm of outrage and protest, ending in their imprisonment. If basically kind-hearted Canadians would not tolerate the cruel killing of one cat, why should they tolerate the cruel killing of at least 6,000 baby seals?"
Ïn solidarity for the seals.
The new symbol of Canada?
Our ashamed Canadian (we all are) was Nadine Saunders from Newfoundland - the only "Newfie" in our midst, holding the "clean end" of the Newfoundland stick. I feel a certain kinship with her, from the view point of a person of Chinese origin fighting the Chinese tradition (e.g. using tiger bone for medicine, and cruelty to animals), and being alienated from it. Nadine's passion and energy are palpable, and contagious.
CANNOT BE STOPPED
The DFO office building was locked down like Fort Knox.
So you may seem an immovable object,
but we are the irresistible force!
CM . . . . Volume VI Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2000
(Champions of the Wild Series, #18).
(Champions of the Wild Series, #18).
Andrew Gardner (Director). Christian Bruyere (Producer). Michael
Chechik (Executive Producer).
Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
This video opens with a carefully edited scene of a Bengal Tiger patiently stalking and then attacking its prey. The plight of the tiger in India is very serious. At the turn of the century, there were over 100,000 tigers. This number quickly diminished to 30,000 by the 1940's due to the trophy hunting which was a national sport. Conservationist Anthony Marr has championed the cause of the tiger for two reasons. He believes that "if the tiger is gone from this land, the land will have lost its soul." He also understands that the greatest threat to the tiger's survival today is the huge Chinese market for tiger parts. A dead tiger is worth $100,000 in China where it is believed that, next to the mythical dragon, the tiger is the most powerful animal. Through Chinese medicines, healers use tiger parts to transfer that power to humans. Being Chinese, himself, Marr believes that he may have a greater impact.
The video contains brilliant camera work which captures the power and beauty of the tiger. The sound track echoes the India countryside by using instruments native to the land. The narration is clear and easily understood. Many of the scenes are very graphic, showing tigers tearing apart gazelles or revealing hunters and poachers destroying the tiger for its pelt or bones. These scenes are balanced, however, by the joy of a playful young kitten or a delightful scene that allows the viewer to watch as a very hot tiger gingerly and slowly sinks into a cool pond of water.
Marr has focused on children as one of the avenues of support for these endangered creatures. This goal will probably be most effective with the children in India, but the biggest obstacle will be the poor Indian villagers who have been displaced without compensation so that the government can create sanctuaries for the tiger. Incentives are now being created that will offer these people a better life if they will help to save these endangered animals.
Bengal Tigers has aired on Discovery and Animal Planet. The video also includes previewing questions and post-viewing questions in addition to several web sites. The video would support a study of endangered animals and also could offer many opportunities for the students to problem solve and to create their own solutions.
Susan Fonseca is a teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in St. Vital School Division in Winnipeg, MB.
* * *
The Vancouver Courier
Horse lovers are saddling up this weekend for a protest ride against the industry that turns urine from pregnant mares into drugs.
Horse lovers are saddling up this weekend for a protest ride against the industry that turns urine from pregnant mares into drugs.
Horse lovers are saddling up this weekend for a protest ride against the industry that turns urine from pregnant mares into drugs.
On May 19, members and friends of the Southlands Equestrian Centre will protest on horseback and foot to raise awareness about poor treatment of horses and foals in the industry. Pharmaceutical companies use estrogen from pregnant mares to produce Premarin, a prescription drug commonly prescribed to menopausal women.
Protest organizer Anthony Marr says that more than 50,000 mares are impregnated annually in various pregnant mare urine factory farms across Canada, then kept attached to urine collection devices in narrow tie-stalls for at least six months, with little exercise. A bi-product of the industry is thousands of unwanted foals, which are usually sold for slaughter.
"These pregnant mares can't sit down or lie down," he said. "According to the industry, they're exercised once every two weeks. That's ridiculous."
He said the mares are usually impregnated in late July. By October, they're hooked up to the urine collection devices in what's commonly referred to as a "pee line."
Labour is often induced early so the mare can be impregnated again as soon as possible. To create more concentrated urine, the mare's water intake is restricted, so the animals are often thirsty. Their feet and legs also suffer due to confinement and lack of care.
