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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signed the SB 300, the Heartbeat Protection Act, and in August, DeSantis Signed to have Michael Zack be the first Execution of Convicted Murderer on Death Row since 1997 (Lethal Injection happens at 6PM EST Today)!

Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed into law the Heartbeat Protection Act, which is aimed at protecting the sanctity of human life and is also known as SB 300. However, people are questioning the Governor’s commitment to life due to his recent action in August. Governor DeSantis signed a death warrant for a death row inmate, which will be the first execution carried out in the state since 1997. This leads to some to question with regard to the Governor’s stance on human life and whether or not his decision to sign the Heartbeat Protection Act was simply a political move rather than a genuine concern for life. In light of these other events that will kill a human, it is critical to consider the Governor’s actions and how they contradict anything with regard to his stance on human life.

Death Penalty Focus is marking the 21st World Day Against the Death Penalty with a webinar featuring a conversation on “The Torture of Solitary Confinement” with DPF President Mike Farrell, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez, and Rachel Meeropol, who, as a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, represented those imprisoned in solitary confinement in California in their landmark lawsuit, Ashker v. Governor.

We’re asking for your help again because Florida has scheduled its sixth execution this year. Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a death warrant for Michael Zack and scheduled an execution date of Tuesday, October 3, at 6 p.m.

Sign The Petition!

It brings us immense pleasure to share the groundbreaking news that one of the most significant bills of today’s time has officially been given the green light. Proposed by Maxwell Frost, this piece of legislation has gained immense support and momentum from Leaders We Deserve, young activists, organizers, and leaders across our movement. This landmark decision will come to fruition via the Biden Executive Action, marking a pivotal moment not just for our organization but for the entire nation.

UniverSoul Circus has set a commendable example for other circuses to follow by taking this bold step. The decision to end animal acts represents a momentous step towards a fairer and more just society, where animal entertainment doesn’t come at the cost of innocent creatures’ well-being.

As a result of this decision, UniverSoul Circus can now concentrate on promoting human talent, creativity and entertainment without compromising the welfare of its animals. Additionally, this decision marks an important move towards preserving our planet’s biodiversity by ensuring the well-being of animals, which play a crucial role in our ecosystem. This is a positive development for animal lovers, as it brings hope that other companies will follow in the footsteps of UniverSoul Circus.

An undergraduate psychology course at Utah State University (USU) requires students to torment live rats in a psychology experiment, forcing the animals to endure cruel training involving pushing a lever in order to obtain food while being blasted with disorienting lights.

As an individual who values ethical treatment of animals and the importance of academic research, it is concerning to hear that an undergraduate psychology course at Utah State University (USU) involves the tormenting of live rats in a psychological experiment. Animal welfare is an issue that has been increasingly emphasized in recent years, as awareness spreads regarding humane treatment of all living creatures. While psychology research is valuable in advancing our understanding of behavior, it is important to question the methods used and ensure that the well-being of animals is not compromised. It would be encouraging to learn more about the details of this experiment, whether ethical guidelines were followed and how the results can contribute to psychological knowledge. Ultimately, we must balance the pursuit of academic research with compassion for all living beings.

Landlords are failing to offer humane rodent control methods to students at Baylor University in Texas after complaints regarding mice and rats at an off-campus apartment complex, so PETA is stepping in to help.

Glue Traps Are Death Traps! PETA Offers 8 Humane ‘Rodent Control’ Tips Instead

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Sustainable Action Now, Utah State University (USU), Baylor University in Texas, National Hispanic Heritage Month featuring 35 Latino and Latina Celebrities brought to by PETA & UniverSoul Circus Is Finally Animal-Free!

As someone who upholds strong moral and ethical values regarding the humane treatment of animals and recognizes the outstanding significance of academic research, it is vastly concerning to have been made aware of an undergraduate psychology course conducted at Utah State University (USU) that reportedly involves subjecting live rats to cruel and inhumane experimentation.

Given the immensely distressing and agonizing circumstances revolving around this alleged practice, it raises enormous concerns and deeply troubling questions about the extent to which animal cruelty is being permitted in the name of scientific research. Particularly when it involves deliberately harming and inflicting emotional and physical pain on living beings, such practices not only contradict the values and principles embedded in modern society, but also blatantly disregard the welfare and dignity of innocent creatures.

As a result, it is essential that, as a community, we continue to voice our concerns about such practices, and advocate for more responsible and ethical measures that prioritize the safety and humane treatment of all animals alongside furthering scientific progress.

Baylor University, a renowned educational institution located in Texas, is presently making use of glue traps at their off-campus housing facilities. This practice has raised concerns from various stakeholders who are advocating for the humane treatment of animals. It is worth noting that glue traps are notorious for causing immense suffering to animals that get caught in it. The inhumane nature of this approach is not only cruel but also ineffective in the long run. Considering that there are numerous humane ways of managing pest infestations, such as utilizing live traps or exclusion methods, it is important for Baylor University to halt its use of glue traps and explore more ethical and effective methods of pest control. We, therefore, call on the University to review its pest management policies and take action towards embracing more humane practices that prioritize the welfare of all animals.

Next, PETA, short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is proud to present the National Hispanic Heritage Month, an incredibly inspiring celebration showcasing over 35 prominent Latino and Latina figures. Throughout this impressive and exciting event, we will be highlighting the rich culture, traditions, and contributions of our diverse Hispanic community, as well as bringing attention to important topics such as animal welfare and cruelty-free living. From accomplished musicians, actors, athletes, and activists to chefs, writers, entrepreneurs, and beyond, our lineup represents a wide array of talents and backgrounds, all of whom share PETA’s commitment to creating a kinder world for all species. We invite you to join us in this momentous occasion as we honor the amazing achievements of our Hispanic icons and strive towards a brighter future for animals and the planet.

And last, UniverSoul Circus, a renowned traveling circus, has recently made an important and significant decision to become animal-free. After numerous discussions and consultation with animal welfare organizations, the circus has taken a firm stance in support of animal rights and ethical treatment of all living beings. By eliminating animal acts from their shows, the circus is setting an example for other entertainment industries to follow, and is paving the way towards a more compassionate and humane world. In addition to this, the removal of animal acts will allow the circus to focus on other exciting and awe-inspiring performances, showcasing the talents of human performers from diverse backgrounds. This move signifies a positive stride towards promoting a more sustainable and responsible future, where entertainment options are not at the cost of animal exploitation and abuse.

It brings me great pleasure to inform you of a groundbreaking decision made by UniverSoul Circus. The circus has finally decided to end its animal acts, marking a significant shift in attitudes towards animal welfare. This is fantastic news for animal rights activists, as it signifies a growing awareness of the suffering of animals in entertainment industries.

UniverSoul Circus has set a commendable example for other circuses to follow by taking this bold step. The decision to end animal acts represents a momentous step towards a fairer and more just society, where animal entertainment doesn’t come at the cost of innocent creatures’ well-being.

