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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Animals Suffering from Gulf Oil Leak; TV Show Works to Save Whales; Celebs, Activists Strive to Change Factory Farming
Aired July 5, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, are you as outraged as I am about all the animals drowning in oil in the Gulf? Do you think Uncle Sam should be rounding up our free-roaming wild horses and sticking them into tiny pens? Do you think cows and pigs deserve basic protections from cruelty? Are you upset about whales under attack on the high seas? Well, then, you`ve come to the right place. Tonight, I`ll show you how you can come to the rescue of these innocent, helpless animals.
An ISSUES special investigation: Jane`s fight for animal rights.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight horrifying, heartbreaking scenes emerging out of the Gulf Coast. Now we`re watching birds and sea life die slow, gruesome deaths, drowning literally in oil. Hundreds are being pulled from the Gulf covered in thick, black goo, and those are the ones that are still alive.
America`s heart is breaking looking at these images, watching these poor birds. You can see they`re covered in oil. You can see their labored breathing. It`s as if you can feel the weight of the oil on their feathers. The birds will die if this oil is not removed. Some may die anyway if they`ve ingested the oil.
Volunteers are desperately trying to rescue as many of them as they can, but it`s a slow process. And the birds just keep coming in and coming in to rescue centers, as CNN`s Gary Tuchman found out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just before we leave, another brown pelican brought in, drenched in oil, as bad as any bird these experts have seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a life and death struggle for these poor, completely innocent creatures, and I`m sad to say it`s only going to get worse.
Straight out to Lisa Lange with PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Lisa, thanks for joining us.
LISA LANGE, PETA: Thank you, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to tell you, I can`t keep the images of these birds out of my mind. I want to cry. I look at them, and I just want to cry. It makes me -- it makes me sad, sad to be a human being. Does this catastrophe point to the importance of having respect for animals and nature? And does it prove to us that, when we lose respect for animals and nature, we humans are also hurting ourselves?
LANGE: Yes, I think it does. And you know, now, as you say, we`re just starting to see these images. And it`s appalling that the oil companies and the government inspectors have allowed this to happen.
And for the most part, people feel like you and I do. This is devastating to people who are seeing these photographs. But most of us have no idea that inspections were so lax. As -- as the story comes out and as we hear whether or not BP and government inspectors may be charged with willful fraud, excuse me, dereliction of duty, maybe even bribery, PETA wants to see an additional set of criminal charges, and that`s criminal cruelty to animals.
Millions of animals are dying because of this. And let`s be very clear about this. These animals are not coated in oil, they`re drenched in oil. They cannot eat. They cannot drink. They are sitting there burning in the June sun. And those are the ones we see. Millions and millions will die. Millions will die in the following years. How this affects marine mammals like whales and dolphins is yet -- is yet to be known. This is a catastrophe on a level we`ve not seen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, incomprehensible horror, the illegal slaughter of whales. For more than three decades, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been fighting the illegal slaughter of these gentle giants, saving them from death at the hands of whalers all around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m willing to die to save the whales. If I wasn`t, I wouldn`t be on this ship. It`s just part of the job we`re down here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The war against whaling escalates when the show "Whale Wars" returns to Animal Planet this Friday. It is a hit.
Joining me now, Captain Chuck Swift, star of "Whale Wars."
Thank you so much for joining us. And I`ve got to start asking you about the devastation in the Gulf. I mean, isn`t it ironic you`re fighting to save whales on the other side of the world, and right here at home they are potentially being just wiped out by this monstrous oil spill?
CAPTAIN CHUCK SWIFT, "WHALE WARS": It is ironic, Jane. And I`m concerned about the economic impact right now, but I`m also concerned about the economic impact in the long run. Think about all the estuaries that are going to be hit when the oil starts rolling on shore and all the places where the -- the fish and the shrimp breed. I mean, this is a long term problem that we need to really start thinking about now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got to wake up and hit bottom on our addiction to oil. Captain Paul Watson, one of my heroes. I love this man. He`s part of the crew featured on "Whale Wars," a pioneer when it comes to protecting our natural environment. Here`s why he founded Sea Shepherd. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON, SEA SHEPHERD: I set up the organization to intervene to uphold international conservation regulations when governments refused to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Captain Swift, now that the show, which is a hit, is in season three, what do you hope to accomplish? What is your strategy to save the whales?
