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Speaking Out Against Inhumane Handling Techniques

By Mitch Gilley

As the infamous panda bat picture has been making the rounds again recently, we’ve felt compelled to speak out about the inhumane way that bats are often held for research photographs. We are speaking out because most people by and large aren’t familiar with bats in general, much less their facial expressions. Given that these pictures are bandied about so frequently in an admiring manner by people who admire bats, we simply want others to understand that these animals are not being held so much as forcibly restrained for the photo.

Two researchers inhumanely hold a bat up for the camera.

Of course, it may necessary to restrain the bat to an extent; a wild animal doesn’t understand why it is being restrained. They likely only see a large predator who is capturing them. So when I characterize the pictures in question as showing bats being forcibly restrained, I’m referring more to the equivalent of someone twisting your arms painfully behind your back rather than a pain-free method of confinement.

Another reason we feel compelled to address these pictures as they arise is to get across that there are humane ways to do all of this. These more violent methods – and they are violent and not unlike the dangerous joint locks taught in various forms of martial arts, as both serve the same purpose, being to restrain a subject with pain and threat of serious injury if they resist – are presumably used due to fear and expediency. The comparison is valid both due to the pain that’s obvious to those familiar with bat behavior as well as the common, inadvertent injuries that result from such methods.

Image compliments of J. Thurman.

It’s important to know that Bat World Sanctuary is not anti-research, in fact, we are supportive of non-invasive/nonlethal research projects that benefit bats, and we have participated in studies of this nature, one of the most prominent on bat vocalizations. What we are against is the inhumane treatment of bats, and in pointing this out it seems to us that our points are indisputable: there are humane ways to handle bats that keep them restrained and take photographs. In fact, the end result of photographing a bat held humanely is a nice photo of a bat that appears normal in expression, which is much more beneficial in promoting bat conservation as a whole. Photos that show bats being held wings outstretched and by their incredibly delicate finger tips, or with their elbows pinned toward their backs in dangerous and agonizing positions, does little to promote bat conservation. In fact, photos like this ultimately mar the reputation of the researcher involved because it appears to the public that the handler would rather inflict pain and injury simply to save a few moments of time and possibly avoid being bitten. And if these handlers are afraid of being bitten, then they should simply stop being cowards, get vaccinated properly and accept that handling wild animals carries a risk of being bitten.

That said, handling bats humanely actually minimizes the likelihood of being bitten. It works on one simple principle; if an animal doesn’t feel as if there’s a dire threat, it significantly decreases its propensity to bite you. And bats aren’t stupid – they know they’ve been captured by gigantic creatures. We tower over them with lights and make strange noises and poke and prod them, gently or otherwise…they know they’re outmatched. If they don’t think there’s an imminent threat that you’ll directly injure them, they won’t pick a futile fight.

 

Some hard core researchers might wrongly assume that we take a fluffy approach to bat handling and care. For someone with a surface familiarity with animal rehab, this may seem like a valid critique. However, the bats in our captive colonies are all there for one broad reason: they cannot be released. Whether they are permanently injured, orphaned, or were simply born into the pet trade, Bat World sanctuary is all they have. Camaraderie and trust and affection behooves everyone concerned. We want the bats in our care to not feel as if it’s a life or death struggle if we handle them during health checks; we want them to feel safe enough to go back to sleep if we accidentally wake them up as we go about our work.

But past the pragmatic aspects of it, our overriding concern is to provide a safe, rich environment for them to spend their lives. It’s a basic respect for life. That such a thing could be called fluffy should strike us all as very, very sad.

In closing, we simply consider that there is no reason for any researcher to inflict pain on any living thing. If pressed and not allowed to evade that basic question, even they couldn’t honestly disagree with this point. Science and humanity aren’t mutually exclusive. Researchers who opt to be inhumane out of expediency and an unwillingness to accept the risks of handling wild animals should be exposed for this practice. Our hope is that when exposed, they might put forth the extra effort to carry out their research with more respect for their subjects.

Bear Grylls, Bat Killer

By Mitch Gilley, Associate Writer.

