Displaying items by tag: born free

Rescued from a pharm lab and then living at a Sanctuary (World Animal Orphanage) that was shut down, these guys now have a permanent home at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary.

They are the first ten of over 100 arriving over the next few weeks! VIDEO HERE OF THEIR FIRST DAYS at our Sanctuary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71Td4Rt0v2Y&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgSuAWxw4HY&feature=player_embedded

Over 100 animals will begin transport from closed sanctuary in San Antonio, Texas to Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas on July 25

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2012 – The happy ending of a two year saga for 106 macaques and one baboon is finally here. On July 25 the first group of these animals -- 10 Stump-tailed macaques – will be transported from their former home at the now closed Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, to their new home at the 186 acre Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, about an hour away.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “Last year, Born Free USA worked for months with The Wild Animal Orphanage and the Texas Attorney General to find a way to help these animals. If we didn’t step in with a plan, this large group of primates would likely have been euthanized. Since finalizing the details in November 2011, our sanctuary has spent the past eight months building proper facilities and preparing for our new residents. Their new home is ready and we are eager to get them here and help them in their transition.”

On August 31, 2010, WAO announced the decision to dissolve the sanctuary “due to overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing for the animals.” According to the WAO board, they were in a “do or die situation” and they had to find placement for over 100 macaques, 55 tigers, 14 African lions, 16 chimpanzees, six wolf hybrids, and 20 baboons. Sanctuaries were found for all of these animals, in part through the leadership of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), of which Born Free USA is a member.

But finding a home for the primates presented the biggest challenge. In addition to the number of macaques involved, there are other highly complicated issues including: their sensitive social groupings -- 12 different animal groupings with troops as small as three and as large as 28; the age range -- from under one year old to some in their 30s; many physical health conditions from cataracts to skin and age-related bone issues; and a multitude of mental health issues many still suffer from as a result of their captivity prior to their life at WAO. At the spacious Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, according to Tim Ajax, Director of the Sanctuary, “these animals will join the current 532 primate residents and live in the best enclosures we can provide.”

Now that they have all been thoroughly medically tested, sterilized, and identified, and the Born Free USA facility and staff are ready for their transition, the moves will start – initially in four groups – from July 25 through August 17.

Ajax, who is coordinating and overseeing the entire move adds, “This is a very delicate move with many challenges for the animals and our staff. We are excited about the opportunity to assist them and anxious to get our new residents acclimated and comfortable, while also taking great care of our existing 500 animals.”

Roberts added, “Every day wild animals need to be rescued from ‘pet owners,’ laboratories, roadside zoos, and other abusive circumstances, but this time it is about a large sanctuary having to shut down completely -- a place where these animals were already once saved. Wild animals belong in the wild and these scenarios should never exist at all. Sanctuaries are filled to capacity, costly to run, and are the only aid we can give these animals.”

Among the over 100 primates is Chappy, a crab-eating macaque, who was a biomedical research subject. The stress of life in the lab led him to pluck his body bald. Dex a stump-tail macaque, also utilized in research, has only his thumb and index finger on his right hand. Chappy and Dex, along with Maddie, Leo, Stiggy and dozens of others, all suffered at the hands of humans, before they found initial sanctuary at WAO.

The group of 10 stump-tailed macaques being transported to the Sanctuary on July 25, were originally retired from a large university research center.

***Note to editors: Photos and video of the transfer will be available at www.bornfreeusa.org/waofootage by Friday morning, July 27.***

To learn more about the sanctuary, make a donation, or “adopt a primate,” visit www.bornfreeusa.org/sanctuary.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Born Free USA offers critical advice for conflicts with bears, coyotes and other potential dangers encountered on camping trips, picnics, hikes

Washington D.C., June 27, 2012 - - Learning how to respect and respond to wildlife while camping, picnicking, and hiking can mean the difference between co-existing peacefully and being in serious danger.

Born Free USA, a leading animal welfare and wildlife conservation organization, reports that there is an increase in wildlife encounters this time of year because families are enjoying activities that take place in the home of these animals.

