Archive for May, 2014

The future of english circuses

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Dear Friends of Wildlife

It has taken a long time but we are about to win.

In 1996/97 Born Free participated in a Government Committee assessing the use of animals  in circuses.  Despite the work, and a decision to focus only on wild animals (so excluding domestic species such as horses and dogs) it did not result in and end to the use of animals in this way.

In 2004/06, we participated in a second Committee addressing the same issue.

In 2015, the Government has pledged to introduce legislation in The Queen’s Speech ending the use of wild animals in circuses in England.

What are the challenges that we have had to overcome?

The circus industry, staring into the abyss, wanted ‘better regulation’.  Some parliamentarians wanted a ban for certain species of wild animal but not others.  Thank goodness the Government decided to ban the use of all wild animals on ethical grounds.

This outstanding achievement has been as a result of the hard work of representatives from Born Free, the RSPCA, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, the BVA and many other groups.

It is also a tribute to the determination of many members of the public, wildlife and animal welfare professionals, non-government organisations and parliamentarians who have stood up to be counted on this issue.

2015 marks a new chapter in society’s relationship with captive wild animals and will bring to an end, a form of wildlife exploitation that can no longer count on the support of the public at large.

However, what of the animals?  I suspect that most of these animal acts (and there are only a handful) will depart for Europe where regulations are weak or non-existent.  If any remain, the RSPCA and  Born Free have pledged to assist DEFRA in finding them suitable lifetime care facilities for the rest of their lives.

As to the future, I would like to hear, loud and clear, that the other countries and regions of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will join together and support the ban.  I also want to see our campaign turn its attention to Europe and further afield so that, perhaps within my lifetime, we shall no longer be able to witness tigers jumping through hoops of fire and elephants standing on their hind-legs for fun’.

Blogging off


Animals Don’t Have A Vote – You Do!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

You don’t have to be political to care about animals. But what do the hundreds of European Parliamentary hopefuls think about the environment, wildlife, captive animals and more?

As a charity Born Free certainly doesn’t want to (and indeed can’t) get involved with politics with a capital ‘P’ but we can, perhaps, help voters see things a little more clearly!

So, my colleagues have produced a short information paper on what some of the parties are saying concerning an issue we all care deeply about – animals in need.

Of course, May 22nd, Election Day for the European Parliament, is about so many things and there are a million reasons why people vote, or decide not to. But knowing a little more about certain issues could help inform your decision.

So if you have a few minutes, go to the link and read our summary.

Remember, animals don’t have a vote – you do!

Blogging off!


Ivory’s Curse

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Is it serious?

Some people think not.

Some people think there is no ivory crisis.

Some countries still want to trade ivory……. and some people doubt that the ivory trade is master-minded by organised crime with links to revel militias and the like.


- From Sudan, government-allied militias complicit in the Dafur genocide fund their operations by poaching elephants hundreds of miles outside North Sudan’s borders.

- In East Africa, al-Shabaab and Somali criminal networks are profiting off of Kenyan elephants killed by poachers using weapons leaked from local security forces.

- In Tanzania, political elites have aided the industrial-scale depletion of East Africa’s largest elephant population.

These are just some of the findings of a stunning, provocative, comprehensive and disturbing report Ivory’s Curse authored by C4ADS and sponsored by Born Free USA.

The scourge of elephant poaching has reached crisis – historically shocking – levels, with an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 elephants poached per year.  As a result, certain populations of African elephants are now vulnerable to extinction and may not withstand these poaching thresholds much longer.  And, when these elephants disappear, if ivory markets are not eliminated, demand will lead poaching operations further south, attacking the southern African elephant populations as well.

I’ve been fighting the ivory trade since 1989 and Born Free has been at the forefront of the campaign ever since.  We know how dangerous and bloody the ivory business is and it is not just elephant lives that are being lost – a thousand rangers have been killed in the last ten years, poachers (expendable as far as the criminal networks are concerned) often have lost their lives, widows and orphan children remain behind.  It’s disgusting.  It’s a disgrace.  And it’s time it stopped!

We know what to do.  There is a plan and if the powers that be need yet more evidence then they should read Ivory’s Curse – and act!

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