Hawaiian Bird, Arizona Turtle, Southeast Fish Protected
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week protected Arizona’s Sonoyta mud turtle, a Hawaiian bird known as the ‘i’iwi and a Southeast fish called the pearl darter under the Endangered Species Act.
Today’s action came in response to two 2011 settlement agreements with the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians under which the Fish and Wildlife Service made protection decisions for hundreds of vulnerable species over the past six years.
With these three newly designated species, 188 species have been protected as threatened or endangered under the agreement. Eleven additional species have been proposed for protection and await decisions expected by the end of the year.
“We’re thrilled these three endangered species are finally getting the protections they so desperately need to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “We worried that Trump administration political appointees would block the Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting any species, but for at least these three, this is a good day.”
Background: A Turtle, Bird and Fish Tale
With webbed feet and an innate ability to swim, the Sonoyta mud turtle has evolved to be highly aquatic in one of the driest parts of the Sonoran Desert. The turtle is found only in a small area of Pima County, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Diversion of surface water and pumping of groundwater have led to the loss of much of this habitat, which the turtle needs to survive.
In the United States, the turtle has been reduced to a single reservoir called Quitobaquito Springs within Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Four populations are currently known in Mexico, but the loss of the turtle has already been reported from an additional site. At all of these sites the number of turtles has declined as aquatic habitat has been reduced. It has been waiting for protection on the candidate list for 20 years.
The ‘i‘iwi — also known as the scarlet honeycreeper — is a medium-sized honeycreeper that lives in native forests of ohia and koa. The ‘i‘iwi was once widespread throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but the species is now primarily restricted to high-elevation areas on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai because of habitat destruction and the spread of avian pox and malaria by mosquitoes, which were introduced to the islands. The ‘i‘iwi has survived at high elevations, primarily over 3,600 feet, because it is too cold there for mosquitoes and the deadly diseases they spread. But with climate change, mosquitoes are moving uphill and are predicted to cover most remaining ‘i‘iwi habitat as the climate continues to warm. The ‘i‘iwi has seen a 92 percent decline on Kauai in the past 25 years and a 34 percent decline on Maui. The Center petitioned for its protection in 2010.
The pearl darter once swam in hundreds of miles of river in Mississippi and Louisiana, but today has been reduced to scattered populations in a fraction of its range. It has been lost from its namesake, the Pearl River. The darter is threatened by water pollution from oil and gas development, sand and gravel mining, urbanization, agriculture and the proposed damming of Little and Big Cedar creeks, tributaries to the Pascagoula River.
Other threats include climate change and hurricanes and similarly catastrophic events. The Southeastern Fishes Council named the pearl darter as one of the 12 most endangered fish in the southeastern United States. It has been waiting for protection on the candidate list since 1991.
“Each of these three species is precious, and we need to do all we can to save them,” said Greenwald. “We’re fortunate to have the Endangered Species Act, an incredibly effective law that has saved more than 99 percent of the species under its protection and put hundreds more on the road to recovery. This landmark law can save these species too.”
Photo by Brett Hartl, Center for Biological Diversity.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The march and rally against electroshock (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT) will be held outside the San Diego Convention Center, coinciding with the annual convention of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which has been lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, which regulates the ECT device), to increase its use, including its use on children. In a letter to the FDA, the APA states, “Having access to a rapid and effective treatment such as ECT isespecially meaningful in children and adolescents….”
CCHR says that the risks of electroshock today make it so potentially dangerous, with the FDA reporting permanent memory loss, brain damage and death, that the procedure should be banned for all age groups.
The march and rally will also draw attention to the March 27 announcement from India that the country will ban the use of electroshock on children under its Mental Health Act. To date, four states in the U.S.—California, Colorado, Tennessee and Texas—have prohibited shock treatment use on children.
In addition to India and the U.S. states, in 2014, Western Australia banned ECT for those younger than 14. The state also imposed a $15,000 fine and two years’ imprisonment for anyone performing ECT on minors, further exemplifying, as CCHR says, the need for similar penalties in the U.S. and globally. CCHR wants a nationwide ban as the documented risks of ECT are well established.
