Category: 4 April

Week 18 Born Free Foundation (UK/International)

(Heart) Breaking news: Right after publishing this post I found this repulsive news on the abc news feed

 Cambodian elephant ride operator ‘regretful’ after animal dies ferrying tourists in 40-degree heat.

The female elephant, aged between 40–45, died by the roadside on Friday after carrying tourists around Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple complex outside Siem Reap.

Photos were widely shared on social media, prompting calls for Cambodia to reform the already controversial elephant ride industry.

Asian elephants only live to around 40 years old, so this is like saddling up your grandma and riding her on a 40 degree day, when she should be relaxing with a sherry and many years retired.


Tourist elephant riding in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I just sent an email to some friends and family.

Hi friends and fam!

I just found this article on the ABC newsfeed and it brought back some regrets of mine and a hope we can all work toward a better future for these animals:‘cruel’-animal-entertainment/7351292

If you know anyone who is planning on travelling to a destination where animals are exploited for the benefit of tourists, please encourage them not to support this industry in its many guises. 

Even when it seems like we may be helping, we are probably just perpetuating profit driven uses/abuses. (This includes many animal ‘orphanages’.)

I have been short-sighted enough to pay money to ‘feed cucumbers to an elephant’ in Bangkok, to give money to a homeless guy with puppies in Japan and to ride an elephant in India (after allowing pressure to override my misgivings).

I regret these actions of mine, all of which helped entrench animal exploitation for profit.  I hope I can do better in future.


(Not necessary, but if you would like to sign it, there is the petition is below, I did, though I wouldn’t recommend giving them any financial support.  They only score one star on Charity Navigator.)

World Animal Protection (WAP) is the new name for the organisation previously known as WSPA.


The world’s cruellest attractions

TripAdvisor is profiting from some of the world’s cruellest types of wildlife tourist attractions. Whether it is riding elephants, taking selfies with tigers, or performing dolphin shows, TripAdvisor is promoting and profiting from attractions that involve lifelong suffering for wild animals.

Last year Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) analysed 24 different types of wildlife attractions across the world. They rated them based on welfare and conservation criteria – we used this information and combined it with our own research to identify 10 of the world’s cruellest types of attractions.

By selling tickets through their subsidiary company Viator or promoting them with Certificates of Excellence, TripAdvisor is profiting from and promoting all of the following types of cruel wildlife tourism entertainment.

Riding elephants

In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. It involves physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, it may look at peace, but this is because its spirit has been broken. The bullhook, used permanently, reminds the animal of human dominance.

The cruelty does not end after the crush. When not performing or used for rides most elephants are kept on chains, unable to socially interact with one another. This is hugely damaging to their physical and psychological wellbeing.

Taking tiger selfies

Tiger cubs are separated from their mothers at an early age so they can be used as photo props for hours on end. They are handled and hugged by tourists and typically kept chained or in small cages with concrete floors.

In Thailand we found 10 venues housing around 614 tigers. Although Thailand is a hub of cruel tiger tourism it is also prevalent in other parts of Asia, Australia, Mexico and Argentina.

Walking with lions

Lion cubs are bred and taken from their mothers typically within a month of birth to supply the growing lion tourism industry, mostly located in Southern Africa. Tourists handle the cubs for hours and pose with them for photos. They are also often told to hit the cubs if they display aggressive or unwelcome behaviour.

When the cubs grow too big for tourists to pick up and hug – but are still young enough to control – they are used for the relatively new walking with lions tourist experience. The lions are trained to ‘safely’ walk with tourists, sometimes on leads.

These lions face a lifetime in captivity as they cannot be released into the wild.

Holding sea turtles

The world’s last remaining sea turtle farm that acts as a tourist attraction is in The Cayman Islands. Here, tourists can hold turtles and even eat them during their visit.

Suffering from stress and disease, sea turtles live a tortured life at the Cayman Turtle Farm. They often panic when they are handled and it has been known for tourists to drop them, causing significant injuries which can kill turtles.

Performing dolphins

Millions of tourists visit dolphinaria, but they are unaware of the cruelty and abuses the dolphins endure to perform in shows.

Whilst it is banned in countries like the US, many performing dolphins around the world are still captured in the wild. They are often chased by high-speed boats before being hauled on board or caught in nets. For many, the stress is too much to take and they die during transportation to their intended destinations.

Whether wild caught or captive bred, dolphins in dolphinaria face a lifetime of suffering. They spend their entire lives in a space not much bigger than a swimming pool – completely unnatural and restrictive compared to their natural open sea environment.