According to Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, “People want to enjoy nature and spend time in the woods amongst wildlife hiking, camping or picnicking, yet many are surprised when they actually encounter a bear, coyote or other animal. People get scared or even angry when this happens, and seem to forget that wildlife belongs in the wild and we are enjoying recreation in their home.”

Learning how best to avoid a conflict, and manage any encounter properly, can save lives.

“Fed wildlife is dead wildlife,” explains Roberts. “Keep food out of reach of wildlife and never feed wild animals intentionally or unintentionally. Once a wild animal becomes accustomed to hand-outs by people, they eventually become regarded as ‘nuisance animals’ which opens the door to lethal control. In addition, fed animals will make a habit of expecting food from people -- anyone passing through, ultimately causing conflicts and danger. The number one rule is not to feed any wild animal, ever.”

Coyotes and Bobcats

Aggressive behavior toward people by coyotes and bobcats is most often a result of habituation due to feeding by humans. If approached by a coyote or bobcat, make loud noises (bang pots and pans; blow a horn or whistle; shake a can with rocks). Show dominance and re-instill their natural fear of humans. Do not run, as this may elicit a chase response. If hiking with dogs, in coyote country keep them on a leash. Small dogs may be especially tempting to a coyote.

Black Bears

Most negative black bear encounters are caused by surprising a bear or luring them with food. Bears have an exceptional sense of smell -- seven times more powerful than dogs - -and can detect odors over a mile away. Avoid packing odorous food and fragrant nonfoods (i.e. lotions), and use bear-proof, odor-proof containers (i.e. airtight canisters). Do not leave food or ice chests on decks or in vehicles.

Become familiar with techniques for hanging food out of bears' reach. Hang food and scented items at least 10 feet off the ground and five feet from a tree. Be sure tent, sleeping bags, and clothes are free of lingering food odors.

When hiking or in the back country, make plenty of noise to avoid surprising a bear. If you do encounter a black bear, do not run. This may elicit a chase response in the bear. Slowly back off and allow the bear room to pass or leave. Avoid direct eye contact and pick up small children to prevent them from running and screaming. Contain and restrain dogs.

Black bears may pounce forward on their front feet and bellow loudly, followed by clacking of their jaw. This is a sign of fear. Mothers with cubs sometimes make “bluff charges” -- short rushes, or a series of forward pounces, also a sign of nervousness and not intent to attack. If this happens, momentarily hold your ground. Then keep backing away and talking softly.

Porcupine and Skunk

Skunks always give warning to let their presence be known. They stamp their feet, then point their posterior. Skunks hold fire before spraying and only spray if attacked. If you encounter a skunk suddenly, stand still for a few seconds until the skunk senses that danger has passed and allow him to wander off. Or take two slow steps back and continue on your way.

Dogs are the most common recipients of skunk spray. If a dog is sprayed, mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and 2 Tablespoons of dish soap. Lather the dog and leave mixture on for three to five minutes before rinsing.

Porcupines are also pacifists, preferring to avoid trouble unless threatened. They can be attracted to camp sites, not for food but in search of salt. They will chew on anything with salt, including sweaty hiking boots. In areas with porcupines, keep boots inside tents or cars.

Other Outdoor Dangers

Beware of hidden animal traps. While most people think steel-jawed leghold traps are banned in the US, they are not. These and other traps are widely used to brutally catch wild animals for their fur. Because they snap shut on any animal -- or person -- that triggers them, these traps frequently capture “non-targeted” animals including family pets. For every target animal caught in a trap, two non-target animals are trapped. Born Free USA has an online database of these non-target incidents at www.bornfreeusa.org/database. ;

Unsuspecting hikers and others go to trails or parks with their dogs and traps are located along the trails or paths but there is no sign or other warning. When this happens, dogs end up maimed or killed as the hikers struggle (unsuccessfully) to free their dogs in time.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Born Free USA initiative signals strong step toward protecting bears globally

