Zoo Teaches Chimp To Chain-Smoke To Entertain Visitors | The Dodo

A photograph of a chimpanzee is going viral, but for a very unexpected reason — in the photo, the chimpanzee is smoking a cigarette.

Azalea, a 19-year-old female chimpanzee, lives at a newly opened zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea, called the Korea Central Zoo, or sometimes the Pyongyang Central Zoo. According to a recent report, Azalea — or “Dallae” in Korean — smokes a pack of cigarettes each day. She even knows how to light her own cigarettes with a lighter, or the end of a lit cigarette.

While it’s not clear how Azalea started to smoke, it’s believed the zookeepers encourage her to entertain the zoo’s visitors.

“Though such a sight would draw outrage in many other locales, it seemed to delight visitors who roared with laughter on Wednesday as the chimpanzee, one of two at the zoo, sat puffing away as her trainer egged her on,” The Associated Press reported. “The trainer also prompted her to touch her nose, bow thank you and do a simple dance.”

Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, isn’t impressed by the zoo’s treatment of Azalea.

“When I first heard about Azalea, the smoking chimpanzee, I was sickened,” Bekoff told The Dodo. “There is nothing natural about this and it sends all the wrong messages about just who other animals are.”

“‘Zoo’ animals all over the world are seriously misrepresented and mistreated, so this is just another example of what so many zoos do,” he added.

While the chimp’s treatment is disturbing, Azalea isn’t the first animal who’s been trained to smoke. In 2015, a chimp in the Tianshan Zoo in China was seen chain-smoking, using the butt of his old cigarette to light a new one.

The Korean Central Zoo, where Azalea lives, also has a monkey who shoots basketballs, dogs who “solve” math equations on abacuses and doves who perform with a woman skating in an indoor stage.

“Azalea is just one more example of a sentient individual being used for our entertainment and pleasure, to their detriment,” said Bekoff. “Is her smoking any more injurious to her health and dignity than other forms of mistreatment? I’m not so sure it is. But it provides a good rallying point for people who want to improve the lives of captive animals.”

To help chimps rescued from situations like Azalea’s, you can support Save the Chimps by donating here.

Source: Zoo Teaches Chimp To Chain-Smoke To Entertain Visitors

Presidential Debate to Address Climate Change | VegNews

“Will you reduce support for animal agriculture to counter climate change?” is currently on the roster of questions to be considered for the next presidential debate.

For the first time in history, candidates will answer the public’s questions during the next presidential debate, to be held at 9pm EDT on October 9. In an effort to “empower regular citizens to join the dialogue as equals,” the Presidential Open Platform created a submission forum for questions drawn from internet users. Moderators from ABC and CNN will consider the 30 most popular questions, as determined by votes. Currently, one of the top questions for consideration (with over 16,000 votes) was posted by President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Ingrid Newkirk. “The U.S. is set to miss its 2025 environmental targets,” Newkirk says. “Given that animal agriculture produces 51% of greenhouse-gas emissions, will you protect the environment by promoting a plant-based lifestyle?” The platform synthesized Newkirk’s original question with that of other users concerned about the presidential candidates’ stance on the issue of animal agriculture in relation to climate change. Users can vote for the question, “Will you reduce support for animal agriculture to counter climate change?”—currently in the 25th slot—through the start of the next presidential debate.

Source: Presidential Debate to Address Climate Change

Big Dairy to Pay $52 Million for Murderous Inflation Conspiracy | VegNews

The nation’s top milk producers killed 500,000 cows in order to keep the country’s dairy supply low while driving up consumer prices.

A class action lawsuit against the country’s largest dairy producers has been settled for $52 million after the National Milk Producers Federation was found to have been engaging in an illegal price-fixing conspiracy. The operation forced small dairy farms to kill off entire herds of cows in order to reduce the national milk supply and inflate prices of dairy products. By running the “dairy herd retirement program,” the National Milk Producers Federation has been responsible for the deaths of 500,000 cows and has cost consumers in 15 states and the District of Columbia millions of dollars. “The biggest dairy producers in the country, responsible for almost 70 percent of the nation’s milk, conspired together in a classic price-fixing scheme, forcing higher prices for a basic food item onto honest consumers and families,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman law firm. Animal protection organization Compassion Over Killing conducted initial research for the case filed in 2011, and says it is “pleased to see some justice for the half-million cows who were prematurely slaughtered, and the consumers who paid artificially high prices, all done merely to satisfy the dairy industry’s greed.”

Source: Big Dairy to Pay $52 Million for Murderous Inflation Conspiracy