SWIFT: Well, our strategy to save the whales is twofold. First we go down and we interrupt the killing in the killing fields. So we`re getting in their way. We`re shutting them down. We`re going to sink them financially.
The second part of that, to be really effective, we have to create public change. We have to make people feel the pain of the whales and try to motivate them to take some kind of action, whatever that means for them. So -- so "Whale Wars" gives us a forum to engage people, engage their consciousness and hopefully change their minds and let people see how our crews made up of individuals from all over the world and who all have a stake in this somehow. We`re trying to make the public understand that they can make a difference.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More death in the Gulf. Horrific, revolting discovery. A boat captain who`s been trying to rescue sea turtles trapped in the toxic ooze says those turtles are being burned alive in BP`s so- called controlled burns of the oil slick. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE ELLIS, BOAT CAPTAIN TRYING TO RESCUE SEA TURTLES: They ran us out of there, and then they shut us down. They would not let us go back in there. And in the meantime, turtles got caught up and just burned. They drag a boom between two shrimp boats, and whatever is caught between the two boats they circle it up and catch it on fire. Once the turtles are in there, they can`t get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Most of these turtles are on the endangered species list. Killing them is against the law. So will BP or anybody be held accountable for these horrific deaths?
ISSUES made a slew of calls, starting with Uncle Sam. I was completely stunned when a U.S. government public affairs guy replied to our inquiries with a press release issued by BP, claiming the company will donate millions to a wildlife foundation. To me that just proves that these private companies run the government agencies that are supposed to be in charge of them.
Nobody from a government agency expressed horror or alarm that turtles are being burned alive.
Straight out to charter boat Captain Al Walker.
Captain Al, you`ve been on the front lines of the animal rescue effort. What do you know about these reports that turtles are being burned alive by BP?
CAPTAIN AL WALKER, CHARTER BOAT CAPTAIN: Well, I can say that the source is a very -- a very good source. Basically, when they`re out there trapped in this oil to do their controlled burn, you`re putting a couple of footballs of oil together, and you`re just lighting it on fire.
And I don`t know if the guys that are doing it know the turtles are in there or if they do know they`re in there, they`re making a great mistake. These Camp -- these Camp Ridley Turtles are one of the rarest turtles on earth, if not the rarest. Louisiana is fortunate -- fortunate enough to have an abundant, abundant source of these turtles. And they need to be protected.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the outrage over burning turtles alive is headed to court. Environmental groups have just filed a lawsuit against BP to make it stop burning these innocent and endangered sea turtles alive. We will keep you posted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, stories of horrific animal cruelty as human beings make a push for major change. The controversy: conditions in America`s factory farms.
Pigs, which have a higher I.Q. than dogs, kept in gestation crates just slightly larger than the size of their bodies, unable to turn around. Baby boy veal calves kept in darkened creates and chained by the neck. Chickens stuck into battery cages where they can`t spread their wings and can barely move.
The movement to ban these industry practices has garnered support from a list of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Hilary Duff, Alicia Silverstone, and Paul McCartney. Their support of California`s Prop 2, which phases out these practices in California, passed with a whopping 62 percent of the vote.
The battleground now moves to the state of Ohio. That`s where the Humane Society of the United States is fighting to put an end to what it calls, quote, "severe and cruel confinement," end quote. The big push: a ballot initiative to ban those tiny cages. Ohio`s animal supporters have taken to the streets. They`re collecting signatures.
HBO`s expose, "Death on a Factory Farm," gave the public an inside look at rarely seen practices at an Ohio hog farm. Critics claim the abuse included the so-called euthanasia of baby piglets by slamming them against walls, and the hanging of hogs.
We cannot show you the worst of it. But we can tell you the undercover video sparked a court case where the farm`s owner was ultimately acquitted of animal cruelty charges. Why? Because there are no clear laws on the books to protect these farm animals.
I am joined by the man who was the undercover investigators for that HBO film. We are calling him "Pete" to protect his identity. Plus we are delighted to welcome Charlotte Ross, TV and movie star and activist.
Hey, how are you doing, Charlotte?
CHARLOTTE ROSE, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: Great.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to show you a little clip of her work in "Montana Sky." And she is also in "Glee." She`s been on a slew of TV shows. You recognize her.
