Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
On Monday in Southern California, at the end of a seven-hour meeting that lasted well into the wee hours, the West Hollywood City Council agreed unanimously to ban the sale of fur clothing — news that, in light of the unspeakable suffering and slaughter caused by trapping for the fur industry and coldly dispatched at so-called fur farms, makes me say:
About “bloody” time.
Though we’ve innately known it for some time, scientists are now declaring the harmful effects of using chimpanzees in movies and television — not just for the chimpanzees, but for humans, too. When chimps are anthropomorphized and depicted as engaging in human behaviors (buying insurance, eating sandwiches, driving cars, etc.), people are more likely to believe that chimpanzees are not endangered and that wild populations are steady and healthy. They also may start to think that chimpanzees are suitable “pets.”
We’re only one week into September but already we’ve heard reports about two major law enforcement actions that symbolize the widespread, vicious destruction of wild elephants. In Zambia, police in Ndola made three arrests tied to the confiscation of 166 pieces of ivory that were to be transported out of the country. More than 5,000 miles away in Malaysia, 695 elephant tusks destined for China were seized in Kuala Lumpur — the third of three summertime seizures there that totaled more than 1,750 tusks.
Although the general outlook for elephants these days is frightening — by some estimates, about 100 are killed every day in Africa to satisfy the bloody, illegal ivory trade — there have been bits of good news lately: last month, Kenya’s ceremonial burning of hundreds of confiscated illegal ivory tusks, and last week the conviction in the Republic of Congo of a Chinese national who had attempted to smuggle ivory items (five tusks, 80 chopsticks, three carvings, etc.) to China.
A mother bear — confined to a lifetime of abject pain and misery, crammed in a cage with a permanent, gaping hole in her abdomen from which bile is extracted by her thoughtless captors to sell for use in traditional Chinese medicine as a delusional remedy for humans’ liver ailments or sore eyes — sees that in a nearby cage her cub is screaming in agony as a similar, permanent hole is being brutally made in her midsection.
Last Thursday in Shelbyville, Tenn., a “pet” snow monkey escaped from captivity in a private home where four other caged primates later were found without food or water. Yoshi scampered outdoors and bit an unsuspecting neighbor.
Lucy the elephant shall remain alone, in physical and psychological pain, destined to die prematurely, in the Edmonton Zoo. That’s the impact of a ruling issued Thursday by the highest court in Alberta, Canada. Two of its three judges said courts are not the appropriate venue for such an animal rights debate.
Thanks to the determined efforts of Born Free USA staff, the New York state Legislature has approved legislation to restrict the trade in bear gallbladders and bile. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for his signature.