Marr said there are almost 500 pregnant mare urine farms in Canada and the U.S., most of them located in the prairie provinces. A web site sponsored by Alberta's Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development says there are 487 pregnant mare urine farms throughout Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota. All producers are under contract to Ayerst Organic Limited, a division of Wyeth Ayerst Canada Inc., producers of Premarin. Wyeth did not return calls by the Courier's press time.
A quick search of the Internet turned up hundreds of web pages protesting the use of horses in the pregnant mare urine industry and dedicated to rescuing the foals born as a result. Only a handful of the sites were in support of the business.
Marr said more than 80 per cent of the foals produced on pregnant mare urine farms are sold for meat, known as "foal steak" in Europe and Japan. The foals are jam-packed into transports trucks and taken to auction, where they're sold in lots of 10 or 15.
"The buyer doesn't even look at them," Marr said.
"They only buy them by the weight of the lot."
Marr, who heads the Heal Our Planet Earth Global Environmental Organization from his home on West 11th Avenue, doesn't restrict his love of animals to horses. He's traveled to India three times as part of a program to teach conservation on tiger reserves, and in 1996, started lobbying the provincial government to end the grizzly bear hunt.
"I love two kinds of animals, wild ones and domestic ones," he said. "I even love mosquitoes for the part they play in the ecology. But I have to admit, I don't love them as much as I love horses and tigers."
Riders interested in participating in the event should gather at 9:30 a.m. at the equestrian centre, located on 51st Avenue between Balaclava and Carnarvon. The Parade of Compassion starts south on Carnarvon, goes west along the Fraser River, north past the golf courses, across Marine Drive at Camosun for a trail ride in Pacific Spirit Park.
* * *
From: Anthony Marr
* * *
by Rafe Mair • Thursday May 29, 2003 at 10:13 AM
It’s time we came to our senses, folks. By a recent Canadian study, 90% of the world’s predatory fishes have been wiped out and for convenience that term includes porpoises, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions and so forth as well. It also includes salmon and any other fish prey on other sea creatures other than plankton and vegetation. Then we heard yesterday from author Richard Ellis, who has studied the oceans for 35 years, confirmation of that fact in his book The Empty Ocean. What is really terrifying is that nearly all countries bordering on oceans have laws favouring conservation and government departments to do the enforcing. Assuming the “environmental movement” had its start around 1962, when Rachel Carson published her blockbuster "Silent Spring" this means that in 60 years – after we knew better – we have all but wiped out our oceans. If one takes the starting point at 1948 when Thor Heyerdahl wrote Kon Tiki it means we took a bit longer but we knew more earlier.
It can be argued that there have been other causes – global warming being one but even that may be attributed to man. The terrible fact comes back to hit us in the face – we have destroyed 90% of our sea going predatory animals … and we knew better.
One of the reasons this has happened is that it’s always been someone else’s fault – Japan and Norway after whales, Japan and Korea with drift nets, Russian trawlers and on and on it goes. Whatever we ourselves do, we convince ourselves, is peanuts compared to the major sinners.
But there are two major problems. There is the huge sinner, the whalers, the drift netters and the huge trawlers … but there are also, all over the world, deaths of a thousand cuts. Little impacts here, little degradations there which all add up.
As I remarked to Mr Ellis in my interview yesterday, if we see a clear cut we know there was once a forest there and we are reminded of that fact for years to come. When we look out at the ocean we don’t see any degradation so, out of sight, out of mind.
The ocean’s ecology is very complicated. There is a huge and very complex interdependence. Left to her own devices, nature handles its problems very well. When the victims decrease the predators starve giving the victims the opportunity to revive their numbers. But it is never just one on one. Very often someone’s predator is another one’s victim and sometimes the chain is a long and complicated one.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for the human fisherman – man has been fishing since prehistoric times and humans are part of the food chain, though at the very top. What it does mean is that we have to start assessing our sloppy and often plain greedy actions and do something about it.
Probably the biggest problems are two in number – we don’t have good science to guide us and the majority don’t want any science that curtails our activities.
Let’s look first at the seals, both on the East Coast and the West Coast. Superficially it seems obvious – there is the seal and there was the fish. Kill the seals and the fish will come back. But Anthony Marr, Paul Watson and much serious science will tell you that the seal, who is a predator, is two other things as well. It is the victim of Orcas and is also the friend of the fish it preys on. How can that be?