We begin with CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
Lisa, what is it that they hope to accomplish in Ohio?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Put simply, just more humane practices, Jane. I mean, many of us know that every time somebody gets a video or a camera inside these factory farms, they come out with pictures of horrendous abuse.
We`re just making -- made a wrong turn in this culture, where animals are confined so tightly that their lives are miserable. Many of them never see sunlight. They stand in their own urine, in feces. They can`t turn around. They can`t spread their legs. I mean, think of your family dog living in that kind of condition for just one hour or one day. And millions of animals live this way.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Food sector battle. That`s what we`re seeing now. Shocking undercover video shot in an egg factory farm shows chickens crammed into cages, unable to spread their wings, barely able to move. The Humane Society claims these are industry standard practices.
But many corporations are starting to change. Wendy`s, Sonic Corporation and the parent company of IHOP and Applebee`s have all reportedly started shifting to cage-free eggs. Wal-Mart has also reportedly gone cage-free.
So I want to ask Pete, the undercover animal abuse investigator who has done a lot of this video work. The sea change in attitude, is it a result of a slew of undercover investigations like the one you`ve done, Pete, that show what is going on behind the closed doors?
"PETE", UNDERCOVER ANIMAL ABUSE INVESTIGATOR: I think it helps. I think it helps show exactly what is happening. Because things look one way when someone knows the camera is there but looks another way when they don`t know a camera is there.
I`ve worked at three different egg farms, and I`ve worked at a hog farm in Ohio. I`ve seen gestation crates where pigs cannot move an inch side to side or front to back for four months at a time. It`s common sense to do away with practices like these.
What I also saw at this hog farm in Ohio was crippled sows that had broken legs and backs be dragged out, dumped on the ground, and then were hanged by chains from front loaders. Now, the judge ultimately decided it was not illegal to strangle animals to death in that manner to euthanize them.
So there`s a precedent set now that in Ohio you can legally strangle animals to death. This legislation, if it passes, if the voters allow it to pass, will make it illegal to strangle animals to death.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Charlotte Ross, why did you decide to involved in this issue and lend your face to this campaign?
ROSS: Well, I think most people love animals, innately. And I think it`s more of an ignorance thing. I think that if everybody saw what this man is uncovering, I think it would be a no-brainer, and I think that this would have been passed a long time ago.
It`s inhumane. It`s extraordinary to think that somebody could hang up some -- some baby pigs and watch them writhe and die a slow death and say that that`s OK and there`s no justification for it. I think we just want them to be killed humanely and be able to turn around in their brief lives.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news. A huge development out of Ohio. On that very day ballot signatures were supposed to be handed in, a phenomenal compromise.
Gene Baur, president and CEO of Farm Sanctuary, played a critical role in this landmark agreement.
Gene, this is a major victory for the animal welfare movement in Ohio, all because the agribusiness is desperate to avoid an animal welfare ballot initiative. Tell us what just happened.
GENE BAUR, PRESIDENT/CEO, FARM SANCTUARY (VIA PHONE): Well, agribusiness leaders came to the table and agreed that certain practices in Ohio should be phased out. And these practices involve confining animals in cages and crates so tightly that they can`t turn around or even stretch their limbs. So we`re very happy that agribusiness people in Ohio agreed that these practices need to be changed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it was all because you were about to hand in the signatures and put this very issue on the ballot and let the voters decide. Right?
BAUR: Yes, that`s right. Ohioans for Humane Farms worked with volunteers around the state to collect around half a million signatures to put this measure on the ballot. The Humane Society was out there and negotiated with the head of the Farm Bureau with the help of the governor of Ohio. And that`s essentially how the deal was done today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this evolution? We`ve only got a couple of seconds.
BAUR: This is very positive. It shows that, when people come together, that you can go forward in a way that everybody can live with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We can make a difference, you and me and the people at home. We can make things better for the animals. Gene, from Farm Sanctuary, thank you so much.
BAUR: Absolutely. Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Heart-wrenching, hideous abuse tonight caught on tape at an Ohio dairy farm. We warn you this video is sickening.
Mercy for Animals took their hidden cameras inside the Conklin Dairy Farm in Plain City, Ohio. Workers could be seen kicking, punching and torturing cows and young calves. This isn`t the worst of it. Much of this video is really so bad we cannot show it to you on television. Workers body-slamming calves to the ground, kicking downed cows, punching cows in the udders, bragging about torturing and killing animals.