As a result of this decision, UniverSoul Circus can now concentrate on promoting human talent, creativity and entertainment without compromising the welfare of its animals. Additionally, this decision marks an important move towards preserving our planet’s biodiversity by ensuring the well-being of animals, which play a crucial role in our ecosystem. This is a positive development for animal lovers, as it brings hope that other companies will follow in the footsteps of UniverSoul Circus.

An undergraduate psychology course at Utah State University (USU) requires students to torment live rats in a psychology experiment, forcing the animals to endure cruel training involving pushing a lever in order to obtain food while being blasted with disorienting lights.

As an individual who values ethical treatment of animals and the importance of academic research, it is concerning to hear that an undergraduate psychology course at Utah State University (USU) involves the tormenting of live rats in a psychological experiment. Animal welfare is an issue that has been increasingly emphasized in recent years, as awareness spreads regarding humane treatment of all living creatures. While psychology research is valuable in advancing our understanding of behavior, it is important to question the methods used and ensure that the well-being of animals is not compromised. It would be encouraging to learn more about the details of this experiment, whether ethical guidelines were followed and how the results can contribute to psychological knowledge. Ultimately, we must balance the pursuit of academic research with compassion for all living beings.

Landlords are failing to offer humane rodent control methods to students at Baylor University in Texas after complaints regarding mice and rats at an off-campus apartment complex, so PETA is stepping in to help.

Glue Traps Are Death Traps! PETA Offers 8 Humane ‘Rodent Control’ Tips Instead

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a highly significant and celebratory time in the United States that runs from the 15th of September to the 15th of October. During this time, we honor and pay tribute to the many important, powerful, and life-changing contributions that Latino and Latina individuals have made to society. In light of this auspicious time, PETA, an organization that advocates for the ethical treatment of animals, is proud to recognize and pay homage to the many Latinos and Latinas who are working tirelessly to break down the barriers of speciesism and pave the way for a better future for all creatures. We are excited to name these incredible celebrities and give them the recognition they rightly deserve for their efforts to create a kinder, more compassionate, and more just world for animals everywhere. Their inspiring work is having a profound impact on the world, and we are honored to be able to acknowledge their achievements.

Five celebrities who have helped animals with PETA© StarMaxInc.com | © Robert Sebree

1. Aislinn Derbez

This meat-shunning actor—known for starring in EasyLa Casa de las Flores, and De Viaje con los Derbez—was featured in a striking PETA Latino ad encouraging guardians to spay or neuter their animal companions. The campaign artwork, which she personally unveiled at a PETA Latino event at the famous Olvera Street in Los Angeles, featured a stunning pair of wings painted by Derbez herself!

hispanic heritage month latine celebs aislinn derbez for peta

2. Alicia Machado

Venezuelan model Alicia Machado rose to stardom as Miss Universe 1996. Now based in Miami, she has since honed her advocacy for animals by partnering with PETA and PETA Latino to appear in a body-positive “naked” ad proclaiming herself “proud to be me and fur-free.”

But that’s not all. Machado has also starred in a campaign calling on her fans to have their animal companions spayed or neutered and had passionately advocated for the transfer of the long-suffering orca Lolita to a seaside sanctuary.

In 2023, plans for Lolita’s move were finally announced, but they came too late—she died before experiencing a moment of freedom.

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3. Alisun

Mexican American singer Alisun encouraged people to change their tune by going vegan for Earth Day to benefit animals—including humans—the planet, and their own health.

Pop star Alisun wears a dress made of vegetablesPhoto: © Sara Mally

4. Ana Bárbara

Award-winning singer and actor Ana Bárbara joined PETA Latino for a powerful video in which she experiences firsthand what dogs go through when they’re left in hot cars.

5. Ana María Polo

Straight-talking TV judge Ana María Polo throws the book at animal abusers by making sure everyone knows that it’s never OK to force cats or dogs to live outside in all weather extremes. She had also called on the Miami Seaquarium to release Lolita from a life sentence in the smallest orca tank in the world before the orca’s tragic death.

6. Camila Cabello

Singer-songwriter Camila Cabello is a role model to millions of fans around the world. She used her platform as a former member of the band Fifth Harmony to advocate for animals, once starring in a PETA video asking folks to adopt animal companions and have them spayed or neutered.

7. Bella Thorne

This Cuban American singer and actor threw some serious shade on SeaWorld in a stunning PETA ad. Check it out:

Bella Thorne for PETA hispanic heritage monthCreative Director Nim Shapira | Photoshop Artist Shine Horovits | Photo Brian Bowen Smith

8. Carla Morrison  

Latin Grammy Award winner Carla Morrison and her beloved animal companions, Tino and Chawiwi, joined PETA to remind people to celebrate with music, not explosions.

 

Ad of Carla Morrison hiding under a table with two dogs as superimposed fireworks shoot outside. The text reads fireworks are no fun for animals

9. Chris Pérez

This guitar player from San Antonio is known as a former member of the band Selena y Los Dinos. He stands up for dogs and encourages his fans to adopt animals, not buy them.

10. Clarissa Molina

Univision TV host Clarissa Molina has joined PETA Latino to remind guardians of the importance of having an emergency plan in place to keep their entire family—including animals—safe during natural disasters.

11. Constance Marie

Actor Constance Marie—star of George Lopez and Switched at Birth—decided to ditch meat in the ’90s, after an eye-opening experience while shooting the movie Selena had her holding a chicken for long periods of time on set. She realized that chickens are sensitive animals with their own interests and a strong will to live and could no longer justify eating them.

She has also advocated for orcas trapped at SeaWorld and asked her fans to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

CONSTANCE MARIE: CONDOMS ARE COMPLETELY USELESS! PSA PETA

12. Daniel Suárez

Daniel Suárez is the first Mexican-born professional driver to win a national NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship. He’s also dedicated to helping animals. He races to the rescue of dogs in hot cars and gently releases mice visitors outdoors.

13. Daniella Monet

These days, former Nickelodeon star Daniella Monet is an influencer and a vegan mama of two. She encourages kids to say no to dissection at school and to keep fish and other animals off their plates.

hispanic heritage month celebs for peta daniella monet

14. Edward James Olmos

This Chicano icon is a Hollywood legend and a native of East Los Angeles who’s also vegan! He calls on his fans to treat their animal companions like members of the family and keep them safe from fireworks. Additionally, he has lent his voice to the coyote in our Council of Animals display in Washington, D.C., to spread the message that if our fellow animals could be understood by humans, we’d hear them begging us to stop harming, exploiting, and slaughtering them. He recently received a PETA Humanitarian Award for using his celebrity platform to promote compassion for all species.

15-16. Emilio Rivera and Theo Rossi 

These stars of the television shows Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. prove that real strength comes from protecting animals and never chaining them. They’re showing the world that being tough doesn’t mean being heartless and that the greatest strength of all is the power to love and care for all sentient beings.