In a clip from Man vs Wild (formerly on The Discovery Channel) Bear Grylls used smoke to flush bats from a cave and then struck the fleeing, terrified animals with a makeshift club and stomped on them with what seemed to be glee, jokingly referring to it as “bat tennis.”

Yes, this actually happened, and it is not an isolated incident. Aside from bats, Bear has killed alligators, monitor lizards, capybaras and even boas. None of these animals are killed in anywhere near a humane manner; they are simply beaten to death for the amusement of the viewing public.

This can’t be overstated enough: for those who care about animals, the videos available online showing his frequent atrocities are very, very difficult to watch.  If you seek them out to see for yourself, please be aware of this.

In replying to email complaints about the show, The Discovery Channel defended itself by saying that Bear was imparting valuable survival information and, unbelievably, that it was his Bear’s “style!” Such “stylistic” concerns as applied to people comprises much of the notoriety of serial killers.  As for the conveyance of vital survival tips, opting to beat, kill and eat whatever animals are near is very clearly a rash and inadvisable course of action. Real survival experts – the ones who actually survive in the wilderness rather than preen their sad macho survivalist fantasies on television – say that pretty much everything Bear Grylls does or says to do will get you killed. There is no worthwhile information whatsoever that can only be conveyed by filming oneself killing innocent, healthy animals, and terrorizing and bludgeoning sleeping bats right at their doorstep.

Let us not forget that Bear Grylls was exposed for staying in hotels overnight while filming a show that falsely portrayed him as embattled by harsh wilderness.

Bear Grylls eating the raw meat of a deceased zebra which may have been killed for the program “Man vs Wild.”

Profiting from the utterly pointless killing of these bats – and all animals – is unilaterally unacceptable, and while the show may now be cancelled, Discovery still has the video and others like it up for viewing on their website, meaning that they as well as Bear are still profiting from engineering, perpetrating and showing the deaths of these healthy, innocent animals to audiences worldwide.

Please contact those responsible for fouling our televisions with his presence. Please also feel free to join the Bear Barbaric Bear Grylls Facebook page and SIGN OUR PETITION.

(Please note that we were unable to find an email address for anyone at Discovery, however, you may also leave an opinion here. To contact the Ethics Hotline in the U.S. and Canada, please dial (800) 398-6395.)

WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEND HARD-COPY LETTERS TO DISCOVERY. A SAMPLE LETTER IS INCLUDED BELOW.

Please either fax or mail a letter to John S. Hendricks, Chairman, Discovery Communications, LLC at the following address:

John S. Hendricks, Chairman
One Discovery Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240-662-2000
Fax: 240-662-1868

Dear John S. Hendricks,
 
There is a truly repellent video hosted on the Discovery Channel’s website compels me to write to you. The offending video is from the defunct show Man vs. Wild and details the efforts of Bear Grylls as he terrorizes, beats to death and devours harmless bats, ostensibly to demonstrate some tribal hunting technique and to impart supposedly “valuable” survival tactics.

 
Specifically, Mr. Grylls uses smoke and flame to drive the bats from their home and their sleep, strikes them from the air with a homemade bludgeon, stomps on their broken, fragile, defenseless bodies and then devours them alive, all for the benefit of an audience that will never in a million years find themselves forced to rely on what they’ve seen on television to survive in the Chinese wilderness.

That such brutality is so flimsily justified by anthropological and naturalist pretenses is offensive enough, but it cannot possibly overshadow the brutality itself. After hearing the video, it seemed unbelievable – even possibly illegal – that such things could or would be shown, and particularly on a reputable channel as Discovery. If teenagers spent the weekend filming themselves doing the exact same thing, they would of course be arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

It was profoundly disappointing then to see that it was not only aired, but choreographed and filmed at great effort and expense. Worse, it was done solely to entertain and to glorify Mr. Grylls as a strong and courageous survivalist. As this is a fabrication, as it is now common knowledge that many or most of Mr. Grylls’ stunts were staged, as everyone now knows that he was spending his nights in hotel rooms rather than the wilderness he professed to survive in for days on end, not only is all his demagoguery rendered suspect, but it cannot be credibly said that those bats died for educational purposes, nor indeed for any other purpose than the facile excitement of an audience.

