Day: May 27, 2020

Confessions of a rhino poacher

Much has been written about the decimation of rhino populations in Africa due to poaching. Due to COVID-19, the problem has worsened as gangs in Mozambique take advantage of the lack of tourists and guards in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, killing nine rhino already.

 

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Since lockdown, six rhino in Botswana has been slaughtered for their horn.

Why do the poachers do it? In all the coverage of the rhino disaster — about the demand from China, the gangs who control the racket and the horrific on-the-ground images — the people who commit the actual murder of the animal have largely remained silent, until now.

In 2016, award-winning journalist Godknows Nare spent six months in the epicenter of rhino poaching, around the perimeter of Kruger National Park, interviewing poachers and their families.

 

Shortly after he returned, I talked with Nare about his time with the poachers. (Nare, who had received death threats for several years due to his work exposing the inhumane prison system in Zimbabwe as well as his investigations into corruption in South Africa, was shot and killed outside his home by Johannesburg Metropolitan Police in 2017. Three officers were arrested and put on trial for murder, later to be acquitted.)

“At first I thought [poachers] were just cruel criminals,” Nare told me. “But then you engage with the people, you live with the people … There are villages just around the Kruger National Park, [where people] live on social grants because there is no more land to farm … You just need to fill up your stomach. Then you can think about other things.”

Continue reading “Confessions of a rhino poacher”

USA: Nationwide Slaughter Free City Discussions – Get Involved 28/5/20 – See Below.

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Dear Friends,                                                                                

I want to urge you to register ASAP for this important webinar tomorrow, Thursday 5/28. There are over 80 slaughterhouses in NYC but they exist in every major city in the US and Canada. As a result of the pandemic of Covid-19, the WHO has urged the closing of all wet markets and there is a nationwide SlaughterFreeCity movement in response. You are sure to find this webinar of great interest…and it is open to all; so please share with associates and on social media!

All the best,

Zelda

 

 

Dear Friends,

My name is Tamara Bedic. I am the co-Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild (NYC) and Chair of its Animal Rights committee.

Although our Animal Rights committee used to meet in person, COVID-19 changed all that, and we’re now meeting online and inviting all activists and interested parties to join us.

I hosted our first online meeting in April called: ‘Wuhan, Wet Markets & Wildlife’. Our speaker was renowned Sino-American wildlife expert and animal activist Prof. Peter Li of Houston University. We concluded that webinar with comments by Assemblymember Rosenthal, who subsequently went on to draft a bill to close New York’s 80+ slaughterhouses, an essential step in ridding our neighborhoods of these disease-ridden, inhumane, wet-markets.

The poll that immediately followed April’s webinar asked attendees to choose a follow-up topic of preferred interest. “New York’s slaughterhouses” was by far the issue on every one’s mind; it won the poll by a landslide.

Bill A10399 / S08291 came into being around May 4th, but the clock is ticking on the session calendar.  Meanwhile, the slaughterhouses are operating as ‘essential businesses’, despite having accumulated (in some cases) dozens of violations (as our FOIA requests bear witness). 

So as you see, lots to analyze and discuss at the next meeting. Helping us along are:

•Prof. Ethan Taylor of Univ. of North Carolina, researcher in emerging zoonotic viral infections;   https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ethan_Taylor2

•Gail Eisnitz, Chief Investigator and author of “Slaughterhouse.”  https://unboundproject.org/gail-eisnitz/

•Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, Sponsor of New York’s A10399; and

•New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda, Sponsor of parallel bill, S08291.

I welcome you to join our webinar on Thursday, May 28th, at noon, (Eastern time).

The invite link is below.

Cheers and thank you!

Tamara

 

https://wetmarket.eventbrite.com

 

 

England: Trophy Hunters Exposed – Inside the Big Game Industry. Lifting the Lid On Psycho Animal Hunters.

