CompassionWorks International is dedicated to creating a more compassionate world for all beings by furthering the emancipation of animals enslaved within systems of oppression. We facilitate strategic, community-based education and awareness-raising efforts in the U.S. and beyond.
Started 10 petitions
Lonely Minnie Deserves Sanctuary!
Minnie, an Asian elephant held captive by R.W. Commerford & Sons in Goshen, Connecticut, lives alone. Her companions Beulah and Karen passed away in 2019 leaving Minnie as the sole elephant living in a dismal barn on the Commerford property. Since 1976, Minnie has been forced to appear in weddings, films, circuses, and as a photo opportunity for paying customers. She is also used to give rides, despite the fact that she has a history of behavior that puts both employees and the public at risk. Minnie has been deprived of her ability to lead a normal, natural life appropriate to her species. In 2018, CompassionWorks International documented an appearance by Minnie at The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts. We found pronounced swelling in her jaw and an abnormality in her gait that could indicate a spinal deformity or injury in her neck. These issues were formally reported on October 31, 2018 to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Despite compelling video and photographic evidence, they failed to do an inspection of Minnie until more than four months later. Similar examples of inaction by the USDA to respond to formal complaints have resulted in the deaths of elephants prior to the needed and requested welfare check, as was the case for the deceased elephant Anna Louise. CWI calls on the newly reinstalled U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to strengthen enforcement of the AWA and to take immediate action for lone elephant Minnie. The USDA has cited Commerford & Sons more than 50 times for failing to adhere to the minimum standards required by the AWA. How many more citations and deaths need occur before the USDA takes action? It is time to respond appropriately to repeat offenders by revoking exhibitor licenses and removing animals from their possession. For her physical, emotional, and psychological health, solitary Minnie must no longer be used as a money-making prop by Commerford & Sons and sent immediately to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or to PAW’s ARK 2000 facility in California where she can receive expert veterinary care and the company of other elephants. Both sanctuaries have offered a home for Minnie at no charge to Commerford. Please sign and share to #SaveMinnie.
Save Nevada Bears!
On June 25, 2020, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDoW) killed a young mother bear who was caring for two cubs. She was accused of ripping out the garage door panels on a home in Incline Village, NV. On June 28, 2020, NDoW struck again. Another female bear was killed for the crime of entering through an open sliding glass door, grabbing a jar of peanut butter, and leaving. She was trapped, and despite neighbors being told she'd be relocated, NDoW opted to take her life. This is not a new problem. Between 2017-2019, NDoW captured 20 different bears in Incline Village. Some of these bears were also killed by NDoW or moved to an area where trophy hunting is permitted and subsequently killed by a hunter. Yet these so-called "problem" bears are solely the product of problem humans. Selfish Nevada residents in the Tahoe region fail time and again to properly secure their homes and use common sense bear-proofing measures. And instead of working toward creating appropriate laws and enforcement measures ensuring that those choosing to live in nature do so in a responsible manner, the Nevada Wildlife Commission (which is constituted primarily of those interested in killing wildlife rather than preserving it) and NDoW opt to kill Nevada's wildlife. To compound this problem, the Nevada Wildlife Commission and NDoW also sanction an unscientific yearly black bear trophy hunt putting the state's population of approximately 3-400 bears at even greater risk. CompassionWorks International calls on Governor Steve Sisolak to intervene and address the following points: 1. Effect an immediate change in the make-up of the Nevada Wildlife Commission to reflect the will and goals of the people of Nevada, not special interest groups. 2. Mandate a reevaluation of black bear management policies within NDoW to ensure that bears are not killed due to human fault. 3. Regulate the residents in Nevada's Tahoe basin making mandatory common-sense measures that lessen the likelihood of wildlife-human conflict in the region. 4. End the Nevada black bear trophy hunt, which involves "hounding," a practice so unfair and cruel that it is already banned in many states.
Australia: Act NOW to Save Koalas!
Around the world, Australia enjoys a reputation of pristine beaches, gorgeous unique wildlife, and as a lush utopia. Sadly, this reputation is no longer deserved. The fact is that Australia is not the place it once was. Its current credits include being the second in the world when it comes to biodiversity loss. The climate crisis is devastating native species, like the koala, as is human infringement on their habitat. Australia takes the top spot when it comes to the rate of mammal extinction. More than 10% of species have been wiped out in the last 200 years. Additionally, Australia ranks extremely poorly when it comes to advancing the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The SDG Index measures progress against the 17 SDGs agreed by all countries in 2015. The goals encompass a set of 169 targets to be met by 2030 to achieve economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. Australia's results for the environmental goals and climate change are among the worst in the OECD group of so-called "advanced" nations. In fact, Australia was the worst-performing country in the world on climate action (SDG #13). Australia's failings are coming at the cost of the lives of the animals the world loves and adores and which are a prime motivating factor in tourism to the country. Join us in letting the Australian government know that the world is watching, and the time is NOW to save Australian wildlife with SENSIBLE and PRAGMATIC solutions focused on restoring natural fauna and flora, while addressing over-development and carbon emissions.
