|posted on December 31, 2010|
In 2011 the Lifeforce Foundation wants tighten regulations on the whale watching industry. “If Ottawa wants to prevent the extinction of one of BC’s most-loved animals, it must adopt these regulations that the UVic Environmental Law Centre has drafted,” Peter Hamilton of Lifeforce, unveiling a comprehensive package of proposed legal provisions to protect whales.
Recently the Lifeforce Foundation retained the University of Victoria Environmental Law Clinic to develop a proposed set of whale watching regulations. After reviewing the laws and guidelines from over 30 countries, the law clinic has recommended rules to be applied to whale watching boats. See:
“Save the orcas: Regulate Whale Watching” By Calvin Sandborn And Rose Keates, Special to the Sun
If you haven’t already done so please consider making a donation to help Lifeforce continue to protect endangered species.
|posted on December 25, 2010|
In stark contrast to the Vancouver Aquarium’s “Magic of the North” advertisements the captives at the Vancouver Aquarium are isolated from their families and deprived of their freedom in the wild. For example, for 2.5 years the father and companion beluga, “Imaq”, has been confined in a barren holding tank out of public view. The Aquarium will soon be sending this father of “Tiqa” to a US Sea World for breeding bucks.
Read the new December 23, 2010 Georgia Straight article:
“Peter Hamilton is concerned that the land occupied by the children’s farmyard in Stanley Park may eventually go to the Vancouver Aquarium.”
More Aquarium Expansions?
|posted on December 3, 2010|
Lifeforce hopes that all life will enjoy festive, safe and humane holidays. In addition, caring and respecting all life should be a part of our lives throughout the year.
I have attached Lifeforce’s Holiday Don’ts and Dos. We included recommendations for humane donations, ways to entertain without exploiting animals, and Holiday activities that could harm animals. Click on: Download LifeforceHolidays.pdf
Please consider making a donation to Lifeforce to help us continue our important work.
Peace For All Life,
Lifeforce Founding Director
|posted on September 21, 2010|
Re: Stanley Park Petting Zoo Will Finally Close
As previously stated the Vancouver Parks Board has decided to finally close the Stanley Park “Farmyard” in January, 2011. This could stop perpetuating the petting zoo industry cycle of abuse and will end the Board’s last zoo animal business in Stanley Park.
More information is in my new on line Commentary in the popular Georgia Straight. Here`s the link:
Closure of Stanley Park petting zoo is victory for animals.
Thanks to all who have supported the work of Lifeforce.
FEBRUARY 2012 UPDATE
Re: Lifeforce Finds Animal Skeletons in Parks Board Closet
Lifeforce contacted many individuals and organizations to find permanent non-working, non-breeding retirement homes. We are disappointed that many of these legitimate rescue groups... and sanctuaries were not used. Now it was discovered by the Vancouver Sun that animals ended up at auction. Surely the Trevor French’s “meat” business could h...ave been discovered with a simple internet search. The animals’ blood is also on the former petting zoo staff’s hands who approved him.
Lifeforce had urged the Board to have written agreements that would guarantee the animals' safety. This was the first time that the Board agreed. In the past many were abused and sold for slaughter. From 2000 to 2009 there were no contracts for at least 65 animals and at least one person dealt with the Fraser Valley Auction. As we suspected, most zoo “homes” were not forever and numerous “families” were broken up (“Stanley Park Children’s Farmyard List of Acquisitions & Dispositions available) For the closure of this petting zoo, it was the first time for legal agreements. No contracts from the time of my 1988 investigation to last year. And the total 113 animals (from 2000 to 2009 alone) is a lot of animal traffic. Why did Lifeforce have to fight for this if the staff really cared?
UPDATE MARCH 26,2012
Animal Records Not Released > Lifeforce makes FOI Request
It is commendable that the City is pursuing legal action against the person who sold animals for food slaughter. Lifeforce had urged them to finally have written contracts to provide a permanent non-working retirement home. For decades there were no guarantees. The Board should have only dealt with legitimate farm sanctuaries. However, this must cover all improper care and mistreatment of animals – before and after adoptions. There are skeletons in the Board’s closet too.