Theo Rossi and Emilio Rivera pose in front of a gate with Jenni, a black and white dog, at their feet. There is a broken chain at her paws. Rivera holds a pair of metal cutters in one hand, and the remainder of the chain in the other.Photo: © Peter Yang

17. George Lopez

George Lopez is a well-known comedian and actor from Los Angeles. This Dodgers fan is also a big fan of adopted dogs! That’s why he’s called on his fellow Angelenos to have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered.

hispanic heritage month latine celebs team up with PETA

18-19. Jesse & Joy Huerta

Mexican American singer-songwriter duo Jesse & Joy are wonderful friends of PETA (and played at our 2020 40th anniversary virtual celebration) as well as reliable champions for animals. They have starred in multiple PETA Latino campaigns calling on fans to adopt animals and have them spayed or neutered, keep animal companions safe during natural disasters, and ditch fur.

20. Juan Pablo Di Pace

This Argentine actor and LGBTQIA+ heartthrob won the 2019 PETA Libby Award Brightest On-Screen Star for Animals. He once played Jesus and is, thankfully, also a savior for other species—he has called on his Fuller House fans to stay away from circuses that exploit animals.

Juan Pable Di Pace

21. Julio Torres

Julio Torres is a comedian, an actor, and an activist who hilariously incorporates his experiences as a vegan into his standup routines. The Salvadoran comic was featured as one of PETA’s Most Beautiful Vegan celebs of 2021.

22. Kate Del Castillo

Kate Del Castillo, the star of La Reina del SurIngobernable, and The 33, is a member of PETA’s honorary board of directors. The actor and activist has taken part in many PETA and PETA Latino campaigns, including these.

23. Lucía Méndez

Lucía Méndez is a soap opera star, a top model, a singer, and an angel for animals. She and her dog, Aura, starred in a beautiful ad to remind people that animal companions are members of the family.

24. Marco Antonio Regil

Marco Antonio Regil is a Mexican American TV host known as the face of popular game shows, including 100 Latinos Dijeron and Minuto Para Ganar.

Regil is vegan and the very first celebrity supporter of PETA Latino. He even helped us conceptualize, develop, and launch the program in its earliest days—just one of many reasons he was the recipient of PETA’s 2015 Humanitarian Award. He has starred in multiple videos calling on his fans to go vegan and also helped PETA garner media attention at a spay-a-thon event in Cancún, Mexico.

hispanic heritage month latine celebs partner with peta marco antonio regil

25. María Celeste Arrarás

In addition to hosting a show on CNN en Español, Maria Celeste Arrarás is a longtime staunch supporter of PETA and PETA Latino. She has spoken out against bullfights and circuses that exploit animals and was the winner of PETA’s 2001 Humanitarian Award.

 

 

26. Nicholas Gonzalez

This Texas-born Mexican American actor shares his home with two adorable adopted dogs. He is anti-fur and joined with PETA to encourage people to treat their dogs like their best friends.

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27. Oriana

Argentine singer, model, and actress Oriana’s beautiful ad reminds people that we are all animals and deserve the same consideration, regardless of what some humans think.

Ad of Oriana with a hen

28. Patricia De León

Actor, reality star, and Miss Panama 1995 Patricia De León helped launch PETA Latino and has starred in campaigns urging fans to go vegboycott bullfights, and be kind to animals. She even has her own line of cruelty-free lipstick.

Patricia de Leon, Naked Ambition

Patricia de Leon

29. Paulina Rubio

Legendary Mexican singer Paulina Rubio has a history of defending animals, asking her fans never to leave dogs in hot cars or give animals as holiday gifts.

30. Carmen Carrera

Model and actor Carmen Carrera is known for fearlessly using her platform to raise awareness of transgender and LGBTQIA+ issues. And making a bold statement of another sort, she bared all to draw attention to the suffering endured by animals who are caged and killed for their fur—and to encourage her followers to transform their wardrobes by going fur-free.

Carmen Carrera for PETA Ad

31. Roselyn Sánchez

Roselyn Sánchez was the first Latina celeb to take part in PETA’s iconic “rather go naked than wear fur” campaign.

roselyn sanchez for peta

32. Sie7e

Based in Puerto Rico, vegan singer-songwriter Sie7e is all about good vibes for humans and other animals.

hispanic heritage month celebs sie7e for peta latino

33. Sofía Sisniega

This Mexican American actor who stars in the hit shows Club de CuervosLa Casa de las Flores, and Aquí en la Tierra is 100% committed to ending animal exploitation. Sisniega has also starred in multiple PETA campaigns, including ads asking consumers to use cruelty-free makeup and personal-care products, calling on people to go vegan, and asking fans not to wear wool.

sofia sisniega peta naked ad

In addition, she’s led several PETA Latino protests in Mexico City, such as one asking Forever 21 to drop wool and another giving away vegan holiday roasts for Nochebuena.

34. Stephanie Sigman

Bond girl and star of Narcos and S.W.A.T. Stephanie Sigman is an angel for animals who promotes responsible dog adoption.

stephanie sigman PETA Latino

35. William Valdés

Cuban actor, singer, and television host William Valdés joined PETA Latino to share the naked truth behind the fur industry and spread the word that compassion is always in fashion.


Honor the Contributions of Latinos and Latinas This National Hispanic Heritage Month and All Year Round

When it comes to the huge contributions of the Latine community to the animal rights movement, this post only scratches the surface! If you learned something new about one of your favorite stars, be sure to share this page with your friends, family members, and social media followers. Encourage them to discover all the ways they can speak up for animals any day of the year.

 

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Park Eun-bin from Netflix Series, Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Elephants Beaten and Chained for Shrine Circuses & Sustainable Action Now Highlights Recent Protests!

Check out the highlights from some of our recent actions:

We hope you’ll join us at the next protest near you!

If you are you someone who is passionate about fighting for animal rights and if you want to make a difference to create change in the world, look for a protest near you.

Whether you are a seasoned activist who has been protesting for years or someone who is just starting out and has never attended a protest, we want to extend a warm invitation to you to join us in the fight for animal rights.

We believe that everyone has a role to play in creating a better world, and that no matter where you come from or what your background is, you can make a difference.

Our movement is inclusive and welcoming, and we strive to create a space for people of all walks of life to come together and work towards a common goal. So whether you are a student, a parent, a professional, or anything in between, we hope that you will join us and be a part of this important work.

Let’s stand together and fight for a better future for all beings.

Here are some highlights from some of the more recents protests:

The new hit series on Netflix from South Korea, Extraordinary Attorney Woo, is attracting international attention. For those of you who are not familiar with the show, it features a young woman, Park Eun-bin, who is an attorney starting her first job in South Korea and who happens to be autistic. Rotten Tomatoes rates the show 100% for critics’ endorsement.

