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What Cecil the lion's death can teach us about empathy

What Cecil the lion's death can teach us about empathy

Posted 30 July 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: Cecil, lions, hunting

The tragic death of one of Zimbabwe's most loved lions – Cecil – has sparked global outrage. And understandably so. It's hard to fathom why anyone would want to kill such an incredible animal. The American dentist who hunted and shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, reportedly paid $55,000 for a permit to kill a lion. Reports say that Cecil was lured out from the protection of the Hwange National Park (where it is illegal to hunt) and killed.

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Cecil's death is undeniably devastating. But it begs the question -- would this story even be told if it had been any other lion who was shot? Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts. In a statement, the hunter who killed Cecil said:

"I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."

This lion.

Had he shot any other lion (or any other animal) we might never have heard about it. But Cecil had a name. He had a personality. He was loved.

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Cecil nuzzles a lioness at Hwange National Park.

Does having a name make Cecil's life more valuable? All lions have unique personalities. They have loved ones. They may have cubs, like Cecil did. But their deaths would not make global headlines.

Rightly or wrongly, it is an undeniable trait of human nature that we care more about those we know than about those we barely know. With Cecil, we see on a global scale that even by simply knowing an animal by name, we feel more connected to them. We understand that they are someone. If you've ever given a house spider a name (I know I have) you'll know how something so simple can build a bridge from 'other' to 'friend'.

And if we look at humankind's "best friend" we can see how deep this connection between humans and animals can go. Most of us will have at some point in our lives welcomed an animal into our homes. We will have learned about their likes and dislikes, watched them experience joy and fear and loved them just like a member of the family.

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If you've ever loved a companion animal you'll know that you'd never let anyone hurt them. And it's this love that has dictated the protection our pets have in broader society. In Australia there are legal ramifications for cruelty to dogs and cats that are not afforded to millions of other animals. If someone were to take a dog and cut off his tail without any pain relief, they would face cruelty charges. And yet, this painful procedure is inflicted upon countless piglets in factory farms every single day.

Recently, there was worldwide outrage over the dog eating festival in China. I'm the first to be saddened by the thought of a dog being killed and eaten but perhaps some cultures just don't know dogs like we do? If they did, surely they wouldn't consider them "food." Meanwhile, here at home, countless animals who are really no different to dogs are killed everyday ... to be turned into pork, bacon and ham. Why do we not feel outraged by this?

Dogs and cats have a special place in our society simply because we know them as individuals, we love them and we stand up to protect them. What if we could expand our compassion to the animals who we don't know? Imagine how different the world would be if we stood up to protect all animals?

Just like dogs, pigs have a desire to live, and feel love and have in fact proven to be even smarter than the tail-wagging slobber monkeys we share our homes with. Chickens too each have their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes and the capacity to feel pain.

250-stefa.jpg 250-lms2.jpg
Meet Stefa Meet Little Miss Sunshine

Cecil's life mattered not because he was a lion, or because we knew his name. Cecil's life mattered because all lives matter.

Every day we make choices about how we treat individuals who we will never meet -- from what we wear, to what we buy, and most especially what we eat. To create a kinder world, we need only harness the power of our everyday choices to transform the lives of these animals for the better. And we can start today. Take the first step here.

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An open letter to duck shooters: Get a new hobby.

An open letter to duck shooters: Get a new hobby.

Posted 16 January 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: duck shooting, hunting, ducks, bowling

Dear duck shooter,

Today I heard that the 2015 duck shooting season has been declared. I'm writing to you because I'm just a bit concerned about your choice of hobby. It seems really ... hard. I mean for one ... don't take this the wrong way, but surely you must've noticed that no one really likes you :/

People like ducks alive! They just don't get why you want to shoot them. (Why do you want to shoot them?)

Anyway, I was wondering whether you'd ever thought about taking up a different hobby instead of duck shooting? Like what about bowling? Everyone likes bowling. Which pretty much sums up my first point.

Why it's time to stop killing ducks and get some balls. Bowling balls.

1. You don't make friends with dead ducks.

No. No you don't.

You do however make friends with big shiny balls. The proof is in this genuinely candid and not-at-all staged photograph of bowling friends.

bowling-friends.jpgThis could be you.

2. Bowling season never ends!

Duck shooting season is what, 3 or 4 months of the year? Maaaate ... bowling season is all year round!

520-bowling-man.jpgThis champion knows it.

3. No early starts.

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Not only is bowling all year round it's ALL DAY LONG too! Some bowling alleys are even open late into the night. So forget the early morning wake ups to go out and cruelly and needlessly shoot ducks out of the sky. Sleep in, (don't be a douche) and spend your leisure time smashing pins instead.

4. Balls are provided.

Great news for anyone who doesn't have any balls of their own. (i.e. anyone who shoots a defenceless bird out of the sky for fun.)

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5. No one gets hurt.