Lifeforce must wonder why the requested animal records were not provided. Lifeforce will continue to conduct a full investigation of the Park Board Staff and Management who were responsible for the care and well being of animals. If the reports of neglect and poor treatment of animals, who were in the former petting zoo, are substantiated then criminal charges should be pursued. I attach a “Wanted” poster of the sheep who suffered. As stated, this poor animal was in horrific condition when received from the petting zoo.
|posted on July 19, 2010|
Commentary By Peter Hamilton
Published in Georgia Straight, July 16, 2010
Following the death of a beluga at the Vancouver Aquarium, park board commissioners will once again debate if voters will finally be allowed to stop the inhumane cetacean imprisonment. An aquarium captivity plebiscite in 2011 shouldn’t be questioned! It should be a right in order to protect animals and voters.
All elected Vision Vancouver and COPE politicians must now support Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon’s proposal to begin a process to phase out the imprisonment of dolphins. They must not be intimidated by the Vancouver Aquarium.
Lifeforce fought hard to have the Stanley Park Zoo expansion issue put to a vote during two civic elections in 1990 and 1993. Twice the people said “No zoo in Stanley Park!” and the NPA finally stopped trying to railroad it through. There is no difference between the pacing polar bears and the dolphins swimming around and around and around. The Vancouver Aquarium’s dolphin prisons and zoo shows must be stopped.
There is no educational or scientific justification for keeping dolphins in confinement. It is life and death in a toilet bowl for captive dolphins. They are deprived of their psychological and behavioral needs. They swim in tiny pools polluted with their excrement. They are deprived of freedoms that are only provided for in their ocean homes. It is tantamount to a person spending their life in a bathroom.
Most of the belugas were captured in the wild. The Pacific white-sided dolphins were deemed to be unfit for release by Japanese aquariums yet are physically able to perform all the stressful, difficult tricks. There are dolphins surviving in the wild with far greater injuries.
The Vancouver Aquarium is not a leader in conservation. They do what is profitable. They have been part of the problems not the solutions. They bragged about having the first captive orca who didn’t die when harpooned to be used as a model for a sculpture. Their insensitivity, in fact, resulted in the decimation of local populations now designated as endangered species.
They also want more dolphin deals from a country that notoriously opposes international whaling bans. Japan’s “drive fisheries” to kill dolphins for food and aquariums were exposed in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. The Vancouver Aquarium continues to send dolphins to U.S. SeaWorlds that exploit orcas and others for entertainment. They have already sent wild-caught male and female belugas while they are presently waiting for a permit to send their last male beluga.
The seal pup rehabilitation can be done without dolphin captivity. Other international well-respected wildlife rehabilitation centres have done so for decades.
All the slick “conservation” advertising fails to reveal that the Vancouver Aquarium has only joined other long-standing programs, such as beach cleanups and eating sustainable fish, while turning the Lumberman’s Arch picnic grounds into a office trailer park and garbage dump for the proposed expansion, and while serving up abused farm animals that contribute to global warming in their cafe and at parties.
So it is wake-up time for some of the public and politicians who need to be reminded of the cruelty and public opposition to exploitation for so-called entertainment. There have been at least 36 deaths of dolphins as a result of this business. The public said “No Stanley Park Zoo!” and it was closed. The rodeos and exotic animal circus acts in Vancouver were also stopped.
Existing captives who were captured from the wild will probably not be returned to their ocean homes. Sadly, they and those born in captivity will die prematurely. But at least that will end the Vancouver Aquarium’s legacy of violations against nature.
A plebiscite is the peoples’ right. Captures are perpetuated by the aquarium slave trade, which is dependent on wild captures. Ending dolphin captivity should also include stopping the $120-million expansion of whale pools, with more dolphins and zoo exhibits, that failed to be completed for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The politicians must finally allow the democratic right of voters to say “No more dolphins!”
