Sunday, December 10, 2017

Need rose-colored glasses to evaluate 2017 for animals?

“Only 17 bears killed Tuesday means hunt could be extended,” read the local headline earlier this week. Was I the only one who found that wording coldly ambiguous?  Not enough dead bears, it seemed to imply, while the reason for killing any bears is questionable at best.

We'll just have to hope our governor-elect presides over much better times for bears, starting next month.

From Africa come two unhappy stories about animals in jeopardy.  First, there’s a column about the continuing plight of elephants, raising the key question, Why can’t we protect elephants? Read it and weep.

The second horror story deals with ape-trafficking, which has “captured or killed tens of thousands of apes” to be sold as “pets” or to “unscrupulous” zoos and collectors, or to be used for mindless “entertainment.”  (Infant orangutans boxing one another: what fun, huh?)

Phew!  I feel like “Ms. Bad News” here, even though, in fact, it has not been an all-bad year for animals. Only remember: this was the year when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally folded. The jubilation following that belated good deed – and the banning by various states and cities of elephants in traveling shows -- helped signal the inevitable end of wild animals in circuses.

There was still more positive action for animals in 2017 on both the national and international fronts. Some retailers and brands – Gucci to Wrangler, Nautica to Burlington – went fur-free. Chimpanzees exiled to Liberia after their use in medical research by the New York Blood Center were assured the decades of care they more than earned. And numerous groups and individuals pitched in to rescue animals caught in this year’s horrific wild fires and hurricanes.  

(The next post will highlight some of this year’s “wins” for animals in New Jersey.  Readers, please  contribute your ideas on achievements-for-animals here!)  

As for good news now in the works, think Senator Linda Greenstein’s bill, S3019, to reform this state’s animal shelters. What a gift that would be to innumerable animals, far into the future. 

To see what the bill is all about, go to, enter the bill number at the top right, then click on that number in red and read on.  Here’s a recent summary from the NJ Animal Observer: “The bill requires shelters take serious steps to save lives, treat animals humanely, be transparent, and be inspected regularly. . . .”

Want to show your support for this bill? Attend tomorrow’s hearing on S3019 by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.  It will be held at 10:30 am in Committee Room 1, on the first floor of the State House Annex, Trenton.
Two additional ways to promote Greenstein’s shelter reform bill are to email and/or phone the committee members – contact info below thanks to the Animal Observer -- to tell them you want the bill to move forward.

·          State Senator Raymond 'Ray' J. Lesniak: (908) 624-0880;
·         State Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez: (856) 541-1251;
·         State Senator Joseph 'Joe' M. Kyrillos Jr.: (732) 671-3206;
·         State Senator Colin Bell: (609) 383-1388;
·         State Senator Steven V. Oroho: (973) 300-0200;

Let’s end with a surprising fact (because I never thought about it) from Modern Cat magazine. Despite the millions of pet cats in American homes today, “Cats are not native to North America.They were imported to the Americas from Europe as pest controllers in the 1750s.”  Think of it as “You’ve come a long way, Kitty!”  


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  1. It will be good news for pets if the animal shelter bill passes.

  2. Your blog reminds us that although there is much cruelty toward animals, there are also a great many people who love them and work to protect their lives and their well-being. Thanks for all the information that you share with us. It provides the inspiration to do more. How wonderful it would be to have the protections of S3019 for shelter animals. Peace to you and all at APLNJ this holiday season and thank you for all you do and are.