Straight out to my guest, Nathan Runkle from Mercy for Animals, which conducted the investigation, as well as Gene Baur, the head of Farm Sanctuary.
Nathan, what`s your reaction to news that one worker at the Conklin Dairy Farm, 25-year-old Billy Joe Gregg, has now been arrested on 12 counts of animal cruelty as a result of your investigation and is going to be arraigned tomorrow?
NATHAN RUNKLE, MERCY FOR ANIMALS: We commend local law enforcement for taking swift and decisive action to arrest this perpetrator of just some of the most egregious and sadistic and malicious animal cruelty that I`ve ever witnessed. This is an individual that seemed to be getting joy out of stabbing animals with pitchforks, with throwing them against walls, bashing steel pipes over their heads. This is absolutely unacceptable abuse. And we hope that this arrest sends a strong message to the dairy industry that animal abuse won`t be tolerated.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now again, another warning. More disturbing video of the animal abuse caught on tape at the Conklin Dairy in Ohio. Obviously, these animals cannot defend themselves.
The Conklin Dairy Farm issued a statement saying they do not condone such behavior. They fired one worker seen on the video committing the abuse. They`re conducting their own internal investigation, cooperating with authorities.
Mercy for Animals, you`ve done a number of these hidden camera investigations. In your opinion is animal abuse common or an aberration on the modern family farm, Nathan?
RUNKLE: Unfortunately, out of every investigation that we`ve done, every time we send investigators into factory farms or slaughterhouses, they emerge with shocking evidence of animal cruelty, neglect and abuse, which leads us to believe that this is not a case of simply bad apples but an industry that has gone totally awry.
These are animals that are thinking, feeling individuals, but they`re treated as mere commodities and production units on these farms. And abuse runs rampant.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, monkeys in Puerto Rico desperately need our help. What you can do to keep the Island of Enchantment from becoming hell on earth for monkeys.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY BADANO, PUERTO RICAN BAR ASSOCIATION: Many on the island, including ourselves, found out that this is being built in the southern part of the area in a coastal town because we saw it on your show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Many people in Puerto Rico didn`t know about a foreign company`s plans to build a massive facility on their island to breed thousands of lab monkeys until we broke the story here on ISSUES.
In December, a judge ordered an injunction to stop the construction of that Bioculture facility after a group of local residents and PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, filed a lawsuit.
Just to give you an idea, here`s a look at other primates in the United States held in other unassociated facilities as they are used for testing. The company, which reportedly ships monkeys around the world for laboratory testing, wants to open a new facility in Puerto Rico to breed and sell thousands of monkeys for experimentation.
Joining me now, Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of PETA. We also have on the phone Daniel Gallan, Puerto Rico`s secretary of natural resources. We begin with Ingrid.
Ingrid, our sources say Bioculture could appeal the judge`s injunction possibly as soon as today. Why do you think such a facility is bad for Puerto Rico, which is known as the Island of Enchantment?
INGRID NEWKIRK, PRESIDENT/CO-FOUNDER, PETA: Well, Jane, thank you. You have put this story on the map. And the people of Puerto Rico thank you and everybody who is kind to animals.
I think that the big government in Puerto Rico just saw dollar signs instead of kindness. They have decided to try to build this. And I think it`s illegal. And that judge who made the injunction stick, who said stop construction understood that.
This lab had the gall to pretend that the primates were agriculture animals. That`s how low that they went and how conniving they`ve been. And the people of Puerto Rico are learning about it. They`ve been denied a public hearing. They`re upset.
And I do think this greedy lab, like the greedy banks, will come in and will try to just bulldoze their way, literally and figuratively, to build this lab. Everybody is alert now, and we`re out to stop them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve tried to reach out to Bioculture without success. They have a standing invitation to come on the show and give their side.
Here`s another angle to the story. More than 600 monkeys were just slaughtered in Puerto Rico in the past few weeks. Officials complain they were destroying crops. These monkeys are reportedly descendants of primates who escaped from research facilities in Puerto Rico in the `60s and the `70s.
Now, we have Daniel Gallan, Puerto Rico`s secretary of natural resources, on the phone with us.
Thank you for joining us, sir. How many monkeys did you kill and how did you kill them?
