WSPA News Winter 2012
Welcome to your winter edition of WSPA News, the magazine for World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) supporters.
World Society for the Protection of Animals Winter 2012 | Issue 14 Stopping cruelty to sea turtles Ending the bear bile industry PLUS: Protecting Europeâ€™s dairy cows Main feature How you can help rescue bears Editorial Editorial Protecting animals around the world Christmas appeal: Big Bear Rescue This festive season, WSPA gives you the chance to make a truly meaningful gift – the gift of freedom. WSPA’s Big Bear Rescue appeal asks supporters to make a gift this Christmas that could help rescue bears still held captive in cruel conditions in Romania. Turn to page 8 to read more and use the appeal form enclosed to make your gift. Keep cows on grass WSPA’s Keep Cows on Grass campaign launched on 25 October and is already gathering pace. Read about the campaign and how you can use your power as a consumer to protect the lives of dairy cows in Europe, on page 3. Stop sea turtle farming Following an undercover WSPA investigation, WSPA launched an urgent campaign to stop the cruelty of sea turtle farming in the Cayman Islands. To date, over 80,000 people have added their voice to WSPA’s Stop Sea Turtle Farming campaign. Read more on page 4. Don’t forget animals when you shop! It’s the time of year to start writing your Christmas card list and organising what to buy for your loved ones. WSPA’s Christmas shop is open and is full of stunning cards and gifts – and every order placed helps protect animals. Call 0800 316 9772 to order your WSPA Christmas catalogue or visit wspashop.org.uk to shop securely online. Thank you so much for supporting WSPA in 2012 – your generous compassion helps protect animals from cruelty and suffering and even saves lives. Wishing you a happy festive season, A very warm welcome to your Winter 2012 edition of WSPA News, the magazine for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), that lets you know just how you are helping to protect animals around the world. The year may be coming to an end, but we couldn’t be busier at WSPA as we launch two new important campaigns and a special appeal to help animals in need. Suzi Morris Director, WSPA UK Appeals update Christmas appeal : Big Bear Rescue e to WSPA’s Big giv This Christmas, please urgently need your We al. pe ap e scu Re Bear around 25 bears still e cu support to help us res . Your gift could be the held illegally in Romania bears. Is there a more gift of freedom for these this Christmas? Please meaningful gift to give w your money could ho turn to page 8 to see and suf fering. rescue bears from cruelty CONTENTS 03 Keep Cows on Grass 04 Stop Sea Turtle Farming 06 Victor Watkins: a lifetime caring for bears 08 URGENT APPEAL: Big Bear Rescue 10 Big Bear Rescue undercover investigation 12 Stop the Bear Bile Industry 14 Collars not Cruelty 15 Delightful dog photos 16 Do something amazing for animals Bear bile industry ©©GKU / WSPA supporters who Thank you to all WSPA nds to our STOP the responded in their thousa demanding an end al, Bear Bile Industry appe bile industry. So far to the horror of the bear 7,000 that could help us you’ve raised nearly £12 . fight against this cruelty continue to keep up the won’t stop until this With your support, we d ry is finally stopped an ust ind e terrible, inhuman 12 ge pa to n suf fer. Tur no more bears have to of support. s ge ssa me r you to read Contact WSPA We would love to hear what you think of WSPA News. Please get in touch with us at: WSPA, 222 Grays Inn Road London, WC1X 8HB Telephone: 020 7239 0500 Fax: 020 7239 0654 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.wspa.org.uk Editor: Sarah Hemingway Designer: jkharveydesign.co.uk Printed by Splash Printing Ltd Produced by Mailbird Ltd Unless otherwise stated all images are the copyright of WSPA. WSPA News is published by the UK office (registered charity 1081849) of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) Collars not Crueltyrs raised over 2 rte Wonderful WSPA suppo our Collars not Cruelty to nse £234,500 in respo t dogs from brutal appeal, helping protec se of your support, anti-rabies culls. Becau ended in Bangladesh e mass culls of dogs hav ent that you’ve helped – a fantastic achievem now plan to support make possible. WSPA onesia, the Philippines the governments of Ind lement mass dog imp and parts of Africa, to es. Read more and see vaccination programm s on page 14. supporters’ dog photo Animals in farming Keep Cows on Grass It’s simple, isn’t it? Milk comes from cows that live in fields and graze on grass. Think again. Across Europe, dairy cows are increasingly being confined indoors, in factory-style farms. They may never see the sky, feel the sun, or graze on grass. The reality for these cows is a far cry from the image that springs to mind when we think of where our milk comes from. urge consumers to ask: ‘Where does my milk come from?’ Increasingly, the answer is not from cows in fields but from cows in factories – cows that spend an unnatural life indoors. A lifetime of suffering Indoor-farmed cows are more likely to suffer stress, lameness and painful infections such as mastitis. Right now, when you buy your pint of milk, carton of yogurt or slab of cheese, it may already contain milk from a cow that’s never seen grass. Currently in the UK, around 90 per cent of our cows roam and graze in fields from spring through to autumn, coming indoors to shelter from the winter weather. But that means that around 10 per cent of dairy cows in the UK are confined indoors, all year round. And it could get worse. The Netherlands now keeps a third of its dairy cows behind closed doors. In Denmark, the number of cows kept indoors grew from 16 per cent to a staggering 67 per cent in just ten years. We can’t let this happen in the UK. As a consumer, you have a lot of power. Supermarkets will listen if enough people demand that their milk comes from cows kept on grass. In the UK, the time to act is right now, before we go the way of