No one gets hurt at bowling. Well, unless they're super bad at it. But even then at least they're willing participants. Unlike ducks. What kind of 'sport' forces participants to 'play' against their will? And by 'play,' I mean get shot dead, or wounded until they bleed to death. Seriously, duck shooting is done. It's no good. Move on. It's time for a new, non-cruel, hobby.

Click here to leave duck shooting behind and join the other 99% of us who don't shoot ducks.

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(If you're already a non duck shooter and you reckon it's rubbish that people are still allowed to shoot ducks, there's something you can do about it right now. Click here.)

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Laws couldn't stop this ... so it's up to you!

Laws couldn't stop this ... so it's up to you!

Posted 7 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 2 Comments

Tags: fishing, sharks, shark fin soup, hunting, action, pledge

First, he's hooked and brought to the surface, unable to breathe. Then, his fins are brutally sliced off. Finally, he's tossed back into the ocean like rubbish -- where he'll sink to the bottom, and drown :( It’s a horrific way to die, and the animal who washed up on a Queensland beach on Monday probably suffered this cruel fate.

shark finning

Finning a shark at sea is illegal in Australia but laws are difficult to police. Sharks like this hammerhead are in danger of cruelty because of demand for their fins. These fins are used in shark fin soup, a popular Asian dish that is now available in restaurants throughout Australia.

While shark fins are still allowed to be sold in Australia, more sharks are at risk of suffering this same cruel death. It’s time to BAN the sale of shark fins -- and you can help do it!

Here's three things you can do to help protect sharks from finning:

  1. Sign the pledge to never buy shark fin soup.
  2. Contact your MP and let them know that the only way to protect sharks from finning is by banning the sale of shark fins in Australia.
  3. If you see shark fin soup being sold, take a moment to politely get in touch with the restaurant -- in person, or by sending an e-mail or message via social media -- to ask them to take shark fin off the menu and help protect sharks.

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"Give these souls a voice."

"Give these souls a voice."

Posted 17 September 2013   by 4_da_animals1         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: dolphins, whales, Taiji, hunting, Japan, The Cove

By now you might have heard that the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan has started up again for another season. It’s hard to believe that this cruelty still goes on but Emma -- Unleashed member and volunteer for Sea Shepherd -- reminds us that we can all make a big difference for dolphins in Taiji. Here’s her story:

I have always felt a natural pull towards the ocean. Growing up as a kid, I used to watch Steve Irwin’s documentaries all the time, and he introduced me to Sea Shepherd -- a non-profit conservation organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of ocean wildlife. Volunteering for this organisation in Adelaide, I was introduced to the Cove Guardians.

What is a Cove Guardian? What are they protecting? These were the questions I asked. I was recommended a documentary called The Cove.

Watching The Cove I grew more and more horrified. I discovered that dolphins are not happy in captivity. For a creature who is used to travelling up to, and sometimes over, 100 kilometres a day, living in a tank is the equivalent of a human living in a bathtub.

“The dolphin’s smile is nature’s greatest deception,” says Ric O’Barry, former trainer of the Flipper dolphins and the star of The Cove. His whole world changed when he watched a dolphin die in his arms. She blocked off her blow hole and stopped breathing, suffocating herself to death whilst living in captivity. Ric now dedicates his life to fighting for dolphin rights.

According to Save Japan Dolphins 1,200 to 1,800 dolphins are killed in Taiji each year, with up to 23,000 killed nationally in Japan.. Fishermen in boats hold large poles underwater and bang them with hammers to create a wall of sound, which disorientates the dolphins' sonar systems, so they can be herded into the cove. Trainers then pick the dolphins who will be sold to marine parks. These dolphins are often sold for $150,000 or more. Countless dolphins in captivity have come from Taiji.

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(Photo thanks to Cove Guardians.)

Then the slaughter begins. Whole family units are speared, and hacked at, with knives. One dolphin, in this year’s slaughter, put herself between the slaughtermen and her baby, in a desperate attempt to protect her calf.

The slaughtered dolphins are sold for their flesh. But thankfully this cruelty is being exposed, and together we can turn the tide...

Ric O’Barry and his colleagues used surveillance techniques to gain footage of these horrors and expose them to the world. You can check out their incredible efforts in The Cove. Since then, Save Japan Dolphins and the Cove Guardians have carried on this work, returning to Taiji each year to document and expose the slaughter. Thanks to their efforts awareness is growing.

This year, Japanese activists are standing side by side with people from around the world, at the Cove, in their plea to end this cruelty. And you can stand with them too...

What can we do to help? Simple. Give these souls a voice.

  • Don’t visit marine parks: There are plenty of great dolphin-friendly tours that let you see these incredible animals in the wild.
  • Speak out: Send a message to the Ambassador of Japan in Australia urging Japan to end the slaughter. (Click here to send your message now.)
  • Show suppport: Leave a message of support for the Cove Guardians on their facebook page, or find out how you can get involved here.
  • Spread the word: Most importantly, spread the word. Purchase, watch and share The Cove with all your friends and family. This secret needs to be exposed for the world to see.