Thank you World Animal Protection for taking on this campaign, it is wonderful and very worthwhile.

However I will choose to give my money to another charity as I am not really heartened by your one star rating on Charity Navigator.

This week I hope I am choosing wisely by supportingindex

Born Free

From small beginnings, the Born Free Foundation has grown into a global force for wildlife.  But a personal passion for wild animals and desire for positive change remain at our heart.  Described by The Times as ‘Big enough to make a difference, but small enough to care,’ Born Free is not a big anonymous organisation, but a family of like-minded people who share the same goals. 

Our  major international projects are devoted to animal welfare, conservation and education, and protect lions, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, polar bears, wolves, dolphins, turtles, sharks and lots more.  Through our Global Initiatives project we respond to emergency situations worldwide, participate in international coalitions such as the Species Survival Network, run the People & Wildlife project with Oxford University’s WildCru department, and much much more.


Keep wildlife in the wild!!



Week 17 Los Cedros Reserve (Ecuador)

While Panama with its paper trail sends shockwaves through the rest of the world, poor beautiful Ecuador is reeling terribly from another kind.

The coastal area and its inhabitants are suffering the most from the recent earthquakes.  Meanwhile the inland Andean and Amazonian areas are silently suffering their own tragedy and theirs could be largely avoided.



Some pressures facing these most biodiverse areas on earth include logging, mining, poaching and clearing for farmland.

Enough food can be produced to feed the world population until at least 2050 without the need to further clear forests for farmland, according to new research.

Diet key to feeding the world in 2050 without further deforestation, modelling suggests.

And as for the other issues, are they the result of need…or just greed?

Reserva Los Cedros (The Cedars?)ridges through clouds

Los Cedros Biological Reserve consists of 17,000 acres of wet tropical forest and cloud forest.  It is a forest and wildlife reserve that was founded in 1988 with the purchase of the first land holding. The Los Cedros Reserve provides habitat for monkeys, bears, armadillos, pumas and jaguars.  It is studied by scientists from around the world.  This land was strategically chosen to halt the colonisation, poaching an illegal logging that have been undermining the adjacent Cotocachi-Cayapas national park.  This region contains the most diverse forest on earth.

This establishment of Los Cedros was made possible with the help of numerous individuals and organisations.  We would like to thank … especially the Rainforest Information Centre of Australia.

The rainforest who??  This is the first time I have heard of the RIC, but I have just visited their site and wow!

I love this 52 week challenge of discovery.  Yesterday morning I didn’t even know Los Cedros existed, now it already has a place in my heart… I found it after following many Google breadcrumb trails, most of which began and ended with Ecuadorean ‘voluntourism’ sites.  Many of these ‘charities’ seem to exist just for the sake of earning the ready cash of foreign voluntourists. (One other did stand out as being legitimate and worthwhile, but I thought they probably had their expenses covered pretty well:

The good news is, if voluntourism is your thing, you can also do this at Los Cedros, information is available directly on their site.


I found it hard to find a way to donate to them, but at last found this, though it will expire in June 2016.

Los Cedros Fund 2016

What We Need

We need to raise $5,000 immediately to be able to re-survey the boundaries of the reserve and for our staff to have the living expenses to be able to travel to Ibarra and Quito to meet with government officials to advocate for the integrity of the reserve.

Patrol must be hired to assist the community members who watch the trails for illegal logging and hunting.

We also need to maintain all that we have built to house volunteers, researchers and tourists that are the backbone of the monthly support for the reserve’s management.

All donations are tax-deductible for Australians…So this is how to get some tax dollars spent on the environment at last!


Birdy says thank you.  From coast to mountains, I wish for the very best for you, Ecuador.

Week 16 Animal Liberation Qld (Australia)

Who didn’t love the merry-go-round as a child?  Actually, I didn’t! – the horses had scary, ‘bitey’ looking mouths and waving at your parents to ‘look at moy’ while all those other people were looking at you was also scary.  Yes, I was a sook!

Image result for merry go round

But, sook all I like, at least I chose when I went on the ride (within reason-family photo ops notwithstanding), and the horses weren’t really out to bite me.

Billboard against animal cruelty in greyhound racing defaced

Defaced anti-greyhound racing billboard

Have a look at the picture on the billboard, right in front of the dog’s jaws.  The creature strapped and splayed in terror is a live possum, spinning on a not very merry ride at all.  The circus freak playing God who put it on there won’t ever let it get fairy floss or go home. Fortunately this time, the animal welfare family was there to take pictures.  To Animal Liberation, thank you.

