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 6 petitions
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. Around the world, 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. While just last week, in March 2017, the Vancouver Aquarium unanimously voted to ban the display of all cetaceans. With increasing pressure put on dolphin exhibits by activists and the declining attendance at SeaWorld due to the world waking up regarding the inherent cruelty of marine mammal captivity, there is no sensical reason for the proposed Gulfport Aquarium 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, Mississippi 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 proposed Gulfport Aquarium be dolphin-free.
End the Use of Wild Animals in your Circuses!
Bowing to public pressure regarding the abuse of animals in the circus, Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus has closed down. Other smaller circuses have closed or changed their shows, and numerous cities across the country have or are banning the use of wild animals in traveling entertainment. The United States is finally waking up to what numerous other countries know so well: the use of wild animals in traveling entertainment is archaic and cruel. 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." Most Shrine Circuses continue to make use of animals. The Shriners hire circuses who rent animals to perform. The tigers, elephants, and other wild animals used by these circuses are forced to travel continuously, cramped into 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. On February 23, 2015, the Shriners' former Imperial Potentate Dale Stauss wrote: "We are working very hard to reach people, and make them aware of who we are, and the important contributions we make to the world around us. Toward that end, we are working to disseminate our messages in a variety of ways, as often and as effectively as possible." We call on Shriners International to reevaluate utilizing circuses with animals as a means for reaching people and disseminating their messages. With Ringling's decision and the decisions of other circuses that have followed, it is clear that the world has awoken to the fact that the circus is violence, suffering, and domination over the innocent. We are confident that this is not the message of the Shriners, and we know that they will use their good conscience to put an end to the archaic practice of abusing others for cheap entertainment.
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.
End the Use of Wild Animal Acts at The Big E!
The Big E, a 17-day event held in West Springfield, MA, is the largest fair in the northeast and the 6th largest fair in the nation. It began as a simple agricultural fair back in 1917 and is now regarded by organizers as a "New England extravaganza". Yet the current incarnation of the fair has exploded far beyond agriculture and New England heritage. In fact, The Big E uses wild animals acts for entertainment and such exhibits are not just inhumane, but some are even dangerous to humans. Elephants, camels, zebras, kangaroos, and lemurs are featured in the R.W. Commerford & Sons Petting Zoo. This constantly travelling zoo contains a wide diversity of wild animals in very unnatural, cramped, and often unhealthy, conditions. Elephants, under the threat of punishment and prodded with a sharp metal instrument called a bullhook, are forced to give rides. Yet, R.W. Commerford & Sons has been involved in three dangerous incidents while giving rides to children and caused injuries. This same company has been cited by the USDA numerous times for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. In addition to the petting zoo, The Big E will feature a bear trailer, which contains four full-grown bears shut in cages. In the wild, bears usually roam 20-50 miles each day, yet when confined at The Big E, these animals have but feet to roam back and forth. This is inhumane and far from educational. Please join us in letting The Big E know that wild animals have no place at an agricultural fair focused on the beauty and diversity of New England and that wild animals belong in the wild, not forced to perform or trapped in cages by those whose sole purpose is to profit off of them.