Denmark. Story so far Since 2010, WSPA supporters have been instrumental in keeping up the fight to keep cows in fields, through supporting Not in my Cuppa, our campaign to protect dairy cows in the UK. Thanks to thousands of WSPA supporters, this campaign was successful in fighting off two planning applications for mega-dairies in the UK. But with another application for a mega-dairy in Wales currently under review, the fight to keep cows on grass continues. This time, we’re expanding our campaign to key European countries. Where does my milk come from? WSPA’s current campaign to Keep Cows on Grass launched with advertising in newspapers and on billboards, revealing the darker side of the dairy industry to consumers in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and the UK. The adverts How you can help protect dairy cows WSPA’s Keep Cows on Grass campaign wants consumers across Europe to ask: Where does my milk come from? Please go to wspa.org.uk/milk to tell WSPA where you buy your milk, so that we can approach your supermarket on your behalf and tell them that you want your milk to come from cows kept on grass. ©©Sam Frost /WSPA Breaking news: a step in the right direction for Welsh cows Following pressure by WSPA supporters, a proposal for a mega-dairy farm to house 1,000 cows indoors has been rejected by the local council in Powys. The Welsh Assembly will make a final decision in March 2013, so in the meantime, keep up to date at notinmycuppa.com WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 3 be empty of cows in Cow-free fields? Our fields could a.org.uk /milk just one decade. Read more at wsp Stop the horror of sea turtle farming Following the launch of WSPA’s urgent campaign to bring an end to sea turtle farming in the Cayman Islands, over 86,000 supporters from over 150 countries across the globe have spoken out against this terrible cruelty. Picture a Caribbean island, with its clear blue waters and idyllic sandy beaches – a sea turtle’s natural home. Picture a sea turtle swimming freely, a solitary animal in the vast blue ocean, diving to great depths, nibbling at sea grass. Imagine that turtle returning to the same beach where she hatched in order to lay her own eggs. This is how life should be for a sea turtle, but sadly, this is not the case for thousands of these endangered animals in the Cayman Islands. Torture for turtles Many sea turtles bear the scars or even open wounds from painful injuries suffered from fighting each other over space and food. Their immune systems are weakened by the stress of living in such terrible conditions at the farm, leaving them at risk from disease. Some are deformed, so small is the gene pool from which they are bred. We saw sea turtles born without eyes, just skin where the sockets should be. We saw one sea turtle with no flippers; other turtles had probably bitten them off. He was unable to swim away – but then, there was no room in his concrete tank for any of the turtles to swim away. But still, he survived. A few months ago, 299 sea turtles died in one go, when staff at the Cayman Turtle Farm failed to notice a leak in one of the tanks. The water drained away and the turtles were left, stacked on top of each other. All died, probably from crushing each other to death. Hellish existence Now imagine this sea turtle crammed into a small, filthy concrete tank, with so many other sea turtles that she must battle for the little space that she has. She cannot dive. She cannot swim away. Stressed, she bites and attacks other sea turtles in a desperate fight to survive in these appalling conditions. Then suddenly, she feels her body lift into the air. But this is no merciful freedom. It’s the hands of a tourist. It’s a miracle that she is not dropped as she desperately flaps her flippers in a panic. The Cayman Turtle Farm This hellish existence is life for around 7,000 green sea turtles held in captivity in the Cayman Turtle Farm, on the island of Grand Cayman in the Caribbean. The farm is the last place on earth to commercially farm sea turtles for turtle meat. ©©main image © Michelle de Villiers Investigation reveals horrifying discoveries When WSPA ran an undercover investigation into the Cayman Turtle Farm, we were horrified by what we saw. WSPA’s Wildlife Campaign Leader Dr Neil D’Cruze said: “I have seen a lot of animal suffering in my years at WSPA, but the conditions endured by the sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Farm are among the worst I have ever witnessed.” WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 Agonising injury: this sea turtle had his flipper bitten off by other sea turtles that had become stressed and aggressive from overcrowding in tanks 4 Animals in the wild Vil ©©Michelle de sea turtles are d suffering : an d se es tr Dis en dropped by sometimes ev rally picked up and ing these natu tourists, caus unsupervised c ress and pani wild animals st There is little appetite for sea turtle meat. Potential visitors have little interest in eating sea turtle meat, with less than one in five saying they would consider it*. liers Natural home: This wild green sea turtle feeds mostly on sea grass, but at the Cayman Turtle Farm, sea turtles are forced to eat an unnnatural diet Threat to wild sea turtles. Releasing sea turtles from disease-ridden tanks into the wild is no way to protect these endangered animals. There is no humane way to farm sea turtles. Forcing them into densely packed tanks and breeding them for meat is a daily torture. ©©Michelle de Villiers Turtles feel pain and distress. Cruelty must stop Our investigation told us all we needed to know – this cruelty must stop. So WSPA has turned to its supporters around the world to ask you to add your voice to the thousands already calling for a stop to sea turtle farming. released has averaged at a pitiful 27 a year. This year the farm have decided to release 150 sea turtles, however WSPA is worried that these sea turtles could spread diseases to the wild sea turtle population. Power to change WSPA spent months trying everything