DANIEL GALLAN, PUERTO RICO SECRETARY OF NATURAL RESOURCES (via phone): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and we have sent to other around the states, 230, 240.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: When you say euthanize, how did you kill them? Because I talked to you on the phone. You said you shot most of them, like 500 and something of them. That`s not euthanasia.
GALLAN: We went through a whole process of analysis to work with this population in Puerto Rico.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You shot them. That`s not euthanasia according to the definition, sir.
GALLAN: That`s the term the wildlife service used.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re also saying that we`re going to breed monkeys for lab testing and that`s agriculture. I see words being used in a way that they weren`t intended. Lab monkeys aren`t agricultural monkeys, and euthanasia isn`t shooting.
Thank you very much, Mr. Gallan and Ingrid.
And now this disturbing update. Unfortunately, the injunction was overturned, and construction on the Bioculture facility in Puerto Rico continues. This as the legal battles play out.
But you can still take action. Please call the governor of Puerto Rico. The number is on your screen. And tell him not to turn the Island of Enchantment into a living hell for primates, our evolutionary cousins.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight: outrage after dozens of horses allegedly die in a U.S. government roundup. Critics say 77 wild horses and counting have died along with 39 little foals that were allegedly miscarried. The federal government is under fire tonight for allegedly mistreating thousands of beautiful majestic wild horses in an aggressive roundup.
The government sends low-flying helicopters to chase the horses into corrals and then takes them from the plains of the American west to federal holding pens. The government claims it`s to save the horses from starvation. Critics claim the real motive is to clear the land for cattle grazing. Critics also say the horses are brutally traumatized.
As we speak tonight, more than 36,000 wild horses are stuck in U.S. government holding pens; that number given to ISSUES not by the protesters but by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. When we asked them why these wild animals were being forcibly removed from their natural habitat, in response they sent us a link to their, quote, "myths and facts" web page where they deny the claim about the cattle ranchers.
Now, today in Washington, D.C., just hours ago, there was a huge protest at the White House against these roundups. Among the tens of thousands of opponents are celebrities like Grammy award-winning singer Sheryl Crow and country music legend Willie Nelson.
Cheryl and Willie are just two of the big names behind this movement, and another star joins me tonight, award-winning actress Wendy Malick. Wendy is a wild horse advocate and we all remember her as a super- sassy, sexy, age-obsessed ex-model in the hilarious sitcom "Just Shoot Me"; plus, we also have Ginger Kathrens, volunteer executive director of the Cloud Foundation; as well as Madeleine Pickens, philanthropist and founder of SaveAmericasMustangs.org.
We begin with Lisa Bloom, CNN legal analyst. Lisa, why so much outrage?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Jane, these are beautiful wild animals, as you say. What is the excuse for saving them? Saving them from starvation? Really? Because the horses seem to be very healthy. The ones who have died from the helicopters chasing them until they ran themselves to death tend to be pregnant mares and young foals.
These animals are reproducing. They are healthy. And the real reason, as you say, is that we`re clearing the -- the ground, the land, to provide more land resources for cattle ranching.
In other words, this is yet another sad consequence of the meat industry. We already know it`s the number-one contributor to climate change. It`s a terribly cruel industry. It`s damaging to human health. And now it`s killing wildlife. This has got to stop.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to say if Interior Secretary Salazar wants to come on our show and tell his side of the story, he`s invited. He has an open invitation anytime. But as we say, we called the government and what we got was "check out our Web site".
Critics claim dozens of horses have died during these roundups. A roundup lasting more than a month reportedly took place in the Calico Mountains (ph) north of Reno, Nevada. Critics say more than 70 horses died and 40 female horses aborted their late-term foals.
Look at that chopper, how low it is, chasing those horses.
Two foals allegedly had their hooves separated from the bone after choppers ran them for miles over rocky ground. Secretary Salazar, again, has an open invitation to appear on this program, but we have been asking the government why and what they say is, "Save from starvation".
Critics say in the roundups, the horses are traumatized and terrorized. Wendy Malick, why did you decide to get involved in this movement?
WENDY MALICK, ACTRESS & WILD HORSE ADVOCATE: Well, I am a horse owner. I have two horses in California and about a year and a half ago, Deanne Stillman sent me her book "Mustang" and told me about the roundups, which I was unaware of. And I think that once people are made aware of what`s going on with the Department of the Interior, they will be as horrified as I was.
