TAKE ACTION is GlobalAnimal.org's animal rights and activism section. Find ways to rescue pets, save farm animals and help endangered species, Plus, get the news on animal welfare laws and legislation and take part in petitions, if you like. Since animals do not have voices, people are roaring in their defense – and more and more, it's working.

Hurricane Harvey: How To Help Pets In Need

(HELP ANIMALS/ANIMAL RESCUE) HOUSTON -- In the same type of catastrophic flooding that beset Texas during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, record rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey has battered the nation's fourth largest city this past week. The flooding has left 25 dead and caused more than 30,000 people to flee their flooded homes. While many pets are left behind, animal rescuers remain hopeful that animals will stand a better chance than they did 12 years ago during Hurricane Katrina, which left an estimated 600,000 animals killed or stranded. Thanks to the passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards which forever changed the way animals are treated during emergency situations, first responders can now rescue pets just as they save people. Efforts to save animal victims are well underway as floodwaters continue to rise. Global Animal Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that funds emergency animal rescue worldwide, is collecting donations to disperse between vetted organizations working on the ground in the affected areas to help with medical costs for injured animals, boarding and food, and reuniting lost pets with their guardians. Please consider supporting the efforts to save animals in critical peril. Read the New York Times article below for more on the Hurricane and citizens' tireless efforts to save their beloved pets amid the chaos. -- Global Animal

Why Did The Sloth Cross The Road? Threats To Sloth Populations

(SLOTHS/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) On June 2, the oldest sloth in the world, Miss C, died at the age of 43. She spent her long life at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia, and was the last to exist in the country. Since sloths are native to Central and South America, the Aussies might have to wait a while before seeing another furry slowpoke in their land. The death of Miss C reduced the sloth population by one due to age-related issues. That said, are there other threats to these animals? Sadly, yes. -- Global Animal

A Common Crime: 10 More Elephants Poisoned By Poachers

(WILDLIFE CONSERVATION/POACHING) In a major loss for the animal kingdom, 10 elephants--including a mother and her young calf--were poisoned by poachers at Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park last week. A bucket of poison (typically a dilute sodium cyanide solution and/or paraquat, an extremely toxic agricultural herbicide) was found near the scene and three arrests were made over the weekend, with one of the suspects found in possession of ivory. Unfortunately this has become a common method of killing wildlife since using poison allows poachers to kill large mammals silently, without rifle shots that would alert park rangers to their whereabouts. In addition to killing these magnificent creatures, the poison can also greatly disrupt the ecosystem and rattle the food chain. Predators like lions and hyenas can die if they consume poisoned flesh, while other animals have died by drinking from contaminated buckets and watering holes. What's more, the deaths from this murder method are said to be slow and painful for the animals. Read on to see how the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is responding to the problem with force, and click here to seek justice for the poisoned elephants and other affected wildlife. -- Global Animal

Don’t Shoot! Support The Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act & Stop Police From Shooting Pets

(DOGS/POLICE SHOOTINGS) Tragically, it's estimated that a dog is shot every 98 minutes by law enforcement in the United States, causing trauma for both the family and police officer involved. Despite the fact that dog bite numbers have decreased, incidents of police using lethal force against family pets are on the rise--from SWAT raids to simple calls and even visits to wrong addresses. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice estimates more than 10,000 pet dogs are killed by police officers every year. Fortunately, a new bill is looking to reduce this number, and in turn, help protect dogs and law officers nationwide. The proposed Police-Canine Encounters Protection Act (AB 1199)-- sponsored by Social Compassion In Legislation--would require mandatory police training to teach California officers how to quickly and safely respond to unexpected situations where dogs are involved (and often innocent victims), without using lethal force. This invaluable training will provide police with the necessary tools to properly recognize and interpret a dog's body language and behavior, so they can react accordingly while protecting themselves and the lives of beloved canine family members in the process. Continue reading below for more information on AB 1199, and how proactive training can help protect officers and keep family dogs safe. -- Global Animal