possible to work with the Cayman Turtle Farm owners. We offered our help and advice for how the farm could be turned into a true, leading sea turtle conservation centre. They refused to listen. They refuse to change. But there is power in numbers: the more people like you who demand a stop to sea turtle farming, by signing WSPA’s campaign, the harder we can push for changes to protect sea turtles. Sea turtle meat Reading this, you may find it hard to imagine this hellish place as a tourist attraction, but the main business of the Cayman Turtle Farm is tourism – thousands of dollars mostly spent by international cruise-ship tourists that pass through the Cayman Islands every week. The farm is also the only establishment on the island licensed to trade (within the Cayman Islands) in sea turtle meat. As well as selling sea turtle burgers, steak and stew in its restaurant, it sells sea turtle meat to other restaurants in the Cayman Islands. 86,000 and Sir Paul McCartney have said “Stop!” What do you say? Since WSPA launched our Stop Sea Turtle Farming campaign on 15 October, over 86,000 supporters (at the time of going to print) across the world, including Sir Paul McCartney, have voiced their outrage at this cruelty and signed our petition to Stop Sea Turtle Farming. If you are one of those voices – thank you so much. Please ask your friends and family to do the same by sharing our campaign video with them at stopseaturtlefarm.org. A claim of tradition – denied The farm claims it is traditional to eat sea turtles on the Cayman Islands, but demand from local Caymanians is low – only 700 animals were sold last year. Furthermore, demand is declining – the number of animals sold has halved in the last five years. A claim of conservation – denied The Cayman Turtle Farm also heralds itself as an establishment for the conservation of the sea turtle, a creature at the heart of Caymanian culture. But last year, only 61 sea turtles were released into the ocean and over the last five years, the number * WSPA survey If you’ve yet to say “Stop!” to the Cayman Turtle Farm, please sign today at stopseaturtlefarm.org WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 5 Victor Watkins – a lifetime caring for bears For more than 30 years, WSPA’s senior wildlife advisor Victor Watkins has dedicated his life to protecting animals from cruelty and suffering all over the world. WSPA News caught up with Victor to hear about the very first bear – and the most recent bears in Romania – that he has helped rescue... care for him. “The situation was terrible for all involved,” reflects Victor. “It’s probably one of the most dangerous rescues I’ve been involved with. While we were with Mackenzie, we were shot at and there were rockets whizzing overhead.” Thanks to WSPA supporters’ generosity, Victor and Colonel Stewart arranged for Mackenzie to be transported to a bear sanctuary in Holland, where he still lives today, along with ten other bears. Start of rescue project Mackenzie’s rescue was just the start of what would turn into a lifelong project rescuing bears from cruel captivity. Since then, thanks to Victor, local partner Millions of Friends Association and to WSPA supporters, 60 bears now live in peace at the WSPAfunded Romanian bear sanctuary, and it’s our mission, with your help, to rescue the remaining bears held in illegal captivity and bring them to safety. Victor is determined to see his life’s mission through, until no bear is left to suffer life in cruel, illegal captivity. Bear in a battle zone Going into a war zone to rescue a bear would not be at the top of everyone’s ‘to do’ list, but in 1993, when Victor received a call from United Nations Commander Colonel Bob Stewart in Bosnia, he felt compelled to go and help. Victor travelled by tank with British soldiers to see Mackenzie, a terrified bear living in a cage near a bombed-out restaurant in Bosnia. The soldiers had been going there every day to feed and The gift of sanctuary With the help of WSPA supporters, the first bear sanctuaries were created by WSPA in the early 1990s in Greece and Turkey, where they were used to end the cruel trade in dancing bears in those countries. Since then, many more sanctuaries for rescued bears have been developed around the world. After bears are rescued and start to enjoy their new-found freedom, Victor marvels at their extraordinary transformation. “It never fails to surprise me how resilient and adaptable bears are,” he says. “When released into the sanctuary, most of the rescued bears I’ve seen behave in a much more natural way, despite having suffered so much in their previous lives. They instinctively know how to climb a tree and swim in a pool, even though most of them may never have seen either. They also know when to hibernate, yet in captivity they never get the chance to hibernate at all. Most of the bears dig dens to sleep in during the cold winter months. It’s a wonderful Warzone bear: Mackenzie being fed by British soldiers in Bosnia, whose rescue Victor made happen with supporters’ help in 1993 6 WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 ©©WSPA / Jiri Rezac Animals in the wild Trapped and suffering: Jimy and Jexy before they were rescued and brought to the safety of the WSPA-funded sanctuary experience for them and a privilege for me to witness. I hope WSPA supporters appreciate just what a wonderful thing they have done when they help give a bear its freedom – they should be very proud.” Rescue mission : Victor with Geo rghe, a bear in urgent need of rescue in Romania Jimy and Jexy Jimy and Jexy (see main picture) are the latest residents to start their new lives in the peace and safety of the Romanian sanctuary. Snatched from the wild as tiny cubs, this brother and sister spent their lives, trapped in a cage in a bread factory yard. Because of WSPA supporters, Millions of Friends Association was able to organise the rescue of Jimy and Jexy and now they are living a natural life for the first time at the WSPA-funded sanctuary. It was a special moment when they were released into