The BBC has been accused of cruelty for using wild animals in a new drama.
Our Zoo tells the true story of Chester Zoo, which pioneered a freer approach to animal captivity.
But just days before it screens nationwide, a coalition of animal rights groups have launched a bitter campaign against the show’s ‘cruel’ use of wild animals as actors, calling it ‘a shocking use of public money’…
The circus lion involved in an attack on a teacher in Cuzco, Peru – footage of which has received worldwide media attention – has been removed from the circus by the Peruvian government and handed over to Animal Defenders International (ADI), which is assisting with the enforcement of a ban on wild animals in circuses in the country. The lion, rumoured to have been killed following the attack, is alive and well and can now look forward to a life of peace in a sanctuary, free from the circus. The attack took place less than two weeks ago during a circus performance in front of school children, after the teacher was invited into the ring by the trainer. Just days previously, the circus had refused to hand over their animals to the authorities and it was only possible to remove three of the six lions that were kept by the circus. As a result of the stand-off during the rescue, one lioness was separated from her cubs, both of whom were retained by the circus, and a solitary castrated male, Smith was separated from his cage mate and initially put with the cubs – ADI’s quick intervention ensured he was separated from the cubs, which he had started to attack. ADI officials were convinced that these actions by the circus caused Smith to be distressed and he should not have been performing in his heightened emotional state. Thankfully, the woman was not seriously injured. Smith and the other five lions from the Cuzco circus, together with Spider monkey Pepe,are now being cared for by ADI at a temporary custody centre built specifically for the challenging rescue mission, called Operation Spirit of Freedom. Along with lions rescued from other circuses to date, they will remain at the facility until they are ready to be relocated to specialist sanctuaries. The Peruvian authorities have also temporarily placed three capuchin monkeys with ADI, seized from the illegal pet trade. ADI President Jan Creamer: “We are extremely relieved and delighted to have Smith and his companions safely in our care, alongside the other animals we have helped remove from circuses in Peru. What happened with the teacher was entirely the fault of the circus workers, not Smith himself. ADI wishes her a speedy recovery from her ordeal. Without wild animals, circuses in Peru will be safer and more enjoyable.” Under the banner of Operation Spirit of Freedom, ADI is assisting the Peruvian authorities to enforce the country’s ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, secured in 2012 after a major campaign by ADI, exposing terrible suffering of circus animals in Peru. Five Latin American countries, and a total of 27 worldwide, have banned the use of all or wild animals in circuses. ADI is collaborating with a number of government agencies including SERFOR (wildlife and environment), ATFFS (enforcement), and the police on the operation, which is being overseen by SERFOR Director Fabiola Muñoz and will be one of the largest animal welfare enforcement operations undertaken in the world. Jan Creamer, ADI President: “We are delighted to be able to assist the Government with this important mission to stop circus suffering, placing Peru as one of the forerunners of animal protection in Latin America.” ADI has worked all over the world rescuing and relocating animals in difficult circumstances. In 2011, ADI successfully worked with the Bolivian Government to enforce that country’s animal circus ban. The mission known as Operation Lion Ark – documented in the award-winning movie ‘Lion Ark’ – saw 29 lions from eight circuses airlifted to safety in the USA and numerous other animals rescued and relocated in Bolivia. Operation Spirit of Freedom is being entirely funded by donations from ADI supporters. The legendary and award-winning US game show host Bob Barker has also made a substantial contribution towards the mission. Jan Creamer, ADI President: “ADI exposed the suffering of circus animals in Peru, campaigned for the ban and now we are honoured to be assisting the authorities and bringing these animals to safety, and a new life. We are so grateful for the generosity of Bob Barker and our supporters who are making this rescue possible.” To make a donation towards the Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue mission please visit www.stopcircussuffering.org
The BUAV has reacted with disappointment over the use of British native wild animals in experiments carried out in 2013.
Figures recently released by the Home Office, that list the numbers and species of animals used in research in Great Britain, have revealed that in addition to the many domestic species, including rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and dogs, hundreds of wild animals were also used in experiments.
In 2013, there were 441 ‘other carnivores’ used for animal testing, which includes badgers, weasels, foxes and seals and 266 –‘other mammals’ used which includes popular hedgerow residents such as voles, shrews, bats and hares. There was also a 22.1% increase in the use of deer to a total of 94 animals.
