Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Killer Looks to No-Kill to Nabbing a Kitten Killer: The Barbi Twins Connect the Dots to Save Animals

Joan K. Smith Become a fan
Philadelphia-based cultural critic, editor, and artist
HP article posted: 08/29/2014 6:07 pm EDT Updated: 10/29/2014 5:59 am EDT

What do stray cats and the ocean have to do with each other?

Quite a bit in the current work of Shane and Sia Barbi, better known as the Barbi Twins. The blockbuster Playboy cover models and vegan book authors who are now highly respected - and unabashedly outspoken -- animal activists have long used their celebrity as a highly effective platform to incite change, awareness, and action. Since I first wrote about them in 2012, their activism has ramped-up to a new level: To be a unifying force for animal rights issues and organizations, finding common ground and establishing a stronger base of nonpartisan power to address all the causes related to human treatment of animals.

Shane and Sia Barbi - The Barbi Twins and Rescue Dog
They'd long admired the work of Captain Paul Watson (of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Whale Wars fame), and this April they joined forces with him for a weekly radio show on LA Talk Radio called "State of the Oceans" ("because our existence begins with oceans," explains Shane). The weekly guests, recruited by Shane and Sia, comprise a who's-who of well-known animal rights leaders and celebrity activists.

As Shane describes their roster: "We want to be the United Nations of animal rights." By bringing together so many big organizations with different interests for the first time ever, "we want to get out a mainstream bipartisan message that resonates," says Shane, "The focus should be on principles ahead of partisan differences. We need to stop making animals a political issue. "

Among their guests on the radio show have been Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary; Scott Beckstead of the Humane Society of the U.S; Chris DeRose of Last Chance for Animals; reality show star and animal activist Joanna Krupa; the family of Willie Nelson; Michael Budkie of SAEN/Stop Animal Exploitation Now; Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals; Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI); Alison Eastwood, daughter of Clint and founder of the Eastwood Ranch Foundation; Dr. Jenny Conrad of The Paw Project , and the movie of the same name; comedian and activist Elayne Boosler; the cast of the movie Blackfish; and activist, animal rights attorney, and filmmaker Shannon Keith of Beagle Freedom Project and ARME (Animal Rescue Media Education); and veteran animal lobbyist Chris Heyde of the AWI.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Reasons Kill 'Shelters' Don't Work

Barbi Twins and rescue dog
By the Barbi Twins
On September 18, 2014

There's nothing closer to people than their companion pets. We're responsible for their very existence. Yet there's nothing more betraying to a dog or cat's loyalty than for them to end up at a pound to be killed in return for their unconditional love. We've been brainwashed that "killing is saving" so we kill healthy adoptable pets if there are "too many." We've never stepped outside the cage to ask what's "too many pets?" Nor do we think of alternative ways to find homes for pets without killing.

For example, there are 4.2 million people living in Los Angeles and 45,000 shelter pets killed there per year. That's only one percent of the population. Similarly, there are 316.1 million people that live in the U.S. and three to four million pets killed in pounds nationwide; that's also a little over one percent of the population. So why kill pets when we could think about housing them? Why are we the only country that has kill pounds?

Pounds don't work because:

  1. They're run by the health department. Their catch and kill technique is an easy and quick way to keep cities disease-free. 
  2. Pounds manage themselves. They don't have to answer to anyone so no one enforces laws like spay/neuter laws. 
  3. Killing doesn't lower the number of pets, instead it opens a window for puppy mills, kitten mills, pet shops, and internet backyard breeders. 
  4. Pounds aren't "shelters"; they're a place to throw away a pet. If they never existed, people would think twice about getting a pet. 
  5. Laws protect pounds so that they don't have to disclose facts. Like this one: there's a 50 to 99 percent chance of the animal being killed.  In most pounds we've volunteered at, pets are dragged to the "bump room" unsedated, and killed with a heart stick. This isn't "humane euthanasia." 

Our goal is to make shelters no-kill or to privatize them. Let's tell our local representatives that the cities would save taxes and lower pet numbers by having:

Let's stop the broken cycle of killing and promote volunteer-based no-kill rescues. Let's rewire the brain to a "pro-live" movement and find new, creative ways to help homeless animals. Animal rights activists should fight for the animals' right to live, not the right to kill them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How To Solve The Wild Horse 'Problem'

By the Barbi Twins
On September 18, 2014

The wild horses are federally protected by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and graze on tax paid land. This bill was later amended to rid the horses so the land could be used for government business. In 2004, an amendment called the Burn Rider Act allowed round-ups to rid them. Their loopholes for these amendments are usually false claims, like wild horses are "feral" and basically a pest on the land, despite recent news that fossils of horses were found in Wyoming, making horses more native than most animals in America.

The BLM also claims wild horses were overpopulating, when in fact they take less than one percent of the land and gradually the herds are getting smaller. It is actually cattle that takes up most of the land (90 percent), and which are not native to the environment. Cattle and horses have always co-existed. But now the BLM wants all the land cleared, including the cattle, so they told ranchers to sue them in order to legally cull horse herds from the land, letting horse advocates blame the ranchers.

Indeed, in the BLM's own words, there is ten times more land available than needed per animal. Still, as of August, the BLM predicts "excess" horses will eat grass and cause weeds to grow on federal land. The BLM contracts two agencies to get "scientific" data on the horses. Since both agencies list their priority as using federal land for profitable government business, their research is biased against the horses.

The first agency, USGS Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) is paid by many government agencies and policymaking groups to generate evidence to back the client's desired policy. FORT does wild horse population and fertility control studies for the BLM. These studies are used to say it is right to get rid of wild animals in order to expand profitable government businesses, like solar and wind power.

The other agency, the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says it “provid[es] wildlife damage management assistance to protect agriculture, natural resources, property and health and safety," meaning the BLM pays APHIS to show them how to get rid of wild horses. There is no direct public control of APHIS, and no clear mention of their role on BLM web pages on horse roundups.

The only way to stop this is not to complain to the BLM, who was a part of the deal and just taking orders, but instead to complain to your elected representatives that were part of the legislation that made it possible to get rid of our federally protected wild horses. Congressional reps may not like animals, but they need your vote. Tell them to use our taxes to protect our horses, not try to get rid of them. And stop all horses, domestic and wild horses from horse slaughter.

Sadly, horse slaughter has and will always be legal until we pass the anti horse slaughter bill, named this year the Safeguard Act (read it here). This bans horse slaughter permanently, as well as the transport to other countries for horse slaughter. It's been sitting in Congress for 11 years without passing, because most people don't know about it. There are temporary bans on horse slaughter. For example, this year we have an annual ban that cuts USDA funding to inspect horse slaughter plants. The slaughter of wild and domesticated horses is a big business that the government wastes taxes for overseas profit. If this bill passed, it would be almost impossible to get rid of the wild horses in large amounts from slaughters' kill buyers.


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Saturday, June 14, 2014

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

In a new cat comic strip, Sia and Shane Barbi play heroines who help stop pet pound killings by secretly trapping and fixing stray cats and adopting them!

June is “Adopt a Shelter Cat” month! For more info on how to adopt, go the Stray Cat Alliance website!

EXTRA  Celebrity News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Shane and Sia Wish you a Happy Earth Day!
From Shane and Sia Barbi, The Barbi Twins

As seen on