their new forest home. They wandered through the trees and grass for the first time after 11 long years in a prison. Blessings of the forest Victor describes to WSPA News the life that Jimy and Jexy are now enjoying. “They’ll be using all their senses, sniffing things, tasting things and meeting the other resident bears. They have plenty of space to roam and explore, foraging for food as they would in the wild – they can eat leaves, flowers, roots, berries and acorns – but as each bear needs around 20 kilos of food a day, their diet is supplemented by food given to them by the sanctuary staff. It’s like a country retreat for bears!” Alesha’s visit The Romanian sanctuary has captured the hearts of many celebrities who have visited over the years to help bears. Just after Jimy and Jexy’s rescue, singer, dancer and Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon visited the sanctuary (see picture below) and took part in one of the bear rescues – experiences she found incredibly moving and rewarding. You can read more about her visit to help bears in the next issue of WSPA News (Spring 2013). You are part of the story “The commitment, compassion and generosity of WSPA supporters is behind every rescue over the last 20 years,” says Victor, with Jimy and Jexy now being the most recent bears to benefit from supporters’ kindness. “I am forever grateful to WSPA supporters for being part of every wonderful story I have to tell of each bear rescued from harm. The credit goes to WSPA supporters, that each bear can now live the life they always should have lived. And I am confident that WSPA supporters will be behind helping us rescue the next 25 or so bears – after all, they were the ones who built a home for them, which is now ready and waiting.” Victor’s biggest wish “I can’t wait to see more bears like Jimy and Jexy enjoying life in their new forest home in the bear sanctuary,” Victor hopes. And with your help, we intend to make these dreams a reality. Bear Sanctuary You can read about how the Romanian bear sanctuary was built and the stories of the rescued bears in Victor’s book: Bear Sanctuary, available at amazon.co.uk priced £10.99. A donation from the sales of this book will be used to help rescue and care for bears in the Romanian sanctuary and around the world. WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 7 ©©Petrut Calinescu Celebrity visit: Alesha Dixon meets one of the resident bears at the WSPA-funded Romanian sanctuary Ending illegal bear captivity in Romania for good For many years now, WSPA supporters have made it possible for us to save bears from terrible cruelty all around the world. For the last six years, WSPA have joined forces with the Millions of Friends Association (MFA) in Romania, building a woodland sanctuary for bears and rescuing more than 60 bears from cruel, illegal captivity. Last year, the sanctuary was operating at full capacity – it was full and no more bears could be rescued as a result. But we knew of around 25 bears in Romania, still enduring a terrible existence: caged as tourist attractions or even kept as ‘pets’. So we turned to our bear-loving supporters for help. You did not let us or the bears down. As a result of your amazing compassion and generosity, a final extension to the sanctuary was made possible. of freedom and safety for each bear currently enduring a barren existence in illegal, cruel captivity. Two of these bears are Doru and Georghe. Doru and Georghe’s story Doru, meaning ‘missing you’ (pictured above right) and Georghe, named after Saint George (pictured above left), are two male European brown bears, both thought to be over 15 years old. These big, burly bears have endured a life of neglect in a Romanian zoo, trapped in miserable, barren cage, day after day, with nothing to occupy them. Caged conditions Doru and Georghe’s ‘home’ is a stark cage with metal bars and a concrete floor. When WSPA staff came across Doru, they noticed his paws and claws looked sore and damaged, probably from years of standing on hard concrete. Doru also seems to be suffering from arthritis in his back left hip and leg. It’s no life for a bear – a naturally wild animal, born to climb trees and roam across acres of meadows and woodland. Only a small concrete shack provides shelter for Georghe and Doru from the brutal Romanian winter snow, icy winds and the scorching summer sun. It couldn’t be further from the WSPA-funded sanctuary, with its grassy woodland areas, cosy hibernation dens and big pools for the bears to swim and play in. Walking on soft grass and resting under a shady tree is something that bears like Doru and Georghe have never known. It cannot be an option to just leave them there. We have to rescue Doru and Georghe and finally give them the life they deserve. Extension now complete The exciting news is that the final extension is now built and finished, all thanks to supporters like you. Now the sanctuary has enough space to give a lifelong home to a further 25 bears – bears that would otherwise live out their days in captivity, incarcerated in appalling, illegal conditions. Now, six years on from when the sanctuary was first built, we are on the cusp of ending the cruel, illegal captivity of bears in Romania. All that remains is to rescue these bears in need. And so we must ask for your help once again. Will you help make their rescue and freedom happen? Will you give to WSPA’s Big Bear Rescue appeal today? Big Bear Rescue The extended area of sanctuary is now ready and waiting to give a safe home for rescued bears. So WSPA is launching our Big Bear Rescue appeal to help raise funds that could enable a life 8 WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 Mental anguish Deprived of their freedom and in such a pitifully small cage, bears like Doru and Georghe suffer from terrible mental anguish and ©©Petrut Calin es cu URGENT APPEAL Time is now It’s crucial that we rescue a bear as quickly as possible. Once the bear owners know our intentions, there is a risk that some of them will move their bears to a secret location or