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https://worldanimalsvoice.com/?s=trophy+hunter 

 

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“If this book doesn’t get trophy hunting banned I don’t know what will. This is an incredible investigation that reveals everything the industry would rather you didn’t know.” – JUDI DENCH

“A society which allows sentient creatures to be killed for entertainment has serious questions to answer. ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’ asks those questions and then answers them in devastating fashion.” PETER EGAN

“If there’s one book to buy about animals this year, this is it. Trophy hunting is legalised animal abuse on an industrial scale. ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’ tells us why we must abolish it. Now.” – JOANNA LUMLEY

 

Thousands of animals threatened with extinction were shot by trophy hunters last year. Attempts to protect dwindling lion and elephant populations have been thwarted by hunters. They are now allowed to shoot twice as many critically endangered black rhinos. How has this happened?

‘TROPHY HUNTERS EXPOSED – Inside the Big Game Industry’ is an explosive investigation into the trophy hunting industry, its key players and donors, and how it is stripping endangered animals of the protections they need.

It reveals how a top fundraiser for Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man, the head of a paramilitary death-squad and a former WWF Director have shot record-breaking lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards.

It exposes the identities of over 500 hunters who have won industry awards for shooting all the ‘African Big Five’; the leading figures in the UK industry including a salesman who helps hunters shoot juvenile lions in enclosures; and the extraordinary kill tallies and trophy collections of hunters around the world.

It also lifts the lid on how household brands – and our taxes – are funding lobbyists, how the Boy Scouts and Salvation Army in the US are helping the industry recruit a new generation of child hunters, how lobbyists are posing as ‘conservation’ groups … and how the industry boasts it ploughs more money into US elections than some of the world’s biggest corporations.

Read how psychologists and criminologists fear trophy hunting could be fuelling violent crime, and how the industry could spark devastating outbreaks of diseases in local communities …

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eduardo Goncalves is an award-winning campaigner, journalist and conservationist. He has been a consultant to WWF and CEO of a national animal welfare charity. In 2018, he founded the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, which is today supported by some of the world’s biggest names in music, sport, film and TV. In 2019, the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting persuaded the UK government to support a ban on imports of hunting trophies.

Eduardo was awarded the Animal Heroes Award for services to wildlife in 2019. A short film about Eduardo’s work – with endorsements from Kevin Pietersen, Stanley Johnson, Lorraine Kelly, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips – can be viewed HERE.

Proceeds from the sale of ‘TROPHY HUNTERS EXPOSED – Inside the Big Game Industry’ will be donated to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting

 

BOOK REVIEW

by Charlie Moores, War on Wildlife

The Daily Mail has described Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH) as “Britain’s most prominent anti-hunting activist”. Whether they mean that as a compliment is difficult to tell, but it does show just how busy Eduardo has been given that he only set up CBTH two years ago. Prior to that he was chief-executive of the League Against Cruel Sports of course (which, not that disclaimers are needed, is where I first met him), but Eduardo – it seems – has indeed become one of the most recognisable faces and voices in a movement arrowing in on one of the most cruel, wasteful, and disturbing examples of humanity’s war on wildlife.

In a remarkably short time Eduardo (who is seemingly everywhere and knows everyone) has brought together a broad coalition of supporters and researchers, become an almost permanent fixture in the media, and – it turns out – has also somehow found time to write a book. Or at least, written the sort of minutely-detailed, reference-packed work that an organisation like Ethical Consumer might produce if they were to write a book. Stripped of anything superfluous, of anything subjective or gratuitous (there are no images – can you imagine the hunters writing their manual without including selfies of dentists with dead lions?), “Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry” slams into trophy hunting with the force of a meteorite.

Published today and presented in three parts, ‘THE’ precisely dissects the Industry (“one of the world’s most powerful political lobbies”), dispassionately lists the worst of the world’s self-glorifying hunters, before finally detailing exactly why these apparently sexually inadequate, delusional, ‘freedom fighters’ only feel alive when they’re killing something (in the name of ‘conservation’ of course). It’s all done so forensically. Fact after fact delivered like charges in an indictment. Page after page of condemnation of an industry that shouldn’t exist, that is built from an alt-right shopping list of God, money, gun rights, and machismo, a skewed eighteenth-century vision of white men sorting out the wilderness, and a biblical ‘dominion’ belief that animals are just there for us to do what we want with.