Examples of recent experiments include testing the effects of harmful pesticides used in farming on voles and wood mice and capturing and injuring bats for skin samples to study their genes. (1) The BUAV has also recently highlighted distressing experiments carried out on seals by St Andrews University in Scotland. The seals were trapped in the wild and subjected to blasts of loud noise in an attempt to develop a deterrent system to protect fish farms from seal attacks. The noise was between 170-174 decibels (by comparison 120 dB = the noise of a jet plane taking off) and caused some of the seals to show signs of a startle response and fear conditioning.
The BUAV’s Chief Executive, Michelle Thew states:‘There are serious welfare issues surrounding the capture, handling and captivity of wild animals. We believe the public will be shocked to learn that some of this country’s cherished wild animals are also being subjected to experiments that can inflict pain, suffering and distress.’
A giant panda is believed to have faked her pregnancy in order to get better food, The Independent has reported.
Six-year-old panda Ai Hin began to show signs of being pregnant, which included reduced appetite and mobility, in July, but after two months of observation, experts have told state news agency Xinhua that she wasn’t pregnant as her behaviour and physiological tests showed her to be normal…
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is launching an appeal to help monkeys saved from the circus and pet trade in Peru, ahead of International Primate Day, an awareness day held on September 1 during which the threats primates continue to face are highlighted. Just days ago, Pepe the spider monkey lived alone in a circus in Peru, a terrible fate for any animal but particularly traumatic for this intelligent, social species who, in the wild, would live in the rainforest in a close-knit troop. Sadly, like many primates in his predicament, Pepe had his canine teeth snapped off, leaving him with just stumps. The ADI rescue team brought Pepe to safety on an epic journey across the Andes and as part of its Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue mission, during which the organisation is assisting the authorities with enforcement of its ban on wild animals in circuses. The legislation came into effect after a major campaign by ADI, during which it exposed the terrible suffering of circus animals in the country. After arriving at the rescue centre, ADI founders Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips cut Pepe free of the chain and collar that had been wired around his neck during the years he had been forced to spend with the circus. As they did so, Pepe held onto their hands and looked into their eyes, showing the trust that he had, despite the years of suffering he had faced. ADI President Jan Creamer: “Despite the terrible suffering he had endured in the circus, Pepe behaved with a quiet dignity that was deeply moving. It was an honour to cut away the chain that had held him captive, and to hold his hands as we did so, his gaze meeting ours. We are so thankful to those whose support has enabled us to rescue Pepe. There are however others who need our urgent help. Please help us give Pepe and others a second chance of life by contributing towards our Operation Spirit of Freedom rescue appeal. Thank you.” Pepe has joined three capuchin monkeys rescued from the pet trade and placed with ADI by the Peruvian authorities. ADI is caring for the primates and other wild animals rescued from circuses in Peru at a specially built rescue centre where they will be looked after until permanent homes are found for them. The primates and native wild animals will be rehomed in Peru, whilst lions and other non-native animals will be airlifted to a sanctuary in the US. ADI is appealing for members of the public to help fund its complex rescue mission, from the removal of animals from circuses across Peru to their relocation to sanctuaries where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace. Donations can be made at http://bit.ly/1mmWA1H. International Primate Day was inspired by a chimpanzee called Toto. Trafficked and abused for entertainment, ADI rescued Toto and gave him 11 years of freedom with his own kind in Africa. Toto was also the inspiration behind ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering Latin America campaign, which has led to animal circus bans in seven countries and the rescue of dozens of animals. As well as Toto, ADI has rescued baboons, macaques and capuchins from suffering. Some have been released back into the wild, whilst others enjoy the very best of care in sanctuaries, and can be adopted at http://bit.ly/19GeQOw.
Voting has opened in PETA’s contest to help it decide who it should choose as the best vegan baker in the UK. After much consideration (and drooling over the delicious baked goods), PETA has selected 10 finalists, and now the public will help PETA decide who it should crown as The Great Vegan Bake-Off champion for 2014. The finalists and their creations can be found here.
“We were so inundated with terrific cruelty-free dishes that it was almost impossible to narrow the entries down to just 10 finalists”, says PETA’s Elisa Allen. “Everyone who entered this contest is already a winner for showing that vegan baking is a piece of (egg- and dairy-free) cake!”
Voting on the finalists to help PETA determine who it should choose as the winner will run from today to 7 September. Winners will be chosen by PETA based on several factors, including vote count, and will be announced on 10 September. See the full contest details here.
All the finalists are available for interviews. Please contact PETA to arrange one. For more information and to vote in the contest, please visit PETA.org.uk.