But the big surprise of the show is that Attorney Woo is a passionate lover of whales and dolphins. While the show is not expressly about whales and dolphins, they appear here and there in every episode as her psychic muses. Attorney Woo herself is a passionate opponent of captivity and the killing of dolphins and whales.

Capitalizing on the stunning popularity of the series, the International Marine Mammal Project’s (IMMP’s) office in the Philippines came up with the ingenious idea to feature a look-alike Attorney Woo as part of their demonstration against the Taiji dolphin hunts on September 1st. The demonstration garnered wide media attention in the Philippines, and appeared in news stories in Japan Today and the Global Mirror.

PETA supporters with heavy chains blocked the entrance to the Yaarab Shrine Circus, which continues to exploit elephants and other animals, on its opening day. Padlocked together to the chains, activists prevented anyone from entering the circus grounds. PETA is asking Shrine circuses to end all animal acts.

The world’s largest Starbucks location closed temporarily after several PETA supporters wearing cow masks sat down and demanded that the coffee chain stop charging extra for vegan milks. Would-be customers were offered a free vegan latte instead.

Just before Easter, PETA’s thought-provoking baby barbecues in Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Jacksonville, Florida, reminded everyone that animals are just babies when they’re slaughtered and that there’s no real difference between them and human babies. We asked everyone to keep all babies off the grill this Easter holiday and every day by going vegan.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. 

PETA continued to push forward with its campaign against Budweiser, the King of Tears, to urge the beer company to stop mutilating Clydesdales by cutting off their tailbones. PETA supporters crashed Budweiser’s 90th anniversary party in St. Louis and protested at other Clydesdale appearances throughout the U.S.

PETA supporters continue to pressure Whole Foods to stop enabling the rampant abuse of the Thai coconut milk industry, which uses cruel forced monkey labor. PETA “monkeys” have been seen dumping hundreds of humanely picked coconuts and smashing them in protest outside Whole Foods stores in Austin, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Washington, D.C.

Whole Foods closed its D.C. location for several hours after protesters entered the store and held a sit-in on top of the checkout counters.

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Ohio and the Death Penalty, Dolphin Hunting, Capturing & Killing Season Begins, Harvard University, EGYPTAIR, Running with the Bulls!

If It's September, it is the start of the Dolphin Hunting, Killing & Captivity Season in Taiji, Japan!

It stirs up a feeling of sadness and empathy within me to think about how Angel, the albino dolphin, was taken away from the peaceful waters of the cove in Taiji, Japan so many years ago. The thought of Angel living in a tank for all these years, with limited space to swim and explore, breaks my heart. I can only imagine the toll that such confinement can take on a creature that was meant to roam free in the vast expanses of the ocean. It’s a sobering reminder of the consequences that human actions can have on the natural world. I can only hope that Angel is being well-cared for, receiving the best possible treatment and care, and that someday, maybe, she will be able to return to the ocean and be reunited with her pod.

On the first day of September every year, the Taiji dolphin slaughter begins. For six months, dolphin-hunting vessels sail out of Taiji, Japan; hunt down pods of wild dolphins; surround them; and drive them back toward land to the infamous killing cove.

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter and Capture

Once in the cove, dolphin hunters snare the animals with nets and drag them to shore for the selection process. Dolphin trainers work with the hunters to choose the youngest and most attractive—the ones who will be sold to marine parks and “swim with dolphins” encounters. Pod members try to fight them off and protect one another, but their efforts are in vain. The mother was unable to save her baby.

Those who aren’t chosen also face a cruel fate. Hunters—and sometimes even trainers—kill them by hammering metal rods into their spinal cords just below the blowhole. They then remove the rods and replace them with corks to keep the water in the killing cove from turning bright red. Dolphins die slowly and painfully of hemorrhaging or suffocation while watching their family members and podmates die around them. Their flesh is then sold as meat.

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter and Capture

This deadly spectacle takes place only because tourists want to pet dolphins and take pictures with them.

The captive-dolphin industry directly funds the Taiji dolphin slaughter. A single dolphin can sell for as much as $152,000. Even in countries that no longer allow the importation of dolphins caught during the gruesome slaughter, marine parks and “swim with dolphins” facilities can still display animals purchased before the ban. Animals can also be moved through other countries to disguise their origin. And exhibitors that claim not to purchase from Taiji often still have hidden connections to the slaughter.

When humans stop paying to see suffering dolphins performing stupid tricks, swimming in circles in cramped tanks, or hauling tourists around on their dorsal fins, the slaughter will no longer be profitable.

man riding sad dolphin face blurred

Dolphins deserve better.

Dolphins’ brains are much larger than those of humans. (Many would argue their hearts are, too.) These brilliant animals use complex echolocation to navigate the vast ocean, swimming up to 60 miles a day. They have highly developed communication skills, and it’s believed that individuals respond to the sound of a signature whistle the same way humans respond to the sound of their names. Forcing these emotionally complex animals to live in tanks for our entertainment is morally bankrupt.

Let’s end the dolphin slaughter.

What You Can Do

Ohio just moved one step closer to ending the death penalty!

Last Wednesday, Demetrius Minor, the National Manager of CCATDP,  had the opportunity to join the #NoDeathPenaltyOH campaign at the Ohio Statehouse for a press conference announcing the introduction of the House bill to end the death penalty!

The House bill will serve as a companion to SB 101, which is already moving in the Senate. This bill is yet another sign that momentum is on our side, but we still have more work to do to cross the finish line.
Thank the Bill Sponsors

As Ohio reckons with other life issues this fall, Republican leaders recognize that the death penalty is part of that conversation. It’s time to end this costly government program that fails to protect families, puts innocent lives at risk, and only causes more anguish.

Please join the Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty in thanking our 15 legislative champions, using this easy action on our website.

Many thanks for all the support you’ve shown during this endeavor. We couldn’t have made it this far without you!

Learn More about the Death Penalty.

EGYPTAIR Is Again Shipping Monkeys to Their Deaths

EGYPTAIR has apparently gone back on its word and has resumed shipping monkeys to their deaths in laboratories, risking the spread of disease and depleting the world of an endangered species, all to make a few quick bucks. We need your help to stop it.

PETA has learned that the airline appears to have recently shipped approximately 500 long-tailed macaques—listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature—from the island nation of Mauritius to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, all bound for torment in laboratories. Moreover, they were reportedly shipped from a monkey-breeding company that has been in the midst of an outbreak of tuberculosis, a highly infectious disease that monkeys have transmitted to humans.

This shipment is a blatant violation of EGYPTAIR’s pledge last year announcing that in view of its support of “the vision and mission” of animal protection organizations, it would no longer transport monkeys to laboratories.

Shamefully, that promise ended up proving worthless.

PETA, Action for Primates, One Voice, and Abolición Vivisección have urged EGYPTAIR Holding Company CEO Yehia Zakaria to honor the company’s promise.

But we urgently need you to speak up for monkeys, too.

