Posts Tagged With: cruelty

Candle in the Dark: Hope in China

China – the mere mention of the country sets animal lovers on edge. It’s no secret they bear a huge responsibility for the demand of horn and ivory, paving the destruction of rhinos and elephants, among other animals.

But there is reason to hope. The animal welfare movement is alive and well in China. The younger generation is aware, and becoming less tolerant of cruelty toward animals. With increasing attention from social media, animal protection issues are pushing to the public forefront.

chinese activists

Activists protest dog and cat meat industry.

The past couple of years, Chinese animal welfare advocates have

* banned the U.S. rodeo from entering Beijing
*demonstrated against the import of seal parts from Canada *
*ended barbaric live animal feeding in zoos
*prevented the construction of a foie gras factory
*rescued thousands of dogs and cats from the meat trade
*made stricter terms on harming endangered species(anyone who eats endangered species, or buys them for other purposes, is punishable by up to 10 years in jail)

In addition China is home to 50 million vegetarians and vegans, according to Peta.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

The New York Times reports that revulsion at animal abuse is growing, and citizens have been taking matters into their own hands, rescuing dogs and cats from slaughter, and  banding together to lobby government for animal protection laws.

China has some laws protecting endangered species of wild animals, but no protection for other animals within the country.

A proposed draft of China’s first comprehensive animal welfare law, the China Animal Protection Law, was issued in September 2009, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. It has yet to become law.

Some of the organizations currently working in China, and with the government trying to change current laws are Animals Asia, Peta Asia, and Chinese Animal Protection Network.

According to Animals Asia, “After more than 20 years working in China, we know how fast things can change – and we know already from working with various government departments in Beijing and Sichuan Province, that there is definitely a growing recognition and sympathy towards the issue of animal welfare generally which did not exist 10 years ago.”

Yao Ming's shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

Yao Ming’s shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

No doubt that social media and celebrity endorsements are helping the movement along. Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and pop singer Yu Kewei, artist Ai Weiwei, and actress Sun Li are actively campaigning against bear bile farms, rhino horn and elephant tusk use, and other endangered species slaughter.

China has lagged behind the most progressive nations in animal protection legislation for more than 180 years. But their time is coming. Realistically it has been and will continue to be slow, as younger generations push back against the older generation, more set in their ways.

 As a  Korean animal rights activist Sung Su Kim puts it:

“Culture has often been used as an excuse to turn away from suffering, and people in both Asia and the West often use cultural relativism to soothe their conscience for doing nothing”.

“Surely we want to regard various practices in our history (such as slavery and cannibalism) as something to be rid of rather than treat them as ‘culture’ and demand respect accordingly.”

jacki rhino ad

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If Animals Could Talk

If the animals could talk, if only for a day
what would they tell us, what would they say

Would elephants lift us high and trumpet out aloud
applaud all humans and of us be very proud

Or would they all herd together and maim us, everyone
for all the suffering and abuse that mankind has done

What would the rhino say when he lost his life and horn
and the animals that had the pelts from their bodies torn

Would that battered and broken dog his master still obey
or would he hold a grudge and now his master repay

Would all the caged animals stand together and break out
go on the rampage and abuse at us shout

What would the great apes in our forests have to say
or would they just stare at us in a state of dismay

Don’t forget the dolphins and the creatures of the deep
and all those animals that in winter time do sleep

Would they forgive us for their suffering and pain
or would our pleas for forgiveness be completely in vain

If the animals could talk, it would make their plight seem real
then we may understand exactly how they feel

~ Shelley Seiderer ~

girl with elephants by robin schwartz

Photo by Robin Schwartz

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No Life for Elephants

DSCN1743I attended my first circus protest recently.

The wind blew hard, it was chilly, my hands hurt from clutching the sign so hard. Twice I dropped my pamphlets and hurried to collect them before they blew away. Armed with kid-friendly stickers and in constant motion, I tried to make myself available to anyone who made eye contact.

I wanted to beg them not to go, don’t buy tickets, don’t support the cruelty. I wanted to say “If you get a ticket, you might as well get a bullhook too and take your turn beating the elephants” I wanted to tell the kids the circus is mean to the animals.