The seal doesn’t only eat salmon on the west coast or cod on the east coast … it also preys upon the enemies of the salmon and cod respectively. It’s that complex food chain again. This means that it’s not enough to know how many seals there are and how many salmon because they are but a couple of links in the chain that includes Whales at one end and plankton on the other with all sorts of disparate elements in between – such as eagles, bears, wharf perch, shiners, sticklebacks and on it goes. This is why much of the science available is unhelpful. Much of it – by industry especially but by governments as well – is self serving and is initiated not to seek out unknown answers so much as to gratify a desire to exploit.
You know the story of the Orange Roughy, a delicacy found off the shores of Australia and New Zealand. It was fished hard on the assumption that they were quickly replaced. The most elementary of studies would have shown what we now know, namely that the fish lives about 25 years and doesn’t spawn until many years after birth. Simply by fishing on a wrong-headed assumption, prompted no doubt by greed, a species has almost been eliminated.
This is what is so distressing about the Atlantic Salmon fish farm industry in British Columbia – it has been allowed to exist and now expand without the basic science being done. Actually, we know it’s worse than that because ongoing science in Norway, Scotland and Ireland science has shown caged salmon to be an ecological disaster. Our own science, Dr John Volpy and Alexandra Morton, as verified by several marine biologists, shows us that this interference with our native fishery has been disastrous and that matters will get much worse.
The fish farm debate is a curious one for the fish farmers say that they will be the salvation of the wild fish because demand for fish will be met by farmed rather than wild fish. This isn’t true for a lot of reasons. At the very best they might replace, as food, those wild salmon they destroy but it must also be remembered that they consume, over their life, many times their weight in other fish … because those other fish come form foreign lands we tend to discount them.
In the marvelous old comic strip of years ago Pogo Possum observed “we have met the enemy and he is us”. That is tragically so. And at the risk of being repetitive I must observe that when we start giving Orders of Canada and BC to the likes of Paul Watson while accepting him as an honoured member of our society and when we start jailing the pillars in our communities, the ones who get the Orders of Canada and other honours, who rape and pillage our oceans, then and then only will we start the belated path back.
It may already be too late but we must assume that it isn’t and fight the good fight with all we have in us … for the rapists and pillagers depend upon us to protest lightly, if at all, then leave them to do as they wish to the heritage God left us … a heritage we are supposed to be passing on, intact, to our children and grandchildren.
Reproduced with permission from http://www.rafeonline.com/.
* * *
Aquarium owner looking to bring in more wild life
2/17/2004 8:18 AM
By: Tad Hathaway
Tilman Fertitta would like to add a white-tiger exhibit to his downtown aquarium.
Aquarium owner Tilman Fertitta says the tigers will be a first-class attraction for his restaurant and the downtown area in general. But not everyone agrees it’s so humane.
In a restaurant already filled with exotic ocean animals, Fertitta is hoping to go a step further with the addition of five white tigers. They’re the same kind of animals that attract hordes of tourists in Las Vegas.
"I think it would bring a lot of excitement," said Jim Prappas, Aquarium Restaurant.
Those at the aquarium say the animals would make their restaurant, and therefore downtown Houston, a more attractive destination for tourists and conventions, as well as Houstonians.
But don't try telling that to Tiger Preservationist Anthony Marr.
"To keep five tigers for entertainment is not within the realm of acceptability," he said.
Marr has led three tiger-saving expeditions in rural India and championed the rights of dwindling species. He opposes the idea of bringing white tigers to the Aquarium, mainly because of the way they're bred.
Because white-tigers are such a genetic rarity, animal traders often inbreed them with family members to increase the likelihood of a baby white tiger.
"Inbreed to the point where it causes genetic defects," said Marr.
Meanwhile, Aquarium officials respond by saying humane treatment is their first and foremost priority, along with raising awareness of the plight of endangered animals among those who go to their restaurants.
"Education is what we're all about, teaching people about conservation, so hopefully we can implement this exhibit," said Prappas.
But the Aquarium could face opponents with far more authority in Houston than animal conservationists. Some city officials argue that tigers in the downtown area violates a number of city ordinances.
Marr will voice his concerns to the Houston City Council at their meeting on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Fertitta hopes to have the white tigers on view at his restaurant by the time the Major League All-Star Game arrives in July.
