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Victory … Alamogordo Chimpanzees, Sea Lions

December 31, 2010

Victory for Chimpanzees at Alamogordo | From PCRM

As you know, we’ve been fighting hard to stop the U.S. Government from transferring 186 chimpanzees from Alamogordo, NM, to a Texas facility where they would be used in experimentation again. Last night, we received some very good news. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson received a call from the National Institutes of Health letting him know that, for now at least, the chimpanzees will not be moved. NIH will not push for the chimpanzees to be transferred until it can complete a lengthy review, and that process is expected to take about two years. This extends our window of time to find a way to keep the chimpanzees permanently out of the laboratory.

Through PCRM’s campaign, several of the chimpanzees in Alamogordo have become familiar faces. Flo, a 53 year old and one of the elders, has captured the hearts of everyone who visits her in her Alamogordo home, and her story of a life spent in a cage and being used for unthinkable experiments has motivated people all over the country to support this important effort. Now Flo and the other chimpanzees who reside in New Mexico have a chance to stay there and live out their lives in a protected, caring environment.

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In Defense Of Animals Celebrates Monumental Victory For Sea Lions | From IDA

After a year of deliberation, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled to block the National Marine Fisheries Service’s killing of federally protected sea lions on the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. In Defense of Animals (IDA) and the Sea Lion Defense Brigade (SLDB) have campaigned against the state-sanctioned sea lion killing for more than three years, and congratulate the prevailing plaintiffs, The Humane Society of the United States, Wild Fish Conservancy and two private citizens.

The court said the government failed to meet the requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and cannot justify killing protected pinnipeds. The sea lion predation of .04 to 4.2 percent of the spring salmon run at the Bonneville Dam could not be considered a “significant negative impact” when the same agencies allow fisherman to take up to 17 percent of the returning fish.

“This is a huge victory for sea lions and salmon. We are relieved to see an end to the unethical, politically motivated killing of native, protected sea lions,” said IDA’s Northwest Director Matt Rossell. “We hope these agencies will now address the human-caused threats to salmon recovery – over-fishing, introduction of non-native fish, dams and habitat destruction.”

Since the lethal removal program began in 2008, IDA and the SLDB have worked to protect the sea lions in the Columbia River and hold agencies accountable to the public for this controversial program. Activists organized dozens of demonstrations, met with government officials, and rallied on the steps of the Oregon capital. IDA fought a court battle to free one sea lion named “Willy,” who was misidentified by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and wrongfully removed from the river.

“I’m overjoyed at the court’s ruling,” said Bethanie O’Driscoll, one of the plaintiffs and grassroots organizer for SLDB. “Although we have truth on our side, the lawsuit languished in court while a small grassroots group fought against all the resources of the government and fishing industry. It’s been a hard fight, but anyone who has ever looked into the eyes of a sea lion will understand why it was worth it.”

During the 2010 spring salmon season, IDA and SLDB launched a volunteer-based vigil near the Bonneville Dam to track government trapping and killing, and educate the public and fishermen. An RV mobile monitoring vehicle called the “Sea Wolf” kept a round the clock watch over the sea lions.

“I’m not going to miss getting up every morning at 5:00 a.m., and I’m thrilled the sea lions will be safe from harm,” said Julie Farris, SLDB volunteer who spent months on site at the dam. “Our efforts to educate folks really paid off and we made inroads with people who had thought of the sea lions as a nuisance. These gregarious, intelligent sea lions are a part of the river ecosystem. They belong here as much as the salmon.”

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