Peter Hamilton is the founding director of Lifeforce.
Vancouver Province Article
On July 19th the Vision Vancouver and NPA Commissioners voted against a Plebsite. The Green Party and Cope voted for it.
There are numerous untrue statements made by pro-captivity writers. The Aquarium Industry's propaganda is full of misinformation and half-truths. The Vancouver Aquarium spends a lot of money ads and advertising spin doctors. Animal protection groups struggle to get the truth to the public. For example, the cetaceans would not be “dumped in the ocean”. The imprisonment of belugas and other dolphins will be phased out. Some will die there and some will be relocated (perhaps some wild caught ones will be sent to sea pens to study reintroduction). Any injured cetaceans needing rehab can be kept in a sea pen at the nearby Aquarium’s station on Popham Island.
The alleged public support of the proposed $120 million expansion was based on misleading information. The public thought it was bigger pools for the existing cetaceans. They were not fully aware that many more dolphins will be imprisoned. They were not told that more otter pools were not just for the sea otters but to capture river otters from the wild. When the public voted for No Zoo in Stanley Park! part of the opposition was because of the cruelty of confining the river otters.
If people are given facts about the physical and psychological suffering of cetaceans they would say No More Cetaceans! The Cetacean Bylaw must be changed to truly stop the imprisonment. The Aquarium expansion must be stopped. More misuse of park land means the acquisition of many more dolphins and inhumane zoo exhibits. Politicians must keep their election promises to stop the Aquarium expansion!
|posted on July 6, 2010|
In a recent Times Colonist article about sea otter research it was stated that “The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has indicated it would like to conduct a kill of sea otters for traditional ceremonial purposes, but no such hunt is imminent.”
In May 2009 Lifeforce started a letter writing. Several requests to DFO asking if the kill was approved were not answered.
The Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council in British Columbia wanted to kill at least 20 sea otters every year for “ceremonial” purposes. Permitting a sea otter slaughter is not only cruel but opens the door to the killing of other marine mammals such as whales.
In Canada sea otters are list as of special concern but the exact numbers aren’t known. They haven’t fully recovered. There are less than 3500 in BC. They have only repopulated 25% to 33% of historic territory over many decades. The impacts of fishing, boat strikes and other causes of death are also undetermined.
The Nuu-Chah-Nulth is targeting a population of approximately 2000 in their territory. This population is at risk of extinction from an oil spill, pollution, disease, fishing, boat strikes and human threats which now includes a potlatch fur trade. Approximately 3000 sea otters alone died during the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989.
Sea Otters maintain a balance and prevent “sea urchin barrens”- the destruction of kelp forests that provides habitat for a diversity of marine life including threatened fish stocks. So every sea otter matters for their survival and their protection of natural ecosystems.
Thank you to all who wrote to the Canadian Fisheries Minister. It has stopped the slaughter of sea otters.
|posted on June 23, 2010|
VANCOUVER, BC — Another cetacean died at Vancouver Aquarium. Nala, who was Vancouver Aquarium’s youngest beluga whale, born June, 2009, died June 21st. This is the 36th death of a dolphin since the Vancouver Aquarium started their aquatic circus business in 1964. (See 36 Reasons ...)
The physical and psychological needs of these intelligent, social dolphins cannot be provide for in aquarium prisons. It’s life in a toilet bowl for them.
This baby was reported “sick” for two weeks and then died from respiratory failure. There was foreign matter (two rocks and a penny) lodged in the whale's airway. The airway became inflamed, leading to an accumulation of fluid in Nala's lungs.
In 2002 a Pacific white-sided dolphin died of respiratory failure when staff repeatedly put their arm down the throat to remove pool debris/foreign matter from the stomach.