And to whoever did this graffiti, thank you!

You gave this campaign a second chance at free, national media coverage.

Q. Why does the greyhound racing industry still exist?

A. Because it’s an industry of course, silly!

Our forebears had the wisdom to (nominally at least) insist on the separation of church and state, and we are all the better for it.  Unfortunately now corporatism seems to be the greatest threat to the state and democracy.

corporatism /ˈkɔrp(ə)rəˌtɪzəm/ /ˈkɔːpərətɪzəm/

control of a state or organization by large interest groups

Advanced English Dictionary

But what is currently accepted doesn’t need to continue to be…

Australia is one of only eight countries in the world with a commercial greyhound racing industry — Australia is by far the biggest. However, internationally, it is an industry in decline. In the USA, greyhound racing is now illegal in 39 states, 28 of the 49 tracks have closed since 2001 and wagering has dramatically reduced.

Every year in Australia, around 20,000 greyhound pups are bred in the hope of finding a quick runner.  But not every dog is suited to racing. And like a lottery ticket that has failed to pay out, most dogs who don’t make the grade are discarded.


A Price Waterhouse Coopers report in NSW in 2014 concluded that the racing industry is a ‘consumptive sector’, and doesn’t ‘generate any significant productivity benefits to the rest of the economy’.

Text : Animals Australia – Greyhounds

Graphic : ALQ Greyhound Racing

Thank you to QANTAS and Cathay Pacific for recently halting all carriage of greyhounds from Australia to certain suffering and death at the awful ‘Canidrome’ in Macau.

Don’t we already have enough ways to gamble our money away without abusing animals? If we close down blood sports such as greyhound racing, Paddy Power is more than happy to take money from suckers on all kinds of bets imaginable …anyone care to bet on who will be the next Pope?

I hear George Pell will be paying out at 7,415,160,613 to 1…and his odds only get longer with each new addition to the world’s population.




Animal Liberation Queensland

Way back in 1988, it was ALQ who set me on the path to changing my lifestyle to minimise my contribution to animal suffering.  I am forever grateful to them that I have not wasted my life, and so many others, by living a life of mindless consumption.

Animal Liberation Queensland is an independent animal rights organisation, founded in 1979, which advocates the rights of non-human animals so that they may live free from abuse, cruelty, and exploitation.


  • Exposing animal abuse and exploitation to bring widespread public attention to animal issues
  • Campaigning to increase consumer awareness of animal rights issues
  • Providing free educational resources to the community
  • Pursuing legislative change at local, state and federal levels
  • Collaborating with other state and national animal advocacy organisations where there are opportunities to undertake joint campaigns and share resources


They even have a vegan chocolate shoppers guide.(Why vegan chocolate? See Ditch Dairy)

 Greyhound Racing Billboard at Brisbane Central Station







Week 15 Giving a Future Animal Aid (Myanmar)

This is a good news week!

Family members welcome a student protest leader as he arrives for his trial in Tharrawaddy.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi has vowed to press for the release of political prisoners and student activists, hinting that a mass amnesty may be imminent as her government seeks to stamp its mark on power in the former junta-run nation

Ms Suu Kyi’s administration, stacked full of democracy activists who spent years incarcerated by the military, took power last week, ending nearly half a century of repressive army domination.’s-suu-kyi-vows-to-press-for-political-prisoner-release/7309462

It is also good news for non-human animals as along with the country and its prisons opening up, so are some new charities dedicated to helping animals.

Giving a Future Animal Aid

Giving a Future Animal Aid

This charity caught my eye because it doesn’t run a shelter, instead it is dedicated to helping animals who are living on the streets, therefore reaching out to a larger number than they could otherwise afford.   It is based overseas (Norway), so has more freedom to speak out than domestically based ones.  It has a great website if you are interested in learning more about this relatively unknown country.

According to the the site, Myanmar has approximately 3.5 milion stray dogs.

Giving a Future helps animals and people through :

– Population control though neuter-spay-release programs;

– Rabies vaccinations;

– Curing parasitic infections and mange;

– Helping paralysed and wounded animals to a secure home/shelter and

– Raising awareness of hidden cruel activities in the country such as the many puppy mills, butchering of dogs for game, and the illegal meat trade (sale of dogs) to China.


I wish peace and a brighter future to all of the people and animals of Myanmar.

I wonder what life was like for my Burmese great-great-grandmother?