even kill them rather than hand them over to freedom. We mustn’t delay, which is why we are asking for your help right now. WSPA supporters have been with us from the very beginning of this journey – from when we opened the Romanian sanctuary and rescued the very first bear. We aren’t about to stop now, and we know you won’t want to either. Please make a gift with real meaning this Christmas. Please donate to WSPA’s Big Bear Rescue appeal. Your gift could be the gift of freedom to Doru, Georghe or any of the other long-suffering bears. Your gift could make history – an end to the illegal, cruel captivity of bears in Romania. The gift of freedom : Cristi, one of the first residents of the WSPA-funded sanctuary, enjoys a life of peace and safety in his woodland home distress. They both show signs of this – continuously pacing back and forth and gnawing at the bars of their cage as if to set themselves free. It’s a sight that we, like you, want consigned to the history books. As a WSPA supporter, you have the power to do just that. Together, we can take the final steps towards ending the illegal, cruel captivity of bears in Romania. You can help by donating to WSPA’s Big Bear Rescue appeal. Please donate to WSPA’s Big Bear Rescue appeal Give the gift of freedom this Christmas. Help rescue a bear. Rescue mission All that remains is to perform the final rescues – of Georghe and Doru and the other bears enduring similar hardship in illegal captivity. But rescuing these bears won’t be easy; owners often put up quite a fight – after all, they are usually making money from their bears’ miserable captivity. During other rescues, the teams have been abused, threatened and once even locked into the cage with a bear – so the rescue missions will be a real challenge. But none of that will deter us. With the commitment and compassion of WSPA supporters spurring us on, we will do everything we possibly can to rescue these bears. Call 0845 0777 500 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) Visit donate.wspa.org.uk/bbrescue Post complete the form below and send with your donation in the envelope provided to: WSPA, FREEPOST SCE6686 Melksham, SN12 6GZ Text to donate £3, text BEAR to 70800 Texts cost £3 plus your standard network rate of which a minimum of £2.96 will be received by WSPA. I want to help rescue bears <insert donation – to take fromBig BBBBear Spring Rescue 2012 edition> Here is myform gift the of: Please print your details clearly below Name: Address: CODE: 12089WMA003 £25 £45 £65 other £ I would like to donate £300 that could rescue a captive bear like Doru Please debit my: Mastercard Card no: Expires: Signature: / Date: Visa CAF Charity Card Amex Postcode: We’d love to keep you updated on how you are protecting animals. If you are happy for us to contact you, please fill in your details below. Telephone: Mobile: Email: OR I enclose a cheque / CAF cheque / postal order, made payable to WSPA WSPA send acknowledgement letters for donations over £5. If you do not want an acknowledgement for your donation please tick here Registered charity no. 1081849 Make your gift worth more with Gift Aid, at no extra cost to you. Please treat all donations I make or have made to WSPA in the past four years as Gift Aid, until further notice *To qualify for Gift Aid you must pay an amount of UK Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax each year, at least equal to the tax that WSPA will reclaim on your donations in the appropriate tax year (currently 25p for every £1 given). Your donation will help WSPA to protect animals from cruelty and suffering, including those featured in this appeal. Animals in the wild Undercover diary Big Bear Rescue investigation An undercover WSPA investigation team went on a mission to Romania to investigate the plight of bears being held in illegal, cruel captivity. Leading the investigation was Liviu Cioineag, manager of the WSPA-funded bear sanctuary. Encountering angry bear owners, police and many bears in urgent need of help, the undercover team reveal their action-packed diary to WSPA News… Day 1: Arrival in Brasov We take the two hour flight to Brasov, Romania. As we fly over stunning mountain landscapes and sweeping forests, you get a real feel for the natural habitat of Romania’s wild bears – and the wide open spaces only highlight how totally cruel it is to keep these roaming creatures in the cramped confines of a cage. It makes us both sad and angry to think that not all bears get to experience this lush forest environment – and all the more determined to rescue those denied their rightful freedom. Day 2: Liviu Cioineag After breakfast we meet Liviu, who manages the WSPAfunded bear sanctuary for rescued bears. Like Victor Watkins, he’s clearly a determined man, whose dedication to helping bears is inspirational. With so many bears in need of rescue from cruel, illegal captivity, we waste no time in setting off on our first investigation – to visit a bear living in a ski resort, nine hours drive away. We’ve heard various rumours about this bear – some say it has been moved, others that it has been sold, worst still that it may have been killed. We can only hope we’re not too late. It takes all day to drive to the ski resort. When we arrive, there’s just enough daylight left for us to follow a sign saying ‘Ursul Baloo’. ‘Ursul’ means ‘bear’ in Romanian. There, in a cage in front of us, we see Baloo – a beautiful, big, European brown bear. While it’s upsetting to see this bear in a cage, we are relieved that he is still alive. It’s almost dark and it seems Baloo hasn’t been fed by his owner today. We give him some of our own food and a kind local man, who feels sorry for Baloo, passes salad leaves and sunflower seeds through the bars, but it’s not nearly enough food for a bear this size. He must be so hungry. We are staying in the ski resort, so we’ll come back and assess him properly tomorrow. Day 3: Baloo the bear We wake up and our first thought is of Baloo. We find him pacing up and down his cage and, unsurprisingly, he seems ravenous. He’s