* * *
2004-02-17 HOUSTON (AP)--A downtown restaurant that already features sharks and
other exotic aquatic life wants to add another attraction from the animal
kingdom: white tigers. Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta is working to display three tigers
at his Downtown Aquarium restaurant by Major League Baseball's All-Star
game in July at Minute Maid Park. But animal rights activists are condemning the proposal, and some
council members say it would violate a city ordinance barring people from
having a wild animal in the city. Restaurant officials say their establishment and downtown Houston would
be a more attractive destination for residents, tourists and conventions
if the animals were there. They also promise to treat the tigers humanely. Fertitta, president and chief executive of Landry's Restaurants Inc.,
which operates the Downtown Aquarium, hopes to get around the city's
exotic animal ordinance by seeking accreditation from the American
Zoological Association. ``We feel like this is a zoo facility,'' said Jeff Cantwell senior vice
president of development for Landry's. ``This is about entertainment and
education. It's no different from the Houston Zoo in that respect.'' Landry's has received that accreditation for a similar exhibit at a
Denver restaurant. But animal rights activist Anthony Marr said Fertitta's plan is a
commercial enterprise and that ``there does not seem to be a single
thought for the well-being of these animals or the future of the
species.'' City Controller Annise Parker, who was primarily responsible for
drafting the city's exotic animal ordinance, sent a memo to Mayor Bill
White and City Council members against the idea. But many suspect the plan by Fertitta, a successful businessman and a
big campaign contributor, will be approved. ``He's very well-connected,'' councilman Mark Goldberg said. ``He's
aggressive. And he's successful because he is driven.''
HOUSTON (AP)--A downtown restaurant that already features sharks and other exotic aquatic life wants to add another attraction from the animal kingdom: white tigers.
Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta is working to display three tigers at his Downtown Aquarium restaurant by Major League Baseball's All-Star game in July at Minute Maid Park.
But animal rights activists are condemning the proposal, and some council members say it would violate a city ordinance barring people from having a wild animal in the city.
Restaurant officials say their establishment and downtown Houston would be a more attractive destination for residents, tourists and conventions if the animals were there. They also promise to treat the tigers humanely.
Fertitta, president and chief executive of Landry's Restaurants Inc., which operates the Downtown Aquarium, hopes to get around the city's exotic animal ordinance by seeking accreditation from the American Zoological Association.
``We feel like this is a zoo facility,'' said Jeff Cantwell senior vice president of development for Landry's. ``This is about entertainment and education. It's no different from the Houston Zoo in that respect.''
Landry's has received that accreditation for a similar exhibit at a Denver restaurant.
But animal rights activist Anthony Marr said Fertitta's plan is a commercial enterprise and that ``there does not seem to be a single thought for the well-being of these animals or the future of the species.''
City Controller Annise Parker, who was primarily responsible for drafting the city's exotic animal ordinance, sent a memo to Mayor Bill White and City Council members against the idea.
But many suspect the plan by Fertitta, a successful businessman and a big campaign contributor, will be approved.
``He's very well-connected,'' councilman Mark Goldberg said. ``He's aggressive. And he's successful because he is driven.''
* * *
Tuesday, February 17,
the downtown Aquarium complex
* * *
Transcript from the Houston City Council meeting
Ms. Janice Blue, 1708 Rosewood, Houston, Texas 77004 (713-522-6899) appeared and stated that Mr. Tillman Fertitta wanted to add live tigers to his Downtown Aquarium complex; that she read the white tigers were on order but some cubs were not yet born; that she could not believe he would make spectacles of such magnificent animals; that tigers belonged in the wild and not in cages and white tigers could not survive in the wild but should not be bred just for entertainment purposes. Mayor White, Council Members Galloway and Sekula-Gibbs absent. Mayor Pro Tem Alvarado presiding.
Miss Anna Nugent, 1907 North Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77098 (713-522-4059) appeared and stated that she was in third grade and had been studying tigers about 2-1/2 years and did not think they should be used for entertainment and kept in cages, but instead should be left in the wild where they belonged; and if they were kept in cages they needed a professional to take care of them. Council Members Galloway and Sekula-Gibbs absent.
Upon questions by Council Member Khan, Ms. Blue stated that you could learn nothing about tigers from watching them in cages and it was absolutely and morally wrong. Council Member Galloway absent.
Upon questions by Council Member Garcia, Miss Nugent stated that tigers did not like being in cages and their lives would be better if left where they belonged. Council Member Garcia thanked Miss Nugent for coming to Council and expressing her concerns. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.
Council Member Edwards thanked Miss Nugent for being committed enough to come today. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent. Council Member Alvarado stated that she understood the white tigers were not in the wild and in fact were bred; and Ms. Blue stated that it was just horrible, but Mr. Marr was a tiger preservationist and could answer questions even better than she. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.