Profiting from the brutal and inhumane killing of these animals in pursuit of what is essentially a modern day blood sport is wrong, and we ask that the “bat tennis” video be removed from your website along with all others in which Bear Grylls beats animals to death. As a media operation that purports to be educational, fostering such cruelty and disrespect toward the creatures we share the earth with is unconscionable. What was done to them cannot be undone, but you can from this point on respect their suffering and not peddle it as despicable and retrograde entertainment.

Again, I implore The Discovery Channel to remove all videos of Bear Grylls mutilating, killing and eating innocent animals from your website as well as other websites including YouTube and other video channels.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

SIGN THE PETITION

The Sensless Killing of Queensland’s Bats

By Mitch Gilley, Associate Writer.

You may be aware of the current controversy in Queensland swirling around their local flying fox population. That controversy is two-fold: insiders in the fruit industry are lobbying for legal permission to shoot and kill these endangered animals. In addition, the usual histrionic misinformation about bats being a serious health risk has citizens and Premiere Campbell Newman pushing to pass dangerously permissive legislation that will leave no meaningful safeguards to protect these animals.  In other words, flying foxes, animals who have the intelligence of a dolphin, the dexterity of a primate, and the emotional complexity of a human, will be shot and abused for living in their natural homes (the trees) and for feeding on the fruit grown and sold by its tenders.

Lobbying for the removal of such protections from multiple endangered species is an extreme action, and an extreme action in turn implies that the situation to be remedied is likewise extreme. If this is so, it begs one specific question:

WHY NOW?

The Australian fruit industry is not new, nor are the flying foxes that grace Queensland. Flying-foxes play a vital role in keeping Australia’s (and hence the world’s) ecosystems in good health. They pollinate flowers and disperse seeds as they forage on the nectar and pollen of eucalypts, melaleucas, banksias and on the fruits of rainforest trees and vines. Flying-foxes are particularly important in ensuring the survival of our threatened rainforests such as the Wet Tropics and Gondwana Rainforests (both listed as World Heritage sites).  They not only enable plants to be prolific in their areas of origin, but to traverse long distances to take root in entirely new territories. From this increased diversity, more robust ecosystems develop with their dependence on any one single thing greatly lessened.

Australia’s grey headed and spectacled flying foxes are already listed as vulnerable species on the endangered species list, yet they are the animals being killed, and for understandably attempting to feed on fruit that they may have pollinated themselves. Whether they are shot by farmers or killed, even perhaps inadvertently in dispersal attempts, is irrelevant.

Of universal concern, however, is the proposed measure which calls for the burning of 700,000 hectares of various types of foliage in order to destroy the bats’ habitat.  This, of course, would affect every single organism that shares that land.  Such broad tampering with the ecosystem could trigger a domino effect that would race straight towards humans, bringing privation to all other life as it went.  There is no reliable way of knowing until it’s too late.

Potential for harm aside, dispersals also nearly always fail.  Flying foxes get as attached as you or I to their homes and are smart enough to retreat a minimal distance from the dispersal operation, and the extra flight time to their feeding grounds is trivial to them.  What’s less trivial is the expense required to undertake and fail in a dispersal attempt.

Then there is the lack of meaningful oversight. The proposal mandates the presence of an “expert,” but neither defines what constitutes an expert nor affords them any authority to intervene should the operation become inhumane. Recent efforts have already proven to be cruel: bats were shot – often merely wounded due to their size and speed – and collected in plastic bags while still alive, left to drown in the blood of their roostmates, buried in the corpses of their kin.  Many babies weren’t shot at all and lay desperately clinging to their dead and dying mothers. These babies may not even be noticed and not even have the mercy of blood loss and resultant unconsciousness as they slowly starve. Still others weren’t noticed at all and merely starved without their mothers to nurse them.

These are not the actions of a people who can legitimately claim to be civilized, most particularly so when much safer and humane alternatives exist, such as exclusionary netting, which is very inexpensive relative to conducting a dispersal operation, as netting is a one-time cost aside from maintenance, while dispersal operations will almost certainly need to be repeated. No, such actions as are now proposed are rooted in anger and greed rather than pragmatism. These are the fruits of lobbyists clamoring on behalf of fruit industry stockholders who are willing to essentially have endangered animals killed as well as perhaps well meaning people who simply vastly overestimate the supposed “health risks” of having bats living nearby.  Austin, TX, for instance, has a massive colony of Mexican free tails living in the city itself, and while they themselves pose no risk to humans, the flying foxes of Queensland have an even lower incidence of isolated cases of disease. Bats themselves will even self-isolate when they become sick to protect their roostmates.