Washington D.C., July 19, 2012 -- Hawaii made great strides to protect bears when Governor Neil Abercrombie signed SB 2232/HB 2296 into law last Friday. The bill was spearheaded by Born Free USA and introduced by state Senator Clayton Hee (D- Kahuku, Laie, Kaaawa and Kaneohe) and Representatives Wooley, Lee, Nishimoto, Rhoads, and Keith-Agaran. SB 2322/HB 2296 makes it illegal to purchase, sell, transport or deliver bear gallbladders or bile, or any product, item or substance containing, labeled or advertised as containing bear gallbladder or bile.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “Hawaii was one of only five states that lacked comprehensive legislation to limit the trade in bear parts. Overexploitation of wildlife through national and global trade is a major concern. Thanks to the leadership of Sen. Hee and Rep. Wooley, an important bill to combat what continues to be one of the most dangerous threats to bears on the mainland, has passed. This signals a strong step toward protecting bears on a global level.”

Hundreds of bears suffer every year to supply the market for bear gall bladders and bile, which are part of some traditional Chinese medicine practices. Although more than 54 alternatives to bear bile exist for Chinese medicinal use, they are underutilized. In China and other Asian countries, bears are kept in cramped cages with tubes inserted directly into their gallbladders to extract bile continuously. The bears suffer as a result of malnutrition, a lack of veterinary care, and infections at the site of insertion. As Asiatic bears become more endangered, poachers increasingly turn to North American bear populations to supply the demand for bear bile.

Roberts further explains, “Both of these practices are perpetuated as more Americans purchase bear part products. By banning the trade of bear products, Hawaii has helped to reduce this market significantly.”

Although there are no bear populations on the islands of Hawaii, this bill provides important protection for mainland and foreign bear populations. By becoming the 46th state to enact a ban on the trade in bear parts, Hawaii is bringing the U.S. one step closer to eliminating the trade completely in the U.S. and significantly reducing the suffering of bears.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Ohio now joins majority of states in restricting private ownership of dangerous exotic wildlife


(June 5, 2012)—The Humane Society of the United States, Born Free USA and the ASPCA® issued the following statements in response to Ohio Gov. John Kasich enacting the Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law. Introduced by state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, the bill was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 87 to 9 on May 22, and the Ohio Senate by a 30 to 1 vote in April. With Gov. Kasich’s signature, there remain only six states with little to no restrictions on the private possession of dangerous wild animals—Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS stated, “Common sense, rather than tragedy, should drive public policy decisions, but sometimes it takes a high-profile event to focus the attention of lawmakers on issues not in the headlines. For all the states that have not adopted sensible policies on private ownership of dangerous exotics, the grim drama that played out in Zanesville should provide all of the evidence they need to get cracking and adopt strict and sensible policies. We are grateful to Governor Kasich and the legislature for standing firm on this issue, and working to protect animal welfare and public safety.”

“The ASPCA commends Gov. Kasich for recognizing the need to regulate dangerous exotic animals and ensuring the safety of Ohio residents, as well as the health and well-being of wild animals kept as pets,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Safety should always be the paramount concern of lawmakers, and having dangerous exotic animals in our communities, without any regulation or restrictions, threatens us all and the animals pay the ultimate price.”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA added, “Today marks a strong—and long overdue—step forward in protecting exotics and Ohioans from the dangerous and inhumane ‘pet’ wildlife trade. Born Free USA knows the cruel effects of the trade firsthand. Many of our Primate Sanctuary residents were rescued from abusive situations in which they were forced into captivity as someone's pet. There is an epidemic in this country of owning wild animals as ‘pets’ and it must stop. As documented by Born Free USA's Exotic Animal Incidents Database, numerous incidents involving death and injuries to humans from captive ‘pets’ occur regularly and nationwide. We commend Governor Kasich for signing this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure into law, and we urge other states to follow suit.”

The new law will:
• Ban new ownership of dangerous wild animals, including big cats, some smaller exotic cats, bears, hyenas, gray wolves, non-human primate species, alligators and crocodiles in Ohio;
• Grandfather existing animals so people who currently have them can keep them, as long as they obtain a permit;
• Require owners of exotic animals covered under the grandfather clause to acquire liability insurance or surety bonds ranging from $200,000 to $1 million;
• Require existing owners of exotic animals to comply with housing and safety standards that will be established by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; and
• Require criminal background checks to qualify for a permit for owners of existing exotic animals.

