ALDF; A Truck Stop is No Place for a Tiger! Why We Won’t Stop Fighting for Tony

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April 21, 2017

At this moment a 16-year-old Siberian-Bengal tiger named Tony is caged at a gas station truck stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, 20 miles outside of Baton Rouge. Confined to a cramped metal cage, Tony breathes in diesel fumes daily while passersby tease and harass him. Tony has lived this way for nearly his entire life, and his circumstances are often a shock to the average person, who feels innately that this is not the right place for a tiger, especially an ageing one with neglected veterinary needs. People ask, “how can this be legal?” and the Animal Legal Defense Fund believes firmly that it’s not. In fact, we’ve been fighting for over six years to have Tony relocated to a sanctuary that can meet his complex needs and give him the veterinary care he is entitled to. Our campaign to save Tony is now even more dire after reports raising concerns about Tony’s health.

Let Tony Live the Rest of His Days in Comfort

Tony

All across the world, people follow Tony’s story. Recently, we’ve received many reports from worried citizens stating that Tony appears lethargic and is experiencing diarrhoea and a decreased appetite. The Animal Legal Defense Fund obtained photo and video evidence and enlisted the help of a veterinarian with experience treating exotic animals to review it. In the vet’s expert opinion, Tony is likely suffering from kyphosis of the spine and an injury or other condition that is causing him to limp. This isn’t run-of-the-mill ageing; Tony needs help. Living at a truck stop is, at the least, exacerbating Tony’s poor health. While no animal is suited to living at a truck stop, tigers are particularly ill-equipped because of their sharp sense of smell and sensitive hearing. Independent of all our pending legal work to free Tony, the Animal Legal Defense Fund just submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which licenses the Truck Stop under the federal Animal Welfare Act, urging that Tony be inspected by a licensed specialist and given any necessary veterinary care.

The Legal Battle for Tony’s Safety

We believe that Tony, and all big cats held in captivity, deserve to live in environments that meet their psychological and physical needs. Our campaign to remove Tony from his particularly grim captivity at Tiger Truck Stop has been lengthy and determined. Michael Sandlin, the owner of the truck stop, however, has pulled out all the stops to keep Tony in captivity.  He has spent over $750,000 fighting our efforts and has also manipulated the legislative system by successfully lobbying the Louisiana legislature to pass a special exemption designed solely to benefit Sandlin and allow him to keep Tony. It’s no surprise that Sandlin puts up such a fight; he’s been exploiting tigers like Tony for decades, using them as a gimmick to lure customers to his gas station. The USDA has cited Sandlin numerous times for violations ranging from failure to provide veterinary care to lack of clean drinking water. In 2003, Sandlin relinquished three tigers amid public outrage over his treatment of the big cats. Only Tony remains.

Inspired in part by Tony’s plight, then Representative Warren Triche, Jr. introduced legislation in 2006 to ban private possession of big cats in Louisiana. The law passed, and while it was a tremendous win for the big cats saved from being the next Tony, Sandlin continued to hold Tony in violation of the law. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for unlawfully issuing Sandlin a permit to exhibit Tony. We were joined in the suit by former Rep. Triche, Jr. and several other Louisiana taxpayers. Both the trial court and the Louisiana Court of Appeal held that Sandlin and the Tiger Truck Stop were ineligible for a big cat permit and could no longer keep Tony captive. In October 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court let that decision stand. Still, Tony remained at the truck stop.

Despite the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s victory, which should have freed Tony and allowed him to be moved to a sanctuary, Sandlin has been able to keep Tony in captivity because of two legal tactics that he has pursued relentlessly.

First, after the trial court ruled against Sandlin and while his appeal was pending, he filed a separate lawsuit challenging the big cat ban as unconstitutional.  The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with concerned Louisiana citizens, promptly filed a petition to intervene in that action to defend the constitutionality of the big cat ban.  Both the State of Louisiana and the Animal Legal Defense Fund argued Sandlin’s claims were barred because he failed to raise them in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s prior action.  Those arguments are still pending today, nearly five years later.