Make no mistake, killing these bats could start a chain reaction that could potentially topple Queensland’s ecosystems, but there is no question that it will definitely cost Queenslanders much of their humanity. With each bat that dies slowly in a plastic bag without understanding what is happening to them, the respect of the global community for Queensland will wane, and very likely their tourism industry with it. It has already been noted there are many in Queensland who are adamantly against any measure taken against these beautiful beings, but they will be tarred by that same dirty brush, however unfairly.

It is time to make your voice heard. Let Premiere Campbell Newman know that the world watches to see whether it can find a way to peacefully and profitably coexist with these inoffensive, innocent animals or whether baser instincts of greed will win out.

THEY ARE BETTER THAN THIS. TELL THEM. 

A sample letter has been provided below. Please feel free to copy and paste this text into an email and send it to:

Andrew Powell at environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au
Campbell Newman at thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au

Premiere Newman and Andrew Powell,

In regards to the proposed measures concerning the flying foxes with which Queensland is graced, I’m writing this letter to express my extreme displeasure and horror.  Virtually every consequence of said measures has the potential to damage Queensland’s ecosystems and reputation, as the “safeguards” written into the legislation are wholly inadequate to protect the bats, the people of Queensland or the reputation of your province abroad.Dispersal efforts, lethal or otherwise, almost always fail.  In the highly unusual event that a colony is actually moved, dispersals still fail in having a meaningful effect.  These animals have a tremendous flight range and an attachment to the home that is just as deep and profound as your attachment to your own home, and thus they will move just enough to avoid whatever threat is used to disperse them. This minimal shift in proximity is almost never enough to do much other than cause them to fly a few more seconds to the very same grounds they previously frequented.The other effects of a dispersal operation, however, are not so trivial.  Such operations are quite expensive, put people in close quarters with distressed or injured bats who may bite out of desperation, and most of all breed manifold forms of abuse.  Worse, the bats that might most concern humans, the healthy adults, are the ones who will be able to escape harm while defenseless and inoffensive babies and heavily pregnant mothers are helpless to even comply with the wishes of those executing the dispersion. There are already ugly yet reliable stories of abuse coming from Australian caretakers of injured and wounded bats. The proof of such stories is the bats themselves and the documenting of their stories by the selfless rescuers whom represent the best of the people of Queensland.

This is clearly an emotional response from greedy individuals in the fruit industry who are more concerned with profit margins than the equilibrium of the ecosystem of Queensland, the welfare of the utterly innocent flying foxes now so gravely threatened, or even whether this ineffectual plan and the shoddy legislation behind it will even work.  Ironically, too, with flying foxes being such ubiquitous and far-ranging pollinators, the proposed measures and their near-total lack of meaningful oversight may actually damage or destroy the fruit industry’s ability to produce at all.

We implore you to reconsider this course of action.  Neither the fruit industry nor the human population of Queensland are new; were there any severe inability to coexist of the kind that would warrant the extreme action now proposed, it would have unquestionably manifested by now, either in the eradication of the fruit industry or of the bats.  There has been a long coexistence between the two, however, and we urge you to help it continue.  The people of Queensland, and you yourself, are better than this.  Prove it.

Your signature here

RESCUE ECHO

It is extremely unfortunate that fruit bats occasionally enter the exotic pet trade through zoo closures and unscrupulous animal dealers. Some of these dealers operate under the guise of “conservation”. While some buyers have the bat’s best interest in mind, most do not understand the consequences. Exotic pet owners are often “blinded by misguided love” and sometimes don’t realize the dangers of keeping a bat, tiger or an adult chimpanzee in their home. Others are in it simply for the notoriety and/or the money made from buying and selling these animals. Many enjoy showing off in photos or videos with their exotic baby victim in tow, sometimes done under the premise of “education”. Newborn wild animals are pulled from their mothers so they can pose with the public in photo opportunities. Once grown, they often end up in substandard roadside zoos and private menageries. Most accredited zoos long ago stopped the unhealthy practice of pulling newborn  animals from their mothers because they realize that it deprives infants of proper nutrition and causes behavioral problems.