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Why is this man crying?

Why is this man crying?

Posted 11 September 2013   by Karen         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: dolphins, whales, Taiji, hunting, Japan

This is Satoshi Komiyama, a caring Japanese man who entered the waters of Taiji Cove this week. He is pleading for the lives of wild dolphins who have been captured in underwater nets. Some will be sold to marine parks around the world, where they will live out their lives in captivity.

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Later, this idyllic Cove will become the site of one of the world’s most brutal slaughters -- where countless dolphins will be mercilessly killed for their flesh.

Surrounded by police who were there to defend the notorious annual hunt, Satoshi did the only thing he could do -- he held up his sign, and pleaded. But it was only after he submerged his head under water that he could hear it -- families of panicked dolphins crying out in distress. After returning to the surface, Satoshi tried to describe what he heard, and he broke down.

The battle for Taiji dolphins has only just begun, and Japanese advocates like Satoshi are backed by a growing international outcry against the brutal capture and slaughter of these intelligent animals. You can help show Satoshi that Australians stand united with him for the dolphins of Taiji. Click here to send an instant message to the Ambassador of Japan in Australia urging him to end this cruelty.

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Why is this still happening?

Why is this still happening?

Posted 18 June 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: ducks, hunting, duck shooting, action, CADS

Number of rare 'protected' ducks who were found dead by rescuers during this year's shooting season: 456

Number of shooters who were prosecuted for illegally killing 'protected' ducks this year: 0

Duck hunting season came to an end last week (10 June) and once again I am feeling bewildered as to how this cruel "sport" is still permitted in certain states in Australia. I'm also a little confused about what the word 'protected' means. I'd have thought it meant not being killed or wounded for no reason. But over the three month shooting season in Victoria, the Coalition Against Duck Shooting pulled a total of 456 'protected' duck species out of the water, dead, with many more wounded. However, to date, not a single shooter has been prosecuted for illegally shooting a 'protected' species.

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Among the slaughtered birds rescuers found were 110 rare and threatened Freckled Ducks.

Thank goodness duck hunting season is over for another year. The problem is though, that there never should have been a shooting season to begin with. Can you believe that duck hunting is still legal in some Australian states? It's 2013! When I was in primary school we had to imagine what it would be like in the year 2013. I probably said something like we will all be riding hover-boards and playing with our robots. I never would've thought that we would still be living in a society where some states say it's ok to kill animals for fun.

It's time that the governments of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia got with the times and banned duck shooting. Western Australia banned recreational shooting way back in 1990. New South Wales followed in 1995 and Queensland in 2005. How is it that the other states have failed to realise that duck hunting is cruel and needs to be stopped?

Your voice is needed to speak up for these ducks. Take a moment to send a message to the decision makers in Victoria, SA and Tassie, calling on them to ban duck hunting.

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From war soldier to animal advocate

From war soldier to animal advocate

Posted 24 May 2013   by Amy         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: IAPF, Damien Mander, poaching, hunting, Africa, conservation, vegetarian, go veg, inspiring, video

I just love seeing a big, burly bloke go all Superman to help an innocent animal, don't you? Well, Damien Mander's story is just that. And it's got buffalos and elephants and snares and rangers and special ops and ... how about I just let him tell you about it:

Wow! What a great question Mander poses to everyone at the end! Now I know, as an Unleashed member, you're brave enough to speak up for animals, so I'd like to pose a different question to you:

What are you going to do this week to make a difference for animals?

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted 10 February 2013   by Anthony         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: ducks, hunting, sharks, shark fin soup, cats, adoption

The Chinese New Year has arrived with a bang! It's now the Year of the Snake, and next year will be Year of the Horse. But what about all the animals who don't get their own "year"? Here's three suggestions for other animals who totally deserve to have their own "year" too. See if your fave made the grade!

Cats

Somehow, cats don't already have their own year! Try explaining THAT to this cat who acts as a guide to a blind dog in Wales!

Blind dog and guide cat

You can show some love for cats by taking the pledge to always adopt, rather than buy when you're looking to welcome a cat into your family. With tens of thousands of cats killed in Australia every year because there just aren't enough homes for them - your personal pledge is a promise to save a life.

Ducks

Duck Next week will see duck hunting season start in South Australia. The blood will also flow in this cruel "sport" in Tasmania and Victoria starting in March. (WA, Qld and NSW - you're cool, duck hunting is banned in your states.) You can stick up for ducks in two powerful ways. Firstly, you can send a message to state pollies letting them know you're against duck hunting. And secondly, if you're in Victoria, you can join other volunteers from the Coalition Against Duck Shooting on a duck rescue team. With your help, hopefully soon we'll have a Year of the Duck, and not a Year of Duck Hunting!

Sharks

I've heard of Shark Week - but when are we going to get a Shark Year?! These majestic sea animals have been around since dinosaurs were stomping about, but now some species are at risk of total extinction. One of the major reasons for this alarming fact is the practice of shark-finning. The photo here is of 18,000 (!!) shark fins drying on a roof top in Hong Kong.