Mr. Cory Davis, 1094 Lampath, Kelowna, British Columbia V1C1N2 (216-346-0946) appeared and stated that he was from Canada, traveling the United States and Mr. Fertitta’s restaurant was very nice but tigers were endangered and the white tigers he wanted to purchase were being bred for his use; that there were only about 3,500 tigers left and it was because of the same point of view that they were objects; that he heard the gentleman say he was doing this for conservation of tigers, but it would do nothing for conservation because people would only think of them as objects. Council Members Galloway and Ellis absent.
Mr.Anthony Marr, 4118 W. 11th Ave., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6R2L6 (216-346-0946) appeared and stated that he was an international tiger preservationist specializing in the Bengal tiger; that Mr. Fertitta’s plan to install white tigers did not come down as tiger conservation for several reasons; that white tigers were of no conservation value whatsoever; that he had never seen one in a natural habitat and it was because it was poorly camouflaged and could not catch prey, to him the only reason to keep a tiger in captivity would be to try and protect its gene pool and keep them from becoming extinct, but white tigers were without that value; that breeding of white tigers was also very unethical as the white fur gene was recessive and for them to have white pups you had to inbreed and sometimes as closely as parent to cub and among siblings and because of the deliberate inbreeding they were full of genetic defects and deformities in the body; that the bred tigers which were not bought to be caged would be sold for hunting and shot point blank; that the entire business was onerous and carried no ethical or conservation merit. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent.
Upon questions by Council Member Alvarado, Mr. Marr stated that up to this point no tiger had so far been proven capable of being rehabilitated back into the wild. Council Members Galloway, Holm and Ellis absent.
Council Member Sekula-Gibbs stated that some thought the white tiger was beautiful and they bred them for their rarity and beauty and it would bring people to come and see; that in the natural state they could not survive but it was giving a life it would not normally have. Council Members Galloway, Garcia and Ellis absent.
Council Member Quan moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of continuing discussion by Council relating to tigers, seconded by Council Member Sekula-Gibbs. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Members Galloway, Garcia and Ellis absent. MOTION 2004-0177 ADOPTED
Upon questions by Council Member Goldberg, Mr. Marr stated that some zoos came in a wide range with some having wide motes and open spaces and so there were good and bad zoos; that in general he opposed human beings deriving pleasure from the suffering of animals. Council Members Lawrence, Galloway, Garcia, Ellis and Berry absent.
Upon questions by Council Member Quan, Mr. Marr stated that even releasing the yellow tiger into the wild had not been successful because they did not know how to hunt, raise babies or deal with local tigers; that if a tiger happened to be born in captivity out of a natural procedure it would be more humane to raise in captivity but that was the lesser of two evils, but in a puppy mill. Council Members Galloway, Holm, Garcia and Ellis absent.
Council Member Quan moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of continuing discussion by Council relating to tigers, seconded by Council Member Edwards. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Members Galloway, Holm, Garcia and Ellis absent. MOTION 2004-0178 ADOPTED
Upon questions by Council Member Edwards, Mr. Marr stated that white tigers were purposely bred to be white; that if you naturally bred 100 tigers none would be white the percentage was so low and then when one was born he could be raised until about 2-1/2 when they would then have to leave and would die; that he had never seen a white tiger in the wild in all his years and it was a fair statement to say if you saw a white tiger it was bred to be so. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent
Council Member Berry encouraged Mr. Marr to visit the Houston Zoo; and upon questions, Mr. Marr stated that his primary reason for being present today was that he was opposed to any captivity of animals. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent
Mr. James Prappas, 410 Bagby, Houston, Texas 77002 (713-515-9395) appeared and stated that he was director of animal operations at Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. with 23 years in animal care, conservation and research and he was aware of Mr. Marr’s work and it was significant; that Landry’s was dedicated to providing the best environment for their animals and all their staff was involved in conservation efforts; that AZA recognized Landry’s as a professional well run organization and knew they could give animals the best possible care and maintenance and they did participate in AZA’s goals. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent.