This is the story of Echo, who was recently purchased as a youngster by Lisa’s Creatures, who is with East Valley Wildlife. She was removed from her mother and sold by Scott Heindrick, who runs an operation called the Flying Fox Conservation Fund. Click to view Lisa Limbert’s facebook and Twitter posts.

Echo the baby fruit bat appearing confused and frightened in the dog crate in which she is confined. Photo Source: facebook.com/lisascreatures. Click to enlarge.

After the bat arrived to Lisa’s Creatures, owner Lisa Limbert posted photos of the frightened baby on her facebook page, and admitted she was not familiar with the complicated care required for this species, stating “Well Pamela, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’m not actually sure how big Echo will get….  This is new for me, so we will all be learning together.”

Additionally, Limbert is housing the baby in a small wire cage intended as a permanent home, and allegedly attempted to feed the young fruit bat yogurt and fruit flavored tums, items which could have caused the death of Echo had they been consumed. Fortunately we were able to supply a proper diet through other bat groups who have also been communicating with Ms. Limbert about the cruel confinement, potential health hazards, and additional liabilities associated in housing a flighted bat inside her home.

Lisa’s Creatures facebook page states: “Lisa’s Creatures works exclusively through the parks and rec system for the cities of Chandler and Gilbert Arizona. Lisa’s Creatures” is a privately held collection of ambassador animals. Lisa is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by Arizona Game and Fish. Her animals are held under state and federal permits. “Lisa’s Creatures” is the educational program for East Valley Wildlife and is accessible through the parks and rec department of Chandler and Gilbert Arizona.” Click here to see a list of Lisa’s Creatures animals and USDA inspection reports.

Inside the Exotic Pet Trade
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, second only to drugs and weapons on the black market. It’s a $15 billion dollar business in the United States alone, with breeders and dealers selling animals over the Internet or in trade magazines. Millions of animals are forced into the exotic pet trade every year for the purpose of becoming someone’s pet or entertaining the masses in a circus or roadside zoo. Sadly, Ms. Limbert has stated that, rather than give Echo to a qualified sanctuary, she will send Echo to “one of her ZAA buddies” which possibly is an even worse fate than keeping the bat confined to cage the size of a dog crate.

REGULATIONS
USDA regulations: Subpart F species that fly (i.e., bats) must be provided with sufficient unobstructed enclosure volume to enable movement by flying and sufficient roosting space to allow all individuals to rest simultaneously.

R12-4-402. Live Wildlife: Unlawful Acts B. If an individual lawfully possesses wildlife, but holds it in a manner that poses an actual or potential threat to other wildlife, or the safety, health, or welfare of the public, the Department shall seize, quarantine, or hold the wildlife.

R12-4-417. Wildlife Holding License: A. It is necessary for an individual to give humane treatment to restricted live wildlife that has been abandoned or permanently disabled, and is therefore unable to meet its own needs in the wild.

TAKE ACTION!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Please also send a hard copy a letter to:

USDA/APHIS
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

Arizona Department of Health Services
150 North 18th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Fax: (602) 542-0883

Maricopa County Public Health
4041 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012

 

If you prefer to send your own email, please address your email to:
USDA, APHIS: ace@aphis.usda.gov
USDA, Western Region: acwest@aphis.usda.gov
City of Chandler: ariane.francis@chandleraz.gov
Town of Gilbert: parks@gilbertaz.gov
AZ Dept of Fish and Game: Tyler Vanvleet: tvanvleet@azgfd.gov

 

Bats and Wind Energy – Your Voice Needed

Photo © Treehugger.com

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting information and ideas from the public on a proposal to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan for wind energy facilities in the Midwest.

Bats that will be affected include endangered species, such as the Indiana bat.

