Dear Friends and Supporters,
We are now half-way through 2015, and we have amazing news to report of our work to save animals!
In early August 2014, SHARK learned that a Catholic parish in Wisconsin held an annual event for the past 44 years in which individual pigs were abused by groups of people in a mud pit as a fundraiser. It was called the St. Patrick Parish Pig Rassle.
At the request of Wisconsin-based Global Conservation Group, SHARK went into action. On August 10, 2014, SHARK surrounded the mud pit with five cameras, catching every angle of the abuse. It was a hot day, but we spent hours in that disgusting environment, filled with disgusting people, and filmed the outrageous abuse of every single pig - three dozen of them.
SHARK’s videos made news around the US and well beyond, and our videos on YouTube gathered almost a quarter of a million views! I personally went to the Green Bay Diocese and offered Bishop David Ricken $10,000 for the church if the pigs were replaced by church officials - including Bishop Ricken.
Our efforts have been successful! St. Patrick Parish has discontinued the cruel “rassle!” From their website: “It is with great regret that we have discontinued the Original Pig Rassle... ”
Thank you all for your help in shutting down this cruel event!
This was a major undercover operation for SHARK. We hid video cameras near bait sites from December 11, 2014 through February 5th of this year. We made such a strong effort because these heinous government deer slaughters are spreading across the United States. They must be exposed, and replaced with nonlethal alternatives.
Forest Preserve District of Will County President Suzanne Hart, angered that we had exposed their cruelty, reacted by threatening to investigate us. Then she said that the killing had to happen because the deer were "starving to death." We countered her fallacious argument by examining the District’s own reports from previous kills that showed, in fact, the deer were not starving at all and were at healthy weights. Then District officials claimed the video wasn’t taken on their land, so we invited the officials and the media into the woods with us to show where we had our cameras set up. The media showed, but the officials did not. Again, they challenged us and we beat them at their own game.
Not all of the commissioners were against us and one even joined us at a press conference. The Forest Preserve District has promised to make changes to their lethal program, but we will fight for nonlethal methods. That shows how important our documentation and efforts are.
On May 16, 2015, SHARK filmed a rodeo that was held as a fundraiser by the Sussex Christian School, a private religious school in Sussex, NJ. Our video exposed how rodeo contestants threw steers to the ground and twisted their necks violently, as well as the brutal treatment of calves just a few months old.
One of the innocent calves that was abused.
We called on the Sussex Christian School to not hold any future rodeos as fundraisers. We are very pleased to announce that on June 29th, 2015, we received an email from the school that said they will not host the rodeo next year. This was great news and we applaud the Sussex Christian School for choosing not to hold another cruel fundraiser!
SHARK received a tip that a cruel Mexican style rodeo was going to be held on May 17, 2015, at the DreamPark equestrian center in Gloucester County, NJ. Our investigator went in undercover, and what he filmed was horrifying. The bulls were kept in miserable conditions in the hot arena. They were denied water, and were foaming from the mouth. One bull was so exhausted that he collapsed on the arena floor after being ridden. Worst of all, an electric prod was used with abandon. One poor bull was repeatedly whipped and electro-shocked. There was a lot of alcohol consumed at the event, including one rodeo worker who was drinking from a beer while operating the dangerous electric prod.
Our video documentation received major media attention. To its credit, the Gloucester County Freeholders, who own the DreamPark, admitted that cruelty had occurred.
The Freeholders shut down the next two planned rodeos and initiated an investigation at our request. Due to the rampant misuse of alcohol, SHARK filed a complaint with the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). On July 6th, we received a response from the ABC that stated:
“I have been in contact with Ms. Ale from the Gloucester County Dream Park, and she advised that the rodeo company will no longer be allowed at that venue. In addition, this Division has denied all other permits that the rodeo company has applied for.”
Having rodeo performances cancelled and denying their ability to sell alcohol (a significant source of income for the cruel rodeo) are major victories!
On June 13, 2015, Maryland based Fish Feel alerted us to a cruel cow nose ray killing contest in Maryland where pregnant rays were shot at point-blank range with arrows then beaten mercilessly with metal bats.
At the weigh station we were told that, as the mothers were dying, they were giving birth, which made this already horrifying event even more tragic. In another conversation it was explained that the mother rays’ birth canals were tied with plastic zip ties in order to keep their babies inside of them, so that the rays would weigh more. We also filmed one dead baby that was attached to its mother by a string. We recorded a bowhunter as he tried to push the dead baby back inside the mother.
SHARK and Fish Feel held a press conference in Maryland. Our video documentation received wide coverage in the media and there was an outpouring of sympathy for the rays, and outrage over their slaughter. One person who was deeply affected was a teenage girl from Maryland who saw our and video set-up a petition for these animals that has already received more than 100,000 signatures!
We are now working with Fish Feel on legislation banning such vile tournaments in Maryland. We will keep you informed as this campaign moves forward.
Please contact Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford and ask them to stop all future ray killing tournaments: Phone: 410-974-3901
￼This was one of the ugliest and most brutal events SHARK has ever filmed. Like so many of SHARK missions, our team traveled hundreds of miles from both Illinois and New Jersey to converge where the slaughter took place. It was an expensive effort but a necessary one for this horror had to be exposed. There were other groups with far more money located much closer, but only SHARK had the team who could do what needed to be done.
The Sussex Christian School rodeo had gone on for four years, but thanks to SHARK there won’t be a fifth. The Wisconsin Pig Rassle continued on for 44 years, supported by the Catholic Church. SHARK brought a full team in, followed up with a relentless campaign, and eight months later it was shut down. In NJ, the underground circuit of extremely cruel Mexican style rodeos was exposed to public scrutiny. Not only have a number of these rodeo performances been shut down, but now they won’t be able to sell alcohol which will effect them to an even greater extent. Nothing like that has ever happened before.
When a New Jersey animal group was not able to get video of a deer shot in the face by a bowhunter, SHARK came in, got the video and her plight into the media. When a Maryland animal group alerted us to a ray killing contest, we used our resources and skills to get the job done right. That video we took may be what saves those pregnant rays from future slaughters. And when we found out about a months long deer kill in Illinois, we went to work, working outside, in the frozen winter to make sure that that cruelty would not go unseen.
How many people do you think it took to do all this work and save all these lives? Hundreds? Dozens? No - It was five people.
Five dedicated people have done more in the first six months of 2015 than most large groups that rake in millions of dollars will do in years, yet SHARK’s dire fiscal situation means that we may only have months more to keep this team together, fighting to save lives.
Bob Barker’s generous donation of one million dollars from 2008 is gone, and we won’t survive as an organization if we don’t get immediate help. Do you like that we’ve done? Do you want even more victories for animals? If so, then SHARK needs your help now.
We don’t send out plea after plea for funds because we focus in on our mission to save animals. That’s why when we do ask for help, as we are now, we hope you will give it the serious consideration it deserves.
Please make a generous donation to SHARK, and please also talk about our work to your friends and family and any celebrities or philanthropists that you may know. We are hungry for more victories for our nonhuman friends, but we absolutely cannot do it without you.
Friends, this truly is it for us. Help us, and the lives we save will be the lives you save.
Geneva IL 60134