Second, Sandlin manipulated the legislative system by successfully lobbying the Louisiana legislature to pass Act 697, a special law designed to exempt Sandlin – and only Sandlin – from the big cat ban. It was signed into law by then Governor Jindal. The Animal Legal Defense Fund again immediately went to work, suing the state of Louisiana and arguing Act 697 violated the Louisiana Constitution because it was a “special law” designed to benefit one individual from existing state public safety and animal welfare laws. We were again joined in the suit by former Rep. Triche Jr. and other concerned Louisiana citizens.

We’re Not Giving Up

The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently combined its challenges to both of Sandlin’s legal tactics into the same action, filing an amended petition in intervention in Sandlin’s lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the big cat ban.  This will allow the Animal Legal Defense Fund — in one motion — to raise arguments both challenging the constitutionality of Act 697’s exemption for Tony and explain why Sandlin’s challenges to the big cat ban itself should fail.  A ruling in favour of the Animal Legal Defense Fund on such a motion should finally put an end to Sandlin’s legal tactics and provide a final resolution allowing Tony to be relocated to a sanctuary.

As the world watches the ups and downs of the fight to save Tony, the tiger’s life remains essentially the same. He doesn’t know his story inspired a former Representative to come out of retirement to fight for him, or that the big cat ban will help others of his kind. All he knows is life in a cramped cage off the highway. Tony deserves the veterinary care he needs and to live out the rest of his life in peace. He doesn’t just deserve it, we believe he’s guaranteed it under the law. We won’t stop until Tony is safe

News source:http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/we-wont-stop-fighting-for-tony-the-truck-stop-tiger/

 

Push to reinstate ban on circus animals performing on Gold Coast City Council-owned properties

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ANDREW POTTS, EXCLUSIVE, Gold Coast Bulletin; September 4, 2016 3:00pm

A CITY hall cage fight is brewing over plans to revive a ban on circuses with exotic animals performing within the city. Fur is expected to fly, with councillors set to defy the recommendations of bureaucrats and vote to ban circus animals on city controlled properties, nearly four years after such a ban was lifted.

A petition calling for the ban will go before the Community and Cultural Development committee on Thursday with council officers recommending that “no action be taken”. But committee head Bob La Castra said the advice was unacceptable and that he could not stand by and do nothing while animals “suffered”.

He urged ratepayers across the city to put pen to paper and lobby their elected representatives before Thursday’s vote.

Cr Bob La Castra is leading the charge to reinstate a ban on circus animals performing on the Gold Coast. Photo: Jerad Williams

“The views of those who believe this to be still acceptable are totally out of line and dated,” he said. “This should not be happening in our own backyard and we need those people who feel strongly about this to make their feelings known, so write to your councillors, speak out about it and fight this barbarity.

“By allowing these circuses on our land we are complicit in what they are doing and banning them would send a message that what they are doing is not right and that we are taking a stand.”

Police and Animal Rights campaigners outside Gold Coast Council Chambers protesting against the circus. Photo by Richard Gosling

If the ban is successful, circuses with exotic animals would still be allowed to perform on private property. A ban was first put into place in 2009 by the council with the backing of then-Mayor Ron Clarke. It was lifted in a January 2013 decision by the council in which Mayor Tom Tate used his casting vote to break a deadlock tie.

The Gold Coast Bulletin understands councillors on each sides of the argument are running the numbers to determine if the ban could potentially pass.

Both sides concede a vote could go either way.

But Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow, an ardent supporter of circuses, said she would fight the ban tooth and nail and declared the opposing argument to be “crap”.

Cr Dawn Crichlow with Massai the Lion. Pic Jono Searle.

“The kids want the circuses and I will fight all the way because it is a matter which is close to my heart and those of many others,” she said. “I am sick of the noisy minority coming up with all this crap. “I cannot believe this women condones & thinks it’s ok for children to see abused & tortured animals, just for their pleasure….condoning this just lets kids think that it is ok to be cruel to animals for the sake of entertainment????   By allowing circuses to carry on using animals is agreeing with the torturous training these poor young animals have to endure. Would it be ok to watch a double human act if you knew that one-half of the act was constantly being physically abused & tortured; just for entertainment???? NO, I DON’T THINK SO!!! ANYONE THAT DOES THINK ITS OK…WELL, I THINK THEY NEED TO BE SEEKING PROFESSIONAL  HELP”

RSCPA chief executive Mark Townend called on the council to “move with the times” and end the mistreatment of exotic animals.