Eduardo doesn’t go in for such rhetorical flourish though, and ‘THE’ is all the better for it. There is a noticeable absence of opinion or personal pronouns. It is in essence a distillation of factual material, minutely researched and referenced, that brings together absolutely every good argument against trophy hunting. Trophy hunting’s proponents will seize on that last point as the book is unconcerned with presenting any of what they would see as the good arguments for trophy hunting. But, I would hazard a guess, that was never the intention. Eduardo’s response might be to point out that the industry has had years to lobby, obfuscate, blur, and lie, so why should he give their arguments (which revolve almost entirely around land-use) another airing, but I think it’s more likely that he simply neither respects nor agrees with any of them.

And why should he? Anything trophy hunters might trot out about respect for wildlife, local people, or conservation is undermined by their own words and actions. While ‘THE’ is not filled with what Eduardo thinks, feels, or has experienced, it does collate the most apposite quotations of others. There are damning lines picked from, for example, hunting forums, from unguarded discussions at hunting shows, and from the tone-deaf posturings of hunters on social media. There is an enormous amount of material in the public domain. Much of it no doubt resonates with fellow psychopaths, but to the rest of us it is just revealing. From glorifying trophy rooms (external representations of an individual’s total lack of empathy with the natural world) to organ-swelling gun porn (“…[the gazelle] swayed back and forth a bit and then turned and I saw the blood pouring out of his nose”), the appalling world of treating sentient life as the urinal wall in a pissing contest is laid bare.

Will ‘THE’ end trophy hunting? For all its gimlet-eyed focus on this ego-stroking ‘sport’, the answer is no, of course not. As the book details, heads of industry, the uber-wealthy, and sons of presidents and royalty fill voids in their lives by blasting holes in animals. Hunting has shored itself up with vast bank accounts, infiltrated legislature and conservation organsations, and is now chasing children to ensure the flow of emotionally-stunted gunmen doesn’t dry up. It sells itself as freedom, and uses an image of masculinity that appeals to a primal desire to slaughter that many of us acknowledge but have turned away from in disgust. More than all of that, it is about making profit. Corrupt officials have made absolute fortunes selling wildlife to the vainglorious. Trophy hunting will not simply lie down and go away, but much like how Dr Mark Avery’s ‘Inglorious’ stripped away the veneer of tradition and glamour that the grouse industry had wrapped itself in, “Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry” does exactly what it sets out to do: expose, strip bare, shine a light that trophy hunting will at first sneer at but – as the evidence piles up – will ultimately be desperate to shrink away from.

Another question might be, where does ‘Trophy Hunting Exposed’ sit in our post-Covid world? Is it a perfect post-Covid book, arriving bang on time as we seek to re-examine our relationship with the environment and with nature? I don’t think so. Not because ‘THE’ is not an invaluable resource or primer par excellence (it definitely is), but because none of what ‘THE’ exposes is made worse by global pandemic. We already knew that habitat and biodiversity loss was destroying nature, that we’re emptying the planet of large mammals (especially large carnivores), and that unregulated trophy hunting (and Eduardo has plenty to say about CITES incidentally) is slashing-and-burning its way through whole populations of supposedly protected wildlife. Trophy hunting was horrible and self-serving long before the virus emerged, and the seeds of this book were surely planted almost as soon as Eduardo began gathering his facts and statistics for the launch of CBTH. There was simply so much damning material that it had to go somewhere, and a book that all of us can use as a reference or guide to silence or infuriate trophy hunters is the logical format.

Like all campaigns that tackle such complex issues it will take a huge, multi-agency effort to end trophy hunting, but those of us that love wildlife should be incredibly grateful that there are campaigners like Eduardo Goncalves prepared to stand so visibly on the front line. Genial and all smiles on the surface, he is like a human cruise missile, powered by cold fury and laser-locked on the appalling trophy hunting industry. I suspect the industry hates him. Which is perhaps reason enough to own ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’, but more importantly it’s all the information you need to marshal your thoughts, talk persuasively to your family and friends about trophy hunting, and to rebut the claims of pro hunters that they do no harm, love animals, and are true conservationists. It’s important to note, too, that any profits from ‘THE’ will go straight back into funding the work of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.