But I didn’t. I killed them with kindness instead. I nodded, smiled, and handed out coloring books and flyers.

A few thanked me. Some avoided me like I was the threat, one man shook his head.

But the funny thing was-all the kids approached me-or tried to, until some of the parents pulled them away. They were sponges, ready to absorb, wanting to learn, returning my smile with theirs.

Shame on the parents for hiding the truth, for keeping them in the dark about the realities of man’s cruelty! Why can’t they say “No honey, we’re not going to the circus because the animals at the circus are sad, and they don’t want to be there”?

The most prophetic moment of the day; a little boy with glasses and a red jacket took a coloring book, scrunched his nose at me and asked “Is the circus almost done?”

I said “Yes buddy, it almost is.”

elephants at van andel

circus protest pic

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The Greatest Hoax on Earth

Circus elephants in the 1800s.

Circus elephants in the 1800s.

elephant circus modern

Circus elephants modern day.

A lot has changed in 200 years. We have been through two world wars, slavery was abolished, women are allowed to vote, the animal welfare act was enacted, and now there is a recognition of gay rights. Yet the circus and circus practice remains unchanged. The commonality in the above photos-dominating people with bullhooks in hand. Bullhooks are tools used to punish and control elephants.

FACT: Elephants are extremely intelligent and social creatures. In the wild, they live in families, roaming up to 25 miles per day. They do not stand on their heads, carry people around, walk in endless circles or ride in boxcars. In order to get them to do these things, they are forced by being beaten, chained whipped and tortured into submission.

*FACT: Animals in the circus spend 11 months a year traveling.

*FACT: They are caged or chained, forced to stand in their own waste and are often subjected to extreme temperatures.

*FACT: Every major circus that uses animals has been cited for violating the minimal standards of care set forth in the United States Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

The following video was made based on information from the RIngling Bros Circus trainers. Please watch: Training/Breaking a baby elephant for the circus

If you buy a ticket...

If you buy a ticket…

How You Can Help

The circus only exists because people pay money to go. Don’t go, and educate and encourage others not to. It’s really THAT easy!

There are websites devoted to helping animals that can help you protest and educate others to the realities of circus life for animals. Go to Peta or ADI (Animal Defenders International)

Start petitions, sign petitions. When the circus comes to your area, write to the venue that will be hosting them and ask them not to.

Michael Cotterman

You are supporting this!

Please sign and share the following: Stop Ringling Bros from coming to Grand Rapids Michigan!

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The Tiger Temple: a Disgrace to Buddha

*”Phayru was a very gracious Tiger. He would chuff and lovingly greet most people in spite of his obvious suffering. I watched this tiger try so hard to be exceptionally well behaved for the TSW, and just as I smiled with adoration at his behavior, the remorseless pain of shock and horror gripped my heart again as another violent scene began to play out before my eyes.
Phayru chuffed to the TSW and was doing everything that he was supposed to do when people are near. He showed no sign or display of aggression or negative behavior towards the TSW, just chuffs and obedience. Despite this good behavior, the TSW began yelling and raising his stick, Phayru backed off showing fear and confusion. This visual change of the expression on Phayru’s face was mortifying. The TSW hit Phayru’s genitals hard and yelled at him to move while pointing to a much smaller cell not much bigger then Phayru himself. As Phayru cowered and turned to the small cage I saw his genital and anus area was abnormal and swollen with excretions of blood and pus oozing from everywhere. He was moaning and trying to move quickly to the small cage while the TSW continued to hit him on his genitals. He continued to moan and flinched so much with every hit and was looking up at the TSW with such confusion and with what I can only describe as desperate pleading expression as if to say “Why”?……

The Buddhist religion has long been known for enlightenment and peace. The “live and let live” mentality, never killing or hurting another sentient being, the theme of reincarnation and karma is familiar.  Of course like most religions, there is contradiction.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”-buddhism teaching

In Kanchanaburi, Thailand is the Buddhist temple better known as the “Tiger Temple”. Here the monks “bread and butter” comes from there supposedly peaceful relationship with the tigers. For twenty bucks, the  tourists can have their picture children on tigertaken next to a “tame” tiger. For a little extra, you can sit on the tiger’s back for the photo.