When you look around at these magnificent animals, you realize they`re not on the verge of starvation. They are healthy, viable herds and they`re the last of our American icons that symbolize what this country was founded on. They were the ones we road in on, the ones who helped us settle this land, fight our wars. They deserve a place on our public lands.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Madeleine Pickens, you are a philanthropist. You have spent upwards of $1 million trying to create a special sanctuary for these horses. You are willing to spend millions more. What exactly are you proposing to the government?
MADELEINE PICKENS, FOUNDER, SAVINGAMERICASMUSTANGS.ORG: There`s an issue right now. The government has gathered so many horses that they don`t have enough room for them. And they have them stuffed in these short-term holding pens. They`re butt-to-butt. There`s no trees, no shade. And they need a place to go. And the government has not come up with a solution.
So I said, let me create an eco sanctuary. I will buy the land. And we will take the horses there and we will create an eco sanctuary so that you -- parents can take their families there. Schools, girl scouts.
Let`s take back our American heritage. This is our history. This is John Wayne`s world. I mean, it was -- what a fabulous era that we`ve had and we`re abandoning it. We`re letting it go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now this major development to tell you about. Since our government apparently is not listening, the fantastic animal rights group "In Defense of Animals" is suing, they say the wild horse roundups constructed by the Bureau of Land Management are illegal. But what if "In Defense of Animals" isn`t victorious? These majestic animals will be forced to live in zoo-like conditions. I urge you to get involved.
We`ll keep you posted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But first, breaking news on the high seas: the war over whaling erupts into a giant game of battleship. A small boat patrolling the waters to defend marine life is smashed in half. And game show legend, Bob Barker, is at the center of this breaking news story. Bob`s boat was on hand to rescue the entire crew, save their lives, and they caught the whole thing on tape.
Now, Bob generously donated $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Organization towards this boat you`re looking at, and towards fighting the horrific murder of whales.
I am so delighted and honored to welcome the one and only Bob Barker to our show ISSUES.
Bob, hats off to you for fighting for our animals and we`re so glad to have you here, sir. What happened yesterday?
BOB BARKER, FORMER HOST, "THE PRICE IS RIGHT": Well, thank you very much, Jane. It is a pleasure to be with you.
And as I understand it, the Sea Shepherd boat was at rest. It was not actually moving. And the Japanese ship apparently, intentionally, struck it, rammed it, and almost -- just almost cut it in two. And the six crew members were thrown into the sea. And they did a mayday and the Japanese ignored that.
They just left them there, and this water, of course, was in the Antarctic, it is freezingly cold, and they were not going to be able to survive for very long. But the new ship, the "Bob Barker", was nearby and the "Bob Barker" went in and they picked them up.
And five of them are fine. One may have a couple of cracked ribs, but they were very fortunate to get out of that water as quickly as they did.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this wild video. I mean, these people - - ok, they`re saying they didn`t attack the little boat. Well, we`ve got some video to show you. The Institution of the Cetacean Research, which is a Japanese government-linked body that carries out this whale hunts under research, provided this video, they say, of the collision.
As you can see, it is filmed from the whaler`s ship. Both sides agree there was a collision. But a spokesman for that institute says the video shows the Sea Shepherd`s speedboat moving towards their ship.
However, we`ve got some other video shot from farther away that tells a different story. Because it appears -- take a look at this, ok -- it appears that the whalers swerved toward the smaller boat, the anti- whaling boat, and it appears -- there it is, look at them, headed right toward that little anti-whaling speedboat.
Now, Bob, I think it looks right there like it was intentionally sideswiped by that big Japanese vessel. I don`t have any doubt about that. You see it coming right at them.
BARKER: Now, this is the first time I`ve seen this particular shot. And this is the one that I was told about. I was told that they had one shot that would convince you that the Japanese deliberately rammed the other boat.
Now, those earlier shots might not have -- they were taken before the ramming even took place, probably.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. I mean, that was -- yes, it`s funny how, you know, they wanted to use the video to prove one thing, but this video, it seems very clear to me that that big Japanese vessel went after that little boat.
