Have you seen Miami Beach’s flock of sheep?


During an August 19 visit, a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector counted 114 sheep inside the Pearlman Biomedical Research Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. (The two-story, nondescript building at the north end of the medical center complex can be seen from the Julia Tuttle Causeway.)

Sheep are used at Mount Sinai in studying asthma and other lung diseases. A 2012 study was typical of the research. A group of sheep were restrained in a “modified shopping cart,” with their heads immobilized. A tube was inserted into the nostril and a nebulizer used to deliver a toxin into the lungs.

Research using sheep has been going on at Mount Sinai Medical Center since at least 1982. In 2003 the Sun Sentinel published an article in which former employees told horrible stories of animal mistreatment, including sheep left unattended in shopping carts that sometimes fell over (leaving one sheep with broken legs), another sheep found dead with her neck caught in cage bars, and sheep killed by malfunctioning nebulizers.

Sheep are intelligent animals who experience fear, boredom and despair. We’re certain that sheep would rather be anywhere else than stuck inside a building in Miami Beach.

Photo: Farm Sanctuary

Good news for dogs in St. Lucie County

dog-chainLast week, the St. Lucie County Commission unanimously approved a strong anti-tethering ordinance, making it illegal to tie up a dog outdoors unless a guardian is outside along with the dog. Commissioners also adopted new standards to protect guard dogs.

Please thank the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners for their compassionate vote. Click here to send a note to commissioners.

Continuous chaining is bad for dogs. Dogs are very social animals who suffer from isolation. Chained dogs are much more likely to become aggressive. In addition, dogs confined on chains are at risk of becoming tangled and injured, are more likely to have skin problems and problems with parasites, and are often exposed to bad weather.

A growing number of cities and counties in Florida have enacted ordinances banning or restricting the cruel tethering/chaining of dogs, including Broward, Collier, Escambia, Hillsborough, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Okaloosa, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota and Seminole Counties.

Miami Int’l Airport protest against Air France monkey shipments

For Immediate Release: September 2, 2015

(Miami, FL) — Activists with the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) will protest curbside at Miami International Airport against the transport of monkeys to laboratories. The protest will target Air France, the only major airline that continues to be involved in the cruel international trade in primates.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 2 from 4:00-5:30pm

WHERE: Miami International Airport, South Terminal, Concourse H, 2nd Level

(The airport has permitted ARFF to protest in “First Amendment zones” outside the terminal building.)

In 2014, Air France transported thousands of monkeys from the African island of Mauritius to the U.S. to be used in experiments. For these highly intelligent and sensitive animals, the long-distance journey to a U.S. laboratory is traumatic.

There is a growing list of airlines that refuse to transport monkeys for the research industry. Some of the airlines that have made this compassionate decision include American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, Air Canada, El Al and Korean Air.

“The international trade in primates causes intolerable cruelty. Air France plays an important role in this horrible trade,” said ARFF Campaigns Coordinator Nick Atwood.

# # #


Why do captive dolphins and whales need sunscreen?


Dolphins and orcas in the wild spend most of their time below the surface of the water. But in captivity, they can often be found floating motionlessly at the surface of their shallow pools. As a result, captive dolphins and orcas are at risk of sunburn (sunburn is not only painful, but can lead to a dangerous infection).

On July 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a routine inspection at Theater of the Sea, a marine park in Islamorada (Florida Keys). The USDA inspector found that the saltwater pools at the park have “minimal or no shade” for its dolphins. The USDA inspector noted that one dolphin, Stormy*, had sunscreen (zinc oxide) on his head to prevent sunburn. “In order for ‘Stormy’ to get away from the sun,” the inspector wrote, “he must seek shade by the small mangroves shallows and remain virtually motionless.” Theater of the Sea received a citation for failure to provide appropriate shelter/shade for its dolphins and sea lions.

*Stormy was captured from the Gulf of Mexico in 1986.

Hunting for profit in Florida: 1915 and 2015

In the early to mid 1900s, the American alligator was decimated by hunters looking to make money (by selling the alligator’s skin). Alligator numbers recovered after the species received federal protection in 1967, and hunting began again in Florida in 1988.

Today, the alligator is the only animal in Florida that hunters kill in expectation of a financial reward. The skin and flesh of dead alligator’s is often sold following the hunt.

The 11-week hunt, which begins on August 15, is barbaric. Alligators are snagged with barbed hooks, pierced with arrows, stabbed with harpoons, and shot with a firearm called a “bangstick.” Only then is the animal pulled into a boat where he or she is finally killed by a knife or screwdriver that severs the spinal cord and is inserted into the brain cavity.