Send Betty to Sanctuary Now!
Fifty year old elephant Betty has lived a lifetime of suffering. Captured from her home in Thailand at the age of just three years old, she was sold into the George Carden International Circus in 1986 where she has been forced to perform cruel circus tricks and to give rides ever since. The Carden family continues to force Betty to perform despite the fact that she is chronically lame. She does not bend her left front ankle, which is evident when she walks or give rides. Betty also continually drags her trunk along the ground as she walks. It appears that she is using her trunk as a crutch to remain balanced or to hold her upright. Her impairment could pose a serious public health hazard should her lameness result in a fall while she was performing or giving rides. In performance after performance, CompassionWorks International has found Betty exhibiting these clear signs of suffering, yet the Carden family and the USDA do nothing to help her. Presently the Carden family has rented Betty out to Garden Bros Circus, where she is provoked to give rides and do tricks by Larry Carden. Garden Bros performs up to three times per day, which means that Betty is giving up to three hours of rides and three performances per day. Afterward, she is loaded on a truck and driven hundreds of miles only to do it all again. Another Carden family elephant named Jenny lived a similar life of performance and tricks despite having health issues, and the USDA did nothing to help her. Jenny died. Isn’t it time the USDA DID THEIR JOB and took action for animals used and abused in traveling circuses? Please join CWI in calling on the USDA to do their job: confiscate Betty and transfer her to a Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries-certified sanctuary where she can live out the remainder of her days without the stress and pain of circus performance.
Circus World: Stop Using Animal Acts!
Circus World, located in Baraboo, Wisconsin, is a both a museum housing circus paraphernalia and a place where circus acts continue to perform. Sadly, amongst those performances are acts that include elephants and tigers. On July 13, 2018, CompassionWorks International visited Circus World to perform a welfare check on the animals contained there, and we were saddened by what we found. The main circus performance, which occurs twice per day during the summer, featured an act using three elephants: Lisa, Tracy, and Becky. Lisa and Tracy were also forced to give rides. Review of the video footage we collected by elephant experts revealed that Lisa and Tracy are both experiencing pronounced gait issues. They appear to be significantly compromised on their right sides, including knee and hip as well as wrist and elbow, and have a limited range of motion in both of their right shoulders. Walking, or at least giving rides, is demonstrably painful to both of Lisa and Tracy. CWI has since filed a complaint with the USDA on behalf of Lisa and Tracy for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and have requested that the USDA immediately remove Tracy and Lisa from circus life. We also call upon Circus World to let the use and abuse of animals in circus entertainment become a part of the past where it belongs. Going forward, we ask Circus World to only hire willing human performers to entertain its audiences and to cut ties with notorious animal abusers Carson and Barnes, who "own" Lisa, Tracy, and Becky. Thank you for supporting our efforts to end circus cruelty.
We demand justice for Jasper!
On May 6th, a black bear known as Jasper was shot by a Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputy in an attempt to scare her and her cubs away. Yet instead of using a rubber bullet as the deputy reportedly intended to, he/she used a live bullet. Jasper sustained injuries for which she was being treated, but she succumbed to the shot and died at 7:15am on May 7th. We demand an investigation into 1. whether any action against Jasper and her cubs was actually necessary, and, if it was, 2. why non-lethal means (like air horns) were not used as a first response, and 3. we request to be provided with an explanation as to whether the Nevada Department of Wildlife was engaged given that the bears were allegedly frequenting the area and finally, 4. we expect a thorough review as to how any deputy cannot distinguish between a live round and a rubber bullet. Washoe County Sheriff's Office needs to answer for the completely unnecessary death of Jasper, take appropriate action with the deputy who cannot distinguish between lethal and non-lethal ammunition, work collaboratively with local groups concerned with bear populations in the area to enhance public education efforts regarding bears, and develop a plan of action for how situations like this can be avoided in the future to be shared with the public. Jasper deserved better!
Gulfport, MS: Prevent Cruel Dolphin Captivity!
Around the world, people are coming to understand that dolphin captivity is animal cruelty. The dolphin is an extremely intelligent mammal, regarded by scientists as being very close in brain aptitude levels to humans, and is both self-aware and highly emotional. They live in complex social structures with family members often staying together throughout their lives. In every way, they are completely unsuited to captivity and life imprisonment in a tank. Increasingly, dolphin captivity is in decline. In India, dolphins have been categorized as "non-human persons" and holding dolphins in captivity as menial "entertainment" has been forbidden. Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Chile, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland all have banned the keeping of dolphins in captivity. In March 2017, the Vancouver Aquarium unanimously voted to ban the display of all cetaceans. There is no sensical reason for the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport to include dolphins in its plans. Hasn't Gulfport, where dolphins naturally live in the waters off the coast, learned its lesson after the disastrous situation it found itself in with captive cetaceans after Hurricane Katrina? It is a travesty that in today's day and age the City of Gulfport is considering including jailed dolphins as part of the proposed Gulfport Aquarium facility. With countries and aquaria around the world turning their back on the unnecessary cruelty of dolphin captivity, Gulfport is surprisingly and intentionally heading down a slippery path of investing in a doomed future based on an antiquated and backward mentality. Help put an end to the horrible suffering of dolphins famously documented in the film The Cove and demand that the Missippi Aquarium be dolphin-free.