Shark fins on roof

The need to do something about this has already been recognised in some countries. For example, Costa Rica has totally banned the mutilation in its waters. You can raise awareness of shark-finning amongst your buds by getting active on Facebook and Twitter. Sharks have been around for millions of years - don't let them die out on our watch!

Why not make 2013 the Year of Animals in general? Celebrate them every day by choosing not to eat them! Find out how easy it is here - and prepare to have the best year of your life!

Which animals do you think deserve their own year??

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Hunting made illegal!

Hunting made illegal!

Posted 19 December 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 8 Comments

Tags: hunting, pig dogging, Costa Rica

You may not know where Costa Rica is on the map, but you'll be wishing we had politicians like theirs when you hear the decisions they've been making over there!

A brief timeline of excellent decisions in Costa Rica

1949: Abolishes their army. Becomes the most peaceful country in the region.
2007: Announces plan to become the world's first carbon-neutral country by 2021.
2012: Bans shark finning AND outlaws hunting for sport!

That's it! Sorry Julia and Tony, but I'm voting for a Costa Rican at our next election.

The law "will allow us to live in peace with other living things that share our planet," politician Victor Emilio Granadas said. "I believe this is a message we give to future generations, that an activity like sport hunting is not a sport but a cruelty."

And if you needed any proof of how right Victor is, just watch this report about hunting in Australia. It's a "sport" known as pig dogging , and be warned - it contains disturbing footage.

You can let our politicians know that you want them to follow the Costa Rican example by sending a message with the two actions below.

Call for an end to savage pig dogging

Keep sharks in the oceans and out of soup bowls


Now ... when's the next flight to Costa Rica?

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YOU CHOOSE: Which shark vid do you prefer?

YOU CHOOSE: Which shark vid do you prefer?

Posted 13 November 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: sharks, hunting, video

I saw two videos to do with sharks yesterday. One of them depressed me immensely, while the other made me laugh...and think. Laughthink - what's the smiley look like for that? Anyway, check out both vids and make your own mind up.

The first one actually made the news. It's from WA and was posted online in the last couple of days. I'm not going to say too much more about it, because I'm trying to cut down on the amount I swear. WARNING: This is NOT a nice video, so be ready to quickly press the stop button.

Awful, hey? If you couldn't watch it, the vid shows a whaler shark hung in the air, still alive, being clubbed on the head with an iron bar. The person who posted it to Facebook also bragged about shooting a tiger shark, adding the comment, "Let the blood run free I say."

Scare-mongering about sharks seems to have reached a new low in WA. The state government there has announced plans to shoot great whites who swim too close to Perth beaches. I'm not saying there's a direct link between the state government's plan and the video that was posted on Facebook. But if you've got our politicians saying it's ok to shoot protected great whites, it sends an awful message that sharks don't deserve compassion.

Which leads on to the second video I was talking about. This was posted yesterday to the forum by Unleashed member JordanBajc. Not only did he post it ... he made it!! Take a look - it's a humorous take on a serious issue.

A recent poll showed that 83% of the state opposed the government's shoot-to-kill plan; even footy star Nic Naitanui spoke out in support of the sharks.

If you think that sharks deserve protection, then take action. Send WA pollies an email urging them to adopt non-lethal alternatives to protect swimmers.

When you're done, tell me what you think of the two vids here. And feel free to throw compliments in about JordanBajc's clip. I think it's really good - how bout you? Post your comments below!

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Man rescued at sea by unlikely hero.

Man rescued at sea by unlikely hero.

Posted 15 October 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 9 Comments

Tags: sharks, shark fin soup, amazing, hunting

A man lost at sea for almost FOUR MONTHS has told of his amazing rescue story. And the hero of this story is one you may not expect! (SPOILER: it's not a mermaid.)

The drama unfolded off the tiny island nation of Kiribati (it's kind of in between Australia and Hawaii). Local policeman and vowel-hoarder Toakai Teitoi headed off on what was meant to be a two hour boat trip to a neighbouring island. Long story short - he didn't quite get where he wanted, and 2 hours in a boat became 106 days! I hope he had something to read.

On Day 106 though, Toakai's luck changed. Curled up at the bottom of the boat under some shade, he heard a scratching and bumping against the hull. Peering overboard he saw a six foot shark circling the boat. When the shark had his attention it swam off.

This is what happened next, in Toakai's own words:

"He was guiding me to a fishing boat. I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me. Of course I was able to wave frantically at them and they came and picked me up. If that shark hadn't nudged me awake the crew of the boat might have thought I wasn't in trouble and might have carried on sailing past me."

According to Toakai, that shark saved his life!!

In 2012, approximately 200,000 sharks are killed by humans ... every day! That would mean that while Toakai was adrift on his boat, 21 MILLION sharks were killed. And yet this shark rescued him. That's a pretty forgiving shark!