“I would hope the council gets into 2016 thinking because realistically circus animals are very 1970s,” he said. “There are great circus which do not put animals through these ridiculous things which are not in their natural behaviour. “I appeal to the council to move with the times because we can have a successful circus without putting animals through such treachery.”

The petition calling for the ban to be reinstated was submitted to the council in March by then-Robina councillor Jan Grew in the final act of her 22 year political career.

More than 45 councils across Australia have exotic animal bans in place. Both City of Melbourne and Penrith both voted to introduce their own boycotts this year. Protesters are expected to attend Thursday’s council committee meeting and security will be on hand.

News Link: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/lifestyle/pets-and-wildlife/push-on-to-reinstate-ban-on-circus-animals-performing-on-gold-coast-city-councilowned-properties/news-story/977c58756cfc65467f2269bf8bac94f3

“See how animals are really trained to perform for your entertainment!! Then ask yourself; is this fair on the animals? Do you enjoy knowing they have been hurt for you entertainment????”

“The Circus, where animals are miserable & go insane; confined to metal cages when not being abused & are trained through fear; fear of being whipped, hit with objects, tied by the neck i.e tortured, etc. etc.”

(Anyone who condones this…will be classed as an animal abuser through my eyes)

Thai Monk Caught Feeing Temple With Tiger Skins

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Thai wildlife officers load a tiger on to a truck outside the temple in Kanchanaburi province. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Getty

Wildlife authorities in Thailand have found adult tiger skins and fangs during a raid on the “tiger temple” tourist attraction and intercepted a monk who was trying to leave in a car that was carrying skins. Separately, officials said they would press charges against the Buddhist temple after 40 tiger cubs were found in a freezer on Wednesday.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) moved in this week to relocate 137 tigers to government-run sanctuaries after repeated allegations of animal trafficking. The temple claims the tigers will be worse off.

“Today we found tigers skins and amulets in a car which was trying to leave a temple,” said Adisorn Noochdumrong, the deputy director of the DNP. He said a search of several monks’ quarters yielded further body parts, bringing Thursday’s haul to two full-body tiger skins, about 10 fangs and dozens of pieces of tiger fur.

Volunteers, staff and monks at Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua temple complex have long denied trafficking allegations. But international animal rights groups including WWF and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals applauded the raid. Police Col Bandith Meungsukhum told AFP the dead cubs would have been one or two days old. He said their DNA would be tested to see if they were related to tigers at the temple.

The temple claims it decided in 2010 to stop cremating the cubs and preserve them to “keep as proof against the allegations of selling cubs”.

Thailand is a central route for the illegal wildlife trade through south-east Asia, including for ivory, rhino horn and live animals. Tiger parts, including bones and penises, are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned the trade in tiger parts and products in 2007. The raid is the culmination of a battle that has been going on for years between the government and the temple. Thailand has an estimated 1,200-1,300 captive tigers.

News Link & Video:-https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/02/thai-monk-caught-temple-tiger-skins-fangs

What’s Behind The Monastery; with over 100 tigers?

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June 5, 2016 1:00 am

Find out what’s behind the monastery with over 100 tigers? Find out more about the controversy…

Official name: Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno

Location: Moo 5, Tambon Sing, Sai Yok district, Kanchanaburi province

Allegations: It is accused of illegal possession of wild animals and illegal trade in wildlife.

A probe will soon be launched on whether it legitimately acquired its 2,000 rai block of land.

Background: In 2001, it had seven tigers.

: In 2015, officials found 147 tigers in its compound and embedded these big cats with microchips so they could be tracked.

: In 2016, officials started moving tigers out of the temple.

Shocking Discoveries: During the operation to search and catch tigers for relocation, officials found the bodies of 40 tiger cubs in jars, plus frozen tiger carcasses, tiger skins, tiger amulets, engraved tiger fangs and stickers about antler herbs and food supplements made of tiger bodies. The body of a binturong, antlers and parts of various other animals were also found in the compound.

