Thursday, March 9, 2017

Animal Crimes and Cruelty to report this week!

This year will mark 19 years since I set Network For Animals against the Philippine dog meat trade. From Day One I knew it would be tough, but once I’d witnessed the dogs’ agony and torture, I could never give in.

On December 4, 2008, two dog meat traders were driving north on a Manila highway. Unknown to them, my Philippine team leader Mel Alipio had been monitoring them for a month.

Our team forced their truck from the road and discovered 67 dogs crammed into a wooden cage. All were bound at the nose and either dead or dying. The dogs were destined to be cooked and served, illegally, in restaurants for human consumption. This was the illegal trade at its worst.

Today, eight years on from that fateful discovery, Network for Animals has finally succeeded in convicting, fining and imprisoning the traders. Both were convicted under the Philippine Anti-Rabies Act and each served with a one-year prison sentence and fined 335,000 Pesos ($6,400 / £5,300 / €6,400).

This is a landmark victory which will have serious impact on many others still involved in this cruel and illegal trade. It wouldn’t have been possible without your support.

Network for Animals has another 14 active cases against dog meat traders. For every innocent dog tortured in the dog meat trade, it is essential we have the resources to win.

Your support is vital. Please enable our team to continue investigating, raiding and prosecuting dog meat traders, with your donation today. Together we will succeed.

Puppy Burned by Acid Has New Friends and a New Life

Justice for Crocodile Stoned to Death at Zoo
Target: Riadh Mouakhar, Environment Minister of Tunisia

Goal: Order the construction of better barriers to protect Belvedere Zoo’s animals from attacks by visitors.

A crocodile was brutally stoned to death by visitors at the Belvedere Zoo, located in Tunis’ Belvedere Park. Sadly, this attack does not appear to be an isolated incident. According to Amor Ennaifer, one of the zoo’s veterinarians, visitors often throw rocks and litter at the animals, especially the lions and hippos.

The zoo is hiring three additional security guards in response to this attack. While this is a step in the right direction, the zoo is still desperately understaffed, and this slight increase in security will do little to prevent animals from being attacked with projectiles. Ask the zoo to consider installing more effective barriers around its most targeted animals’ enclosures to protect these captive animals from malicious visitors.

White rhino horn: Poachers sneak into French zoo, kill rhino, saw off horn with chainsaw

Demand Justice for Hippo Who Died Under Questionable Circumstances in El Salvador Zoo.
Something fishy went down at the National Zoo of El Salvador recently, and as a result, a great animal lost his life. Now it’s important for authorities to dig into the clues and figure out exactly what occurred, if for no other reason than to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself, causing other animals at the zoo to be affected.

It all seemingly began when Gustavito, the zoo’s 15-year-old hippopotamus, started refusing to eat and spending all of his time underwater. When the zoo’s veterinarians checked in on him, they reportedly found a distressed animal with lacerations on his face and neck.

During a press conference, the zoo’s director Vladen Henríquez said Gustavito had suffered “multiple blows on different parts of the body,” including wounds on his feet and in his mouth.Henríquez asserted that these injuries had been sustained during a vicious and brutal attack that occurred in this hippo’s enclosure one night. Further, he stated that the hippo was assaulted with “blunt and sharp objects” – a statement later repeated by El Salvador’s Ministry of Culture, which also noted bruises and abdominal pain. Henríquez said the wounds may have been caused by an ice pick or knife and that metal pieces and rocks were also found in the enclosure.

Although Gustavito was alive for that initial examination, he died within days. Henríquez explained that Gustavito had been buried “straight away” so that Salvadorians would remember him as he had been before the attack.

Gustavito had been a main attraction at the National Zoo of El Salvador and a favorite among locals. Following his death, those people came out in spades to mourn his memory, hold candle and prayer vigils, and leave flowers at the zoo’s gate. On social media, they posted messages with the hashtag #TodosSomosGustavito, which translates as “We’re all Gustavito.”

But not everyone was so ready to accept the story as it had been reported, feeling it unlikely that someone could so easily attack a healthy 3,000-pound male hippo. Unfortunately, none of the zoo’s CCTV cameras had a good view of Gustavito’s enclosure, so who was to tell.

But then the autopsy came through, which according to Agence France-Presse, revealed not a single puncture wound in his mouth or on his skin to suggest a brutal attack from sharp objects. Instead, state prosecutor Mario Salazar said the forensic report showed that Gustavito had died of a pulmonary haemorrhage, i.e., bleeding from the lung. And Culture Minister Silvia Elena Regalado said that a workers’ union in her department claimed Gustavito had been sick for at least 17 days before his death. These findings suggested improper care, rather than direct brutality inflicted upon the animal.

What’s clear is that the truth has yet to reveal itself in its entirety, and with other animals’ lives potentially at stake, this is not something that should be simply swept under the rug. It’s horrible enough that the world has needlessly lost one member of an endangered species, and we don’t want to see the same thing happen to other animals being kept at the National Zoo of El Salvador.

Sign this petition asking Justice Minister Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde to demand a full investigation and find those responsible for the death of Gustavito.

The Great Bear Show, February 2017

The Great Bear Show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota may label itself an educational show, but animal lovers worldwide know that is furthest from the truth. The circus can seem like nothing but a good time if you’re sitting in the audience. As a viewer, all you see is a perfectly orchestrated performance featuring animals doing amazing tricks – it’s pretty easy to get swept up in the show. But if you take a look behind the scenes at these performances, things aren’t quite so magical.

The Great Bear Show is run by Bob Steele, an exhibitor with a long history of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. According to PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited Steele twice for failing to provide a bear named Barney with adequate veterinary care. This happened after two inspections revealed that the animal was missing large patches of hair and had scratched his skin excessively.
If that wasn’t enough, Steele also carts around an arthritic bear named Andy, who has exhibited a labored gait and is apparently often confined to enclosures with a concrete substrate and no padding. The USDA has also cited Steele for failing to keep the bears under his direct control, not having them on leashes, and failing to use sufficient barriers to separate them from observers. The Great Bear Show is also a threat to the safety of those who view the show. This is unacceptable.

To make matters worse, River’s Edge Convention Center management in St. Cloud, Minnesota, appears to be moving forward with plans to host the show. Please help bears by signing this petition asking that the River’s Edge Convention Center to cancel The Great Bear Show!

Animals may not be the same as us, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated as if they have any less value. You can help these captive bears by signing the petition below and boycotting any establishment that showcases live animals for entertainment. When people stop paying, the abuse can stop.