A major contributor to the death-toll is the slaughter of sharks for their fins as part of the shark-fin soup industry. This fact about shark-finning really shook me up: all 14 shark species most common in the shark fin trade are now at risk of extinction.

If that's not bad enough, the Western Australian government is planning to shoot endangered sharks that swim too close to the shore. Under their plan, instead of being rescued by a shark, Toakai may have tried to shoot it!

I guess the simple point to make here is this: A shark saved a man's life, you can return the favour. Send a pre-written letter to the WA premier letting him know what you think of his plan. Then help other sharks by raising awareness of shark-finning amongst your buds.

Because you never know when you might need some help from a shark yourself ;)

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Get arty to help ducks.

Get arty to help ducks.

Posted 3 October 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: ducks, hunting, competition

If you're looking for something to do on your school holidays, want to help animals AND win prizes ... then you'll probably want to know more about this competition being run through all of October!

To make the public more aware of the hard duck life, SA organisation POND (Protect Our Native Ducks) is running a poster competition. They're inviting students to create a poster that asks the public to take better care of Australia's native ducks. There are different age categories and prizes in each one. Get the comp details by clicking on the image.

POND brings together a range of people who all have one thing in common - a love for animals (well, ducks if you want to be really specific!) I didn't realise this until the info was jammed right under my nose, but ducks really have a LOT to worry about! Take a look at this...

1) Hunters. As someone once said, "The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck." Ducks can still be shot at for fun in SA and some other states (boooo!), but it is banned in WA, NSW and Qld (yaaaay!) Ducks may be killed outright, have their necks broken by hunters after being injured, or if they get away injured, they can suffer a slow and painful death.

2) Old fishing gear. Ducks can easily become tangled up in discarded fishing line, which makes life very difficult for them. They've also been found with old fishing hooks in their bills - which makes my nose hurt just thinking about it!

3) Busy roads. Some roads are dangerous just for people to cross, let alone a mother duck with all her ducklings in tow! It's hard to believe, but some drivers don't bother slowing down when they see duck families on the road :( If anything should happen to the mum, it's not just her that suffers; her babies become orphans and will struggle to take care of themselves. The clip below is the most intense thing I've ever seen - and it has a happy ending. Phew!

With all these dangers stacked up against them, it's no wonder Daffy Duck is always in such a foul mood. Or should I say, "fowl" mood? (And that ... is why my comedy career never took off).

As they say, "you've got to be in it to win it"! Entries close Friday November 2nd, so you better get quacking! (LOL - see what I did there?)

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Victory against hunting!

Victory against hunting!

Posted 5 September 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 12 Comments

Tags: victory!, hunting, NSW

Awesome news!! In the face of community pressure (including a campaign run on Unleashed), the NSW govt has backed down over plans that would have allowed 12 year olds to go out hunting by themselves. People just like you spoke out against this potentially deadly plan, and have won a significant victory to protect animals from being stabbed, shot and mauled.


The original campaign on Unleashed.

The hunting plan would have seen kids as young as 12 roaming about state forests with bows and arrows, knives and hunting dogs, looking for animals to kill. I don't know about you, but that sounds exactly like a nightmare I once had. To make the matter even worse, it sounds like many pollies weren't even aware the plan had been put together. Fortunately, Unleashed members and other concerned people WERE aware, and made their voices heard very clearly.

This story has had a positive ending, but there is still more to be done. Animals can't speak for themselves; they need you to be their voice. This back-down by the NSW govt proves that a strong compassionate voice can save lives. What else will you do today to help save animals?

Check out these links for more ways that you can get involved and make a difference.
Stop savage pig-dogging in Australia
Help save the Taiji dolphins
Make the battery cage history

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Bloody slaughter of dolphins to resume.

Bloody slaughter of dolphins to resume.

Posted 31 August 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: dolphins, whales, Taiji, The Cove, hunting

Every year in September, animal lovers from around the world turn their attention towards the Japanese fishing town of Taiji. This date marks the start of the infamous Taiji dolphin drive hunt.

In case you haven't heard of the dolphin hunt before, here's the bare-bones of it. Every year, local fishermen take to the sea near a secluded cove and begin to drive dolphins and small whales towards the shore. There, mothers and babies are separated by ropes, some dolphins are tied to boats, some become injured or break their pectoral fins in the watery panic, and some die from stress or exhaustion.

cove.jpg The-cove.jpg

The bewildered animals are kept enclosed by nets overnight, and as the sun rises on the cove, the sea turns red as 'drive fishermen' pierce the dolphins and whales with long spears. Some fishermen use hooks to haul live dolphins into the boats where their throats are slashed. The dolphins' shrieks fill the air.

The animals that are killed are sold as meat (despite often containing dangerously high levels of mercury). The dolphins that are captured alive are sold to foreign dolphinariums where they will live their lives in captivity.

The goings-on in Taiji were brought to world attention in the Oscar-winning doco "The Cove". Since then, pressure has been steadily applied to those in charge of the hunt and those who allow it to continue.