Council Member Garcia moved that the rules be suspended for the purpose of extending time for Mr. James Prappas to speak, seconded by Council Member Alvarado. All voting aye. Nays none. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent. MOTION 2004-0179 ADOPTED
Mr. Prappas stated that without abilities to go to countries and support them financially there would not be Bengal tigers, etc., for Mr. Marr to conduct research on to understand how to save them if not for captivity. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent
Upon questions by Council Member Lawrence, Mr. Prappas stated that their exhibits were being designed as an attachment to the building and by AZA members; that they did not do caging it was more of an emerging and would be top notch quality. Council Member Lawrence stated that once it was designed she would like it sent to her office. Council Members Galloway and Holm absent
Upon questions by Council Member Edwards, Mr. Prappas stated that AZA was Association for Zoos and Aquariums; that they wanted the white tigers as they were captivating and they felt it would generate excitement; that there would not be a separate fee it was added on to what the existing exhibit was; that they did allow one HISD school each day to attend free.
Council Member Edwards stated that he had made a previous statement that third world countries had no interest in caring; and upon questions, Mr. Prappas stated that the only tigers existing in the U. S. would be in private breeders hands or zoos, but what he said was most endangered species exist in countries which were incapable of educating their public properly to manage their resources and so through many programs in AZA they sent people to participate in classrooms and in building schools and in getting them interested; that many in Kenya and many wildlife refugees were supported by tourism which generated here in the United States and Great Britain where the money went to help pay authorities; and Council Member Edwards stated that she did not know he was an expert on Kenya’s ability to… on whether or not they wanted to educate their children but appreciated his comments Council Members Galloway, Holm, Sekula-Gibbs and Berry absent.
Upon questions by Council Member Garcia, Mr. Prappas stated that Landry’s wanted to be professional and had hired people to keep integrity in the conservation research; that they would exceed guidelines for their exhibit. Council Members Galloway, Holm, Sekula-Gibbs, Green and Berry absent.
Mayor White stated that from a human being type point Council Member Edwards pointed out something and he traveled a lot of the world and could not generalize about all third world countries just like he could not generalize about all Americans, it was something he had to learn through his travels and shared for what it was worth as there were some old ways of thinking which they should avoid. Council Members Galloway, Holm, Sekula-Gibbs, Green and Berry absent...
* * *
Feb. 17, 2004, 9:36AM
Downtown Aquarium has new plan to win OK for tigers
Fertitta applies for zoo accreditation as critics blast idea
By KRISTEN MACK
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
Tilman Fertitta's plan to glitz up his Downtown Aquarium eatery by adding white tigers faces legal obstacles, but the restaurateur already has a plan that may help him avoid them.
Fertitta has applied for accreditation of the aquarium as a public zoo, which would allow him to exhibit the tigers under the city's exotic animal ordinance.
According to the ordinance, it is "unlawful for any person to be in possession of a wild animal within the city." But there are exceptions to the rule, including one that allows wild animals to be kept at a public zoo that is accredited by a nationally recognized zoological association.
Meanwhile, an animal rights activist says the display of the tigers is unethical and serves no purpose beyond "fetish" entertainment.
"What this gentleman (Fertitta) is trying to do is undignified," said Anthony Marr, a wildlife preservationist who is in Houston as part of a nationwide tour promoting compassion for animals. "It is plainly a commercial enterprise. There does not seem to be a single thought for the well-being of these animals or the future of the species."
Fertitta has applied for accreditation from the American Zoological Association, according to Jeff Cantwell, senior vice president of development for Landry's Restaurants Inc. Landry's has received that accreditation for a similar exhibit at a restaurant in Denver.
"We feel like this is a zoo facility," Cantwell said of the establishment. "This is about entertainment and education. It's no different from the Houston Zoo in that respect."
Fertitta already has ordered the three tigers, which he said he was hoping to have in place by the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July. Because the application process is lengthy, however, it may be early fall before it is complete.
"The timing of this is a concern, but we just want it to be done correctly," Cantwell said.
City Controller Annise Parker, who was largely responsible for drafting the city's exotic animal ordinance, sent a memo to Mayor Bill White and City Council members opposing the idea.
"While I am confident that great care would be taken to ensure the safety of the public, the city cannot turn a blind eye to the double standard it would be creating by allowing Mr. Fertitta to follow through on his plans," it reads. " I believe it is simply wrong to say no to residents, while at the same time saying yes to a proposal that appears to be in direct violation of the law."
The city's Legal Department is studying the matter.
But many suspect that Fertitta's plan will come to fruition. Fertitta, president and CEO of Landry's Restaurants, is a wildly successful businessman, a prominent fixture in Houston's social and philanthropic scenes and a big campaign contributor.