Now, mind you, there are six human beings on board. They happen to be against whaling, but the Japanese "research" vessel was so pro- whaling, I guess they were willing to risk the lives and actually endanger the lives of six human beings so they could carry out this slaughter of animals.
To me, that is absolutely astounding. And it says everything you need to know about their value system, Bob.
BARKER: It certainly does.
And it is interesting that this happened almost immediately upon site. It happened in the first or second day that they were on the scene.
Now, this goes on -- this campaign goes on for weeks, and of course, the degree of irritation among the Japanese increases with each passing day.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, the whole world -- yes the whole world is against this, except for the Japanese and two other countries, I think it`s Norway and Iceland. I mean, everybody else in the world is saying, "Stop this slaughter."
BARKER: That`s right. Now, I started to say that the degree of irritation will increase and it might happen later in the campaign. But for it to happen immediately, something as violent as this is really disturbing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Last couple of seconds Bob, do you think that we can stop it together?
BARKER: Absolutely, Paul said that he thought that it is possible to bankrupt these whalers, and once that`s done, the Norwegians do some whaling, but otherwise, there are no nations doing it. And if we can bring it to a close this season, it will be just absolutely wonderful.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: From your mouth to God`s ear, let`s hope it happens.
Bob Barker, I want to thank you so much for everything you do for the animals and thanks for being on.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. --
PIERCE BROSNAN, ACTOR & WHALE ACTIVIST: The name is bond. James Bond.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pierce Brosnan has starred in a slew of blockbuster films. His latest project, the voice behind an astounding film "Disney`s Oceans".
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BROSNAN: When it comes to a more practical matter like using tools, the sea otter is front and center. They use rocks to crack open shells to gather the tender morsel inside while soaking up the rays in Monterey Bay.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Oceans" premiers tomorrow, which is Earth Day. But here is the tragic irony: also scheduled for release on "Earth Day" a controversial new deal on international whale hunting. The U.S. government has taken the lead on this agreement and claims it will prevent thousands of whales from being hunted and killed.
But many critics, including Pierce Brosnan call it a sellout that will actually increase and legalize whaling on the promise that sometime in the distant future all whaling will end.
Joining me now: actor and whale activist Pierce Brosnan; along with award winning marine biologists Dr. Sylvia Earl.
Pierce, I`m so glad to have you on ISSUES tonight. Give us your thought on this announcement that they are going to do this on Earth Day.
BROSNAN: Well, this is a shocking blow to anybody who cares for the oceans or the well-being of the whales. And they are considering lifting this moratorium which has been in place since 1986.
For me, whales are more valuable alive than dead. And I think anybody who sees this film "Oceans" will be enthralled and just very angry at the thought that we could do such a thing to these magnificent creatures once more.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And here is my big issue, what can viewers do. Animal advocates are putting out alerts they say join over 100,000 people who have called the White House already. You can also go to this Web site or contact your Congressperson.
Pierce, I`m so glad to have you here. If you could say one thing to President Obama about the whale issue, what would you tell him?
BROSNAN: Don`t let this happen. I think it`s a -- it`s not a good thing to be doing to these creatures. I feel that this moratorium has been in place for many years now and it should stay in place.
I think if they -- if they set these nations free with the slaughter of the whales, I think it will be a free-for-all for every other nation, too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pierce`s outrage is shared by Captain Paul Watson, star of the hit show "Whale Wars" on Animal Planet. One of Paul`s vessels, the Sea Shepherd was attacked and sunk by Japanese sailors in the Antarctic just last January. Paul tells ISSUES, "I don`t understand how they intend to save whales by legalizing whaling. It`s only going to open the flood gates for other countries to resume whaling", end quote.
Pierce, what do you make of U.S. officials announcing this on, of all things, Earth Day?
BROSNAN: It`s a real body blow to everybody in the environmental movement and people who are concerned and -- for the welfare of these great creatures. And I think if anyone sees the film "Oceans" they will come away with a renewed hope and spirit for our oceans.
And for this to come on such a day is just a mighty blow. I mean, whales are more valuable alive than dead. And to these countries involved like Japan, Norway and Iceland, they have huge revenue from tourism.
So to go out now and to commit the slaughter against these creatures is just mindless.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, last year, Pierce, the Obama administration pledged to keep the ban on commercial whaling intact, calling it a necessary conservation measure adding lethal scientific whaling is unnecessary.