There have been some major successes in the last couple of years. The number of dolphins killed in recent years seems to be in decline. In Australia, the coastal town of Broome suspended their sister-city relationship with Taiji after a campaign by Unleashed and Animals Australia supporters.

You can help keep the pressure on Taiji, and bring an end to this senseless slaughter. Take a moment to send an email to the Japanese Ambassador in Australia, letting him know of your outrage and disgust at this annual massacre. Head here to take part in this important campaign: http://www.unleashed.org.au/take_action/taiji-dolphin-hunt/

P.S. You might also be interested to learn more about ending a similar massacre that occurs in the Faroe Islands every year.

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BFFLs: man and croc become besties!

BFFLs: man and croc become besties!

Posted 21 June 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: crocodiles, hunting, BFF, unlikely, friendship, interesting

Watch the video first. Be amazed. Then read on.

Amazing what an act of kindness can do, isn't it! When Costa Rican local Chito found Pocho, the 5 metre long croc laying severely injured on the bank of a river almost 20 years ago, he did something quite remarkable and very compassionate...

Pocho had been shot by a farmer and blinded in one eye. Chito couldn't bear to let the croc suffer and die. As he said himself, "I just wanted him to feel that someone loved him, that not all humans are bad. I love all animals, especially ones that have suffered."

So, he rescued the croc and nursed him back to health. The story takes a turn for the awesome when Chito tried to return Pocho to the wild. Pocho didn't want to be left behind by his new human mate ... and followed him home! With permission from all the right people, Chito was allowed to care for and live with Pocho for the next 17 years.

The two would spend hours each day swimming and playing together, and Pocho even learnt to respond to his name, to roll over and to hold up his tail. Throughout the years, Pocho was gentle and patient with Chito ... which is more than I can say for Gus when he plays with/terrorises me.

NEXT PHOTO

"He's my friend, I don't want to treat him like a slave or exploit him," Chito said of Pocho. "I am happy because I rescued him and he is happy with me because he has everything he needs." (Photo: Jefrey Arguedas/EFE)

After many years of friendship, Pocho died of natural causes last year at the age of 50. Hundreds of people attended his funeral. Chito was devastated by Pocho's death, but continues to share his mate's story to raise awareness about just how special crocodiles are.

DO YOUR BIT TO HELP CROCS!

Pocho's story shows that even crocodiles can appreciate an act of kindness. Sadly, the Northern Territory Government has come up with a plan that is anything but kind to crocs. They're hoping to reintroduce 'safari hunting' of crocs, effectively selling the right to shoot at crocodiles to the highest bidders. Click here to help stop this cruel plan in its tracks.

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Turtles and dugongs saved from cruelty!

Turtles and dugongs saved from cruelty!

Posted 20 June 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 7 Comments

Tags: turtles, dugongs, sea, queensland, hunting, cruelty, victory!

Some great news for turtles, dugongs and turtle-and-dugong-lovers. Thanks to Animals Australia supporters and other caring Australians these two gentle sea animals are now protected by the same animal cruelty laws that protect other animals in Queensland. That means: no more turtles having flippers cut off whilst still alive and no more dugongs being dragged behind boats until they drown. That's definitely worth shell-ebrating!

This turtle-y awesome news was made possible by the thousands of Animals Australia and Unleashed supporters, just like you who wrote letters and signed petitions to pressure pollies and the inspiring efforts of activists, Colin Riddell, Bob Irwin and Rupert Imhoff, to expose the cruelty. This is yet another example of compassionate Australians speaking up for the voiceless and winning.

Although the legal loophole that allowed for their terrible treatment has been closed, turtles and dugongs still face an uncertain future as their population numbers dwindle. The Liberal National Party in Queensland has taken a positive first step, now you can encourage them to protect turtles and dugongs by putting an end to their hunting altogether.

A thank you message for what they've already done, and a little encouragement to go even further can be sent to the Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh, right ... here!!

Interesting dugong fact: it is believed that ye olde time sailors created the legend of mermaids after sighting dugongs. Maybe ye olde time sailors were wearing eye-patches on both eyes.

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Freedom one week, ninja turtle training the next!

Freedom one week, ninja turtle training the next!

Posted 22 May 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: turtles, sea, pollution, hunting, dugongs, queensland, Gary Gungoo!

I always thought that a turtle's fave thing was finding a strawberry to nom on. But I reckon this turtle north of Townsville would be pretty stoked at the moment, even without a strawberry.

turtle-heron-island.jpg The green sea turtle (who was given the awesome name of "Gary Gungoo") was released back into his sea country after 10 months of rehab north of Townsville. The poor little fella had been found suffering from floating syndrome. This problem occurs when turtles eat the rubbish that people dump into the sea, especially plastics and fishing line. Fortunately, Gary Gungoo was given expert care and is now back in the waters off Queensland. Probably chillin' with Nemo and Dory I'd imagine.