"He's very well-connected," Councilman Mark Goldberg said. "He's aggressive. And he's successful because he is driven."
Goldberg said that if the tiger display were able to draw more people downtown, the city should look into making an exception to the rule.
"We have an ordinance that was created without keeping in mind that we are trying to attract tourists and businesses downtown," Goldberg said.
Fertitta and his aquarium have been the subjects of controversy before. Under political and public pressure, he jettisoned a plan to erect a 200-foot-high observation tower at the restaurant. And just last week, council members bristled upon learning that a city contract for downtown establishments paid for peripheral security for the restaurant.
Councilwoman Ada Edwards said the city's exotic animal ordinance is clear.
"I don't see how he can get around it," she said. "We made it for a reason. I don't see why an exception should be made. I wouldn't be inclined to do it."
Having said that, Edwards added that she does not doubt that Fertitta has gotten the go-ahead from somebody to continue pursing the tiger exhibit.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he got it, although I would be disappointed," she said.
Even if Fertitta is able to work around the exotic animals ordinance, there is another city law that prohibits animals -- with the exception of seeing-eye dogs and fish in tanks -- in establishments that serve food. Fertitta has responded that the tigers would not be housed in the restaurant but on the first floor of the establishment in a professionally designed enclosure.
Regardless, Marr, the animal rights activist, said it is unethical to keep endangered and exotic animals in captivity.
"Although people have a fascination for it, there are several negative ramifications," said Marr, who is scheduled to address City Council during its public session today.
“Captive bred white tigers are mostly products of deliberate inbreeding to bring out the recessive white gene,” said Marr, “and the color comes with a range of genetic defects. Even so, the white color shows up only 25% of the time. The other 75% are genetically defective orange tigers which are just sold to canned hunt ranches for whatever.”
Cantwell contends that the tigers Fertitta has "on order" were already born in captivity and not bred for the Houston aquarium.
Jim Prappas, associate director of animal husbandry for Landry's Restaurants Inc. maintains that the aquarium is focused on education, research and conservation of the tigers.
"There's always going to be someone ... saying they think these should not be displayed," Prappas said. "We are never going to get away from that kind of opposition."
* * *
Animal Concerns of Texas
* * *
San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose
Bizarre Practice Of Bear Farming
The I-Team Investigates
May 25 — You may have seen stories here on ABC7 about the illegal trade in exotic animal parts, such as rhino horn, tiger bone, or elephant tusk. But now, the I-Team uncovers the bizarre practice known as "bear farming." Dan Noyes has this exclusive report.
Pictures of the bear farms in China are disturbing, but we won't show you the worst of it. Products from those farms are on sale here in the Bay Area, and the demand is causing a surge in bear poaching in our state parks.
We took our hidden cameras to San Francisco's Chinatown, and with the help of Canadian author and animal activist, Anthony Marr, bought illegal bear products -- pills and shavings from a bear's gall bladder.
Anthony Marr (reading ingredients): "So, the ingredients list includes 'fel ursi' which is bear gall bladder."
Marr has seen the products for sale across the country, as he promotes a book about a new planetary philosophy called Omniscientific Cosmology.
Marr: "This is my culture, too. I'm also a Chinese person, but I think that cultures should evolve along with the times. All of the bear species in Asia are driven to the point of extinction, they're all considered to be endangered."
The bear pills and shavings are sold as a cure-all and for arthritis or liver problems. To meet the demand, bear farms have sprung up across China.
Right now, 7,000 bears are being kept in tiny cages their entire lives -- they never get out. They undergo a painful procedure in which the bile from their gall bladder is extracted with a catheter - or, it just constantly drips from an open wound into a bowl.
Jill Robinson: "Maybe in 50 years time, we're gonna look back in this industry with complete shame. It's almost a practice that belongs in medieval times."
But the farms can't meet the world-wide demand for bear bile and gall bladders. They're more expensive than cocaine on the black market. A single gall bladder can cost as much as $10,000.
With so much money at stake, California game wardens are seeing a surge in bear poaching. Last year in Bakersfield, eight men were caught and convicted for poaching -- the bear parts went to market in San Francisco and Asia. One of the men bragged to investigators, he alone killed 87 bears that year. But arrests like this are rare.
Jerry Karnow, Fish and Game: "Those folks are getting smarter and we have fewer officers so that combination is making it tough."
