SAC: Success in various countries and opposition to Romanian killing law
The care and neutering of stray animals, one of the key projects of FOUR PAWS, has continued to be a success in 2011. Numerous municipalities in Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and Slovakia opted for the Stray Animal Care project and abandoned killings. In addition, teams were working in Jordan, in cooperation with the Princess Alia Foundation, and India, where FOUR PAWS serves as a partner to the renowned Blue Cross of India. Also on EU level there was plenty of new backing for a responsible stray animal policy. In Romania, however, a highly controversial law was passed, which has been received as a massive fallback into the bleak past and has triggered protest in front of the Romanian embassies in several European capitals. Also in the Ukraine, co-host of the Euro 2012, thousands of animals were systematically killed. FOUR PAWS is planning to realise the first SAC project in Lviv before the turn of the year.
LIONSROCK: New lions and extension works
In South African FOUR PAWS big cat sanctuary LIONSROCK more lions have arrived from bad keeping sites in Romania and Bulgaria. The highly trained team on site made sure that the animals would settle in well into their new surroundings. The expansion works for 15 new enclosures are progressing well, even though they were also the cause of a fire, which thanks to the quick reaction of staff and neighbours did not cause substantial damage. Tiger Martin, who grew up in a concrete cage in Bulgaria, has adapted well to his new life and loves to swim in the pond.
Disaster Relief missions in Libya and Pakistan
For the second year in a row, a team of FOUR PAWS Disaster Relief delivered essential help for animals during a major flood in Pakistan, this time in the region of Jhando Mari. The hard-hit farmers were provided with much needed fodder. In the Libyan capital Tripoli, 700 wild animals were severely threatened by starvation. The zoo staff had left the animals to their fate after the fighting had reached the city. A Disaster Relief team provided vital aid work, organised fodder supplies and brought in medicine and equipment from South Africa. Current plans are aiming at the zoo to be reformed to modern standards in order to improve the living conditions of the many traumatised animals quickly. Earlier in the year, the political unrest triggered another relief effort in Egypt, where 3000 and camels were fed and treated.
FOUR PAWS bear parks
Excellent work has also been done in the three FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries: At DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa, home to 25 former dancing bears and several animals rescued from bad keeping in zoos, another annual vet check was performed, with a respected veterinary team coming in and treating particularly serious cases and chronic ailments. At BEAR PARK Arbesbach six bears that used to live in private captivity are being cared for, whereas BEAR PARK Müritz was reopened after extensive expansion work. This also creates space for other animals that lack an appropriate habitat: in 2011 several bears have been transferred from Eastern European zoos. Also the BEAR ORPHANAGE Harghita, a cooperating facility in Romania, where foundlings are prepared for a life in freedom, took in new cubs.
Mobile vet unit in Kenya
A draught lasting throughout the winter months in Kenya was the decisive factor in a difficult year for the FOUR PAWS funded mobile vet unit. The team, however, managed to do outstanding work on a daily basis: Numerous animals had to be freed from snare traps and treated due to arrow wounds. Poaching is on the rise and also the intensive farming along the river banks aggravates the situation in the national parks of Tsavo and Amboseli. Only the rain falls of November eased the situation temporarily.
Horse projects in Romania, Hungary and Germany
FOUR PAWS supports farmyards in several countries, providing care for horses rescued from bad keeping conditions. It emerged that in Romania about 70 wild horses had been illegally captured and sold to a slaughterhouse. Most of them were saved in a months-long, dramatic relief effort. Depending on the state of their health they are now gradually released again - FOUR PAWS delivers over 100 tons of winter fodder to the region.
Sanctuary and care centre for wild birds
Since 2009 FOUR PAWS is partner of the EGS, a care and rehabilitation centre for owls and birds of prey in Austrian Haringsee. About 400 wild birds, mostly foundlings and orphans, live here and are, if possible, prepared for a life in freedom. During the program the birds live in social groups, which allows them to be kept in large aviaries. For many endangered bird species in Central Europe, this unique program is of great importance.
Wild Animals in Circuses
VIER PFOTEN takes a stand for a general ban on wild animals in circuses and does so successfully: the Federal Council of Germany voted in favor of the ban and we filed a criminal complaint against Circus Krone for animal cruelty. VIER PFOTEN calls for the German Government to finally implement the Federal Council’s resolution on the ban and thousands of people supported our protest. Great news from Austria: here the constitutional court held up the ruling on the ban of wild animals in circuses which already had been established in 2004.
Millions of wild animals suffer and die under gruesome conditions on fur farms. VIER PFOTEN is advocating a ban on fur farming throughout the E.U.
In Germany we have protested in front of fur farms and reported fur farmers to the authorities for ignoring new legislation concerning keeping conditions for minks. Fur does not only mean animal cruelty but can also pose a threat to human health, as attested in our study “Toxins in Fur 2011” which constitutes the largest analysis of toxins in fur products of the fashion industry ever published in Europe.
In 2011 our commitment for the termination of animal testing focused primarily on the cosmetics sector. Our Campaign “The ugly face of animal testing for cosmetics” supported a sales and import ban for cosmetics utilizing animal testing within the E.U. from 2013 on. Tens of thousands of people already signed our petition.
Our campaigns to stop the force feeding of geese and the live feather plucking were successful; in 2011 in Austria all retailers phased out products from farms still using this practice following our campaigning and research. FOUR PAWS could even save a flock of geese from force feeding and rehomed them in a sanctuary.
We also advocated for better keeping conditions for rabbits and against battery cages for farmed rabbits. In 2011 new insights on alternative rabbit keeping became available; FOUR PAWS scientifically proved in co-operations with rabbit farms it is financially efficient and sustainable to keep rabbits in small groups together with the mother rabbit instead of the inhumane battery cages.
We kept working hard on improving the keeping conditions for laying hens. In Germany some supermarket chains like V-Markt and Feneberg still sell eggs from battery cages. FOUR PAWS protested in front of their shops in Munich, Kempten and Kaufbeuern. Although the battery cages in Austria are forbidden the producers and retailers still sell and use them in the production of pasta and convenience food; hidden cage eggs are also used in the restaurants. This year we started a research on the eggs origin and will contact the producers and do our best to change the situation.
We continued campaigning against the illegal puppy trade. FOUR PAWS did research and uncovered cases of illegal trading with puppies all over Europe. We also created internet platforms which help seize this practice.