Visit ARFF’s website for more information about Florida’s alligator hunt: http://arff.org/alligators

Cruel conditions at live animal markets

photo: Woody Swartz

Two South Florida grocery stores that sell live animals have run into trouble with state inspectors.

Following an ARFF complaint about extremely crowded tanks full of frogs, and the sale of live turtles, at Foodtown, a market in Davie, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued the market warnings for “improper temporary caging, and improperly exhibiting softshell turtles.”

Earlier this month, NBC 6 South Florida reported that the FWC inspected a different market, New York Mart in Sunrise, and found animals kept in cruel conditions (two dead turtles were discovered among those offered for sale). The market was issued criminal citations for “temporary caging not allowing movement,” and “maintaining wildlife in an unsafe condition.”

ARFF will continue to visit these markets to make sure that state regulations that provide limited protections to frogs and turtles are enforced.

Biohazard training for Hendry County health workers


With three monkey breeding facilities in operation in Hendry County, and a fourth under construction, it is probably a good thing that staff members from the county health department and Hendry County EMS recently attended a training session to help them identify and respond to biological threats (photo from The Caloosa Belle).

Monkeys imported into the U.S. for laboratory research can carry dangerous viruses and bacteria, such as Herpes B and tuberculosis. The threat is greater with wild-caught monkeys, such as the 630 crab-eating macaques imported in 2014 by Primate Products (the company was the subject of a recent investigation by PETA).

Of course, the best way for Hendry County to protect against an outbreak of infectious disease would be to put a stop to the expansion of the monkey breeding industry. Visit ARFF’s website to learn more.

Dissection restricted in Miami-Dade public schools

logoOn June 17, the School Board of Miami-Dade County voted unanimously to stop cat dissections in county schools. The school board will also explore the possibility of ending all animal dissections throughout the district. It was a significant step for America’s 4th largest public school system! ARFF thanks board member Raquel Regalado for proposing the action.

Dissecting the bodies of dead cats has been banned in Broward County for many years. Today, there are many humane alternatives to classroom dissection– including models, computer software and other state-of-the-art educational materials.

Does a public school near you use cats in dissections? Contact the school board and urge them to follow the example set by Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Contact ARFF for help.

Activists rally statewide to stop bear hunt

For Immediate Release: June 19, 2015

(Lakeland, FL) — At its June meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will take a final vote on opening a bear hunting season in Florida. Animal activists across the state will rally against a bear hunt at the FWC’s regional offices in West Palm Beach, Ocala, Lake City, Lakeland and Panama City.

PROTEST DATE AND TIME: Monday, June 22 at 12:00 noon


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
South Regional Office
8535 Northlake Boulevard
West Palm Beach, FL 33412

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
North Central Regional Office
3377 E U.S. Highway 90
Lake City, FL 32055

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Southwest Regional Office
3900 Drane Field Road
Lakeland, FL 33811

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Northwest Regional Office
3911 Hwy. 2321
Panama City, FL 32409

“Commissioners are ignoring the majority of Floridians who have said they oppose a bear hunt,” said ARFF Campaigns Coordinator Nick Atwood. “A trophy hunt is not a solution to human-bear conflicts. To protect public safety, Florida’s state wildlife agency should invest in bear-resistant trash cans, and not waste its limited resources on a hunt.”

Bears were last hunted in Florida in 1993. Although bear numbers have grown, hunting will threaten a still-recovering population (the Florida black bear was only removed from the state threatened list in 2012).

Hunting bears deep in the woods will not reduce bear conflicts in residential neighborhoods. Properly securing garbage and eliminating other attractants (pet food, outdoor grills, bird feeders) is the key to reducing conflicts with bears.

*The FWC meeting will be held June 23-25 in Sarasota.

# # #

Elephants trade sunny Florida for snowy Rochester, New York

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2015

(Jacksonville, FL) — Last week, two African elephants were transferred from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York.

The two female elephants, Moki and Chana, joined two elephants already at the zoo in Rochester.

Sadly, this is only the most recent move for the two elephants. Moki and Chana arrived in Jacksonville from the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas in October 2006. In return, the Jacksonville Zoo moved a different pair of elephants (“Missy” and “Kimba”) to Kansas. The swap was an (unsuccessful) experiment designed to encourage Moki and Chana to breed with a male elephant at the Jacksonville Zoo.

“Too often, zoos trade elephants like baseball cards, without the best interest of the individual elephant in mind,” said ARFF Campaigns Coordinator Nick Atwood. “The two Florida elephants have a future of harsh winters to look forward to. In Rochester, Moki and Chana will likely spend more time confined indoors, especially during the winter months.”

# # #