Today, some updates on major media columns and news stories drawing attention to urgent issues for animals.
First, I hope you’ll take a look at a column from me published in today’s Washington Post about shark finning. Specifically, it calls attention to proposed regulations from the National Marine Fisheries Service that would nullify state and territorial laws banning sale and possession of shark fins. Perversely, the rules seek to implement the provisions of the Shark Conservation Act, which The HSUS helped to pass in Congress in 2010, to combat finning of sharks for soup. As I write in The Post today, NMFS is using the federal law as a spear rather than a shield, contrary to the original purpose of the law.
In The Times of Trenton, the main newspaper in New Jersey’s capital city, HSUS board member and MUTTS creator Patrick McDonnell has an irrefutable column, along with a touching original drawing, urging state lawmakers to override the veto by Governor Chris Christie of a ban on gestation crates. The ban on these inhumane confinement systems passed overwhelmingly in both chambers – 60 to 5 in the Assembly and 35 to 1 in the Senate. All we need is for state lawmakers to follow their original instinct, and not to be bullied into reversing their positions. The Courier-Post in South Jersey also published an editorial calling on lawmakers to override the veto.
And finally, in one of the most disturbing incidents you’ll ever see, The HSUS and other animal organizations and advocates are calling on NBC Sports to drop the show “Under Wild Skies,” hosted by NRA lobbyist Tony Makris. In a highlighted reel from this week's episode, Makris travels to Botswana and hunts an elephant, shooting this innocent and magnificent creature several times in the face before the animal dies, groaning as the host watches and laughs and makes small talk about other animals he wants to kill. Ironically, just yesterday, at the Clinton Global Initiative, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton announced an $80 million commitment to protect elephants from poaching. What a disgrace that Makris kills so wantonly for his amusement, as the rest of the world rallies to protect these vanishing creatures. Viewers around the world are calling on NBC Sports to cancel the show.
Awareness is the antecedent to action. In gaining this kind of exposure on these problems, we can make progress if we join together and take action.