With A Flick Of The Wrist, Trumps’ Climate Change Denials Become National Policy

(CLIMATE CHANGE/ANIMAL NEWS) President Donald Trump is one step closer to overhauling President Barack Obama's climate change policies after signing a sweeping executive order seeking to reduce federal climate regulations. The long-promised order also aims to align federal agencies' policies with Trump's steadfast mission to boost U.S. fossil fuel production and achieve energy independence. It's abundantly clear Trump has no intentions of curbing planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution, despite the fact that the Earth was the hottest ever recorded last year. Not to mention, the U.S. serves as the world's second largest climate polluter. Read on to learn more about how the Trump Administration plans to review the Clean Power Plan, and take action by standing up to those those who belittle science. Click here to participate in this month’s worldwide “March for Science," taking place on Earth Day, April 22. -- Global Animal

“This Isn’t Hunting—It’s Slaughter”: GOP Shoots Down Wildlife Protections For Alaskan Wolves & Bears

(ANIMAL NEWS/WILDLIFE) Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have passed a measure that would remove wildlife protections on bears and gray wolves in Alaska, and (sadly) President Donald Trump's signature is the only thing standing in the way of the measure becoming law. If signed, the bill--backed by the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International--would permit extreme killing methods of certain predatory animals on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, including gunning down animals from planes and slaughtering baby cubs and pups in their dens. Not only are these hunting practices cruel and unsportsmanlike, but repealing these wildlife protections also negates the critical role that these predators play in healthy ecosystems. We cannot let this tragic news go unnoticed. Please contact your state representatives and congressmen and demand that they honor the limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the U.S. Read on for more on how groups are responding to the measure to repeal the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule. -- Global Animal
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Panda-monium! 15 Fun Panda Facts For National Panda Day

(PANDAS/FUN ANIMAL FACTS) It's National Panda Day! Pandas are adorable, gentle giants who are in dire need our help. Giant pandas have been on the endangered list since 1990, with habitat loss and poaching being the biggest threats to their population's survival. With only 1,000 giant pandas left in the world, the species is now on the brink of extinction. In celebration of National Panda Day, scroll below for 15 fun and interesting facts that will inspire you to help save this amazing animal from going extinct. — Global Animal

The ‘Country’s Saddest Bear:’ Circus Bear Forced To Perform Tricks Urinates From Apparent Distress

(ANIMAL VIDEOS/CIRCUS ANIMAL ABUSE) During a February 18 performance at the Tangier Shrine Circus outside Omaha, Nebraska, one audience member captured a horrifying video that's sweeping the web. The video footage shows a bear being pulled by a leash and forced to walk on her front legs over a beam and down a few stairs. As she performs these "tricks," she urinates—which, according to a bear expert, is a sign of acute stress. While Ringling Brothers recently announced its permanent closure, this video serves as an unsettling reminder that the fight against circus animal abuse is not over yet. -- Global Animal

‘Not Good Enough:’ USDA Backpedals Amid Legal Backlash

(ANIMAL NEWS/ANIMAL WELFARE) Earlier this month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suddenly removed all animal welfare data from its website. The records document tens of thousands of animal welfare violations at an estimated 9,000 taxpayer-funded research labs, dog breeding operations, zoos, circuses, theme parks like SeaWorld, and other facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Several animal rights groups--which rely on the data for campaigning against animal testing, puppy mills, traveling animal shows, and other businesses--have protested the move, claiming it severely limits government transparency. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) have gone so far as filing lawsuits against the USDA over the data purge, alleging the organization's actions violate both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Now, after weeks of fierce criticism from lawmakers, activists, and the public, the agency has restored a minuscule fraction of the 17-year database, but several groups say the small reversal simply doesn't go far enough. Read on to learn more about the USDA's re-release of information and the related lawsuits. -- Global Animal

How Trump’s USDA Protects Animal Abusers

(ANIMAL NEWS/ANIMAL WELFARE) During last year's presidential election, the Humane Society Legislative Fund warned Donald Trump would be “a threat to animals everywhere.” Now, just weeks into his presidency, their warning appears to be coming true. On February 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly removed all animal welfare data from its website. This includes tens of thousands of inspection reports and enforcement records regarding the treatment of animals at an estimated 9,000 taxpayer-funded research laboratories, dog breeding operations/puppy mills, zoos, circuses, theme parks like SeaWorld, and other facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). These previously available records were frequently used by members of the public to monitor government regulation of animal welfare (i.e. to look up information regarding pet store or dog breeder violations, or expose animal cruelty violations at universities). While the government agency claims it revoked public access to the reports “based on our commitment to being transparent…and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals,” the move has drawn a significant amount of criticism from animal welfare and transparency activists who insist the public has the right to know how their tax dollars are spent. Although records will still be available through freedom-of-information requests, the HSUS maintains, “This action benefits no one, except facilities who have harmed animals and don’t want anyone to know.” Read on to learn how the HSUS is challenging the USDA's mass removal of animal welfare records, and sign the petition urging the agency to stop protecting animal abusers. -- Global Animal

