Caged in a metal beast wagon, Born Free wants to rehome Jora and Black to South African sanctuary

Washington D.C., July 6, 2015 -- Today, an appeal for the rescue of Bulgaria's last two circus lions was launched by the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA, in a bid to secure their relocation to the international wildlife charity's sanctuary at Shamwari, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Jora and Black (due to the latter’s distinguishing black mane) are two, seven-year-old lions known to be brothers. They are caged in a metal beast wagon in the back yard of an ex-circus trainer's remote mountain lodge near the capital, Sofia.  With no readily available water supply or shade, and pending summer temperatures that will turn their barred container into oven temperatures, these animal’s terrible plight has made international headlines and pulled at the heartstrings of animal lovers around the world.

According to legendary actress and animal activist Virginia McKenna OBE, co-founder of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, “It is hard to exaggerate how the heat of the summer will affect these magnificent animals in their cramped quarters but, on the positive side, we are very pleased that their owners have agreed to Born Free rehoming them in one of our sanctuaries. We do hope that, with public support, this will become a reality. They certainly deserve, at last, to walk on grass and rest in the shade of trees.”

The lions were taken in as small cubs and were part of a traditional circus act travelling Eastern Europe and Turkey. They performed until the end of summer 2014, but due to a government ban that came into force at the beginning of the year, Bulgaria now prohibits the use of wild animals in circuses - a move that has been widely welcomed by animal welfare experts.

Jora and Black's elegant feline features are in stark contrast to the shabby tin can cage that has been their home for many years. With little to no environmental enrichment, and with each cage measuring some 2.5 meters, it barely allows them to move around as they stare out and intermittently nuzzle and paw each other.

Dr. John Knight, Born Free's Senior Veterinary Consultant added, “Although they appear to be in good health, the conditions in which they live are totally inappropriate. Jora is lame and once he is in our care we will be able to give him the required examinations and treatments.”

Born Free is now actively working with the owners, who are co-operating, to secure Jora and Black's future, and a move to Born Free’s renowned rescue centre at Shamwari, which is already home to a number of lions and leopards rescued from a dire life in captivity.

Black and Jora video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=polL5v5x7Os

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. The Foundation rescues animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and gives them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles, and many more species in their natural habitats, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. The Foundation’s high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers, and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. More at www.bornfree.org.uk.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org; www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

TPR News
Saturday, June 27, the 178th day of 2015.
There are 187 days left in the year.Coming up: July is National Lost Pet Prevention MonthCREW
Jon Patch - Host
Karen Vance - Co Host
Zach Budin - Network Producer
Bob Page - Executive Producer
Special Guests:
Caryl Wolff author of Puppy Socialization will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 6/27/15 at 5 PM EST to discuss and give away her new book
Yvonne Kal creator of Come Clean, pop culture soaps, will join Jon and Talkin' Pets at 630 PM EST on 6/27/15 to discuss and give away her pet soap line

Born Free urges greater protection for Africa’s lions following confirmation of catastrophic population declines

International science body highlights dire status of King of the Jungle

 

Following the release yesterday of a lion assessment by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA are urging immediate international action to halt catastrophic recent declines in lion populations across Africa.

In its most up-to-date assessment of the species, IUCN, the world’s oldest and largest global environmental scientific organisation, reported devastating reductions in lion populations across much of the African continent. The new assessment revealed:

  • The number of lions across Africa has reduced by approximately 42% over the past 21 years (approximately three lion generations, 1993-2014)
  • Excluding Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, lions across the rest of Africa have declined by an average 60%
  • In West Africa, the declines suggest lions should be classified as Critically Endangered
  • Lions have disappeared altogether from at least 12, possibly up to 16, African countries in recent years.

“The IUCN reassessment confirms what we have known for some time: that lions are in serious decline across much of Africa,” said Adam M. Roberts, Chief Executive of the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA.

“The trade data suggests that international trade in lion parts and products is putting pressure on these vulnerable lion populations, which they clearly can’t sustain. We call on the international community to increase the protection for lions from the impact of trade through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to issue its long-overdue final rule on listing the lion as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act.”