Critics say this apparent about face is another example of the Obama`s administration`s hostile position on animal welfare. ISSUES by the way, has also covered the Bureau of Land and Management wild horse roundup that`s being aggressively pursued by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Now, I`m wondering, Pierce, why are we seeing all this activity that animal organizations are up in arms over under the Obama administration? Weren`t they supposed to be friends of the animals?
BROSNAN: I thought so. I mean, I voted for the man, and I am very shocked.
I mean, this news came to me the other day as we were presenting the film "Oceans". And my wife Keely and I, and our other friends from I-4 (ph) are quite -- quite taken aback by these proceedings.
They say it`s -- it`s going to help the whales, but I don`t see how it possibly could. I mean, there`s no moral justification for killing whales.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The international community recently came together and let out a resounding no when it came to overturning the moratorium on whaling.
So what does this mean? Hopefully fewer whales will be killed. But sadly it doesn`t mean a lot more whales will be saved.
That`s why actor Pierce Brosnan is making a passionate appeal to President Obama in a new PSA from SavetheWhalesNow.org
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BROSNAN: You promised to end illegal whaling and we applauded your leadership. With recent reports we feel your administration supports an international proposal which gives Japan, Iceland and Norway a license to kill whales.
Please, Mr. President, honor your promise. Do not support this international whaling commission proposal. Together we can end whaling.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember, you can help save the whales, too. Go to ifaw.org/whales. Find out how.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s "Spotlight", a fabulous mercy mission for four rescued circus lions. These magnificent animals were freed from their pitiful, abusive existence in a Bolivian circus last month.
Bolivia recently did what every country should do -- banned the use of animals in circuses. These majestic animals will now live out their lives at the amazing Paws Sanctuary in northern California.
Our guest tonight: CSI star, Jorja Fox, who was right there for their dramatic arrival.
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JORJA FOX, ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Lion number one -- come on down.
TIM PHILLIPS, ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL: These lions have lived their life in a tiny, rusting, disgusting cage on the back of a lorry. Tomorrow they`re going to feel the wind blow in their face. They`re going to feel grass beneath their feet. They`re going to be as lions, possibly for the first real time in their lives.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so thrilled to welcome actress Jorja Fox, ambassador for Animal Defenders International. Jorja great to see you.
Tell us how you felt inside watching these majestic animals take their very first steps into freedom.
FOX: Well, Jane, thanks for having me.
It was sheer magic. It was such a beautiful moment. You know, these kinds of thing don`t happen very often. I wish that I can say that they did. But to see animals that have been in cages their entire lives, large, endangered, land mammals, take to grass is a spectacular thing to see.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, while in the circus, two of the rescued lions had their fangs cut out so the trainers could handle them. Another had her claws ripped out one by one without any anesthesia. You know it`s time for this kind of institutionalized animal torture to stop.
Check this out.
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PHILLIPS: There`s a welfare problem at the moment, but that`s in the circuses. If we shut them we can give these animals a great life. So the world is watching.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jorja, what do people need to know about the scores of animals who are still suffering in the captivity of zoos and circuses all around the world?
FOX: Well, I think there`s several things that people should know. Number one, most of these animals are on the endangered species list or on the vulnerable list. We have so few resources left on this planet. And I really think it`s our responsibility to care for the one that we have.
The unfortunate truth about zoos and circuses is that they`re cruel, they`re arcane, they are not suitable places for animals, especially large wild animals. I think we`ve evolved beyond them. I think there`s a lot of people out there who realize in the same way that we`ve evolved beyond asbestos and lead paint that we`re now at a place in our evolution where we can say, you know what, this is not a compassionate thing, this is not a smart thing. It`s a waste of resources and it`s a waste of these animals` lives.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, when you saw these animals go from their cages and actually step on grass for the very first time, what do you think they were thinking? What kind of a transformation did they experience?
FOX: Well, these are animals that really had spent most of their lives in small pens on the back of a truck. Even though they were exhausted -- it was a 14-hour journey -- they weren`t fed during the journey. They did have access to water.
When they finally reached the sanctuary in a very rural, remote area in California, they leapt. They leapt like you would see small puppies leaping outside in the park somewhere.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so happy and thank you so much. And the animals thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks for watching "Jane Fights for Animal Rights". You can fight for the animals, too. And you`re watching ISSUES.