The global wildlife trade is a deadly business.
Rhinoceroses gunned down so their horns can be ground into fever-reducing pills or made into traditional dagger handles in Yemen. Mother chimpanzees slaughtered to satisfy the demand for wild animal flesh, their orphaned babies sold into the pet trade. An estimated one hundred million sharks fatally wrenched from their ocean homes each year for sport, for their teeth, or for their fins, which end up floating in a bowl of Asian soup.
The ravenous human appetite for wildlife parts and the products made from them turns gorilla hands to ashtrays, whales to canned meat, sea turtle shells to earrings, and elephant feet to umbrella stands. In the process, individual animals are mercilessly slaughtered, entire families are massacred, and increasing numbers of animal species are driven dangerously closer to extinction. This unconscionable wildlife exploitation is shameful. It is an international disgrace.
Captured by the thousands from exotic locations, few wild birds survive the long journey to distant pet markets. Primates, rare reptiles, and other species are traded as “pets” to people who don’t understand these animals’ specialized needs. Bears are slaughtered for their gallbladders and paws. Elephants are murdered for their ivory, and young elephants are forcibly torn from their families to be shipped to far-off zoos. Fox, ermine, mink, and other furbearers are ensnared in barbaric traps to provide fur for fashion.
From Animal Issues, Volume 38 Number 4, Winter 2007
The Animal Protection Institute has never been afraid to do the right thing when it comes to helping animals. Fighting animal cruelty, suffering, and neglect, requires courage and vision.
In this issue we announce probably the most visionary step in our history. In a move that redefines the animal protection movement, API has joined forces with Born Free USA to become Born Free USA.
Recently, a long battle to protect wolves came to an end — with wolves as the winners, at least temporarily.
Despite the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)’s repeated attempts to reduce federal protections for gray wolves throughout the country, API and other wildlife advocates have won significant victories in the courts to ensure continued protections for the species.
On November 17, 2005, to the delight of animal advocates, the European Parliament rejected a proposed European Union (EU) Trapping Directive.
The Directive — which was opposed by groups such as the Fur Free Alliance, of which API is a member — would have codified into EU law standards for testing animal traps.
If accepted, the Directive would have done animals more harm than good by sanctioning standards that lack scientific merit and by legitimizing and entrenching the use of leghold and other cruel, body-gripping traps.
Government agents opened fire on the nesting birds. The birds panicked. Normally one or the other, if not both, parents would attend the nest, but with bullets slamming into some, others were forced to flee from what was, ironically, a bird sanctuary. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources had turned the “sanctuary” into a slaughterhouse.
On May 7, 2005, a letter to the editor appeared in the Toronto Star. It was written in response to an article about how the Canadian Travel Commission could not explain why Canada had fallen off the list of the top ten countries visited by tourists. “I think,” said the letter, “the answer may lie in Canada’s seal hunt. I’m sure that a little research will reveal the loss of literally tens of thousands of potential tourists who simply do not want to have anything to do with a country that shows such a barbaric disregard for animal welfare.”
Across the United States, humans and other animals seem caught in what is literally a vicious circle: As human population and urban sprawl increases, so do conflicts between people and wildlife.