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 ®.
The Benefit of the Doubt
What is it with people appointed to "look after the interests of animals in international trade"?
It seems that whatever the evidence, it always ends up being about what people want, not what animals and species need. CITES can be a bit like that.
Seventy to one hundred million sharks a year killed — in significant quantities — for their fins. No sustainable shark fisheries. Do we, as a responsible species (and as the species responsible) step in and halt trade until we have a proper plan? Nope.
Elephant populations across much of Africa hammered by poachers, vast shipments of illegal ivory swirling around the globe, sky-high prices for each kilo of bloody "white gold." Do we, as a responsible species (and as the species responsible) step in and halt trade until we have a proper plan? Nope.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna stocks on the brink of collapse due to out of control fisheries, massive disregard for quotas and markets that will now pay up to $175,000 for a single fish. Do we call an immediate halt to all fishing and give the species a chance to step back from the edge of commercial extinction? Do we, as a responsible species (and as the species responsible) step in and halt trade and compensate fishermen whose line of work has now come to an end? Nope.
We are SO arrogant. We think we can keep on doing what we do and that we’ll be able to fix it in the meantime. I recall the words of the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, speaking at a CITES conference many years ago: “If there is doubt, then let the benefit of the doubt go to the species.” How right he was.... But do we have the common sense to listen? I doubt it!