Anti-circus ads on taxi cabs hit the streets of Miami

For Immediate Release: January 8, 2016

(Miami) – Activists with the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) will work to educate the public about the cruelty of the circus on opening night of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Miami. A large turnout is expected. To coincide with ARFF’s protests, advertisements on 20 local taxi cabs will draw attention to Ringling’s cruel training of baby elephants.

WHAT: Circus protest
WHEN: Friday, January 8, beginning at 6:00pm
WHERE: American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

In March 2015, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it would retire its elephants from circus performances by 2018. ARFF is calling for Ringling to immediately retire its elephants and to eliminate ALL animal acts.

“Ringling Bros. has recognized that the public is turning away from cruel animal acts,” said ARFF Communications Director Don Anthony. “Unfortunately, Ringling Bros. is delaying taking elephants off the road until 2018 and will continue to transport elephants, tigers and other wild animals thousands of miles chained in boxcars and stuffed inside transport cages, and to force animals to perform unnatural tricks on demand.”

Ringling Bros. has a long history of poor animal care. In 2011, Ringling Bros. paid a $270,000 fine to the USDA to settle allegations that it violated animal welfare laws in its handling of elephants, tigers and other animals. The fine was the largest ever against a circus! The alleged violations include elephants forced to perform when they were sick.

# # #

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.

# # #

 

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

LOCATIONS:

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.”

# # #

“Man vs. Greyhound” Event Cancelled

For Immediate Release: April 2, 2015

(Longwood, FL) — Students from Lyman High School will no longer participate in “Man vs. Greyhound,” an annual event in which football players from the school raced greyhounds at the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club. The event raised funds for greyhound adoptions, but was opposed by animal welfare activists.

Local residents Bryan and Carla Wilson, who became greyhound advocates after adopting a rescued greyhound, appealed to the school not to associate itself with the cruel greyhound racing industry. Between May 2013 and July 2014, 19 dogs were reported to have died at the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club — one of the highest death rates among Florida tracks. The Wilson’s provided the school with over 100 fundraising ideas for the students, so they could continue to support greyhound adoption.

This week, Lyman High School Principal Brian Urichko confirmed that the event would not go forward in 2015 with students from the school. (The school mascot is a greyhound.)

“Having had the pleasure of sharing a home with a rescued greyhound and working with local adoptions, we know how special these dogs are and how horrible the racing industry is,” said Bryan Wilson, who also acts as Central Florida Coordinator for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. “We are thankful that Lyman made the decision to cancel the Man vs Greyhound event. The students not only had no business at a gambling institution, but no business being used as a public relations props by SOKC.”

# # #

Death of a Florida elephant raises TB concerns

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2015

(Gainesville, FL) — “Topsy,” an Asian elephant who was born in the wild but spent her entire life in the circus, died in August 2014. Her death came to light only recently as a result of a public records request from the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF).

Topsy was owned by Frank Murray, a circus elephant handler. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Topsy was buried on Murray’s property in Archer, Florida. A necropsy was not conducted to determine the cause of death, despite Topsy’s history of health problems.

In 2012, Topsy tested positive for tuberculosis antibodies, raising concerns about a threat to public health.

“Topsy reportedly tested positive for the antibodies for tuberculosis on two blood tests in 2012, and was denied entry into both Maine and Wisconsin for that reason,” explained Deborah Robinson, attorney and circus specialist, “Given that tuberculosis does not necessarily produce symptoms, and given that these tests can show the presence of TB long before it can be detected otherwise, they point to a strong possibility that Murray’s other elephant, Annette, has been exposed to the disease, which is transmissible to humans. Annette is still being used to give rides.”

For at least 20 years, Frank Murray’s two elephants, Topsy and Annette, traveled together. The elephants were used in circuses and to give rides at Renaissance fairs across the country. Annette is currently being used to give rides at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa (weekends until March 29).

“It is unfortunate that we will never know why Topsy died. Surprisingly, owners of captive wildlife, even endangered Asian elephants, are not required to report deaths to the FWC,” said ARFF Campaigns Coordinator Nick Atwood. “Topsy’s death heightens our concerns that other elephants in Florida could fall through the cracks after a life of exploitation.”

# # #