Gary Gungoo (man, I love saying that name) was actually found in an area called Hinchinbrook, where local indigenous groups have stopped hunting turtles. Unfortunately sea turtles and dugongs are still fair game around Queensland, and the cruelty involved is terrible. There's also the worry that hunting is pushing some turtles to the brink of extinction. Who would have thought that these gentle reptiles had it so hard??

Luckily, the new QLD govt has promised to make sure turtles and dugongs are protected by the same cruelty laws as other animals, by the end of their first 100 days in office. They've got about 42 days left to make good on their promise.

turtle-returns-to-sea.JPG It's fantastic to see the traditional owner groups who looked after Gary getting in on the action and leading the way. Hopefully with this kind of compassion it won't be long before Dr. Seuss' Yertle the Turtle becomes fact.

"And the turtles, of course, all the turtles are free.
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be."

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For Duck's Sake -- Just Ban Shooting!
Posted By

For Duck's Sake -- Just Ban Shooting!

Posted 22 March 2011   by         Permalink | 17 Comments

Tags: ducks, hunting, duck shooting, action, rant, news

By now you've probably heard the news: On the opening day of Victoria's despicable duck shooting season rescue team member, Julia Symons was shot in the face by a duck shooter. Instead of being able to take care of injured birds callously shot down and left for dead by hunters, Julia had her own injuries to see to.

Poor Julia was rushed to hospital to have 10 pellets removed from her face and hand. She was lucky not to be blinded, or worse! Thankfully Julia will recover; sadly most ducks aren't so fortunate. One in every four birds shot by hunters escape wounded, left to suffer and die slowly from their untended injuries. There's no ambulance for them.

Big Guns... Little Ducks. Ban Duck Hunting! unleashed.org.au

When a hunter pulls the trigger on a shot gun, pellets are literally sprayed out. There is no guarantee what even the most skilled marksman will hit: a native duck, a protected waterbird, endangered species like flying foxes (or even a rescuer!) can become victims of these ducking brutes.

On another note, the boy who reportedly shot Julia was just 14 years old. At 14 you're not even allowed to drive a car, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or vote - so why on earth should you be allowed to fire a deadly weapon? Actually, why should anyone be allowed to shoot animals for fun? Most of Australia has already banned duck hunting because it's cruelty to animals after all.

Hardly makes sense does it? Why are the Premiers of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia getting away with blood on their hands? For Julia and the ducks, take a moment to ask the governments of these three states to ban duck shooting now!

Shout outs to all the rescue teams out on the water, including CADS, UPROAR, and the Duck Army. Good luck and stay safe guys, and we wish Julia a speedy recovery!

How would you feel if you were injured while protecting animals from cruelty?

PS Want that awesome banner? Here's the code!

Big Guns... Little Ducks. Ban Duck Hunting! unleashed.org.au

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Real Men Hunt Tofu!
Posted By Jane

Real Men Hunt Tofu!

Posted 16 May 2010   by         Permalink | 19 Comments

Tags: veg, tofu, food, hunting, computer game, funny

I don't know about you but I've always steered clear of 'shoot em up' computer games. Especially ones that glorify killing innocent animals like in Big Buck Hunter. There's one of them at my local pizza place. Nothing turns me off more than seeing someone order a meatlovers pizza before putting a dollar in that gory hunting game to simulate slaughtering deer while they wait for their factory farmed ham to cook on a doughy base. It doesn't make you look tough, boys.

So you can imagine my sheer delight when I met Tofu Hunter!!

You can only progress through this game by meeting your tofu quota, that's a lesson for life I say! Nabbing the soy milk buys you extra time and you get bonuses for seeking out tofu dogs and seitan birds. Who needs a dietician with messages like this from tofu hunters?

Play Tofu Hunter! Via AdultSwim

It's definitely a 'shoot em up' game, but to me it does represent something more. Because each time someone hunts out the tofu or veggie dogs in the supermarket and buys that over meat, it's a little step closer to ending the misery of animals who are confined for life on factory farms.

And as for my local pizza place, imagine someone ordering a vegie pizza then shooting tofu while they wait  - let me hear you ladies, now that's manly!! Give me a Tofu Hunter any day!

Let's see who can get the highest score!

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Why I Won't Eat Skippy

Why I Won't Eat Skippy

Posted 2 September 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 15 Comments

Tags: hunting, kangaroos, conservation, Anna Bligh, QLD, Codes of Practice

So if you took part in our recent action calling on Qld Premier, Anna Bligh, to protect roos instead of encouraging Queenslanders to eat them, then you might have received the same lame response from the Qld Govt that I did. If you haven't here's a few snippets:

The kangaroo is an iconic Australian animal. It is also the foundation of an important commercial industry ... and contributes approximately $270 million annually to regional economies.

Kangaroo numbers in Australia have increased substantially since European settlement

The commercial harvesting of kangaroos in Queensland is strictly monitored and controlled by the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

The National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes 2008 has been produced to ensure that all harvesting of kangaroos is undertaken in a way that minimises pain and suffering. The Code also provides for the humane euthanising of pouch young and young at foot.