Since pool debris is a major problem with captive dolphins the Aquarium should have been more thorough in their medical examinations. In addition large signs should have been posted warning visitors of the obvious endangerment of the belugas if objects are thrown into the pool (According to some media no signs were visable on June 22). It is also irresponsible to allow the public to get close to the belugas and other captives.Aquatic zoos must have barriers similar to zoo ones.
The Aquarium dolphin breeding programs have been a failure since beginning in 1964. No successful orca births (3 died) and no successful Pacific white-sided dolphins. Now four of six baby belugas have died. In addition, if the baby(s) survive, then families are split up. The father, Imaq and a female, “ Kavna” are kept in a tiny pool out of public view. Lifeforce has been trying to stop the Vancouver Aquarium from sending the father, Imaq, to the infamous US Sea World entertainment business.
The Vancouver Aquarium should stop their exploitation of belugas and other dolphins. Their captive dolphins continue to suffer and die prematurely.
Lifeforce is continuing:
1. To urge that all dolphin imprisonment be phased out.
2. To attempt to stop the export of the only male beluga from the Vancouver Aquarium to the infamous Sea World entertainment business.
3. To campaign to stop the $120 million Vancouver Aquarium expansion that would imprison more dolphins and other animals such as river otters. It was planned for the 2010 Olympics.
See: 36 Reasons To Boycott The Vancouver Aquarium
See: Previous June 2009 Beluga Birth Statement.
See: Globe and Mail artcle Activist Criticism.
Video: Belugas: Far From Home.
|posted on May 23, 2010|
Washington environmentalist says hovercraft transits feeding grounds
By Larry Pynn, Canwest News Service May 22, 2010
The Canadian Coast Guard is being criticized for routinely roaring its hovercraft through important feeding habitat for harbour porpoises off Point Roberts, Wash., just south of the border with B.C.
The harbour porpoise is a shy marine mammal and a candidate for listing as threatened or endangered by Washington state.
Peter Hamilton, founder of the environmental group Lifeforce and an observer of vessel and marine life interactions off Point Roberts since 1993, says there is no justification for the coast guard's continuing actions.
Coast Guard Criticized/Vancouver Sun.
|posted on March 9, 2010|
This is no way to treat animals!
On June 4, 2008, following a one year investigation of the Fraser Valley Auctions in Langley, BC, Lifeforce released our report “Lives for Sale” for review and action. The report and the video clearly depict ongoing violations of Federal and Provincial Regulations/Guidelines (that are supposed to protect human health and animals) and inhumane treatment of animals. These inherent, callous conditions must be stopped.
During recent Lifeforce inspections we have found continuing problems. We have sent an Open Letter to government officials and the BCSPCA.
The full letter and current photos can be viewed at:
|posted on March 6, 2010|
ACTION: US Government Proposed rule; request for comments, and availability of Draft Environmental Assessment on regulations to protect killer whales from vessel effects.(info at www.noaa.gov)
From sunrise to sunset the endangered orcas are relentlessly pursued everywhere. Under the name of entertainment they are the gold treasure sought after by a multi-million dollar eco tourism industry. When the treasure is found the code word “Contact” is issued to the whale watch fleet. Lifeforce is a non-profit ecology organization based in Vancouver and WA. From 1993 to 2005 I operated the “Lifewatch Boater Awareness Program” to advise boaters about the guidelines/regulations re: watching marine wildlife such as orcas. This was the first program in Southern BC waters. I developed educational materials such as the “Whale Watching Guidelines for Southern BC & Washington”. In 2008 Lifeforce gathered conclusive evidence of ongoing flagrant disregard for the well being of orcas and the laws. We only had to spend a few days to observe repeated violations. This is common whale watch company practises when they are not watched by enforcement agencies. Pleasure boats imitate the illegal practises. When pleasure boaters are approached and advised of the laws they often respond by saying “We were just doing what the whale watch boats were doing. We thought they knew what to do.”
