Archive for November, 2010

Fantasy or Reality?

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Born Free Foundation, the UK wild animal welfare charity, is shocked to learn that Hamleys, the world-famous London toy shop, is planning an event featuring live penguins and reindeer in store. Our message to Hamleys? Please don’t do it!

The stress of transportation and being surrounded by hoards people in an unnatural environment is one reason to call this stunt off. The totally inappropriate message that penguins and reindeer are little more than ‘living toys’ is another.

Please e-mail Hamleys at or contact the store via their Facebook page and politely urge them to reconsider.

Come on Hamleys – celebrate the Christmas Season with compassion and help keep wildlife in the wild instead!

Blogging off, Will

David versus Goliath?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Although there was nothing put on the table by the UK (who didn’t even turn up) at the Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg (21st-24th November), Germany pledged over $29.6m to tigers, the US Gov $11.15m, WWF $53m, Conservation International $50m (all the above over next 5 years) and there are others. In total, so far, it comes to just over $300m in grants and loans – some of which is recycling of existing pledges.

It’s not nearly enough to balance the estimated 17 TRILLION US dollars (according to Keshav Varma of the World Bank) that will be spent on industry, infrastructure, human development, etc in Tiger Range Countries in the next 10 years.

Expectations in conservation circles are always set low. We talk in millions, tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions a year but that money has to try and balance/counteract/mitigate the truly overwhelming impact of a development budget that is ten thousand times its size.

The fight goes on. The political will of PM Putin and others is hugely important but while the extra resources are welcome, the odds of securing a long-term future for tigers (in fact for nature itself) – at least based on the financial David and Goliath scenario I have outlined above – are still super slim.”

 Blogging off, Will

When are Christmas tidings not Christmas tidings?

Friday, November 19th, 2010

We have been trying to end the keeping and use of wild animals in circuses for nearly 20 years. It all got very close just before the Parliamentary Election when both the Labour Party and the Lib Dems declared their support for a ban.

In July, I met with the new Coalition Minister responsible for these issues, Lord Henley and, together with others, presented him with overwhelming evidence that a ban was both effective, appropriate and legal.

Lord Henley said he needed the summer recess to consider the issue but would decide in the autumn.

On 9th September his fellow Minister, James Paice, in answer to a Parliamentary question from Katy Clarke (who was concerned at the delay in the Government’s response, and who pointed out that reporting in the autumn “really means Christmas”) said “I am not sure that the Honourable Lady is right to refer to Christmas.”

We waited. The animals waited. Then, on 16th November, news!

In answer to another question, this time from the UK’s first Green MP, Caroline Lucas, as to when the Government would make an announcement about wild animals in circuses, Mr Paice again stepped up, “An announcement will be made early in the New Year.”

So, sadly Katy Clarke was wrong. It was not even going to be Christmas. It is going to be in the New Year …… Early in the New Year …… My money is on Easter! Disgraceful. And the animals are still waiting!

Blogging off


p.s. For more information on wild animals in circuses, click here