David from PETA contacted me regarding letters PETA recently sent to the attorneys general of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. In the letters, Peta is urging the attorneys general to bring charges against BP and all other culpable parties of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico of cruelty to animals.
“Just as BP is the subject of a federal criminal investigation, causing needless pain and suffering to animals violates each affected state’s anti-cruelty laws,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “BP can compensate for the loss of human livelihoods, but it can never make up for the loss of life that it has inflicted on these states’ animals.”
According to PETA, the anti-cruelty laws of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida provide that any person who unnecessarily causes the torment or death of any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.
The impact on the oil spill on wildlife includes:
- Some oil-soaked birds lose the ability to float and ultimately drown.
- Other birds die from hypothermia or hyperthermia after oil destroys the insulating powers of their feathers.
- Oil contamination in turtles can cause chemical burns, and kidney, liver, and brain damage can result after animals ingest the tar balls and chemical dispersants that have inundated the Gulf.
- Marine mammals lose body weight when they can not feed due to contamination of their environment by oil
- Birds become easy prey, as their feathers being matted by oil make them less able to fly away;
- Marine mammals such as fur seals become easy prey if oil sticks their flippers to their bodies, making it hard for them to escape predators
Those are just some of the affects of oil spills on wildlife. And, there’s also the affect on the food chain. For example, poisoning of wildlife higher up the food chain if they eat large amounts of other organisms that have taken oil into their tissues. This can also result in poisoning of young through the mother, as a dolphin calf can absorb oil through it’s mothers milk.
To date, more than a thousand animals-including 333 sea turtles and 41 dolphins and other mammals-have been collected dead along the coast. Whales are also expected to be among the casualties.
How Can I Help?
You can assist PETA by sending your concerns to the attorneys general in question.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 2 million members and supporters, is the largest animal rights organization in the world.
PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other “pests,” and the abuse of backyard dogs.
PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.