Read the full report and recommendations:
|posted on February 25, 2010|
February 25, 2010
Re: Lifeforce Requesting Inquest into the Death by Orca
Lifeforce , a Vancouver-based ecology organization, will be requesting that officials conduct an inquest into the recent death of Dawn Brancheau a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando. Lifeforce hopes that a legal investigation will help prevent human tragedies and the exploitation of orcas.
An inquest hearing was held in Canada into the death of Sealand employee Kelti e Byrne in 1991. The same orca, Tillikum, caused her death. Lifeforce made several recommendations including stopping any further contact with Tillikum and the other two orcas. Lifeforce told them that it is likely that Tillikum would attack again. Now he has caused a third human death.
In captivity orcas and other cetaceans are deprived of their behavioural and social freedoms. Confinement in aquarium prisons results in psychological harm resulting in neurotic, aggressive behaviours. Captivity can drive them insane. At Sealand of the Pacific, Victoria, BC the three orcas were inhumanely confined every night in a “holding module” that was approximately 25’ x 30’ (Photographs and video available). There was a history of psychological abuse to Tillikum.
“No one would put zoo keepers in a bear pit. Aquariums must stop putting trainers into whale tanks and stop all other public contact. “stated Peter Hamilton, Lifeforc e Director, who has studied orcas in the wild, “For the sake of both animals and people the imprisonment of all dolphins must be phased out. It is also time to immediately stop petting and swimming with orcas and other dolphins. Close contact with such wildlife for financial profit is cruelty to animals and a hazard to people. ”
There have been many attacks on humans by captive orcas. But there have been no attacks by wild orcas. There were some very serious employee injuries but hush up orders/financial settlements kept a lot of it quiet. This also applies to swim with dolphin programs in which there are numerous dolphin aggression problems. Petting and feeding attractions also present public safety risks.
For further information: Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Founding Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
See Tillikum at Sealand video:
See History of Physical and Psychological Abuses:
See Orca Freedom Photos
Orca Freedom Images
See Global National TV "SeaWorld tragedy aftermath" in which Lifeforce Founder, Peter Hamilton, predicts more attacks:
Lifeforce Predicts More Attacks
UPDATE MARCH 9TH - NEW ORCA FREEDOM CAMPAIGN VIDEO
Tillikum: A Time for Change
|posted on January 17, 2010|
B.C. businessmen Joel and Danny Nagtegaal were drinking beer and decided last spring to buy one goat for a poor family in Africa each time the Vancouver Canucks won a playoff game. Other Vancouverites decided to do the same thing and 1,073 goats were purchased for African families. Now, the brothers plan to buy a goat for an African family every time a Canadian wins a gold medal.
We must send poor Africans healthy food, water filtration systems, medicines, seeds, tools, books/education supplies and other donations that help them without causing animal abuse.
See our Facebook "Goat For Gold No!"
GOAT FOR GOLD NO!
Goat For Gold No! News Release January 22, 2010
New Georgia Straight Op Ed - February 10, 2010
DON'T CELEBRATE OLYMPICS BY DONATING GOATS FOR GOLD MEDAL
|posted on January 7, 2010|
On January 6th it was the 20th Anniversary of the Lifeforce rescue of a rat that an “artist” was going to crush to death.
In 1990 Rick Gibson said that he would crush a rat named Sniffy in the name of art. Society must not condone promoting violence and cruelty in our society and to other sentient creatures. Killing animals is not art - it is sadistic. Speciesism is as abhorrent as racism and sexism. A speciesist has no ethical boundaries and does not draw any moral line between a bug or a bunny or a beagle and, for that matter, a human. Violence perpetuates violence. Violence towards animals also leads to violence towards people. Where will it end if society permits this? It is an indecency to animals and people.
On January 6th CBC Radio in Vancouver interviewed Rick Gibson and Lifeforce. During the interview Gibson admitted that he would have killed Sniffy if Lifeforce didn’t confiscate his equipment. His “rental” of the rat raised questions as to if was actually planning to kill Sniffy. Now his intentions are clear.
You can also see him state his horrible plan on the following video: