Dear Friends of Animals,
We welcome hopeful news today. The 20th of January 2009 marks the closure of George W. Bush's assaults on the environment - that's the other animals' home.
Friends of Animals, as a tax-deductible organization, cannot endorse particular candidates. And yet, we can, and do, tell the world about our public figures attitudes to animals.
We can express our priorities. While we promote agriculture without animals, we also insist that free animals get to thrive. That, after all, is what animal rights means.
We have zero tolerance for the killing of young seals or any other animals for their fur. Let free animals be.
We have been exposing Sarah Palin's and other politicians' violent projects consistently. This time, our perspective was underscored in some unexpected ways.
Gov. Palin took a prank call from comedian Marc Antoine Audette of radio station CKOI, Montréal, who pretended to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Audette discusses shooting animals from a helicopter, noting that "like we say in French, on peut tuer les bébés phoques aussi." The English refers to killing baby seals, and Palin went right along with it.
Not only was Palin exposed, but the whole of Canada is now reminded that the killing of seals itself should be a political issue.
Barack Obama's election enables Friends of Animals to work for what matters to you with more strength. With higher expectations.
We look forward to a government that learns to disengage from the old, violent methods: violence that harms us all, human and non-human.
A government that learns to stop painting with the broad brush that allows civil disobedience, or standing up for the birds, deer and bears, to be chilled by out-of-control anti-terrorism laws.
A government with a serious focus on respecting the environment, reducing greenhouse gases, and preventing extinctions.
We believe that these issues should constitute the change that Barack Obama has promised. Congratulations to Obama, whose offer of hope was accepted!
Now, we advocates have a special role to make it work.
Friends of Animals will be pressing our new executive and congressional representatives to institute change with animals' interests in mind. The Arctic Refuge is targeted by corporate interests, and oil and gas developers want to disrupt the home of the caribou and polar bears. Roads are interrupting natural passageways; animal agribusiness gets massive subsidies; and government-run predator control is in place everywhere ranchers are.
We are demanding an end to the caged-bird trade in North America, pressing the federal government to close down the trafficking of tropical birds including Hyacinth Macaws, Grey-Cheeked Parakeets, Red-Crowned Parrots, Philippine Cockatoos and many others.
We are working diligently for an end to harassment and roundups of wild horses, on the East Coast and in the West. An end to Alaska's war on wolves.
And nonhuman apes are still in government-funded labs and holding sites, even though most of the world's people reprehend this.
We'll be pressing politicians but also working at the root in a way no other animal-advocacy group does, to use the political breathing space to the animals' best possible advantage.
You make it happen. We depend on your support every day, and the final 80 days of the Bush administration will be a time of working to head off eleventh-hour exploitations, and keep critical projects on the table.
Then, on to the new. "This is your victory," said President-elect Obama.
And the other animals? Let's work together to turn this new breathing space into the beginning of victory for them as well.
I know many non-profits are going to be asking for your help over the next 80 days. Thank you so much for keeping our work for animal rights on the top of your support priorities.
Priscilla Feral, President
Friends of Animals