PETA entities coordinated dozens of actions, and supporters flooded EGYPTAIR with more than 100,000 e-mails and hundreds of telephone calls asking it to stop shipping monkeys to laboratories. It worked until the company’s greed overcame integrity and empathy.

It’s time we did it again. Please TAKE ACTION below!

Original post:

Thanks to the efforts of PETA, other animal protection organizations, and caring people around the globe, nearly every major airline in the world has stopped transporting monkeys to laboratories. Now, it’s time for us to use our collective voices again to let EGYPTAIR know that it has made a very bad business decision by getting involved in the cruel trade in primates for experimentation. We recently received information that 720 long-tailed macaques who’d been torn away from their families in Cambodia were transported to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York on April 30, 2022.

photo of monkey in crate

Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited EGYPTAIR for poor handling and inadequate ventilation and enclosures after a kitten being transported as checked baggage from Cairo to JFK arrived dead. The crate holding the kitten had been covered in solid plastic wrap, preventing airflow. She had not been given any food or water for the 11-hour flight, and her legs, chest, and muzzle were covered with urine. Since March 2022, EGYPTAIR has transported as many as 5,000 macaques to the U.S.—we don’t know whether they all survived and can only imagine the conditions they endured.

Every year, tens of thousands of monkeys are transported to the U.S. to be imprisoned in laboratories and tormented in experiments that consistently fail to lead to meaningful scientific advances. These highly social and sensitive individuals are either captured in nature or bred in captivity on squalid factory farms, where many die from injury and disease even before they’re crammed into small wooden crates and confined to dark, terrifying cargo holds of planes for shipment around the globe.

photo of monkey in crate

The EGYPTAIR flight landed at JFK in the wee hours of the morning. The monkeys would have been traveling on planes for more than 30 hours. The torturous and deadly journey didn’t stop in New York—the no doubt terrified animals were apparently loaded into trucks and driven to quarantine facilities in Texas.

The incentive for airlines to stop shipping monkeys to laboratories is even clearer now, after a truck transporting 100 long-tailed macaques—who had been flown by Kenya Airways from Mauritius to JFK—collided with another vehicle earlier this year. Dozens of wooden crates holding the cold and scared monkeys were thrown from the truck onto a Pennsylvania highway. Several escaped, and authorities confirmed that three were shot dead. Several people who stopped to survey the scene of the accident interacted with the monkeys, and at least one reported symptoms of illness afterward. Given the panoply of pathogens carried by macaques that can be transmitted to humans, it’s clear that the international transport of monkeys is not only a serious ethical issue but also a grave threat to public health and safety—including for passengers and crewmembers on these flights. After PETA contacted Kenya Airways with this information, it committed to stop shipping monkeys from Mauritius to the U.S.

We privately urged EGYPTAIR to follow Kenya Airways’ lead by ending this practice, but so far, the airline has failed to respond to us. We need your help!

Please send polite e-mails to the EGYPTAIR staff below, asking them not to transport monkeys to laboratories or be involved in this cruel industry in any other way. EGYPTAIR should join other airline industry leaders in prohibiting the shipment of primates destined for laboratories.

Ahmed Shaheen
Chair
EGYPTAIR Cargo
cgo.chairman@egyptair.com

Tarek Adawy
Chief Executive, U.S. and Canada
EGYPTAIR
t.adawy@EGYPTAIRnyc.com

EGYPTAIR Cargo Manager, JFK
newyork_ff@egyptair.com

You’re welcome to use the template letter you’ll see when you click on the above e-mail addresses, but putting your subject line and message into your own words will help draw attention to your e-mail.

Please feel free to use our sample letter, but remember that using your own words is always more effective.

Harvard Still Funding Fraudulent Colombian Operation—Even After NIH Defunded It

The fallout from PETA’s 18-month investigation into the Caucaseco Scientific Research Center, the fraudulent Colombian organization that ran hellholes funded by U.S. taxpayer money, has been sweeping. Its monkey facility was shuttered, and the animals were rescued. They’re now recovering under the care of environmental authorities. What’s more, Colombian officials found Caucaseco’s human trials to be fraudulent. Legislation aimed at preventing this sort of disaster is currently being debated in the U.S., and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally yanked the Colombian operation’s funding.

But the more we dig, the more we find.

Two aotus monkeys sit in a filthy cage on top of a corrugated pipe

PETA discovered that Harvard University is among Caucaseco’s financial backers. The university has had every opportunity to distance itself publicly from the sham operation, but it has declined to respond—even after NIH pulled Caucaseco’s funding.

Here’s What We Know

Caucaseco is a recipient of Harvard grant money.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a national charitable organization, awarded a grant to the university’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which then turned over part of that money to Caucaseco. Gates Foundation officials have confirmed to PETA that as of May 31, the Colombian operation was a recipient of money awarded to Harvard.

There’s More

In August 2022, while monkeys were dying at the Primate Center Foundation—Caucaseco’s affiliated monkey facility—a Harvard professor attended a seminar there, just a few feet from the suffering caged animals.

PETA has kept officials at the T.H. Chan School informed of the latest Caucaseco developments and the investigations by Colombian authorities against Sócrates Herrera Valencia and Myriam Arévalo Ramírez, the married couple at the helm of the organization.

We’ve asked Harvard officials to distance the university from this sham organization, but they’ve remained silent.

Harvard Parallels Caucaseco’s Animal Abuse

Interestingly, Harvard is also home to another monkey experimenter on PETA’s radar: Margaret Livingstone, who has sewn baby monkeys’ eyelids shut and left the animals in complete darkness for up to a year in gruesome sensory deprivation experiments.

Harvard is also silent about her.

What You Can Do

Please TAKE ACTION today and urge your U.S. representative to support the Cease Animal Research Grants Overseas (CARGO) Act, which aims to end public funding of all foreign animal laboratories so that no U.S. taxpayer dollars are ever again sent overseas for pointless animal experiments.

Then URGE HARVARD to finally cancel Livingstone’s abominable cruelty. 

Take Action against all forms of cruelty to animals and wildlife and learn more about alternatives to testing on animals and wildlife. Learn more about the reasons why testing on animals and wildlife is not needed!

Tell Travel Companies to Cut the Bullsh*t and Stop Promoting Bull Torture!

The Running of the Bulls is held every July at the annual festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain. It’s a horrific bloodbath in which at least 48 bulls are tortured and killed, and it must end. But travel companies Iberian Traveler, TGW Travel Group, Bucket List Events, Fanatics, and Palace Tours seem to think it’s OK to promote this barbaric event by selling tickets to it.

During this event, bulls are deliberately terrified and chased down cobblestone streets. They’re hit by people, they fall, they smash into walls, and later they’re forced into the bullfighting ring and violently killed.

Bulls have unique personalities and form complex social bonds with each other. The Running of the Bulls causes them extreme suffering, and they never make it out alive.

Please take these important steps to politely urge these travel companies to stop selling tickets for and otherwise promoting the Running of the Bulls.

Text BULL to 73822 to tell travel companies to stop promoting bull torture. Then post this image on social media to encourage your friends and family to text, too:

Text BULL to 73822 to tell travel companies to stop promoting The Running of the Bulls.

Contact Iberian Traveler using its contact form.

CONTACT IBERIAN TRAVELER
Comment on TGW Travel Group’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

COMMENT ON TGW’S INSTAGRAM PAGE

Chat with Bucket List Events using the chatbot in the lower right corner of its website

CHAT WITH BUCKET LIST EVENTS
Comment on Fanatics’ Facebook and Instagram pages.

COMMENT ON FANATICS’ INSTAGRAM PAGE
Call Palace Tours at 1-800-724-5120. Here are some talking points you can use:

Please stop selling tickets to the Running of the Bulls. At least 48 bulls are tormented and killed during the event every year. It’s a barbaric bloodbath that must end.

Bulls are sentient beings with unique personalities who form complex social bonds, just like dogs. The Running of the Bulls causes them extreme suffering, and they never make it out alive. If you wouldn’t promote an event that kills at least 48 dogs every year, why do you promote an event that kills bulls?

CALL PALACE TOURS
Take Action against all forms of cruelty to animals and wildlife!

Once her former owners agreed to relinquish her, we wasted no time spiriting Ada away to our headquarters and gave her a nice long bath and a brand-new haircut. She quickly found the perfect home with PETA staffer Hollie Wood.

As the video shows, Ada quickly formed an unbreakable bond with Hollie’s daughter, Eliot, and now the two best friends are inseparable. Ada’s always first in the car when it’s time to pick her human sister up from school—she can’t wait to see her again—and while she may technically count as a senior dog, she happily matches Eliot’s youthful energy. Now, Ada’s much too preoccupied with school runs, play time, walks, and cuddles to give a thought to her decade of deprivation—and Eliot wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dogs Like Ada Suffer Every Day—Here’s How You Can Help Them

For 10 years, PETA fieldworkers showed up for Ada to make her life spent chained in a backyard as good and safe as we possibly could. And while Ada is now finally inside a home with people who love and respect her, thousands of dogs are still stuck outside all year round, forced to suffer through scorching heat in the summer and devastating cold in the winter.

You can help “backyard dogs” by sponsoring a PETA doghouse today. Another effective way to help them all year long is to work with elected representatives to pass ordinances that ban or restrict chaining. To get started, see what current legislation on tethering dogs your community has.

white and black dog chained to plastic house

Dogs should never be left outside unattended, but when they’re outside and deprived of access to water or shelter, the situation is an emergency and local authorities should be contacted immediately. If they’re unresponsive, contact PETA for help. Their well-being, if not their life, could depend on your taking action.

If you see a chained dog in your area whose situation is not an emergency, read PETA’s tips to help chained dogs

Track and Follow All Rescues!

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Spokane City Council members respond to allegations of

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(The Center Square) – Two members of the Spokane City Council, Michael Cathcart and Karen Stratton, responded Friday to constituent concerns about unethical treatment at Spokane County Regional Animal Protective Services, or SCRAPS.

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Bell County Commonwealth Attorney to seek death penalty in

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Bell County Commonwealth Attorney to seek death penalty in toddler’s death

Published 11:06 am Friday, September 8, 2023

STAFF REPORT

The Bell County Commonwealth Attorney will seek the death penalty against Erica Lawson in the death of her child. Lawson was charged last month in the death of her daughter, 17-month-old Elena Hembree.

On Tuesday, Lisa Fugate of the Commonwealth Attorney’s office filed a Notice of Aggravating Circumstance in the case stating that the Commonwealth “for the purpose of notifying the Defendant that it intends to present evidence regarding an aggravating circumstance, pursuant to KRS 532.025 (2)(a)(9), that being that the offense of murder was intentional and resulted in the death of a seventeen month old toddler. Therefore, the Commonwealth intends to see, the imposition of the death penalty.”

On July 28, Hembree was taken to the Middlesboro ARH Hospital after being beaten and raped, according to police. The child arrived was transported to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, where she died two days later.

Lawson was initially arrested in early August and charged with manslaughter, failure to report child abuse, criminal abuse, child under 12, and wanton endangerment. She was arraigned on Aug. 22, and charges were amended to include first degree murder.

Lawson is being held on a $1 million dollar cash bond in the Leslie County Detention Center.

There have been no further arrests made, and DNA test results are still pending from the laboratory for multiple submissions related to potential involvement in the case.

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Dolphin research team returns from latest mission

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RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Dolphins are typically thought of as friendly, smart, and interesting mammals, but WPTV is learning from a locally-based research team there is much more to gain from studying dolphins.

The research team with the Wild Dolphin Project recently returned from their latest mission in the Bahamas. They, in part, studied how migrant dolphins are mixing with resident pods.

“Because you can see under the water in the Bahamas, we look at their communication and try to crack their code to see if they have a language,” said Dr. Denise Herzing, who founded the Wild Dolphin Project in the 80s in the West Palm Beach area.

As Herzing explained, the team observed typical social behaviors for dolphins, possibly indicating migrant dolphins are having continued success in co-existing with resident pods.

Florida Atlantic University student Hayley Knapp had several eye-opening moments during the mission.

“We were motoring around looking for dolphins and I was like – hey, there’s a piece of trash, and there. It was everywhere, like something had dumped a bunch of trash in the ocean,” Knapp said.

“Dolphins are top predators, and they’re a really good indication of the health of oceans,” said Cindy Elliser, founder of Pacific Mammal Research. “So, if we know the pod of dolphins in South Florida isn’t doing well, there might be something happening in the environment we need to take care of.”

“It matters that we learn to re-love things in the ocean and find strategies to mitigate what we’ve done,” Herzing said.



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Hunter Hopewell Is On The Move – Music Industry Today

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Hunter Hopewell Is On The Move – Music Industry Today – EIN Presswire

























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A step closer to protecting endangered wildlife

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10-year feral cat plan brings us a step closer to properly protecting endangered wildlife
A burrowing bettong in the cat-free fenced area of Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary where it has been reintroduced. Cats drove this species to extinction on the mainland. Credit: Brad Leue/Australian Wildlife Conservancy, CC BY

Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has released a draft feral cat management plan.

Its aim is to reduce the devastating impact of cats on Australian wildlife, with a focus on protecting the most at-risk species from extinction.

Cats kill over 6 million native animals in Australia each day, and are challenging to manage.

The plan released for public consultation has a ten-year horizon with an estimated cost of A$60 million in the first five years. It could be a major step towards achieving Australia’s global commitments to end extinctions.

Why manage cats?

Unless we control the impact of cats, many native wildlife populations will continue to decline. Some will be driven to extinction, a sad and irreversible outcome for future generations and the ecosystems these species are part of.

Cats are versatile and highly effective predators. A large male cat can kill animals up to about 4kg—nearly as big as the cat itself.

Since they arrived in Australia with Europeans, cats have spread across 99% of the country. Only some islands and specially constructed fenced conservation areas are cat-free.

Many native animal populations can’t cope with sustained hunting pressure from cats. Impacted species include more than 200 of Australia’s nationally listed threatened species and 37 migratory species.

One in 10 of the mammal species present when cats arrived are now extinct. Cats played a major role in most of those 34 extinctions. And they continue to drive population declines and regional extinctions of susceptible species.

Cats also carry and spread a range of diseases. One of these, toxoplasmosis, can cause sickness, behavioral impairment and death in other mammals and birds. This disease, which is entirely dependent on cats, can also have serious consequences for livestock and human health.

A strategic response

The government’s new Threat Abatement Plan aims to co-ordinate national efforts to reduce the impacts of feral cats on native wildlife. It follows extensive consultation with Indigenous ranger groups and First Nations organizations around the country, with members of the national Feral Cat Taskforce, and with threatened species and cat management experts.

Since cats occur just about everywhere, affect so many species and are elusive and hard to control, the plan is strategic: it prioritizes the places and species for which controlling cats will have the greatest benefits.

Some significant successes have been achieved over the past decade or so, and the plan builds on those.

What are the priorities?

The plan’s objective is to improve outcomes for threatened and cat-susceptible native species, including numbats, bettongs, bandicoots and island-nesting seabirds.

Building from recent successes, it includes priorities for eradicating cats from islands and from within fenced conservation areas, because cats cannot quickly recolonise these areas. These projects are critical for native species, such as stick-nest rats and mala (rufous hare-wallaby), that can’t persist even with a very low density of cats.

The plan also prioritizes ongoing cat control in areas with important populations of threatened species that are highly vulnerable to cats, but which can persist as long as cat numbers are kept low.

This approach is valuable for species such as rock wallabies, which live in relatively small, well-defined areas, and for mammals of south-west Australia, which can be protected from cats and foxes by annual poison baiting.

Improving habitat management can also help reduce cat impacts across very large areas. For example, improving habitat in northern Australian tropical savannas, through better management of fire and livestock, can reduce cat impacts and increase native mammal populations. Cats hunt most efficiently in sparsely vegetated areas, so better cover provides more shelter for native wildlife.

In southern Australia, reducing rabbit populations also reduces cat numbers by removing an easy food source. This then relieves some of the predation pressure on native animals.

What else is in the plan?

The plan proposes reforms of laws and regulations for pet and feral cats in all states and territories. For example, the plan includes actions to make laws on pet cat management more consistent across the country and to encourage responsible pet ownership. This means desexing cats and keeping cats contained so they can’t harm wildlife or produce kittens that end up as feral cats.

Many of Australia’s last strongholds for threatened species that are vulnerable to cats, such as great desert skinks, bilbies and night parrots, are in Indigenous Protected Areas and other Indigenous-managed land. The plan outlines practical support that Indigenous rangers want to help them manage cats.

Over the past few decades, we have learned much about the impacts of cats and how best to manage them. But we are still a long way from cost-effective, continent-scale solutions to protect native wildlife. The plan identifies the need for new applied research and the development and testing of effective control tools.

Who’s responsible?

Success will depend on focusing and enhancing the already significant efforts of governments, Indigenous and non-Indigenous land managers, environmental non-government organizations, industry, community groups, researchers and the public.

The Australian government will help to deliver the plan by coordinating actions and making strategic investments in management and research activity.

Be part of the solution

Every Australian who cares about our unique wildlife has an interest in cat management.

Cat owners can help by desexing their pet and keeping it indoors or in a cat run at all times.

Landowners can help by removing refuse that helps support feral cat colonies and by managing habitat so native animals can thrive.

And make sure your local, state and federal government members know how much you care about native wildlife.

The plan is available for public comment until December 11. Have a look, and have your say.

Provided by
The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.The Conversation

Citation:
Australian 10-year feral cat plan: A step closer to protecting endangered wildlife (2023, September 9)
retrieved 9 September 2023
from https://phys.org/news/2023-09-australian-year-feral-cat-closer.html

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Atlanta police training site is awash in history

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Joe Peery was pushing his way through a particularly dense area in the South River Forest one day in 2014 when he stumbled upon what he first thought was a graveyard.

The east Atlanta resident discovered the wooded haven just outside of the city when searching for mountain bike trails and a place to hike with his dog. He’d often find weird things out there — sometimes cars riddled with bullet holes or in another case an abandoned Wurlitzer organ.

But the 8-foot-long structures, with the names ‘Poe,’ ‘Homer’ and ‘Virgil’ carved meticulously into their faces, looked to him like the remnants of another time.

“There were all these huge marble stones that were just sticking up out of the ground that were really elaborate and beautiful,” he recalled.

Known as the Carnegie stones, the marble blocks were actually the remains of Atlanta’s first library that was built at the corner of Church Street (now Carnegie Way) and Forsyth Streets in 1902.

After being demolished in 1977, stones with the names of famous authors that once were displayed proudly on the facade of the building were dumped in the South River Forest.

Peery joined an effort to rescue the stones, but he said the historical slabs were caught in limbo between DeKalb County, where the land resides, and the city of Atlanta, which owns the land.

Today, the land in the South River Forest is at the center of a heated debate over Atlanta’s plans to build an 85-acre public safety training facility, which the city argues is imperative to properly train and recruit police officers and firefighters.

Tensions have been heightened by the recent indictment of more than 60 training center opponents under the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. On Thursday, police arrested five people who chained themselves to construction equipment.

Many of the opponents cite environmental concerns or fear of increased policing as an argument against the project. The growing opposition has sparked an effort to put the training center on the ballot through a referendum vote.

A small group of people is worried about something much different: the potential loss of history.

“We know the area that’s been cleared (for the project) includes the area where the Carnegie stones were, so I have no idea what’s happened to them,” Peery said.

Credit: Library of Congress

Credit: Library of Congress

The uncertain fate of the Carnegie stones isn’t the only concern for local history buffs and residents who had been exploring the land long before the city of Atlanta OK’d plans to build the facility.

The massive property has lived many lives and played host to some of the most brutal chapters of Atlanta’s history. First inhabited by Muscogee people, the area was also several plantations, saw troop movement during the Civil War and was eventually operated by the city as a prison farm.

Apart from trash dumped there over the years, residents who explored the area may have come across things like the remains of the prison buildings or traversed over the graves of multiple zoo animals — both Coca and Maude the elephants and gorilla Willie B.

But up until the controversial project made headlines, much about the land was a mystery. Only small handfuls of local enthusiasts and hikers spent time exploring under the canopy of one of the region’s biggest urban forests.

A team of historians from the Atlanta History Center recently spent time compiling all they could about the history of the 85 acres which seems destined to hold Atlanta’s massive public safety facility. The organization was asked by the mayor’s office to find out what they could about the site for as far back as history would allow. This story relies heavily on those findings.

