In Time of Critical Need for LGBTQ Americans, “Give OUT Day” 2017 is today
San Francisco, CA, April 19, 2017
LGBTQ Americans are in a state of urgent need: an administration actively hostile to the community now occupies the White House; homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have spiked following the election; over 130 laws attacking LGBTQ rights are pending in state legislatures around the country; and the one-year anniversary of the horrific Pulse shooting in Orlando is fast approaching. In this difficult climate, Give OUT Day, a national day of giving for the LGBTQ community, will once again coordinate a 24-hour online fundraising event to support over 300 LGBTQ organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Give OUT Day 2017 will take place on April 20, 2017 from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm Eastern. Last year, Give Out Day raised over $550,000.
Throughout the day-long event, thousands of people make gifts to support a diverse array of LGBTQ nonprofits, ranging from the arts to social services agencies, advocacy groups to sports leagues, and community centers to health care nonprofits.
Give OUT Dayis a project of Horizons Foundation.
Founded as a community foundation of, by, and for LGBTQ people, Horizons has been supporting LGBTQ nonprofit organizations, leaders, and donors for more than 35 years.
Use Viral Video to Demand that USDA Enforces Animal Welfare Act
Nosey the elephant and Lolita the orca, longtime symbols of the cruelty of animals in entertainment, have also also become symbols of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) failure to enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
After years of protests, petitions and lawsuits, activists nationwide are now using a viral video to demand that the USDA liberate Lolita and Nosey on the grounds that the harsh conditions of their captivity violate the AWA.
Nosey, a 30-year old elephant who was captured in Zimbabwe when she was two, has been held captive by the Liebel Family Circus since 1988. In spite of her crippling arthritis and chronic skin disease, Nosey is forced to give rides to paying customers at flea markets and fairs across the country.
Advocates claim that the circus owner, Tom Liebel, and his employees have beaten Nosey into submission with bullhooks, a sledge hammer and shovels and that the USDA has cited Liebel nearly 200 times for violations.
In spite of the violations, abundant evidence of abuse and a veterinary report stating that Nosey is “suffering, permanently disabled and crippled,” the USDA has refused to revoke Liebel’s license to exhibit Nosey and use her for rides.
Lolita, an orca who was captured off the coast of Washington in 1970, has been held captive in the nation’s smallest whale tank for 45 years. Until 1980, she had an orca companion, Hugo, who reportedly committed suicide by pounding his head against the side of the tank.
For the past 35 years, she has been alone, unable to interact with members of her own species or engage in any natural behaviors, such as hunting, diving and swimming in the open water. Her tank is just 20 feet deep.
Lolita’s captivity at the Miami Seaquarium is not just cruel; it is illegal. Palace Entertainment is violating the AWA in three ways: Lolita’s tank doesn’t meet minimum size requirements; she has no shade to protect her from the sun; and she does not have a killer whale companion.
In February 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated Lolita as endangered because she was taken from the protected Southern Resident Killer Whale population. This historic decision has provided legal ammunition to the groups that have sued the USDA for renewing Palace’s license in spite of its AWA violations.
If the court rules in favor of the advocacy groups, then Lolita could be released to the Puget Sound where she would be rehabilitated in a coastal sanctuary and, if possible, released to her pod. Lolita’s mother, 86, is reported to be alive.
Your Turn Robin Jewell, the producer of the historic Miracle March for Lolita in January, created a video with advocates around the country asking the USDA to enforce the Animal Welfare Act.
Please hold the USDA accountable for its failure to protect Lolita and Nosey by helping to make this video go viral.
We have a department within our Government that is in entrusted with the well being and protection of the animals that are owned and exploited for money.
The USDA is that Department, it is a flawed system. Even though hundreds and thousands of violations cross their desk, they refuse to act and to protect these animals.
Lolita has been in an illegal regulated tank alone since 1980, her tank the smallest in Northern America and yet USDA’s answer is to rubber stamp the tank when it comes up and to let Lolita suffer.
Nosey the Elephant who lives in abuse and torture every day, whose medical illnesses have left her hurting and in pain to walk, ignoring their own doctor assessments and hundreds of violations the USDA refuses to save her.
We pay the USDA to do a job and we must demand that they ACT NOW and do the job they are paid to do.