As stated above, no single book, no single effort, can stop something as embedded and well-financed as trophy hunting. But have no doubt that each barbed fact, each truth, each honest analysis will unpick the threads holding this disgusting edifice together and convince more and more of us that it is dishonest, untruthful, and bereft of legitimacy. And that – in the end – is how it will be brought down.

Charlie Moores – May 25, 2020

 

The video of Gorney, a retired energy company executive, is believed to have been recorded in Zimbabwe in 2011

In the video, Gorney fires one shot, and awakens the unsuspecting lion to meet its demise

In a 2015 interview, Gorney addressed violent reactions to trophy hunting by pointing out he can defend himself. Gorney is pictured with a hippopotamus that he killed

In the interview from 2015 with CBS, Gorney showed no remorse for his 'hunting' habit, which at that time included killing 70 big game animals, such as elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo. Gorney is pictured with a rhino that he killed

'The "why" is just the – I call it the adventure of it. Same reason Teddy Roosevelt did it,' Gorney said. 'I really like hunting elephants. They’re difficult to track down. They’re incredibly dangerous. The first elephant I got, I walked over 120 miles tracking elephants before I actually caught up to him and found him'

The hunter also appears to enjoy searching for prey - including moose and bear - closer to home, in North America, as well as the African bush where he bagged a sleeping lion

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If Only …..

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South Africa: 27/5/20 – Live Exports Update. Live Sheep to Kuwait.

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Dear Mark,

So much has happened since the last time I wrote to you about the live export of sheep to Kuwait, in the Middle East.

 

High Court, February 2020

We headed to the High Court in February 2020 where our case was unfortunately struck off the roll due to procedural issues – the merits of the case had not been argued, and we believe that we still have a strong case to be made.

The Ship Arrives, March 2020

In March 2020, the Al Messilah vessel arrived in South Africa and the NSPCA had teams ready at both the feedlot in Berlin, and the East London Harbour to monitor the loading of these sentient creatures.
It was a gruelling week for the NSPCA who worked tirelessly to protect the sheep that were eventually loaded onto the vessel which was destined for Kuwait and Oman.

It was an uphill battle from beginning to end – court proceedings, protesters, challenges gaining access to the harbour, and our inspectors being treated with contempt by the employees, agents, and associates of Al Mawashi, and the Page Farming Trust – in spite of all these challenges, as well as knowing what the devastating end for these creatures would be, our team stood tall for the voiceless.

We are unsure of the final number of animals loaded on board as the employees and crew were completely uncooperative and hindered our team at every given opportunity, but an estimated 54 500 animals were loaded.

In spite of the NSPCA having an order from the court to inspect the vessel at the end of loading, our Senior Inspectors and Veterinarian were instructed to leave the ship before our inspection was complete, after an injured animal was pointed out. It was impossible to intervene under the circumstances, and Al Mawashi acted in contempt of the Magistrate’s order.

Due to our team being rushed off the ship, a thorough inspection was not possible. In spite of Al Mawashi insisting to the public and the courts that welfare was paramount to their business, and that they had employed an “independent” veterinarian who would travel with the animals on board the vessel, no veterinarian was on board.

Al Mawashi, also known as KLTT, now has a consistent reputation in South Africa for disrespecting South African laws.

 

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The South African Government stops exports during the Middle Eastern Summer months

Like Australian animal welfare groups, notably Animals Australia, who lobbied to the Australian government, the NSPCA has continuously engaged with The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in order to end this abhorrent trade. The NSPCA has been advised by the DALRRD that they have advised the Eastern Cape Veterinary Services against any live animal exportation to the Middle East from May to September 2020. The Eastern Cape Veterinary Services have confirmed that they have no intentions of going against the decision from DALRRD.

The NSPCA commends the South African Government for taking a stance against shipments during the Middle Eastern Summer months based on the exacerbated risks during this period.