The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction. Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect—they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “HumaneTV” app.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/aspca.

About Born Free USA
Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2012) - - Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, is working with the New York State legislature to pass a bill to protect the public from potentially dangerous exotic animals by enacting stricter regulations on exotic animal ownership.

Introduced this week by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) and Senate Environmental Conservation Chairman Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), A10041/S7078 requires exotic animal owners to pay for damages or expenses incurred when their animals escape or are intentionally released. The bill also requires owners to immediately report animal escapes to local police and animal control.

“Last fall, close to 60 dangerous exotic animals were released by their owner in the tragic Zanesville, Ohio case, putting the public in frightening and unnecessary danger. The burden on law enforcement and taxpayers was unprecedented and the state was unprepared,” said Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. “There is an epidemic in this country of owning wild animals as ‘pets’ and it must stop. This bill provides a reasonable safeguard for New Yorkers who live in communities where potentially dangerous exotic animals are kept in private hands. We are grateful to Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Grisanti for their leadership in introducing this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure.”

New York State currently bans private possession of exotic animals, with an exemption for people who had possession prior to January 1, 2005. However, the law does not provide a deterrent for intentional or negligent release of these animals, nor does it provide a means of support for local law enforcement when responding to these actions.

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal remarked, “New York State has seen a series of wild animal releases and injuries recently, including the attack of an upstate New York woman by a capuchin monkey that escaped from its owner’s home and entered the woman’s yard. The monkey bit the woman after she reached to protect her child. No one can forget the mauling of a woman by a pet chimpanzee in Connecticut; she was blinded, had her nose, ears and hands severed, and received a total face transplant.”

“Although these animals may be beloved pets, they are first and foremost wild animals, and owners of exotic animals must be held accountable when these animals escape or are negligently released. I look forward to continuing to work with Born Free USA on this important issue, and I call on the Assembly and Senate to approve this legislation,” explained Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

Senator Grisanti added, “When dangerous wild and exotic animals escape or are set loose, local law enforcement and taxpayers are ultimately left to bear the financial burden of recapturing the animal and protecting the community. This legislation seeks to lift this burden and provide the public with reasonable safeguards.”

Both bills now head to their respective committees on Environmental Conservation.

Born Free USA tracks numerous reports of dangerous exotic “pets” who are intentionally released or escape. In New York, a six-and-a-half foot long boa constrictor was recently found by a homeowner doing work under his home in Enfield; a Putnam Lake woman died after apparently being bitten by her loose “pet” black mamba; and two separate attacks by loose “pet” capuchin monkeys occurred in less than four months—first at a Catskill bed-and-breakfast and then in Oneida Castle.

Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

# # #

Washington D.C., February 22, 2012, 2012 -- Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, is urging Hawaii lawmakers to join the majority of U.S. states that fully prohibit the trade in bear gallbladders. Yesterday, House Bill 2296 passed the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote (14 Y, 0 N, 1 absent). On February 10, Senate Bill 2232 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote (3Y, 0N, 2 absent). Both bills now head to the floor of each chamber.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “A huge hurdle has been overcome. We urge the Hawaii legislature to act swiftly to close this loophole and combat what continues to be one of the most dangerous threats to bears on the mainland and globally."

Throughout the U.S. mainland, bears are killed for their gallbladders and bile.  Hawaii is one of the few states that still allow trade of bear gallbladders.  Although Hawaii lacks a wild bear population, this allowance -- and the state’s location – could encourage bear poaching globally; compromises bans already in place on the mainland; and puts bears everywhere at risk.

Born Free USA helped draft this landmark bill that would protect bears by prohibiting the commercial trade in bear gallbladders and bile in Hawaii.

Roberts further explains, “The bear gallbladder trade is a global problem that not only affects North American bears, but also the highly endangered Asiatic black bear and other imperiled species. The Hawaii Legislature should act responsibly and without delay to protect bears and help wildlife law enforcement across the nation.”

Sponsored by Senator Clayton Hee (D- Kahuku, