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Actress Elizabeth Lail Lights Empire State Building Blue for Sea Shepherd

November 11, 2019 by Leave a Comment


The News

On Friday, November 8th, Actress Elizabeth Lail participated in a ceremonial lighting of the Empire State Building to commemorate Sea Shepherd’s Blue For the Oceans Campaign.

Lail, who is best known for her role in the Netflix series You and is starring in the new film Unintended, spoke to TheirTurn about why she is using her celebrity platform to speak on behalf of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: “I think they’re incredible. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming to think about the environmental crisis and what we can do, so it gives me a lot of hope that there are organizations on the water doing the protecting, making it happen.”

Elizabeth Lail pulls the lever to symbolically activate blue lights on the Empire State Building ignited in honor of Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd volunteers, staff, and board members with Elizabeth Lail at the Empire State Building

Since 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been defending, conserving and protecting the seas and marine life through campaigns and direct action on its fleet of ships. In October, the Hamptons International Film Festival screened Watson, a documentary film by director Lesley Chilcott which chronicles the extraordinary life of Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson.


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Chimp Orphan Rejoices When Greeted with Hugs

April 30, 2019 by Leave a Comment


The News

When Leo was kidnapped from the forest of Liberia, the confused and traumatized baby chimp had no way of knowing whether or not he would ever see members of his own species again. That uncertainty might explain why he beamed with joy as other young chimps greeted him with hugs upon his arrival at Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP), a chimp sanctuary in the West African country. 

“Watching the our juvenile chimp group embrace Leo with so much affection was a feast for the eyes” said Jenny Desmond, the founder of LCRP. “Moments like this serve as an important reminder of why we moved to Liberia in 2015 and why we are moving mountains to transfer all 40 of the orphans in our care to a permanent sanctuary in the forest.”

The chimpanzee orphans at LCRP’s sanctuary are victims of the bushmeat and illegal pet trade. In every case, poachers killed their mothers in the forest and sold – or attempted to sell – them to private individuals as pets or to zoos.  While many chimps are never rescued, about 20 are confiscated by LCRP staff or wildlife authorities each year and brought to the sanctuary where they receive around the clock care from surrogate parents until they can be fully integrated into a chimpanzee group.

In spite of government efforts to curb chimpanzee hunting and trafficking, poachers continue to kill adult chimpanzees for bushmeat and sell their children on the black market. Part of LCRP’s mission is to increase penalties so that poachers stay out of the forests, thus allowing Liberia’s remaining wild chimpanzee population to live safely in their natural habitat.  In the meantime, LCRP will continue to adopt orphaned chimpanzees and provide them with lifelong care.

At the moment, LCRP’s 40 chimpanzees are living in substandard enclosures on government property in a heavily populated village. In 2018, Jenny and Jim Desmond, the founders of LCRP, leased a tract of land in the forest on which to build a sanctuary from the ground up. Now they are working to raise $3 million for the build out. 

“For their safety and well-being, we have to move these chimps out of these enclosures and into a forest setting so that they can live away from the public and in as natural a setting as possible,” said Ms. Desmond. “In order to break ground, we have to raise an additional $500,000 dollars. If you have the means, please make a contribution.” 


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Activists Target Eric Trump During Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting

February 7, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

During the Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH), dozens of animal rights activists in New York City protested at the home and office of one of the planet’s most notorious trophy hunters — Eric Trump.  Several broadcast and print media outlets reported on the event.

During the rally, Edita Birnkrant, the Executive Director of the animal rights group NYCLASS, entered Eric Trump’s apartment building to deliver a letter to his wife, animal advocate Lara Trump, encouraging her to dissuade her husband from trophy hunting. Two reporters followed her into the building with their cameras rolling.

Flanked by reporters, Edita Birnkrant, the Executive Director of NYCLASS, delivers a letter to Lara Trump, encouraging her to discourage her husband Eric from trophy hunting.

WRATH was created in 2016 by the animal rights organization CompassionWorks International in response to the killing of Cecil, a beloved lion in Zimbabwe who was shot and beheaded by Walter Palmer, a trophy hunter from Minnesota. The death of Cecil sparked global outrage and triggered several weeks of public discourse around trophy hunting.

Walter Palmer, a trophy hunter from Minnesota, killed and beheaded Cecil in Zimbabwe.

IN 2018, WRATH events took place in 32 cities in several countries around the world, including Australia, Ireland, Canada and Brazil.  

Activists in NYC participate in Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting with protest at home of trophy hunter Eric Trump.

WRATH is held to coincide with the annual convention of Safari Club International, a 50,000 member Texas-based pro-hunting organization that spends millions of dollars each year lobbying elected officials to support their mission. During the convention, organizers auction off hunts with endangered & threatened species. In 2018, a polar bear hunt was featured in the in promotional materials for the convention. 

Trophies on display at Safari Club International’s annual convention in Las Vegas

Trophy hunters justify the killing on the grounds that the money they spend helps to conserve the species and supports local community. Activists dispute that claim, arguing that most of the money spent by trophy hunters goes to the trophy hunting companies and to local government officials.