News Link:http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Whats-behind-the-monastery-with-over-100-tigers-30287353.html

Social Media Erupts With Concern for Wildlife; Harambe And Tiger Temple

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Asina Pornwasin The Nation June 4, 2016 1:00 am

Two incidents show how people harm the wildlife animals like gorilla and tigers spread onto social media. First is Harambe, a 17-year-old male western lowland gorilla, was killed Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo to save the life of a four-year-old child who fell into his enclosure.

Harambe

Second is the relocation of the first batch of all 137 tigers that the National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department has planned to take away from Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, more widely known as the Tiger Temple.

And then, the officials found the dead cubs were frozen together with a number of other dead animals including a binturong – a protected species also known as a bearcat – as well as chicken meat for feeding live tigers.

The death of Harambe raised up controversial the decision of the zoo and blame the child’s parents flowing over online.

A Dutch primatologist and ethologist Franciscus Bernardus Maria wrote on his Facebook Page “Frans” de Waal” (https://www.facebook.com/notes/frans-de-waal-public-page/rip-harambe/10154127508562200/): “I find it very hard to decide what the Cincinnati Zoo should have done in the case of the human toddler and Harambe, the silverback male gorilla. He showed a combination of protection and confusion. He stood over the child, held him up, moved/dragged him through the water (at least once very roughly), stood over him again. Much of his reaction may have been triggered by public noise and yelling.

“It is a horrible dilemma. I am sure the zoo staff is devastated (even though activists often depict zoos as prisons, they are full of people who deeply care about and greatly respect animals), and I myself am devastated that such a beautiful primate was killed. It is a great loss for the species, but we also mourn the individual life of a primate who had done nothing wrong.

At least, we can all agree that people should watch their children! A special petition is going around calling for the boy’s parents to “be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life”.

@DeviBrown: Animal forced in captivity for the entertainment of humans. Human wrongfully enters animal’s protected space. Animal killed. SMFH. #RipHarambe

@maddidolan: He was an innocent creature and he did not deserve to die. #RipHarambe #justiceforharambe

@Thomas_miller5: That gorilla would’ve been a better parent than the mother #RipHarambe

Meanwhile, Cincinnati Zoo said that the Zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team responded to the life-threatening situation and made the difficult decision to dispatch the gorilla (Harambe).

“The Zoo security team’s quick response saved the child’s life. We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla,” said Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “This is a huge loss for the Zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide.”

It’s also said through @CincinnatiZoo: Cincinnati Zoo Devastated by Death of Beloved Gorilla.

World Wildlife Fund has found 40 dead tiger cubs in a freezer in Kanchanaburi’s Tiger Temple.

WWF has commended the Thai authorities for taking definitive action to permanently remove the tigers from the temple to facilities in Ratchaburi.

WWF was dismayed last month when the Tiger Temple was granted an official zoo permit by the wildlife department. This was despite longstanding allegations and ample evidence that the Tiger Temple was trafficking tigers into the illegal wildlife trade.

In addition to the Tiger Temple, other facilities with captive tigers should also be investigated to ensure tigers don’t fall prey to illegal wildlife trafficking and abuse, the WWF said. Facilities found in violation of international and national wildlife laws must be prohibited from acquiring, owning and breeding tigers, it said

 News Link:http://www.nationmultimedia.com/national/Social-media-erupts-with-concern-for-wildlife-30287318.html

CM orders inquiry in tiger count decline in Pilibhit

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“Something like this would ring alarm bells to me, what or who is causing such a decrease in the number of tigers? If there was only 23 last year, what is the current number & where have these tigers gone. Is it poachers or hunters, the numbers are declining too fast for it to be of a natural death!! Something has to be done to find out why there is a decline in numbers & get onto it ASAP before these majestic tigers have gone for good!!!”

Keshav Agarwal,TNN | Nov 26, 2014, 10.05 PM IST

PILIBHIT: Taking cognizance of the matter related to rapid decrease in number of tigers in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in three years, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has decided to set up an enquiry in the matter.

Special secretary to the chief minister, GS Naveen Kumar, has referred the matter to the principal secretary of the forest department for taking further steps, MLA Hemraj Verma told TOI.

The issue was raised by the SP MLA from district Pilibhit, who had written to the chief minister in the third week of November. He had said that the forest department had counted more than 40 tigers in the forest area of Pilibhit district in 2010 and the figure had dwindled to 30 in 2012. The count had further declined to 23 in 2013, he had pointed out.