End Exotic Animal Acts at the 3 County Fair!
The annual 3 County Fair held in Northampton, Massachusetts has made the disappointing and inhumane decision to include an exotic animal act as part of its offerings for the 2016 season. While including tigers might seem like an exciting addition to a line-up of family entertainment, the sad reality is that exotic animal training involves abuse and cruelty. Though we can't know which performance Bruno Blaszak is planning for the 3 County Fair, it is clear from his website (http://www.brunostigers.com) that he forces his tigers to perform tricks that are not a part of their normal or natural behavior. Photos reveal that he subjects them to fire (of which tigers are naturally afraid), forces them to balance on high wires, and to perform other menial and degrading tricks under the threat of violence. Tigers suffer when forced to perform in traveling entertainment: Though tigers are solitary and fiercely protective of their home range, they are frequently forced to live and perform in groups. Though tigers are semi-nocturnal, they are often made to perform and travel during the day. Though tigers are love water and are extremely adept at swimming, they are denied any access to pools of water. Though tigers develop close maternal bonds, baby tigers are torn from their mothers for the purposes of training. Though tigers are able to leap more than 30 feet, the circus and other related industries that use tigers often keep them confined to small cages barely big enough for them to pace back and forth in. This intensive confinement frequently leads to psychological and emotional distress. While Mr. Blasak states on his page that his goal is to "preserve" tigers, forcing them to lead unnatural lives traveling and performing tricks does NOT promote preservation or conservation. It promotes the cruel and harmful concept that "man dominates beast", which is what is leading to the destruction of these beautiful animals in the wild. Please join CompassionWorks International and Western Mass Animal Rights Advocates in asking the 3 County Fair to NEVER AGAIN make use of exotic animals as part of its performances. And if you are in the area, please participate in the peaceful demonstrations of the Fair that will take place this year. The time to end tiger acts and other types of institutionalized animal cruelties is now. Be their voice.
Shriners International: End the Use of Exotic Animals in your Circuses!
People around the world have woken up to a simple fact: the use of exotic animals in traveling entertainment is archaic and cruel. That is why numerous circuses, including Ringling Bros, have closed and hundreds of bans have been enacted in countries, states, counties, cities, and venues eliminating the practice of using animals in circuses. The Shriners will tell you that their circuses support children suffering from illness. However, the numerous "Shrine Circuses" that take place around the country only serve to support the operations of the individual Shrine chapters. The monies are used to "keep their lights on," not to provide funding to children in need. Most Shrine Circuses continue to make use of animals. The Shriners hire circuses which rent animals for their performances. For instance, Jordan World Circus, which often performs as a Shrine Circus, rents their elephant act from the Carden family. The Shriners COULD opt to host circuses without animals, yet they choose animal cruelty as a fundraising ploy. The tigers, elephants, and other exotic animals used by these circuses are forced to travel continuously trapped in tiny cages and boxcars, beaten with bullhooks and whipped, and denied the opportunity to live any semblance of a natural life. All of this happens not for the benefit of children, but to pay for the operational costs of individual Shrine chapters. It is time that the Shriners did the right thing and instituted an organizational policy that no being should need to suffer for the enjoyment of another, no matter what the cause. Join us in asking Shriners International to ban the use of exotic animals in their circuses.
Please help to rescue an abused elephant named Nosey
Nosey the elephant needs our help. She is showing signs of arthritis, but still forced to stay on the road giving rides to people despite evidence that she's suffering! A veterinarian even says that Nosey "is unnecessarily suffering, permanently disabled, crippled, and is knowingly being maimed." Please tell the USDA to act to rescue Nosey from her abuse life of captivity and urge your members of Congress to pressure the USDA to do its job! The USDA has cited Nosey's owner, Hugo Liebel, for nearly 200 animal-welfare violations, and he was ordered to pay a $7,500 penalty following nearly three dozen charges of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Most of the charges related to Nosey, including repeatedly chaining her so tightly that she could barely move and denying her necessary veterinary care. So why is Nosey still used for elephant rides and taken to fairs and flea markets? This cruel captivity including chaining and a tough life performing for humans' entertainment is known to result in arthritis in captive elephants. As the authority with power to pull Nosey off the road, the USDA should act to help this elephant but they ignored her history of lameness. Our representatives in Congress can help to make this happen if you act as a constituent to say animal welfare issues such as this are important to you. People like me have worked hard to protest and organize other online and offline events for Nosey here in Florida where she is generally used for these fairs and other events. But we need more help since the USDA is accountable to members of the public around the country and your member of Congress will care most about what you think as someone who has the power to vote animal-friendly politicians into office! If you care about elephants, please sign my petition to help Nosey.