Southern California environment news and trends

Animal Rights, Ethics, PETA, & Orcas

Civil War-Era Slave Auction Re-Enacted At St. Louis Courthouse

John Moore/Getty Images

St. Louis, MO had a slave-auction re-enactment earlier this year. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claims that orcas are being enslaved at Sea World. Sea World dismisses the whole thing as a stunt.

I wish I knew where Derek St. Pierre is. Derek was in my first year law school study group. He was and probably still is a guy who cares and knows about animal rights law. I wonder what he'd think of PETA's lawsuit news, that we reported yesterday. I would have liked to ask him, like in the old days, when we were having bomb threats at UC Hastings and going to vegan pizza restaurants in the Tenderloin.

So I didn't get to speak to Derek or any other legal expert about the merits of the orca suit claim I reported yesterday. But today I read this in the ABA journal:

Animal rights law professors contacted by AP didn’t give the suit much chance of success. Law professor David Favre of Michigan State University predicted an early dismissal. “The court will most likely not even get to the merits of the case, and find that the plaintiffs do not have standing to file the lawsuit at all," he wrote to the wire service in an email.


Song of the week: "A plastic bag in the wind" (self-explanatory)


A single-use bag ban is again alive in Los Angeles. Yesterday the Board of Public Works, by a four to nothing vote, sent the idea forward for the city of LA.

Plastic bag manufacturers object, vociferously. Here's what one told the board, as reported by Rick Orlov in the Daily News:

"A ban is not the right answer," said Kathy Brown, general manager of Crown Poly in Vernon. "Consumers have the right to make choices and the government is there to help educate them. The choice should be left to the consumers." 

At the same time, the list of places that have already enacted a ban has grown: unincorporated L.A. county, Calabasas, Malibu, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach; San Francisco, Marin, Oakland, up north. Pasadena, our hometown here at the Raymond Street fortress, is considering one. They're growing in popularity as people are seeing bags out in nature, weathering where you wouldn't necessarily expect them to. I saw ancient ones on my recent LA River paddling 'venture.


Sailing the Seas of Science to the Doll Factory

Tabitha Esther has a day job in a science field. She's a geologist for a private company. But over the last year, she's spent her free time designing and building a live-action childrens' show called "Seas of Science," that'll make its debut at the Doll Factory on Temple Street in Filipinotown Los Angeles. Show's happening October 8 & 9. 

Esther is a former Derby Doll, a friend of KPCC's own Alex Cohen, and since she was named most effective blocker for the Dolls in 2008, she comes to play. A graduate of USC's earth sciences department, her masters thesis concerned sicilic acid in the Cascadia Basin

Her blog self description puts it simply: "I am a young lady working in the sciences, but what I would love to do is make a show for kids about science. With music and puppets and sailboats and robots." Four out of four of those things are awesome, and people on Kickstarted seem to have agreed