Tigers are thriving in and around India’s Nagarhole National Park, with a regional population of 250. “If we do everything right, we can have 500,” says big-cat biologist Ullas Karanth.  Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/The-Fight-to-Save-the-Tiger.html#ixzz1qG95oEf7
Retired chief wildlife warden Mohammad Ahsan welcomed the move and said special emphasis should be placed on the counting of tigers also in the adjoining Surai forest range of Uttarakhand and parts of Shahjahanpur district. This would help in determining whether the tigers of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, especially the mother big cats, have not migrated to other forest regions to find safe habitats for their cubs or in search of easy prey.

An environmentalist from Pilibhit, Parvez Hanif, said that the investigation of missing tigers in PTR would not be complete if the process of capturing foot-prints of tigers was not applied simultaneously with picture capturing method through cameras.

He observed that the method of collecting footprints of tigers, which he claimed was applicable till 2007, , can assist the investigation team reach more exact conclusions.

The vice president of Wildlife Biodiversity Conservation Society Amitabh Agnihotri said that the investigation team should find out the effects of human encroachment on the tiger population and devise ways to reduce such interference.

News Link:-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/articleshow/45288095.cms?intenttarget=no

29 Arrested In Arson Attack After Tiger kills Teacher In Madhya Pradesh

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“I totally understand the loss of a loved one & the fear factor that big cats are prowling around; but I hardly think burning Forest Official vehicles, is going to help the matter. If anything it will have hindered the Forest Officials from tracking the tiger!  The problem is obvious, the big cats are losing their forests & the animals they would normally pray on. I don’t think a tiger can be called a man-eater, he isn’t biased about what he eats…he just has to eat to survive! Granted humans shouldn’t be on the menu, but if there is no meat left to hunt in the wild, of course they are going to stalk areas where they see food; i.e humans! Their habitat is being cut down for wood & to grow crops or build houses; so the tigers have no way to survive…they will kill anything when hungry. I’m sure they would rather stick to their own diet of forest animals but if there are none, due to lack of habitat, what do you expect? They can’t survive on fresh air!!”

“I’m sure the Forest officers were just as shaken by the latest tragedy’s & intend on trying to find & relocate the tiger! I hope & pray they get hold of that tiger before the villagers do, because once they get into mob mode, it’s a free for all, who knows what they will do to the tiger. Perhaps burn & torture it like they did when they caught a leopard poaching on human land! However, even if the tiger is caught & relocated, I’ll bet there is another tiger, just waiting to take its place! Something radical has to be done to save both human & animals from being killed…They must stop cutting down the tigers habitat, which includes the tigers natural pray. Or use the land to build more houses & grow more crops to fulfill India’s growing population. The attacks on humans won’t stop, until humans stop poaching the tigers habitat & food supply!! “

,TNN | Oct 25, 2014, 06.06 PM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh police on Saturday arrested 29 people over an arson attack after a school teacher was mauled to death a tiger in near Bandhavgarh National Park in Katni district on Friday.

The mob had attacked forest personnel, including local forest range officer while keeping some of them hostage, besides policemen and local journalists.

They said forest officers were overlooking the fact that some tigers had turned into man-eaters. tiger2

Two motorized vessels and a dozen vehicles owned by the department were also set on fire, said officials. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were issued to bring situation under control. Amod Lakda (55), posted at Karchulia village’s government middle school, was attacked by the tiger in the buffer area near a water tank inside Khitouli range. He was a native of Chhattisgarh‘s Jashpur area.

Villagers claim this was the fourth incident of an attack by a big cat. Forest officers had been ignoring their pleas to shift the tiger. They say the matter was taken with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, but in vain.

“Extensive damage has been caused to forest department property. The death of a teacher following tiger attack provoked people to go berserk,” said Narendra Kumar, chief wildlife warden.

Meanwhile forest officers have launched a hunt for the tiger for shifting it to a safe location.

News Link:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/29-arrested-in-arson-attack-after-tiger-kills-teacher-in-Madhya-Pradesh/articleshow/44933010.cms?intenttarget=no&utm_source=TOI_AShow_OBWidget&utm_medium=Int_Ref&utm_campaign=TOI_AShow

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