An automated letter is included below. If you’d rather not use the letter provided below, please submit your comments to:

Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amido
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services
5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990
Bloomington, MN 55437-1458
Fax: 612/713-5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon)
Email: midwestwindhcp@fws.gov

The deadline for receiving comments is December 3, 2012.

 

 

Bats and Wind Energy

Dear Regional Director, Rick Amido:

I feel very strongly that a strategy to minimize harm to bats should be mandatory, such as changing cut-in speed to reduce bat fatalities, and avoiding the construction of wind turbines on ridges or other migration corridors, and building them less than 60m tall.

I’m certain you are aware of the Bats and Wind Energy Cooperative (www.batsandwind.org). Several scholarly publications regarding curtailment options have been published there, including one which compared the operational cost of raising the minimum wind speed operation for turbine rotation and electricity generation. An article by Dr. Edward Arnett displayed that this curtailment option significantly reduced nightly bat mortality by as much as 90% but had a marginal cost to the utility of only 1% of their annual income. Another study found that ultrasonic deterrents similarly reduced mortality, though not to as great a degree as raising the minimum operational wind speed. I would like to see multiple mitigation methods used in areas where sensitive species might be harmed by wind turbines.

Careful planning of wind energy development is necessary to ensure its sustainability. For this reason I would like to see acoustic, visual and capture-release surveys at proposed wind farm locations whenever possible so that the need for mitigation actions in the future can be reduced. The FWS should create a standardized post-construction survey and reporting protocol for bat and bird fatalities at wind farms which includes daily searches for carcasses and searcher efficiency tests during peak activity and migration windows in areas with sensitive populations.

As a consumer of electrical energy, I would be willing to pay a marginally more expensive utility bill each month for such a reduction in needless death. One of the reasons why sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal energy are so popular with the public is that they are substantially less detrimental on our environment than carbon-emitting energy sources. While I feel that curtailment at low wind speeds and deterrents should be necessary at all wind farms, I particularly feel they should be enforced where endangered, threatened or migrating species occur.

[signature]

Share this letter with others!

   

BOYCOTT BARBARIC QUEENSLAND

Queensland-dontshootbatsThe Queensland, Australia government-sanctioned killing of two threatened species – Spectacled and Grey-headed flying-foxes, has enraged bat conservationists across the globe. The government banned the shooting of flying-foxes in 2008 after the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee found it was inhumane.  However, fruit growers are now being permitted to shoot flying-foxes, despite its acknowledged cruelty.  To add insult to injury, Minister John McVeigh said “It’s important every Queenslander understands animal cruelty is never acceptable”.  Ironic since Minister McVeigh has not responded to bat conservationist’s emails and has not made one single move to stop this uncivilized, cruel kill, condoned by Campbell Newman, Premier of Queensland.

Four flying-fox species are being needlessly killed: Grey-headed (endangered), Spectacled (endangered), Black and Little red flying-foxes. Fruit growers can protect their crops far more effectively with nets, costing as little as $8,000 per hectare (or every 2.471 acres) and the government has a program in place to assist them with the expense, the Sustainability Loans Program.

The barbaric killing of these innocent animals is unacceptable. Bats are being used for target practice as they fly through the orchards.  The partially massacred bodies of these majestic creatures are retrieved and thrown into plastic bags while they are still breathing so that they may slowly suffocate.  In other situations, bat workers have found that the injured were not retrieved and were left to die over a 3-4 day period, victims of predators, insects, dehydration and blood loss.  This is the fate of the adults and the mothers who have newborn nursing young on them.  Still others, such as pups developed enough to remain in the camp but too young to fly, are left to die of dehydration and starvation while they innocently await the return of their mothers who have suffered an even worse fate.

We have contacted individual Ministers of the government to voice our concern and they are now responding with ‘lip service’ emails.  This means we must ramp up our efforts.  Stopping is not an option while innocent animals are being mutilated.  Please join our 30-day email campaign wherein we will email numerous Queensland government officials with our protests. We will boycott travel to Australia, as well as the purchase of any Australian product until they stop these barbaric killings.

It is incumbent upon bat conservationists and the environmentally concerned to have a voice that can be heard around the world.  Please join us to make this happen.  We want to make this easy on you in order for you to commit to the 30-day campaign without interruption.  It will only take a couple of minutes of your time each day; just a minute or two, to save these pure, blameless animals.  They have no one else but us and remember, alone we are but one voice, together we ROAR.

