This month, representatives from 50 countries—including Prince William, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Chinese media icons like actor Jackie Chan and basketball star Yao Ming—will attend a summit to pressure China to end their monumental role in the ivory trade. Born Free’s Will Travers states, “China is the biggest market because, in 2008, the international community decided it was acceptable to sell some stockpiled ivory to China and Japan to satisfy demand… What it did was it stimulated demand.”
Link: Voice of Russia
Several musical acts have cancelled upcoming concerts at SeaWorld amidst the controversy of “Blackfish,” the hit documentary that questions the practice of keeping orcas in captivity. Despite this backlash, Alan Jackson and Kid Rock are unfortunately still set to perform at SeaWorld’s “Bands, Brew & BBQ” event this weekend.
One of our most cherished corporate partners, Owls and Friends, is doing a special month-long benefit for Born Free USA. We will receive 20 percent of all sales for the month of February! Its wildlife-themed jewelry, accessories, and gifts are perfectly in sync with the work we do to Keep Wildlife in the Wild. All items are carefully-selected vegan and fair-trade products. Please be sure to check out the Owls and Friends website and order by February 28.
Senator Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha, Nebraska has proposed a bill that would make it illegal to own or sell shark fins in Nebraska. Despite living in a landlocked state, Nordquist understands the importance of taking a stand: “It’s obvious there aren’t a lot of shark fins in Nebraska…but it would send a statement that Nebraska cares about our world’s ecological balance.”
Link: KLKN TV
Poachers have shot and killed a rhinoceros in a Kenyan national park, despite new laws—and despite the park being heavily guarded. According to a spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service, “The rhino horns were hacked and taken away… Investigations are under way.”
Link: Yahoo News
Animal Planet’s popular television show, Call of the Wildman, is under intense criticism for numerous instances of alleged animal mistreatment. Despite animal welfare laws, a seven-month investigation by Mother Jones uncovered evidence that animals have been neglected, improperly handled, and drugged—and that some animals even died under Animal Planet’s watch.
Link: Mother Jones
Do formal inspections actually lead to an improvement in animal welfare standards at British Zoos? Unfortunately, a new study finds that they do not. The authors analyzed the results of two consecutive inspection reports for 136 British zoos, and found no evidence of overall improvement to minimum animal welfare standards between the first and second inspections. Many zoos fail to meet these minimum standards at all—and the authors uncovered inconsistency between inspectors. The researchers conclude that a better system for inspection and licensing is warranted. Click here to read the study.
In the latest installment of his Huffington Post blog, Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, shares an important message from Tim Ajax, Director of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary. Ajax tells the story of Brodi—a young spider monkey who was recently killed after biting a human—to illustrate the point that ownership of wild animals is dangerous, unnatural, and cruel.
Link: Huffington Post