The route and climatic conditions of the voyage from South Africa to the Middle East are horrendous at this time of the year. The temperatures in the Persian Gulf are already climbing towards the 50 degree Celsius mark.

These enclosed vessels do not have air conditioning as claimed. The hot air outside is simply pumped into the pens, the warmer seawater heats up the hull from below and the hot sun beats down on to these metal boxes, all contributing to the already hot and humid environment caused by the tens of thousands of sheep radiating heat from their own bodies, in an attempt to cool themselves.

Evidence has shown that during voyages, particularly between May to September, the combined heat and humidity literally “cooks” animals alive. Many will die and those that survive will endure unimaginable suffering.

IN SPITE OF THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION, AL MAWASHI HAVE ACCUMULATED APPROXIMATELY 72 000 SHEEP IN THEIR FEEDLOT IN BERLIN

In light of the amassed sheep at the Feedlot – we have tried to ascertain from Al Mawashi whether a shipment is intended in the near future and have been left to draw our own conclusions.

Our legal team wrote to Al Mawashi on 24 May 2020 to inform them that in light of their silence, and lack of cooperation, they have left us with no choice but to begin preparing an application to the High Court – this is to be set down for hearing on Tuesday, 2 June 2020.

Although the climatic conditions between May and September are severe in the Middle East – we are determined to have the transport of livestock by sea declared unlawful throughout the year.

We thank you for your continued support – we will not give up and we are grateful that we have you on our team.
Thank you for being the difference.

Sincerely
Marcelle Meredith
Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

Australia: Covid 19 Crew; Special Exemptions for Sailing Sheep In Extreme Summer Heat; Possible Covid Spread To Another Nation – What A Desperate Government and Live Export Business !!!

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AL-KUWAIT - IMO 6705303 - Callsign 9KKS - ShipSpotting.com - Ship ...

 

 

WAV Comment

So now the possibility of ‘an exemption’ to allow animals to be exported when they should not. In addition, the ship (Al-Kuwait) with crewmembers suffering from Covid 19, possibly sailing to foreign shores and taking the disease there with them ! – wow; this just sums up how bloody desperate the Australian government and live export industry are to keep their trade going. Prepared to take the risk of human health in another country by potentially allowing this vessel to sail.

Seems like they care just as little for human life as they do for the animals they transport. Sick, all of them – literally !

We totally support Lyn and the crew (and all other folk fighting this trade) at Animals Australia and wish them the best for success in getting this stopped. As for the government and the exporters; they are bastards; simple as that; putting money before the welfare of animals and now humans. Lets hope the trade goes to the wall and that in the near future the Australian people vote in a government that does give a shit about the environment and compassion to all living beings.

 

Hi Mark,

You may have seen reports in the media of a COVID-19 outbreak onboard a live export ship, the Al-Kuwait, which is docked in Fremantle. This situation is still unfolding, with predictions that further crew members could be diagnosed with the virus.

Back in March, we wrote to the Department of Agriculture expressing concerns about the heightened risks that the global coronavirus pandemic posed to crew members and animals. As you know, seafarers live and work in close and unhygienic conditions and have no access to medical care. Risks of shipment rejections increased dramatically as a result of COVID-19 implications.

The sheep who were supposed to be loaded onto the Al-Kuwait remain in an export feedlot while their fate is determined. In theory, this delay should mean a reprieve from live export for these animals as new regulations prohibiting voyages during the Northern summer come into effect next week.

However, we’ve read concerning media reports that indicate an exemption could be granted to the exporter to allow a shipment in June.

We have expressed our opposition to this in the strongest possible terms to the Department of Agriculture today and will again tomorrow during a teleconference.

Any exemption would obviously be totally unacceptable given the well-known heat stress risks that these animals would face.

I will be in touch again when we know more, and we will of course let you know if we need you to amplify our efforts on behalf of these animals. But for now, I wanted you to know that we are are doing all we can to ensure that the welfare of these sheep is prioritised.

Warm regards,
Lyn

Animals Australia.

 

https://www.animalsaustralia.org/