Vendors at the annual convention of Safari Club International display the bodies of exotic animals

During the WRATH event in NYC, Nicole Rivard, a campaigner with Friends of Animals, told rally participants about pending trophy hunting legislation in the state of New York:  “We cannot rely on fluid federal law to ensure that Africa’s big five do not go extinct. When it comes to trophy hunting, federal law is not protective at all.  We have legislation – Save Africa’s Big Five bill – to stop trophies from entering New York. The state bill would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of the trophies of elephants, lions, leopards and black and white rhinos. New York is the busiest port of entry for African wildlife in the US. Let’s shut it down.”

Animal rights activists protest Eric Trump during Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting

Your Turn

Please follow CompassionWorks International on Facebook to stay apprised of the organization’s life-saving work.

Mainstream media coverage of CompassionWorks International’s 2018 Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting


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Backlash Against Politician’s Plan to Import Pandas and Put Them on Display in NYC

September 20, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Carolyn Maloney, a U.S. Congresswoman from New York, is working to import a pair of giant pandas from China and display them in New York City.  

In a YouTube video, “The Pandas are Coming to NYC,” Maloney cites several ways in which this endeavor will benefit humans, including education, entertainment, increased tourism, and improved relations with China. She makes no mention, however, of the welfare of the pandas, who, like other wild animals, suffer in captivity.

U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosted a “Panda Ball” in NYC to raise money to import pandas from China to NYC.

Pandas are wild animals, not objects for display. In the forests of China, they have rich lives, gathering food, roaming freely and raising their young.  In captivity, they languish in their exhibit spaces while people take selfies through sheets of glass.

In 2012, the Director of Conservation Education at China’s largest panda breeding facility described captive-bred pandas as a “caricature” of the real thing. People who are genuinely interested in learning about pandas can watch nature shows that document their behavior in the wild. Observing pandas in an artificial enclosure will only teach people that wild animals can be imprisoned for our amusement. Furthermore, it will do nothing to help conserve pandas in the wild.

Animal rights activists say pandas are wild animals with instinctual needs that can not be met in captivity.

If Congresswoman Maloney moves forward with her plan to rent pandas from China, she will not only fuel the market for captive pandas but also help to perpetuate the abuse that exists in China’s panda breeding facilities. Undercover video released in July, 2017 showed workers using excessive force on two babies. This disturbing footage reinforces what we already know — that panda breeding facilities are panda mills in disguise. Indeed, the pandas born in captivity are rented out, like commodities, for $1 million/year to zoos.

Wild animal captivity is already losing favor in the mainstream, as evidenced by the closure of Ringling Bros., plummeting attendance at SeaWorld and the newly passed NYC law banning wild animals in circuses. Indeed, public attitudes are already shifting in favor of freedom.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.


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Animal Rights Activists Worldwide Protest Start of Dolphin Hunting Season in Japan

September 11, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Animal rights activists in over 30 cities around the world marked the first day of Japan’s notorious dolphin hunting season with “International Day of Action” protests, an annual event organized by The Dolphin Project. In NYC, about two dozen activists demonstrated in front of the Japanese consulate in midtown Manhattan, educating locals and tourists about the atrocity and demanding that the Japanese government put a stop to it:

During the hunt, which lasts about six months, fleets of Japanese fishing boats surround pods of dolphins off the coast and drive them into an isolated cove in Taiji, Japan, where the dolphins are snatched from the water to be sold to aquariums or killed for their meat. “It’s a bloodbath during which families are torn apart and massacred. It’s nothing short of an act of terror,”  said Phyllis Ottomanelli “Captivity is the driving force behind the hunts. If you pay to swim with dolphins or see them in an aquarium, then you have blood on your hands.”

The hunt was largely unknown to the mainstream public until The Cove, a documentary thriller about the hunt and the heroic activists working to expose it, was released and won the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary film.

The Cove is an Oscar-winning documentary film about the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan

As the 2017 hunt began, advocates around the world took to social media to raise awareness.  Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which has engaged in direct action in an attempt to stop the massacre, wrote “Since the early Sixties, an insidious trade of intelligent, self-aware, sentient beings has been growing like a malignant cancer within human society. It is a slave trade that has been the cause of unimaginable misery and has claimed the lives of thousands of dolphins. This cruel industry has spread across Europe and Asia with hundreds of marine aquariums operating, many of them with grossly inadequate facilities.”

On September 1st, animal rights activists in over 30 cities around the world protested the Japan’s annual dolphin hunt.

The dolphins are slaughtered by “pithing” – stabbing them behind their blowholes with a metal rod. This method severs the spinal cord, paralyzing the dolphins and supposedly causing a rapid death. Often, however, the death is prolonged. In 2011 AtlanticBlue, a German conservation group, documented a dolphin moving for over four minutes after pithing. Activists with The Dolphin Project and Sea Shepherd have witnessed dolphins drown while being dragged by their tails to the butcher house.

The cove turns red with blood during the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan.

Kim Danoff, a Virginia-based veterinarian and animal rights activist told TheirTurn that babies often watch their parents being killed before themselves dying from stress or starvation: “We must continue to fight until Japan outlaws the trade and massacre of wild dolphins.”

Your Turn

To learn more about Japan’s annual dolphin hunt and to find out how you can help, please visit The Dolphin Project.


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