Are they “tame”? Of course not. They are chained up, and although not proven, suspicion is they are drugged. They are seemingly very sedate, low energy, and depressed. Even if drugs were not used, their care is questionable.

“Buddhism regards all living creatures as being endowed with the Buddha nature and the potential to become Buddhas. That’s why Buddhism teaches us to refrain from killing and to liberate creatures instead.”~ Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

The Temple claims to be there for the rehabilitation and repopulation of the species. To the temple’s critics, however, that population growth is a problem, chiefly because they say the temple is employing tactics which are illegal. A controversial report released in 2008 by Care for the Wild International (CWI) concluded:

Although the Tiger Temple may have begun as a rescue centre for tigers, it has become a breeding centre to produce and keep tigers solely for the tourists and therefore the Temple’s benefit. Illegal international trafficking helps to maintain the Temples’ captive tiger population. There is no possibility of the Temples’ breeding programme contributing to the conservation of the species in the wild..

The report also writes the tigers are at risk of malnourishment and are routinely handled too roughly by staff. The temple has denied wrongdoing or mistreatment of the animals.

“One is not a great one because one defeats or harms other living beings. One is so called because one refrains from defeating or harming other living beings.”-Buddha

chained tigerIt’s estimated that a century ago there were over 100,000 tigers in the world. Today the population has dwindled to between 3,000 and 3,500 – a decline of over 95 per cent. The Tiger trade is a lucrative business and the Temple is a part of it.

Be aware when you travel. Educate yourself, and if you are visiting an area where animals are present, question how they’re treated. Your tourist dollars could well be the difference between their benefit and detriment.

Read more:

For more information on Pharyu and the Temple Tigers please see:




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Elephants are extremely social creatures. They form groups, and sometimes join up with other herds. The females stay together, raising each others young and communicate constantly with one another. Female asian elephants are never alone in the wild.

Mali reaching out for companionship.

Mali reaching out for companionship.

Manilla Zoo, Philippines  Mali is the only Asian Elephant in the zoo. In fact she is the only elephant in captivity in the Philippines. The 38-year-old gentle giant has been an occupant of the zoo since she was taken from her mother at the age of 3,  spending all of her life in a concrete enclosure.

After capturing the attention of concerned citizens, an animal rights group was contacted and Dr. Mel Richardson, a veterinarian and expert on elephants,  was sent to evaluate Mali. His findings expressed concerns both for her physical and mental health.

Mali’s feet (which have only known the feel of concrete) are showing ailments including cracked nails, overgrown cuticles, and cracked pads. Such foot problems are the leading cause of death in captive elephants. The zoos veterinarians admit they do not have the means to properly care for her feet.

Perhaps even more importantly, Dr. Richardson expressed extreme concern for her profound loneliness. ” Mali’s social and psychological needs are being neglected at the Manila Zoo. Even the best intentions … cannot replace these needs, which can only be met by the companionship of other elephants.” He concludes, “In my experience, even elephants who have been alone for more than 20 years integrate well with other elephants when moved to a sanctuary.”

Mali's "home" for the last 30 years.

Mali’s “home” for the last 30 years.

There is a place available for Mali at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. She could feel the grass beneath her tired feet, wrap her trunk around other trunks, greeting other elephants for the first time in her life. After a lifetime of solitary confinement, isn’t it time she lived as she was meant to?

There has been an outpouring of support for this magnificent lady. Everyone from PETA to Dame Daphne Sheldrick has lent a voice to the effort to move her. Yet the officials of the Manilla Zoo have resisted, saying she is home and they are her family.

There is a place available for Mali at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.  After a lifetime of solitary confinement, Mali could finally feel the grass beneath her feet, wrap her trunk around other trunks, and greet a family for the first time in her life. Please join in the fight to give Mali the life she deserves.  Go to Free Mali on facebook.

Mali holding tail

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