dug down to the concrete foundations of his cage and he regularly sniffs and paws at the gap between the 10 WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 Animals in the wild ground and the door. None of this is normal behaviour for a bear in the wild, but very understandable for a bear trapped inside a cage, day in, day out. As evidence, we take lots of photos and video footage of Liviu talking about Baloo, which supporters can see at: wspa.org.uk/bigbearrescue We then meet Baloo’s owner – who doesn’t know we are from WSPA. He tells us that Baloo is a tourist attraction in the area – and then adds that he used to have two other bears, Pammy and Puppy and that he was very annoyed when WSPA came and took them! We know these bears very well for they are living in the peaceful woodland acres of the sanctuary. Little does he know that, although we couldn’t rescue Baloo before, we didn’t forget about him and with the help of WSPA supporters, we plan to rescue Baloo too and take him to join Pammy and Puppy as soon as we can. : Liviu and Romanian police Fearless in the face of danger farm to confront him venture into the angry bear owner’s about his illegally captive bears The bear farm owner explodes with anger at us. He accuses us of wanting to kill his bears and the sanctuary being land for hunters, which of course is all completely untrue. He threatens Liviu with “a whole world of pain – so much that he’ll wish he was dead.” On that note, we decide it’s too risky for us to try to see any of these bears today, so we leave immediately before the situation gets worse. Liviu knows that if we push things too far, the bears could be moved, sold or killed before we can even begin to rescue them. We don’t want to risk jeopardising any chance to rescue these animals. We won’t give up though – and we know we can rely on WSPA supporters to help make these rescues happen. its tiny cage, with no shelter Rescue me: A bear looks out from we were there from sun or rain. It was 43°C while Day 5: Visit to WSPA-funded sanctuary On our last day, we visit the WSPA-funded bear sanctuary, the haven for rescued bears where we hope, one day soon, to bring as many of the suffering bears we have seen over the last few days as we can. Being here, we imagine them bathing in the pools, foraging in the acres of woodland and taking a nap in the shady dens. A life in stark contrast to the barren existence they endure in their cramped cages. Like WSPA supporters back home, we can’t wait to be able to rescue more bears and bring them to the peace and safety of the sanctuary. Over dinner, we discuss our plans for the next day with Liviu. We are planning to visit a notorious bear owner tomorrow, believed to be holding around seven bears in illegal captivity. Last year, this owner shot at local journalists and a car followed a WSPA photographer, so our visit needs very careful planning. The local Ministry of Environment refuses to come with us, saying they are too scared to visit this man. We still plan to go with Liviu, who seems pretty fearless when it comes to helping bears. Fortunately, the local police and a few Romanian journalists agree to come with us. We don’t sleep too soundly, thinking of the danger we may face tomorrow… Day 4: Angry bear owner It’s Liviu’s birthday today! We wonder how many people would be prepared to spend their birthday confronting an aggressive bear owner. It just shows how committed Liviu is to helping these bears. We meet up with the journalists who tell us we’re very brave, which makes us feel even more nervous! We ask police for bullet-proof vests, but they don’t have any. We’re left with little choice but to go in unprotected, but at least we’re with three policemen. We hop into Liviu’s car and follow the police van. It doesn’t feel real – more like we’re in a film. We enter the farm and come face to face with the bear owner. Frighteningly, he is missing a thumb and the visible scar tissue on his arm revealed he had been attacked by one of his illegally captive bears. It’s a reminder that these animals are wild and should not be pets. Our hearts are beating fast but we stand our ground and don’t let our nerves show. Home for life: Sofia climbs a tree and enjoys the space and freedom of the lush woodland at the WSPA-funded sanctuary Read more, watch videos and see more photos Visit wspa.org.uk/bigbearrescue WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 11 Animals in the wild Undercover interview STOP the Bear Bile Industry The farming of live bears for their body parts and bile, for use in traditional Asian medicine and products such as wine and shampoo, is among the worst forms of animal cruelty in the world. Thousands of Asiatic Black bears spend their entire lives incarcerated on bear farms in Asia, where most have their bile drained through a hole carved into their abdomen. WSPA supporters are deeply committed to stopping the bear bile industry and the intense cruelty that these bears are forced to suffer. supporters will know that we can’t, and won’t, stop here. We must stop this industry at its core, right now. Following the success in Vietnam and South Korea, we are ready to take on the bile industry in China – the biggest in the world. Around 20,000 bears suffer in Chinese bile farms. Ending the industry in China could mark the end of the bear bile industry around the world. It’s an extraordinary possibility, and one that you as a WSPA supporter could help make happen. Pressure means progress Enabled by WSPA supporters, we have been working to end this industry for the last 20 years. It’s been a long haul and the industry is frustratingly slow to change, but important progress has been made. The bile industry is now illegal in Vietnam and significant steps towards a ban have been made in South Korea, where a recent national poll showed that nearly 90 per cent of South Koreans oppose this industry. Time to tackle China’s bile industry These are fantastic achievements that will prevent thousands of future bears from enduring a lifetime of suffering. But WSPA Extreme