PLEASE HELP NOW BY SENDING THE EMAIL BELOW, TARGETED TO THE FOLLOWING 41 QUEENSLAND OFFICIALS. YOU WILL NEED TO COPY AND PASTE THE ADDRESSEES AND LETTER BELOW INTO YOUR OWN EMAIL PROGRAM TO SEND. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE!

<Christine.McDermott@daff.qld.gov.au> <Premier@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <thepremier@premiers.qld.gov.au>; <ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <karen.cowell@premiers.qld.gov.au>; <daff@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <govnet@qld.gov.au>; <Paul.Martyn@dtesb.qld.gov.au>;<legislation.queries@oqpc.qld.gov.au>; <Craig-Evans@qld.gov.au>; <Jack.Noye@daff.qld.gov.au>; <Kelvin.anderson@dcs.qld.gov.au>; <Danielle.Anderson@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Tony.Roberts@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Andrew.Chesterman@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Dean.Ellwood@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <Tamara.OShea@ehp.qld.gov.au>; <toowoomba.South@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <environment@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <Christine.Williams@derm.qld.gov.au>; <Glass.House@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <Dan.Hunt@deedi.qld.gov.au>;  <Michael.Birchley@derm.qld.gov.au>; <John.Glaister@nprsr.qld.gov.au>; <Tourism@ministerial.qld.gov.au>; <Terry.Wall@derm.qld.gov.au>; <Currumbin@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <steve.mcroberts@tq.com.au>; <South.Brisbane@parliament.qld.gov.au>; <growcom@growcom.com.au>; <qfarmers@qff.org.au>; <Jon.Grayson@premiers.qld.gov.au>;<Chris.Robson@derm.qld.gov.au>; <Barry.Broe@coordinatorgeneral.qld.gov.au>; <Richard.Eden@dtesb.qld.gov.au>

Please note that the following emails may now be nonfunctional. If you have updated addresses for the following please sent the information to sanctuary@batworld.org: ashgrove@parliament.qld.gov.au, toowoomba.south@parliament.qld.gov.au, glass.house@parliament.qld.gov.au, currumbin@parliament.qld.gov.au
inala@parliament.qld.gov.au, mackay@parliament.qld.gov.au,
south.brisbane@parliament.qld.gov.au;  Inala@parliament.qld.gov.au;    Mackay@parliament.qld.gov.au; Helen.Gluer@treasury.qld.gov.au;
jessica.johnston@news.com.au

———————————————————————————————————————-
Dear Queensland Official,

The latest ‘form letter’ response from Troy Collings, Chief of Staff, equals the Queensland government’s barbaric killing of flying foxes in absurdity. This is not a deliberate attempt to be offensive, but the response is insulting and offers nothing but empty comments about a devastating situation. One can understand how any failed conservation action is referred to as the “Australian Effect” and how the term originated.Mr. Collings states, “The Queensland Government recognises your concerns and believes it is taking the necessary action to minimise the damage to fruit crops caused by flying-foxes without compromising the welfare or long-term conservation of these animals”. You are killing endangered species!! If that is not compromising the welfare of the animal, what is?Queensland cannot possibly control the number of animals shot given the land mass over which the shootings take place nor can you prevent the ‘target practice’ shoots of flying foxes, leaving them to die an agonizing death over a 3-4 day period. Your barbaric plan cannot prevent the culling of lactating females who leave innocent, young, viable animals to starve to death nor does it accommodate the human response wherein farmer’s who overkill simply bury the evidence.This culling involves endangered species and yet you are trying to tell the world what you are doing is in the best interest of the farmers? This action does not mix well with the goals of Queensland’s 2012-2016n Strategic Plan to “ …maximize sustainable tourism growth for the social and environmental benefit of all Queenslanders.” On the contrary, dozens of people who planned tp visit Queensland have now decided against visiting there because of the barbaric culling of threatened bats currently taking place.

