Is your city a bird sanctuary?

Last month ARFF was contacted by a resident at an apartment community in Hollywood who had witnessed a man rounding-up Muscovy ducks. When questioned, the man said that the ducks were going to be “relocated” somewhere far away (we suspect that this was not the truth).

ARFF contacted the community management and urged them to explore humane methods of reducing the duck population, such as collecting newly-laid eggs. We also alerted the management that the removal of ducks may have been in violation of city ordinances. The City of Hollywood is a bird sanctuary. According to city code, “It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt, wound, molest, injure or kill any bird within the city. It shall be unlawful for any person to capture any bird within the city for either resale or private use.”

We were happy to receive a response from the community manager stating that they would make sure to be in compliance with the city ordinance when dealing with ducks in the future.

Many cities across Florida have been designated “bird sanctuaries.” Such designations can offer protection against individuals who treat Muscovy ducks cruelly or capture ducks for profit. If your city is not a bird sanctuary, contact your city commission and urge them to consider adding this important protection for birds (contact ARFF, we can help).

Florida Park Service halts trapping of wild monkeys

For Immediate Release: October 25, 2013

(Ocala, FL) — The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is applauding a decision by Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione not to grant permission for trappers to remove rhesus macaques from Silver Springs State Park for sale to laboratories. Director Forgione explained that the Florida Park Service is looking into alternative methods of reducing the monkey population at the park.

Monkeys were most recently trapped in early 2012 along the Silver River, as well as on Cross Florida Greenway properties along the Oklawaha River. ARFF is working to determine if the Office of Greenways and Trails will allow trapping on the Cross Florida Greenway in the coming months.

“We are very happy that Silver Springs State Park will once again be known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, and not as a supplier of animals for cruel laboratory experimentation,” said ARFF Communications Director Don Anthony. “The Florida Park Service has set a compassionate example that the Office of Greenways and Trails should follow.”

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Orlando’s Bahia Shriners’ financial crisis

In an email to members dated October 4, Frank Guida, Treasurer for Orlando’s Bahia Shriners, painted a dire picture of the organization’s finances: “…our cash has shriveled up. We are broke and we had to make some difficult decisions. As a result, we had to let go one of our valued employees who has been with us for many years.” In 2013, temple membership fell below 2,000 for the first time. Revenues (dues, rentals, circus) are down and expenses are up.

The problems faced by the Bahia Shriners are similar to those facing temples across the country (read our previous post). ARFF is convinced that the Shriners need to modernize to turn around the struggling organization. More than 100 Shrine temples in the U.S. and Canada will sponsor cruel circuses in 2013. In an effort to persuade the organization to improve its image and attract new members, ARFF has launched an online campaign to persuade Shriners International to discourage individual temples from conducting circus fundraisers. ARFF’s petition– — has attracted over 10,000 supporters since its launch in late June.

Sarasota’s Shrine Circus skips the elephants, tigers and bears!

The Sahib Shrine Circus begins tonight in Sarasota. This year, the Shriners have ditched the elephants, tigers and other exotic animals in favor of a more human-centered show featuring “high-soaring trapeze,” aerial acrobatics, stunt motorcyclists, clowns, jugglers, a trick roper and a “world-renowned juggling sensation.” The show does include performing dogs and a horse act, but the new circus is a big step in the right direction. ARFF hopes that other Shrine temples will also focus on willing, human performers and leave the animals in peace.

Sign ARFF’s petition (click here) and send a message to Shriners International that animal free circuses should be encouraged.