suffering: bears trapped in the bear bile industry suffer ever y single moment The bile industry claims: The initial operation is safe and painless Bears are content in their enclosure Bile extraction is painless Farming bears for their bile is humane 12 WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 The truth: This operation is dangerous and cruel Bears suffer every single moment Bears are in agony during extraction There is NO humane way to extract bile ©©GKU/WSPA Animals in the wild Going undercover WSPA News got a rare interview with one of our undercover investigators, who has delved into the grim, secretive world of farms in China. We are not able to tell you their name for their personal safety and to protect our campaign. STOP the Bear Bile Industry appeal – your messages of support Following WSPA’s appeal STOP the Bear Bile Industry, we were overwhelmed by your passionate messages calling for a stop to this inhumane and needless practice forever. We had enough messages to fill many pages, so we’ve selected a few for you to read below and you can read the rest at wspa.org.uk/stopbearbile Q: Why did you become involved in protecting bears? A: When I was 15 years old, I decided I wanted to make it my mission in life to protect nature and animals. I think bears are wonderful – they are such amazingly intelligent, adaptable creatures. I started off working to protect polar bears and through my research, I quickly realised that the life of every bear matters. want to STOP the bear telling WSPA why you Please write a message sed reply envelope with the card back in the enclo bile industry. Then send this horrific industry. to help SHUT DOWN s word your use will your gift, and we Q: Could you tell us about the suffering of bears on the bile farms you visited? A: I saw bears kept in cramped and barren cages with little to occupy them. Most of the bears showed signs of extreme stress. They gnawed on the bars of their cage and some had broken teeth because of this. I could tell that the bears were fearful – they would not look at me in the eye. I also heard them cry out and groan – desperately sad sounds that will never leave me. It was a horrible, deeply upsetting place to be, and made me so angry to see such cruelty. I wanted to run from the place but I knew that the intelligence I gathered would help WSPA’s campaign to shut down this vile industry. Name: www.wspa.org.uk/st WS09969 A6 Postcard AW2.indd 2 want to STOP the bear telling WSPA why you Please write a message reply envelope with in the enclosed 1081849 the card back Registered UK Charity: bile industry. Then send this horrific industry. to help SHUT DOWN s word your use will your gift, and we Town: Supporter No.: op 20/09/2012 12:24 Q: How is the bile extracted from the bears? A: In the majority of cases, a bear’s bile will be extracted every day through a tube into a hole carved into their abdomen, probably without anaesthetic. Because the hole is open, it will almost certainly be horribly infected. It’s upsetting, but I must tell you – these animals were clearly in so much pain. You cannot extract bile from bears without them suffering – it is always inhumane. Name: Town: Supporter No.: bear Please write a message telling WSPA why you want to STOP the Registered UK Charity: with bile industry. Then send the card back in the enclosed reply envelope industry. your gift, and we will use your words to help SHUT DOWN this horrific www.wspa.org.uk/st AW2.indd 2 op 1081849 20/09/2012 12:24 WS09969 A6 Postcard Q: Why is it so important to tackle the bear bile industry in China? A: China is at the core of the bear bile industry. It keeps the largest number of bears farmed for their bile and it is the world’s largest consumer of bear bile products. Stopping the industry in China is an ambitious plan, but I truly believe that, with WSPA supporters behind us, we could end the bear bile industry across China and stop this sickening torture within the next five years. Name: www.wspa.org.uk/stop WS09969 A6 Postcard AW2.indd 2 Supporter Town: r to STOP the bea A why you want lope with sage telling WSP enclosed reply enve Please write a mes the in k bac n send the card horrific industry. The this . 1081849 N UK Charity: stry Registered DOW indu T bile ds to help SHU will use your wor your gift, and we No.: 20/09/2012 12:24 Q: What would you say to WSPA UK supporters who want to help stop the bear bile industry? A: You are fantastic – it’s because of you that we can hope that our dream of stopping the bear bile industry might happen. It’s been a long haul – two decades so far – and yet you’ve not given up on WSPA or the bears. Please stick with us for as long as it takes to stop this extremely cruel industry – there is a real chance we will succeed and you could be part of that. I know that supporters in the UK were recently asked to donate to WSPA’s STOP the Bear Bile Industry appeal and if you have yet to give, please do and as generously as you can. You can also let the world know that you abhor the bear bile industry by filling in the message cards sent with that appeal, or by going online at wspa.org.uk/stopbearbile. WSPA won’t quit until this terrible, inhumane industry is finally stopped and I can’t tell you how important you are to that fight. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Name: Town: Suppor ter No. : wspa.or www. Help stop the bear bile industry g.uk/stop y: 1081849 Registered UK Charit 20/09/2012 12:24 Call 0845 0777 500 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) Visit donate.wspa.org.uk/stop Leave your message ard AW2.indd WS09969 A6 Postc 2 Add your message at wspa.org.uk/stopbearbile and tell your friends and family about WSPA’s campaign to stop the bear bile industry. WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 13 Collars not Cruelty Stepping closer to a rabies-free future In many parts of the world, dogs face the threat of being brutally killed – poisoned, gassed, even beaten to death – by those trying, in vain, to rid their community of rabies. Anti-rabies culls are not only cruel, they are also ineffective. Rabies still spreads. Dogs and people alike still die. World Rabies Day, on Friday 28 September 2012, marked the first anniversary of WSPA’s Collars not Cruelty campaign. WSPA News reflects on what has been achieved so far, as well as what the next steps are as we strive to protect dogs from brutal anti-rabies culls. At the heart of the Collars not Cruelty campaign is the aim to prove and convince governments and people around the world that vaccinating dogs, not killing them, is the only effective way to stop the spread of rabies. Every vaccinated dog is given a red collar – a visible symbol to show they have been vaccinated against rabies. in rolling out mass dog vaccinations across the entire country. WSPA-trained teams, helped by vet Dr Dana Karunaratna, have now finished vaccinating dogs in seven areas of the Rangpur region. Saving lives around the world We’re delighted to tell WSPA supporters that mass culls of dogs have ended in Bangladesh. This is real progress, none of which could happen without your wonderful support for WSPA. We aim to build on the successes in Bangladesh and Bali, where hundreds of thousands of dogs were vaccinated against rabies. WSPA will support the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines, where rabies is rife and dog culls have been common, to roll out mass dog vaccination programmes. It’s an exciting time ahead for Collars Not Cruelty, with the potential for many dogs’ lives to be saved, thanks to the generous compassion of WSPA supporters. Keeping up the fight against rabies Dogs protected in Bangladesh Following the success of a pilot vaccination project in Cox’s Bazar, the Bangladeshi Government asked for WSPA’s help Together, WSPA and you have been saving dogs from needless culls in response to rabies. WSPA is proving that compassion works. With your help, we’ll keep going in the fight against rabies, with the hope – and it’s a big hope, but one that could be achieved – of a world where no dog is needlessly killed in response to rabies and this deadly disease is stamped out. Learn more with our Collars not Cruelty infographic What’s an infographic? Information graphics or ‘infographics’, are drawings and diagrams which explain information in a clear and easy way, all in one place – usually on social media or websites. You can see all of WSPA’s infographics about our campaigns protecting animals at: bit.ly/wspapin 14 WSPA NEWS | ISSUE 14 Animals in communities Gallery of your delightful dog photos Thank you to every WSPA supporter who sent in a picture of their beloved pet dog. Big, small, shorthaired, longhaired, cute and fluffy – they’re certainly a varied bunch and we loved reading your stories about your canine family members. We’ve featured a random selection here – who could pick favourites out of so many wonderful dogs? We love them all! Get involved, send us your photos If you’d like to send WSPA a photo of your dog, please email it to email@example.com or post it to: WSPA News UK, WSPA, 222 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8HB. (WSPA will not be able to return any photographs sent by post). See more supporters’ dogs on Pinterest We’ve received so many photographs of your dogs that we’re showcasing the rest of them on Pinterest, the online pinboard site where you can see and share images of the things you love. See more photos on our Pinterest pinboard: pinterest.com/wspauk This is my beautiful Niki Lily, a rescue dog who I adopted when she was just a puppy. She is now 10 years old and is so affectionate. She is my best friend and I love her more than words can say. Pam This is my pet dog Jake, he is not with us anymore but he is always in my heart. Tia My two boys Charles and Eddie, named after the one hit wonder Charles and Eddie. Martyn This is Banjo our rescue dog. He loves trips to the beach, running after his ball, and posing for the camera! He has been our companion for five years and he gives amazing hugs. Andrea This is Colombo, looking happy after getting his chewy toy. He seems to like listening to my voice. I have cared for him ever since he was born. Eva-Maria Here is my favourite photo of my dog Tess. I adopted her when she was 9 years old and sadly she passed away just after her 11th birthday, but I made sure those few years were the best of her life, after the years of neglect she suffered. I miss her a lot. Katie These are my two cross-bearded collie/terriers, Lucie and Minnie, whom I adopted from my local dog rescue centre in Liverpool six years ago. They are my life. Alan My beautiful cocker spaniel Molly is nearly 12 years old. She has given me so much love in these years and I love her dearly. Wendy Rowan (right) and Mijbil (named after Gavin Maxwell’s otter in Ring of Bright Water) are my 7 year old cocker spaniels; sisters who are devoted to each other and to my family, as we are to them. Gill 15 Looking for a challenge? Do something amazing for animals If you like a challenge and you love animals, you’re in the right place. Just pick the challenge that appeals to you most – and let the adventure begin. WSPA’s Romanian Bear Adventure 8–14 September 2013 Walk through the Carpathian Mountains and spend a day with rescued bears. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Jan, Feb, Aug or Sep 2013 Trek up one of the world’s most impressive mountains and go on safari. Borneo Jungle Explorer May or Nov 2013 Adventure through the hot and steamy rainforest of Borneo. Costa Rica Coast to Coast 2–13 Feb 2013 Trek through tropical rainforest, ending with a chance to see whales off the Costa Rican coast. Trekathons May–September 2013 Walk through 26 miles of stunning countryside in the UK or in Europe. Run the London Marathon 21 April 2013 If you’ve secured your own place, make each mile you of run worthwhile by running for WSPA Contact For more information and to book, contact Madge today: Call 0800 316 9772 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) Email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit wspa.org.uk/challenge