Evidence presented to the FDA in 2016 included studies of inter-cranial bleeding and loss of brain tissue following ECT.
In Clinical Psychiatry News, neurologist Sidney Samant said: “ECT produces effects identical to those of a head injury. After multiple sessions of ECT, a patient has symptoms identical to those of a retired, punch-drunk boxer….”
In 2014, a study published by Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, York University and others said: “The ongoing and growing interest within psychiatry in prescribing electroshock or shock-like procedures…in children is of grave concern,” and “given the volume of evidence demonstrating its substantive brain-damaging outcomes, we call for an immediate global ban on the use of electroshock on all children.”
A 2016 petition to the Acting Commissioner of the FDA also addresses the failure of the FDA to require ECT device makers to provide clinical trials proving ECT is safe and effective. The petition, citing a deposition of the president of one ECT device manufacturer, said the company had “never done any study or investigation regarding the safety and efficacy of ECT provided by its devices.” Specifically, the president said “[the company] does not do research.”
Thousands are expected at the San Diego march taking place on Harbor Street on Saturday, March 20, 2017 at 1 p.m. Signs and banners stating, “ELECTROSHOCK: TORTURE, NOT TREATMENT” will be featured. CCHR says this is to draw attention to a 2013 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment who equated forced electroshock with “torture” and recommended banningall “forced and non-consensual” electroshock “against persons with disabilities.”
Another educational feature in San Diego is the display of CCHR’s world-acclaimed Traveling Exhibit on the history of psychiatry, which includes an historical and contemporary look at ECT and other psychiatric treatments. The Exhibit, opened from May 16 to May 27, 2017, from 9 a.m.–9 p.m., is at 1047 J Street, San Diego. Admission is free. CCHR is inviting psychiatrists attending the APA convention to also tour the Exhibit.
As a mental health industry watchdog, CCHR’s mission is to inform and mobilize the public against violations of human rights and civil liberties committed under the guise of “mental health.” Put Patients Above Profit. Take Action Against Abuse.
 Robert Morgan, John Friedberg, M.D., et al, Electroshock: The Case Against, (Morgan Fdn Publishers, CA, 1999) p. 73, https://books.google.com/books?id=1593GRf_HC8C&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=John+Friedberg+ECT+is+like+traumatic+brain+injury&source=bl&ots=0CVqvH-55Z&sig=_-KHdqDmPOsspHj_3iUd-mJvOUY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi1-cHioePTAhVO5GMKHW29Ai0Q6AEIWDAI#v=onepage&q=John%20Friedberg%20ECT%20is%20like%20traumatic%20brain%20injury&f=false.
PETA ‘Chickens’ Pelt The Creepy Clown With Veggie Burgers
Celebration as Fast-Food Chain Nixes the Clown Who Promotes Artery-Clogging, Inhumanely Produced Cheeseburgers and Nuggets to Children
The recent spate of “creepy clown” sightings (or at least rumors thereof) has prompted McDonald’s to withdraw Ronald McDonald from appearances—and in celebration, a group of costumed PETA “chickens” descend on a Nashville McDonald’s today Thursday and threw veggie burgers at a Ronald McDonald effigy hanging under a banner that proclaims, “Never Trust a Clown: Eating Meat Kills” and “Cruelty Is No Laughing Matter!”
The creepiest clown of all is the one who encourages children to chow down on sensitive animals’ corpses,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA celebrates the end of creepy and cruel Ronald McDonald promotions as well as the ever-growing popularity of veggie burgers, which are now offered at numerous competitors’ restaurants around the country.”
Cows killed for Big Macs and birds killed for McChicken sandwiches are hung upside down before their throats are slit. Many chickens are plunged into scalding-hot defeathering tanks while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain. Cows are often skinned alive.
Red Robin, Johnny Rocket’s, White Castle, and many other fast-casual restaurants all offer veggie burgers. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—awarded McDonald’s an “F-” in its recent ranking of vegan-friendly burger chains.
Meat is Murder. Go vegetarian or vegan!
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