Trade in lions and lion parts has been increasing. According to the official CITES trade database, from 2009 to 2013 the total number of lions and lion parts exported doubled compared to the previous five year period. The figures reveal particularly worrying increases in the trade in lion bones and skeletons (presumably to supply demand for Asian traditional medicines and tonics), skins, and trophies from captive bred animals.

“These iconic animals can’t wait,” added Roberts. “Lions used to roam all over Africa, west Asia and even southern Europe. Now we risk seeing them disappear from much of their remaining sub-Saharan African range. We cannot sit by and watch this species disappear under our watch.”

Born Free is working with the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and African lion experts to improve collaboration between African range states on lion conservation, identify the reasons for the reported declines, and help range states to reverse them.

About Born Free

The  Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to   compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect  threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.

Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit: www.bornfree.org.uk

New campaign and online video encourage the public to support stronger federal animal fighting sentencing guidelines

To view the ASPCA’s video, please visit: [http://www.aspca.org/GetTough]

NEW YORK— Following today’s commendable decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) to consider revising the federal sentencing guidelines for animal fighting, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is launching a campaign -- including a compelling new video -- urging the public to actively support stronger sentencing guidelines.

The current sentencing guidelines do not reflect the maximum penalty allowed under federal law, which can discourage federal prosecutors from pursuing animal fighting charges that may only yield a sentence as paltry as six months in jail.

“The current guidelines for dog fighting are woefully inadequate, and don’t come close to matching the heightened seriousness with which Congress, law enforcement, and the public view this barbaric activity,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “By proposing to amend the animal fighting guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission moves us one step closer to giving judges the tools they need to punish these criminals more appropriately, as well as to deter potential criminals.”

In 2008, Congress acknowledged the depravity of dog fighting by increasing the maximum penalty for participating in animal fighting from 3 to 5 years. They again strengthened animal fighting statutes a few years later when they made attending an animal fight a federal offense and added additional penalties for bringing a child. However, federal sentencing guidelines have not been updated to include these increased penalties, creating a discrepancy between what is allowed under federal law and what is expressed in sentencing guidelines. As a result, convicted dog fighters are receiving unacceptably weak sentences.

To help raise awareness about the need for stronger sentences, the ASPCA has released a video as part of their #GetTough campaign to crack down on animal fighting. Featuring interviews with the public, the video reveals the surprise and disappointment of average Americans once they become aware of the terrible disparity between horrific animal crimes and their inadequate penalties.

“This video clearly illustrates the strong public sentiment that dog fighting is a vicious blood sport that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Congress already spoke up on behalf of animals when they strengthened the federal laws on animal fighting, and we hope the U.S. Sentencing Commission will follow their lead.”

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although illegal everywhere in the U.S., dog fighting still occurs in every part of the country and in every type of community.  For more information on the ASPCA’s #GetTough campaign and their work to end dog fighting, please visit http://www.aspca.org/GetTough.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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TPR News
Saturday, June 20, the 171st day of 2015.
There are 194 days left in the year.
 
Crew:
Jon Patch - Host
Jillyn Sidlo - Co Host
Lexi Lapp - Producer
Zach Budin - Network Producer
Bob Page - Executive Producer
Special Guests:
Hour 1 – Jeff Lazarus – Author of Dogtology
Hour 2 – John Willard – Dr. Willard’s Natural Restorative Pet Care Kit

Seven equine rescues receive grants to recognize their efforts to protect horses

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today revealed the seven winners of the 2015 ASPCA Help a Horse Day contest, a nationwide grant competition for equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the year-round work they do to save and care for at-risk horses. The three grand prize winners received $10,000 each, while the runners up were awarded $5,000 to support their ongoing efforts to protect horses. The winning groups include:

$10,000 Grand Prize Winners:

  • All About Equine Animal Rescue, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
  • Horses of Tir Na Nog, San Diego, Calif.
  • The Pegasus Project, Ben Wheeler, TX

$5,000 Prize Winners:

  • Freedom Hill Horse Rescue, Owings, Md.
  • Horse Haven of Tennessee Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network (LEARN), Meggett, S.C.
  • RVR Horse Rescue Inc., Riverview, Fla.