The task wasn’t easy for a number of reasons. Previous historians and newspaper reports over the years had mistakenly conflated the prison farm site with a federal prison farm — known as the honor farm — that operated nearby. The DeKalb County Courthouse, which housed decades of property records, also mysteriously burned down in 1842.

The city-run prison farm morphed quickly from its early uses — originally purchased to be a crematorium, it turned into a dairy farm and then to the prison — so it was referred to by many different names.

“We knew that we not only were starting from scratch, we were starting from misinformation,” said Claire Haley, vice president of special projects at the center. “So correcting that was a challenge.

We’re glad that people are interested in that history because I think whatever resolution you come to about all these issues, it will only be made more complete by understanding that history.”

Historians who have tracked the history of land parcels 82 and 83 — the site of the training center in unincorporated DeKalb — go much further back than the prison farm era and the Civil War.

Less than two miles away from the site of the training facility, archeologists found the earliest signs of an Atlanta-area civilization that existed during the late Archaic and early Woodland periods, from 3,000 BCE to 0 CE, known today as Soapstone Ridge, a historic district in DeKalb County.

Historians believe that there could be a link between the historic site and the training center property.

Hundreds of years later, the Muscogee people lived on the land. The Native American tribe was once called by historian Alan Gallay “the most powerful Indian nation on the southern frontier.”

Some descendants of the Muscogee people have joined opponents of the training center to save what they call the Weelaunee Forest, known today as the South River Forest.

In the early 1800s the U.S. government pressured the Muscogee people into millions of acres of land cessions. In 1821, during the Treaty of Indian Springs, present-day Atlanta was sold off to white settlers in a land lottery.

Local archeologist Casey Sharp said he’s spent time researching all the previously recorded archeological finds within one mile of the proposed training center site.

“I can guarantee you that Native American sites are being run over there as we speak,” Sharp said.

While construction crews might not come across mass burials or mounds, they’ll likely come across things like pottery and arrowheads, he said.

“Disturbing a little bit of stuff like that during construction is not the biggest deal,” Sharp said. “But you’re supposed to take steps to mitigate that from happening as much as possible.”

As part of the project process, the Atlanta Police Foundation commissioned an archeological survey of the proposed area, conducted by a company called Terracon.

The first version of their report was presented to the project’s Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee and raised eyebrows when much of the historical background on the site was inaccurate. The company also did not fulfill the requirement to conduct interviews with area experts. The committee requested Terracon correct factual errors and issue an amended report.

Sharp, who conducts the same surveys for his job, said that a revised report that followed, to him, looks like the company simply made a cursory check of the area to sign off on the project.

Just a mile or so away from the training center site on a Friday afternoon, a ragtag group of local history buffs including Sharp and Peery waded through a shins-deep area of the South River.

“You don’t need a hugely trained eye to find stuff,” Sharp said. On that day, the group easily stumbled across pieces of worked quartz — with markings indicating they were fashioned into tools — and pieces of chert that was commonly traded between Native American tribes.

Terracon didn’t list a single archeological find. If it had, it wouldn’t have stopped construction but would have triggered a higher level of archaeological monitoring.

“Testing resulted in no cultural materials identified from the subsurface or surface,” Terracon concluded, although surveyors recommended mitigation efforts to protect prison farm buildings that fall under criteria for historic classification.

A faction of training center opponents is worried about potential unmarked graves from the plantation era through years of inhumane conditions at the prison farm — although no evidence has been found to support the theory.

“Considering the history of that land,” Sharp said, “the possibility of there being unmarked graves in that area is unbelievably high.”

Nearly six decades ago, Atlanta Constitution reporter Dick Herbert hatched a plan to get himself arrested.

In 1965, almost all of the inmates at the Atlanta prison farm on Key Road in the southeast side of the city were there for drunken behavior in public or traffic violations for an average stay of around 15 days.

While they were there, they were assigned activities like harvesting vegetables from okra to collard greens, tending to the city’s livestock or plowing tractors across the grounds.

Herbert, by this own choice, was one of them.

The undercover journalist sought to expose the brutal reality of life inside the stone walls. His reporting spotlighted the prison’s hostile ecosystem including a rampant prescription pill trade, a rigid class structure created by inmates and long days spent chopping away at kudzu vines with a scythe that left blisters on their hands.

READ THE ORIGINAL SERIES HERE

To zoom in on the pages, click the three bars at top right. Then click “Original Document (PDF).”

Historians hail his series of seven articles as one of the only first-person accounts of how inmates led their lives on the roughly 300-acre property.

Newspaper reports throughout the years since Atlanta began operating the prison farm in 1925 detail severe overcrowding, lack of access to medical care, limited air-conditioning and mass disease — most notably an influenza outbreak in 1957. One news article on the prison farm mentioned a rampant infestation of lice.

One Atlanta Constitution article from May 1976 references the graves of 280 inmates on the prison farm site but doesn’t go into further detail.

At the prison farm, if an inmate was caught breaking the rules in 1976, they’d be sent to what correctional officers referred to as “motivational therapy rooms,” according to Atlanta Constitution articles, more commonly known as solitary confinement.

Until the site was recently closed to the public by Atlanta and the surrounding parks by DeKalb County officials, visitors could go stand inside what remained of the solitary confinement cells.

“There’s something about standing in a place,” said Haley with the history center. “We love history, we love reading about history, but there’s something about seeing it too that can really help people understand what we’re talking about.”

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ hand-picked training center task force recommended ways to memorialize the cruel history of the prison farm and suggested renovating current buildings for exhibits — but the dilapidated nature of the structures may create challenges.

Despite historians’ best efforts to nail down the site’s history decade after decade, there are still many unknowns.

The fire that engulfed the DeKalb County Courthouse one January night in 1842 took with it tax digests and deeds that were crucial to the puzzle of who owned and lived on the land after it was taken from Native peoples.

The blaze was attributed in news coverage at the time to the “carelessness of some card players at a late hour in the night, in one of the vacant rooms.”

What we do know is that two plantations operated on the property. From 1848 to 1850, William Morris owned the land and 12 enslaved people. Then it was sold to George P. Key — of Key Road — who farmed the land and owned up to 19 enslaved people which made it one of the largest slave plantations in DeKalb County.

There are two prominent and surprising gaps in knowledge: the time between the Civil War and the city’s purchase; and the very recent history of what was happening on the land after the prison farm closed.

“After that it is a bit murky,” Haley said. “There is some police training activity happening around there. Then it just seems like it kind of sat there for a long time and a lot of it was vacant.”

News coverage in the early 2000s started to identify the property as a potential park site. A lengthy report released in 2017 by the Department of City Planning called utilizing more than 1,200 acres of land in the South River Forest a “last chance for a massive urban park.”

That included the 300 or so acres of Atlanta-owned property home to the old prison farm.

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