You have a feasible option for the farmers as well as the animals – netting. If you truly want to co-exist with the flying foxes instead of rendering them extinct, then your country would be better served financially if you did the same thing as the City of Austin, TX. They were going to eliminate the bats from the downtown area (viewed as a nuisance) because of the guano (and perceived health risk) until they were educated about the economic and environmental impacts of such a decision. Now Austin realizes $10-$15 million dollars a year in tourism due to the population of bats in that city (in excess of 2 million). It is called the Austin Bat Tour and people come from as far away as Europe (and yes, even Australia) to witness the nightly emergence during the summer months. They have learned to embrace the bats rather than victimize them. Your country would be better served financially if you did the same thing. Set up flying fox tours so people can be situated between a camp and a foraging ground to view the bats (in Austin they put bat channeling under the bridge to provide a roosting place for over 1.5 million bats), plant sacrificial crops for them to eat near their camps, advertise for donations for the appropriate crop protective nets used in orchards, via Facebook, animal welfare groups and apply for emergency animal welfare grants. You have organizations on the ground in Australia ready and willing to work with you.

Queensland is playing with the ecological balance of our planet at a time when we have reached the limits of our options. The response from Mr. Collings was disturbing and despicable, and has made conservationists even more determined to fight your actions and let the world know that Australia murders its native species when there are benign solutions available. Consequently, I will be spreading the word to tourism groups, humane societies, and environmentally conscious people around the world to boycott travel to Australia as well as the boycott of Australian products until Queensland stops the needless killing bats.Your Signature.

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Please use the web forms on these links to also copy and paste your letters:

PRIME MINISTER GILLARD
WENDY HARCH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIA TOURISM

Please also:

SIGN THE PETITION
JOIN US AT CAMPBELL NEWMAN’S BAT SHAME PAGE TO STAY CURRENT ON THIS CAMPAIGN.
Visit the DON’T SHOOT BATS website

“THE EXPENDABLES 2″ KILLS ENDANGERED BATS

PLEASE BOYCOTT “THE EXPENDABLES 2!

Protected bats take flight in Devetashka Cave.

The movie “The Expendables 2″ caused massive damage to a cave that has a status of a natural monument. Bulgaria’s environmental protection agency had already fined the Hollywood production company for unlawfully removing shrubs and small trees, when something far worse occurred. The producers had promised to refrain from explosions, car chases and fires in close proximity to the cave in order to protect the bats roosting inside the cave, but apparently did not keep that promise. The sleeping bats were subjected to stress, loud noise from heavy machinery and construction works, bright projector lights and crowds of people which kept them awake during a period when they should have been hibernating. On later investigation, no bats could even be located in areas of the cave where they would normally be hibernating. Instead, the tire tracks of large vehicles, likely used during the shoot, were found in those areas. Bat expert Antonia Hubancheva, who visited the cave after the shooting, said the damage was “unquestionable. The cave was home to 15 protected species of bats, or half of all bats found in Bulgaria. UPDATE: Court Rules in Favor of Hollywood-harmed Bats.

Please send a letter to the filmmakers Millennium Films and Warner Brothers. Let them know that you intend to boycott “The Expendables 2″, and send a message that you will not tolerate behavior that includes disregard for wildlife and wildlife habitat. A sample letter is included below.

Millennium email address: info@millenniumfilms.com
Warner Brothers web form: http://www.warnerbros.com/help/customer-service.html

Dear Millennium Films and Warner Brothers,

Devetashka Cave in central northern Bulgaria, Lovech Region, is considered one of the most important bat habitats in Europe, yet the making of the Expendables 2 caused the deaths of bats roosting in that cave. The sacrifice of these bats was unjustified, unsustainable, and morally wrong.

I intend to tell all my friends about the irresponsible behavior which caused a loss of life to thousands of protected bats, in one of the most valuable bat habitats in Europe. I also intend to actively encourage the boycott of The Expendables 2, and will encourage my friends and family to also boycott your film. As a purportedly ethical society, it is time we moved beyond the practice of sacrificing free-living animals for entertainment.

Bats are in rapid decline around the world. As primary predators of vast quantities of night-flying insects, including serious crop pests, bats are important to the agricultural interests of the planet. Foe more information about bats and how they help our planet please visit www.batworld.org.

Signed,

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