Jerry Karnow is the only Fish and Game warden assigned to Yuba County. He has the impossible task of covering 1200 square miles a day, by himself. By the time he got to this crime scene in Plumas National Forest, the poachers were long gone.
Karnow: "This is an actual noose and that's still bear hair."
Poachers killed this bear, took the gall bladder and left everything else behind.
Karnow: "When I see that activity, you know, I don't like it."
There are also problems at the Fish and Game crime lab in Sacramento. It's critical to building a case against poachers, but the lab is so underfunded that the scientists have a case backlog of three to four months.
Jim Banks: "We too have our finger in the dike and we're just holding, hoping that year after year maybe something is going to change."
There's one bright spot in all this -- activists are making some progress in China. The government has finally admitted the bear farms should be shut down -- they've signed an agreement. The process will take years, but refugees from the bear farms are already filling sanctuaries.
Robinson: "It just breaks our hearts because the bears have never, never had a life. They've never known what it is to live life like a bear... They are a remarkably intelligent and forgiving animal and we're just so proud to be working with them."
In some cases, bear bile medicines have been proven to work, but you have no guarantee what you're buying is the real thing. And, there are synthetic versions that are widely available and just as potent. There's a tremendous cultural barrier to overcome.
To learn more about 'bear farming' visit, http://transfer.go.com/cgi/transfer.pl?goto=
* * *
Charles Campbell TheTyee.ca
The irascible radio host on his new memoir, the Liberals and his own evolving politics (Would you believe Green Socialist?) Photo by C. Campbell
My next-door neighbour Ray, whose transistor radio is constantly tuned to either golden oldies or talk shows, thinks he knows Rafe Mair. “That right-wing bastard,” he says, when Mair’s talk show comes up in conversation. Then for no reason Ray reminds me for the 42nd time that he himself has picked the winner of every election he’s witnessed since he learned to count. Ray knows what he knows. Down at Paul’s Place, an old-school lunch joint at the south foot of the Granville Bridge, Mair’s reputation prompts Rafe himself to mutter a mild expletive of his own. Whatever pretensions we have about ourselves, humans are still prone to tribal behavior, and B.C. politics is good evidence of that. But go figure. Who does Rafe Mair name as his three greatest heroes in Rafe: A Memoir (Harbour Publishing) Wild salmon advocate Alexandra Morton, B.C. bear-hunting opponent Anthony Marr, and anti-whaling crusader Paul Watson. What’s more, Mair actually describes himself as a socialist in the book. Of course, even W.A.C. Bennett was, as Mair puts it, “mildly socialist” — he turned BC Electric into a public utility and created BC Ferries. This tribalism we’re susceptible to is getting complicated. ...
“We need to change the structure of government,” Mair insists, arguing that majority governments don’t make room for diversity of opinion. “ The 73-year-old radio host, who says the creation of the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform resulted partly from the early advocacy of himself and Gordon Gibson, is still trying to make up his mind about the proposed single-transferable vote system recommended last month by the assembly. The system, which promises long ballots, “surplus votes,” and headache-inducing methods of vote tabulation, lacks the kind of clarity and simplicity that many voters prefer. And that worries Mair. “If it is not explained to the satisfaction of the public, it won’t fly.” Still, he thinks the system would yield good results — strong, electable independent candidates, greater diversity of opinion, and governments that would be obliged to respect diverse interests. “The people that prefer first-past-the-post are the solid interests, the solid socialists, the solid capitalists.” They are the folks who benefit from the devoted patronage of having their person in the premier’s office. “It’s not in their interest to have actually lobby the broad base of an entire legislature.” ...
* * *
Champions of the Wild
A tiger sits motionless, hidden. Then it starts to move--very slowly at first: one of the world's most tenacious predators is on the prowl. Birds, deer, monkeys run for cover. The tiger's legs drive it forward at high speed as it chooses its prey and relentlessly runs it down. It's a magical sight, pure power and speed. And we may be the last generation to witness it. These are truly dark days for the tigers of the world. One subspecies became extinct during the 1970s, another in the '80s. Today fewer than 5,000 Bengal tigers remain in the wild. Conservationist Anthony Marr feels a near-mystical connection with tigers. "They get right into the core of my soul," he says. "It's a magical feeling just to know they exist." Largely shot in India's Bandhavgarh National Park, Bengal Tigers is a plea to save one of the world's most remarkable creatures. During the '70s, the international community came together to save the whales. Now it's time to save the tigers.
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