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Admire Our Progress. It’s Hard!

Published 06/01/12
By Will Travers, Born Free USA Chief Executive Officer

The following story appeared in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Born Free USA’s magazine, Animal Issues Digest.

Let’s face it; working to save animals is hard work, indeed. And we regularly talk about just how hard it is. We refer to campaigns as “hard fought” and to victories as “hard won.”


While we must remember this, we must never be discouraged, because the animals are counting on us to continue working … hard … for them every day. Even when we don’t achieve total success, the progress we make is embraced and what makes us fight on.

Born Free USA’s rescue of more than 100 primates from the bankrupt Wild Animal Orphanage was hard: striking the right deal that would allow us to take not some, but all, of these needy primates; finding the best contractor to build the new enclosures at our Texas sanctuary to house them all. It’s going to be hard getting them all settled and comfortable. But as you’ll see on Page 12, we have made significant progress already. Holes have been dug, posts planted, and we are well on our way to bringing them “home.”

Legislation is hard. If I could snap my fingers and legislatively prohibit the trapping of furbearers nationwide, I would. There is no excuse for deploying dangerous, draconian and deadly traps in America today. The same goes for the keeping of exotic animals as “pets.” Wildlife belongs in the wild, not in people’s homes. And I would be much more cautious about our civilization’s heavy-handed and often destructive approach to wildlife management. We should learn to coexist with wildlife, not put a bounty on each wild animal’s head. Born Free USA’s leadership on these issues, detailed on Pages 6 and 7, from California to Connecticut, should inspire us all to do even more.

Since 1994 our executive vice president, Adam Roberts, has been speaking globally about the need to stop the trade in bear gallbladders and bile — a despicable and unnecessary exploitation of wild animals that causes unnecessary distress to captive bears and the slaughter of wild ones. Now, as you’ll see in our feature story, the Born Free USA team has made real progress in New York, Hawaii and elsewhere, shutting down this unbearable trade wherever we can.

Achieving victories — and holding on to each and every gain — takes hard work. The rapacious forces of greed and indifference conspire against us. I know you share my enthusiasm for what Born Free USA has achieved on so many fronts. So with your help, let’s continue to reach new heights throughout the year ahead.

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