Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
So, Spain is in dire straights. Massive debts and nearly one in four unemployed. A new government may be about to take charge, but who knows. People are hurting!
And so, apparently is Juan Carlos, the King of Spain — but not for any of the above reasons.
While his fellow countrymen are wondering how to make ends meet, the king was adventuring in Bostwana hunting elephants (without his moral compass).
So I watched “Ivory Wars: Out of Africa,” an episode of the BBC series “Panorama,” last night and maybe it’s just because I am immersed in this issue (and have been for so long) that despite a very impressive presentation by host Rageh Omaar and a lot of travel to different places, a number of key elements seemed to be missing:
Supply and demand. That’s how the commercial world spins. But sometimes things can go wrong between the two.
Case in point: The 25 monkeys being sold in February 2008 for laboratory testing, 15 of whom died while they were in excruciatingly prolonged transit between source and consumer. An animal broker is on trial this week in Los Angeles for his alleged role in the case. If convicted, Robert Matson Conyers faces up to six months in jail and a $20,000 fine.
Earlier today, my colleague Tracy Coppola testified before the Select Committee on Children, a joint panel of the Connecticut state Legislature. She spoke in favor of House Bill 5324, a bill drafted in part by Born Free USA that would place restrictions on trappers.
I am shocked (somewhat) and saddened (greatly) by breaking news of an elephant massacre in Cameroon, Central Africa, where at least 480 elephants have been killed in recent weeks in Boubou Ndjida National Park, a park official told Agence France-Presse on Thursday.
China has 1.35 billion citizens. That is a lot of consumers, and their appetite for shark fins, ivory and bear bile — resources that are extracted in excruciatingly cruel manner throughout the world, placing the survival of some of the planet’s most distinguished species at great risk — cannot continue to grow. In fact, it must decrease soon, and preferably disappear altogether.
The Giants played the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but I would have been more interested had it been Bears vs. Dolphins, Lions vs. Jaguars or Rams vs. Broncos. (What can I say? I’m partial to animal names.)
What Americans call “football” is fun, I’m sure, but I am not qualified to comment on Sunday’s game. I do, though, want to comment on some of the advertisements during Sunday’s TV broadcast. From an animal protectionist’s perspective, there was good, bad, ugly and … well, mixed bag.
This week, we helped save another monkey’s life. That alone means we had a very good week.
The adult male rhesus macaque who had been cruelly confined to a small cage and treated as a roadside attraction in Mississippi now begins a new life at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, where he will learn how to truly be a monkey for the first time in his life. We are grateful to The Humane Society of the United States for having uncovered this cruelty and engineered the rescue, and we are thrilled to be able to give the macaque a new, infinitely less confining lease on life.