Day: April 15, 2022

Netherlands: Animal rights groups fury as Buba the elephant is sold to Hungarian circus.

Buba in the Netherlands two years ago. Photo: ANP/ HH / Berlinda van Dam


Animal rights organisations are accusing former agriculture minister Carola Schouten  MPs of flouting the Dutch ban on the trade of wild animals for circuses by sanctioning the sale of an elephant to Hungary.

The dispute centres on Buba, the last circus elephant in the Netherlands, which was owned by the Freiwald circus family and went into retirement by the 2015 ban on performing wild animals. In 2020, MPs voted to allow the 45-year-old elephant to remain with the circus family after the Freiwalds rejected a suggestion to move the animal to Elephant Haven, a sanctuary for retired elephants in France on the grounds that it would be happier here. However, claiming they could not longer afford to care for the animal, the Freiwalds have sold Buba to the Kimba Elefant park in Hungary, the Telegraaf reported last month. The park, owned by the Caselly circus family, is part zoo and part circus.

The answers to parliamentary questions from animal rights party PvdD MP Frank Wassenberg ‘only confirm what we already knew,’ animal rights organisations Bite Back and Animal Rights NL said in a statement. ‘After all the sanctimonious drivel about allowing Buba to remain with her circus family in the Netherlands… Buba has been flogged to a park in Hungary where she will be forced to perform tricks again,’ the organisations said. The current agriculture minister, Henk Staghouwer, could not confirm if Buba had been sold and if so, how much for but admitted the necessary papers had been provided to enable the elephant to travel to Hungary.

Tricks. He also said that according to his information, the elephants at the park are ‘trained in the presence of visitors and perform tricks with their keepers’. Slaghouwer expressed regret that the option to take the elephant to the retreat in France had been refused. ‘The objective of the 2015 ban on the use of wild animals in circuses was always to rehabilitate the animals in an environment with knowledgeable staff. It would not be in Buba’s best interest to be used to perform for an audience again,’ Staghouwer said. The animal rights organisations said Buba had been the victim of ‘populist sentiment and political ineptness’ and have said they are considering legal action. The Netherlands found itself in a similar situation with Morgan the orca, which was sold to an amusement park on Tenerife where she has been bred and forced to perform tricks, despite the official agreement.

Regards Mark

Africa: Cultured Beef Burgers Arrive In Africa For The First Time.

The alternative protein sector – including cell-based meats – is gaining momentum across the globe

Cultured Beef Burgers Arrive In Africa For The First Time – Plant Based News

Africa’s first-ever cultivated beef burger has been unveiled.

Mzansi Meat Co debuted the new burger this week at an event in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s the first cellular agriculture startup on the African continent.

Founded by Brett Thompson and Tasneem Karodia, the company is on a mission to feed Africa’s growing population with sustainably produced protein.

Like most cellular meat companies, Mzansi Meat Co’s food scientists cultivated the burger in a lab, after collecting cells from a living animal (in this case, a cow from a local animal sanctuary). 

The cells were isolated and grown in a culture medium. Then, they were placed on an edible structure and combined with spices and flavoring to produce the end product.

Why produce cultured meat?

Conventional animal agriculture is destructive to the environment and contributes 14.5 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. This has motivated innovators to think of new ways to produce the foods we love, in more sustainable ways.

While many brands are making meat-like products out of plants, the cell-based meat market is growing too.

Mzansi Meat Co is the first to produce a cultured meat burger in Africa, but in Singapore, cell-based meat has already appeared on restaurant menus.

The Singapore Food Authority became the first in the world to approve the sale of cultured meat in 2020. And last year, California brand Eat Just debuted cultured chicken at 1880, one of the country’s top restaurants.

‘Our burger is only the beginning’

Mzansi Meat hopes to follow closely in Africa.

“Cellular agriculture wasn’t an industry in Africa until Mzansi was born,” said Thompson. “Our burger is only the beginning, we now know it’s possible and the next step is scaling up. It starts with one small beef burger and we aim to be producing tons of cultivated meat every month in the future.”

According to Karodia, the brand will now focus on cultivated sausages. After that, it’ll tackle meat that can be substituted in traditional cuisines across Africa. “Everything we make will be braai-friendly and ready for the fire,” she said.

The cultivated meat market has significant potential when it comes to removing animals from the food system. According to McKinsey, a management consulting firm, by 2030, the sector could make up “billions of pounds of the world’s meat supply.”

Regards Mark

Vietnam: Animal Abuse Is Rife At Circuses And Amusement Parks In Vietnam, Investigation Reveals.

A new report shows that macaques and a number of other animals are being exploited in the tourist industry in Vietnam. Credit: Adobe Stock

Despite government intervention, more needs to be done to protect animals across Asia, the report stresses

A new investigation has uncovered abuse at several circuses and amusement parks in Vietnam.

Hong Kong-based animal rights nonprofit Animals Asia has released a new report stating that hundreds of animals are being exploited in these facilities, where they are housed in inadequate enclosures and exhibit stress-induced behaviours.

Animals were found underweight, rocking, self-harming, cowering, subjected to loud noises and bright lights, and forced to perform tricks.

The findings, published in Animals Asia’s Vietnam Circus Report, also state that endangered species—including Asiatic black bears, gibbons, Siamese crocodiles, and Asian elephants—are being kept in circuses and amusement parks, despite the fact that this is against Vietnamese law. Macaques were the most common circus animal discovered by Animals Asia.

The report also highlights illegal wildlife trafficking concerns. Between 2008 and 2019, records show that 38 bottlenose dolphins were imported into Vietnam, 33 of which were caught from the wild in Japan. During the investigation, only four facilities were found hosting dolphin circus shows. This means that several of the dolphins brought into the country previously have already died.

Vietnam isn’t alone. Around the world, a number of tourist attractions make money from abusing animals. In the US, for example, SeaWorld is under constant scrutiny regarding its treatment of orcas, dolphins, and other marine animals in its parks.

The country is also home to more than 3,000 roadside zoos. These are renowned for housing animals like tigers and chimpanzees in concrete enclosures and promoting dangerous interactions with customers. 

Stopping animal exploitation in Vietnam

In Asia, thousands of animals live in zoos and parks, all with ranging standards of animal welfare.

Animals Asia acknowledges that the Vietnamese government is trying to crack down on facilities that exploit animals. Its last report on animal welfare in the country was in 2017. Since then, authorities have started to take action. But more needs to be done.

Dave Neale, the director of Animals Asia, said in a statement: “Since our last report in 2017, our public outreach campaigns, discussions with the authorities and managers of circus facilities, some of them have stopped operating, and many of them have stopped using animals in their shows. But we are still far from ending these performances for good.”

“We call upon the authorities in Vietnam to develop laws that protect animals. To give support to organisations that rescue and rehabilitate these animals, and the circus operators to diversify their business away from using animals,” Neale added.

“We appeal to the public not to support facilities that continue to abuse animals for entertainment.”

Animal Abuse Is Rife At Circuses And Amusement Parks In Vietnam, Investigation Reveals – Plant Based News

Regards Mark