In other words: "Don't worry, we've got it under control. There's plenty of kangaroos, and bucket loads of cash to be made. So what are you worried about?"

What the Premier neglects to mention is the fact that severe droughts have seen roo numbers in shooting zones across WA, SA, NSW and QLD drop by more than half since 2001. She also doesn't mention the fact that the 'humane euthanising of pouch young and young at foot' recommended by the National Code of Practice is for joeys to be killed by decapitation or a blow to the head from a blunt object (like a towbar).

But the part of her letter that really rubbed me up the wrong way was this bit:

The working group that produced the Code included representatives from Commonwealth, State and Territory Government authorities responsible for kangaroo management and welfare, the kangaroo industry, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and Animals Australia.

Animals Australia was on that working group - to represent the animals' interests - but unfortunately the final product did not reflect our recommendations. So to suggest we supported the final recommendations is about as far from the truth as you can get. It's bad enough that the Queensland Premier is planning to hock slaughtered Aussie wildlife to Queenslanders as food! But to suggest that an animal protection group gave a tick of approval to codes that permit joeys to be decapitated is not cool.

We were so appalled by this gross misrepresentation of Animals Australia's stance that we had to respond. If you want to check out the response from Animals Australia's Executive Director, Glenys Oogjes, to Anna Bligh's letter click the image below. And please take a moment to let the Premier know that she should be looking out for our national icon, not supporting it's slaughter.

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Zoo Sells Endangered Antelope to Hunter

Zoo Sells Endangered Antelope to Hunter

Posted 6 August 2009   by Jesse         Permalink | 12 Comments

Tags: zoos, conservation, extinction, canned hunts, hunting, rant

What's wrong with this picture?

The NSW Shooters Party are presently pushing for changes to animal cruelty laws to legalise 'canned hunts' – where hunters pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of shooting trapped animals, including endangered species. One member of the Shooters Party is a Mr Bob McComb.

Over the last 3 years Dubbo Zoo has sold 24 blackbuck antelope - a seriously endangered species - to Mr McComb. If the Shooters Party's bill passes, then these 24 blackbuck antelope may be the first visitors to Mr McComb's planned 'private game reserve' (ie. canned hunt).

Hmm. Where to begin?!

As if it weren't enough that Australia is driving our own native species to extinction faster than the rest of the world, now we need to breed other countries' endangered animals just so they can be shot?

I've heard many a zoo pat themselves on the back for their 'conservation' work, through breeding programs. So when the Dubbo Zoo says these 24 endangered antelope were 'not required' for their collection, and sells them to a hunter, you've got to wonder if they've checked the definition of conservation in a dictionary lately!

Of course, Mr McComb seems to be a little confused about what the word means as well, "I see private game reserves as a very effective way to achieve that conservation". I tell you what – if I were an endangered animal Mr McComb (and the Dubbo Zoo for that matter!) would be the last person I would want to see running to my rescue!

I could rant about this all day, but instead, I'll ask you to join me in writing to Dubbo Zoo to tell them how appalled you are that they would sell any animal (endangered or otherwise) to a hunter.

[email protected]

And if you feel like you're on a roll after that letter, you might also like to write to the NSW Premier and Environment Ministers to ask them to reject the Shooters Party's bill.

NSW Premier Nathan Rees
[email protected]

Hon. Carmel Tebbutt, Minister for Climate Change and Environment
[email protected]

Phew! I'm glad I got that off my chest, it's been bugging me all day!

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Can You Believe People Still Shoot Animals?
Posted By Ward

Can You Believe People Still Shoot Animals?

Posted 3 March 2009   by         Permalink | 14 Comments

Tags: ducks, duck shooting, hunting

Let me just get this out firstGrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

That's better. Now, you would think that by 2009 something as horribly cruel as duck shooting would be banned. Some states in Australia are up with the timesNSW, WA and QLD have all banned duck shootinghowever several states still remain in the dark ages and allow it to continue.

Duck shooting is a cruel excuse for a 'sport' where there is no special training required to get a duck shooting licence, and for every three birds killed, another is wounded and left to die a slow and painful death.

The Victorian government recently declared a duck hunting season for 2009 and were angry! We need you kind folks to call on Gavin Jennings (VIC Environment Minister) to ban duck shooting before the season commences on March 21.

Take action for ducks! And while you're at it check out our new birdy banner. Stick it on your myspace to encourage others to get active.

Big Guns... Little Ducks. Ban Duck Hunting! unleashed.org.au
<a href="http://www.unleashed.org.au?tr=1010"><img border="0" src="http://www.unleashed.org.au/images/banners/468_big-guns-little-ducks.gif" alt="Big Guns... Little Ducks. Ban Duck Hunting! unleashed.org.au" title="Big Guns... Little Ducks. Ban Duck Hunting! unleashed.org.au" height="60" width="468" /></a>

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