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 ®.
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.
Traditional Chinese medicine, ingrained cultural appetites and the emergence of middle and upper-middle classes have contributed to the toll China is taking on far-flung wildlife. Getting such a massive and tradition-bound country engaged in the animal protection movement is a tall order.
Which brings me to 7-foot-6 Yao Ming.
(Photograph from topnews.in)
The former NBA star has been speaking out for animals in his homeland, most recently by visiting a bear sanctuary in the Szechuan province last weekend. Yao clipped the nails of an anesthetized bear and toured the grounds at a site run by our friend Jill Robinson of the Animals Asia Foundation. For many years, Robinson has been working tirelessly to save bears and raise awareness of their plight.
Yao also has spoken out against the mass slaughter — a common estimate is 70 million per year — of sharks so that their fins can be used in soups. Mere soups! He's also made a video against the ivory trade.
Awareness of needless animal suffering, and how it must end, is growing slowly on this planet. Too slowly, for sure. But with high-profile (no pun intended, this time!) celebrities such as Yao Ming speaking out for compassion, there is added hope.