SeaWorld’s Tilikum, Killer Whale From ‘Blackfish,’ Dies After Three Decades Of Misery

(ANIMAL NEWS/SEAWORLD) SeaWorld's main breeding whale, Tilikum, has sadly passed away at 36 years old after suffering from an ongoing bacterial lung infection. While male orcas have an average life span of 50 to 60 years in the wild, Tili's lifespan was cut nearly in half. After being involved in the deaths of three people (two trainers and one trespasser) at SeaWorld--including Dawn Brancheau in 2010, Tilly became the subject of the influential documentary Blackfish, rendering him the most (in)famous orca in the world. A prolific breeder, he sired more than 20 calves and was at the center of a controversial orca breeding program, which SeaWorld ended last year after receiving immense public backlash over Tilly's story. Tim Zimmerman, a producer of Blackfish, sums it up perfectly: "I think that's the most amazing thing that comes out of Tilikum's story...He killed three human beings. And yet when you learn about his life story, he does become the victim and you do sympathize with him." SeaWorld now has 22 orcas reamining at its three facilities--making this the last generation of killer whales held in captivity at its parks. However, many activivists believe the fight isn't over yet, and are urging SeaWorld to open their tanks to ocean sanctuaries. Continue reading for more on the circumstances of Tilikum's death, and learn how his story has forever changed the narrative surrounding aggressive behavior by captive orcas. -- Global Animal

Polarizing Views On Climate Change Pave Polar Bears’ Path To Decline

(POLAR BEARS/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) While the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the Earth, polar ice caps are melting at a startling pace--which, as you can imagine, does not bode well for the world's polar bear populations. In fact, a 2015 assessment predicted a 30 percent decrease in the number of polar bears by 2050. But numbers aside, scientists are noticing other, more subtle indications that polar bears are at an increasing risk, including changes in their physical condition, size, reproduction, and survival rates. As the Arctic ice continues to shrink and the number of ice-free days increases, bears are also entering nearby villages, and interactions between bears and humans are becoming more common--putting both the bears and people at risk. There's no doubt the loss of sea ice is linked to the unregulated release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, yet climate change denialists claim the loss of ice does not pose a threat to the polar bears' survival. Read on to learn more about the plight of this endangered species, and click here for everyday ways to save polar bears from extinction. -- Global Animal

How Big Banks Are Making Rain Forests Pay The Price

(ENVIRONMENT/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) With big banks like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs under fire for funding the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline project, many are becoming more aware of how major financial institutions influence habitat destruction, animal welfare, and climate change. Believe it or not, some of the world's largest banks have distributed more than $43 billion towards the expansion of palm oil plantation empires in Southeast Asia alone. Not to mention, more than a third of that sum results from American, European, and Japanese banks--with a number violating their own sustainability policies that specifically address deforestation. While there's a growing movement among financial institutions to move away from the fossil fuel industry, sadly a departure from deforestation is slower to catch on. Not only does deforestation displace indigenous communities and destroy ecosystems (the Bornean orangutan population has dropped a whopping 60 percent since 1950), it is also one of the biggest single contributors to global warming. And with palm oil now present in more than half of consumer packaged goods found in grocery stores, the market's increasing demand is threatening the existence of rain forests all around the world. Continue reading to learn more about how big banks are contributing to rain forest destruction, and learn how activists are working to save Indonesia's orangutan population. While you're at it, click here to see five ways you can help stop food companies from profiting off this devastating ingredient. -- Global Animal

Cruelty Comes At A Cost: New Cash In The UK Contains Surprise Animal Ingredient

(ANIMAL NEWS/VEGANISM) Vegans and vegetarians are voicing outrage after the Bank of England confirmed that the new 5 pound notes are made with tallow, a substance derived from animal fat. While thousands of products contain tallow (i.e. it's also used in candles and soaps), the widespread ingredient has many plant-based alternatives. A petition has been launched to remove the new note from circulation, and has already been signed by nearly 120,000 supporters. Read on to learn more about the public's response to the news, and sign the petition urging the Bank of England to cease their use of animal products in currency. -- Global Animal