“In only its second year, the ASPCA Help a Horse Day celebration has grown to include even more groups, and we are thrilled to see the energy and effort that went into engaging their communities and spreading their message about how to protect horses,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “The winning rescue groups embody the spirit and hope behind ASPCA Help a Horse Day and we are pleased to award them these grants to help pay for the vital services they provide every day of the year.”

More than 100 equine rescue groups held events across 33 states during the weekend of April 24-26, and the winners were selected based on the creativity of their events, as well as their success engaging their local communities. This year’s winning events included a Ponypalooza event for families with games and prizes, which also featured members of the U.S. Air Force and local Boy Scout troops engaging in a shelter construction project; a family carnival with pony rides and a “Muggin’ with the Mule” photo booth; the creation of a Help a Horse Posse and Sponsorship program that allowed community members to sponsor horses; and Dancing for the Horses, which paired local celebrities with professional dancers to compete in honor of a rescued horse. One group even hosted an aviation festival in keeping with their theme of giving rescue horses their wings.  Participating rescues also worked to recruit new volunteers, expand their support base, collect donated supplies, and find homes for adoptable horses.

ASPCA Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, which includes supporting equine welfare legislation, public advocacy, professional development, horse rescue, and targeted grants.

In addition to the grants contest, the ASPCA also launched a petition on TakePart.com, which has generated over 24,000 signatures, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter. Each year, approximately 150,000 American horses are purchased and trucked to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. The vast majority of these horses (92 percent, according to the USDA) are in good physical condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes. Horse slaughter is especially inhumane because horses, skittish by nature, are extremely difficult to render unconscious before slaughter.

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to protect horses, please visit http://www.aspca.org/get-involved/horses.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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TPR News
Saturday, June 13, the 164th day of 2015. There are 201 days left in the year.Crew:
Jon Patch - Host
Linda Register DVM/Co Host
Lexi Lapp - Producer
Zach Budin - Network Producer
Bob Page - Executive Producer

Bill will provide vital funds for conservation of vulnerable wild cats and dogs

Washington, DC, June 10, 2015 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, applauds Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) for introducing H.R. 2697, legislation to provide essential funding for the conservation of wild cats and dogs (felids and canids). Many of these wild species, once considered common, are now in decline due to pervasive threats such as habitat loss and disease. The long-term survival of many wild felids and canids is in serious jeopardy of survival.

Of the 37 wild felid species worldwide, all but three are currently recognized as species in need of protection. Of the 36 wild canid species worldwide, 20 are recognized as in need of such protection. 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation: “Reversing the global decline of felid and canid species demands a profound international investment and I commend Representative Grijalva for taking action. Felid and canid species around the world are simply unable to cope with the endless barrage of threats before them, including hunting, disease, and habitat destruction. Reversing the population declines that most of these species face requires the conservation leadership long shown by the U.S. government.”

The bill is based on other crucial laws enacted to conserve African and Asian elephants, tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles, and migratory birds. The projects funded by these successful laws have produced marked results and significantly aided vulnerable species.

“Humans have been killing these species, destroying their habitats and driving them away for far too long, and the damage done to the world around us speaks for itself,” Grijalva said. “The best science we have, combined with a healthy respect for nature, demands that we pass this bill. At the end of the day, if we don’t protect these species, they’ll disappear and take large food chains with them. We’ll have nowhere to look but the mirror to understand the cause.”

Lions and Ethiopian wolves are of particular concern to Born Free USA.  An estimated 32,000 or fewer lions remain across Africa, which represents more than a 50% decline since 1980. They face indiscriminate poisoning, shrinking habitats, lack of prey species, trophy hunting, poaching, and illegal trade. The survival of the West African lion is in particular peril; they face possible extinction with only 400 remaining.  With fewer than 500 adult Ethiopian wolves, this species is one of the rarest carnivores in the world. Living in small, isolated populations within Afroalpine regions of Ethiopia, these wolves are severely threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, rabies, and hybridization with domestic dogs.

“There must be resources available so that meaningful action can be undertaken to protect these and other species,” said Roberts. “West African Lions, Ethiopian wolves, and other imperiled felids and canids are running out of time. I strongly urge members of Congress to support the Rare Cats and Canids Act and ensure its swift passage.”

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org; www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Ban is critical to save animals from extinction

Washington D.C., June 8, 2015 -- A coalition of leading animal welfare organizations including Born Free USA, MSPCA-Angell, Zoo New England, International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, have joined together to encourage the passage of legislation to ban the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in Massachusetts.

Senate Bill 440 and House Bill 1275, introduced by Senator Jason Lewis and Representative Lori Ehrlich, would ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Massachusetts, a critical step in the fight to save these animals from extinction. Ninety-six Massachusetts legislators have signed on as co-sponsors.

African elephants and rhinos are being killed at an unprecedented rate as demand for their tusks and horns continues to grow. Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory — representing the worst mass slaughter of elephants since the international ivory trade was banned in 1989.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, “The elephant poaching epidemic across Africa has reached crisis levels and rhino poaching is escalating exponentially. The U.S. is a major ivory market, and we cannot afford to wait any longer to take action. Senator Lewis and Representative Ehrlich's timely action addresses the market for these products, which is a crucial part of ending the slaughter.”

“Massachusetts has the opportunity to lead during this critical time for elephants and rhinos. By banning the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns, Massachusetts can also raise consumer awareness, reduce poaching and be an example for other states and other countries,” said Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England executive vice president of external affairs and programming.

"Although this problem might seem like only an African tragedy, our actions here at home make a huge difference abroad. Elephants are the only ones who need ivory; rhinos are the only ones who need their horns. Massachusetts doesn't need either,” said Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO.

“With this alarming rate of poaching, African elephants could be gone from the wild in a few decades,” said Iris Ho, wildlife program manager for Humane Society International. “The situation is also devastating for rhinos as all five remaining rhino species are threatened with extinction. The very true possibility of disappearance of these majestic animals over human greed for vanity items is a moral and ecological disaster.”

As documented in Born Free USA’s groundbreaking reports, Ivory’s Curse and Out of Africa, poaching is not only a wildlife conservation and animal welfare issue but also directly linked to transnational criminal syndicates. Furthermore, the scale of poaching today supplies a $7-10 billion wildlife trafficking enterprise that is intertwined with terrorism and government corruption.  These groups use poaching as a substantial source of funding for their brutal activities, which also threatens U.S. national security.

“The proposed legislation would neither criminalize possession of ivory already legally owned by Massachusetts residents, nor would it prohibit inheritance or noncommercial ivory gifts,” said Laura Hagen, deputy director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell.  “But it would help stop the killing, trafficking and demand that is driving these iconic species to extinction—and that is essential if they are to have a chance at survival.”

New York and New Jersey passed similar laws last year.  A host of states, including, California, Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont have similar pending legislation to shut down the ivory and rhino horn trade in their jurisdictions.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org; www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is profoundly disappointed by the North Carolina Legislature’s decision to cater to abusive industries and put animals, children, the elderly, and veterans in jeopardy by overriding HB 405, a dangerous ag-gag bill that will prevent whistleblowing employees from exposing illegal or unethical activities happening at any business.

“The ASPCA is deeply troubled by the veto override of HB 405, which will silence whistleblowers and keep North Carolina residents in the dark about horrific abuses that take place on factory farms,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “Siding against the public and allowing unscrupulous farmers and businesses to keep their atrocities secret is a shameful decision that hurts responsible businesses and stains the integrity of the state legislature.”

The Legislature’s decision to override Gov. McCrory’s veto of HB 405 ignores the concerns of their constituents, as a recent poll revealed that 74 percent of North Carolina voters support undercover investigations by animal welfare groups on farms. In addition to strong opposition from the public, a broad coalition of dozens of farmers and advocacy groups, including the AARP and the Wounded Warrior Project, voiced their opposition to the bill.

Celebrities including North Carolina’s own Andie MacDowell, Leilani Munter, and Bellamy Young, as well as Martha Stewart, Kesha, Nikki Reed, Eric McCormack, Amy Acker, and Katherine Schwarzenegger also called for the governor’s veto. Editorials in the top five state newspapers argued against the bill, citing the dangers of covering up abuse and the need for transparency in industries where the most vulnerable in our society are often at great risk of harm.

The ASPCA expresses thanks to Gov. McCrory for his justified veto of this dangerous bill and to Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake), and Reps. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg), and Grier Martin (D-Wake) for speaking against the bill.

For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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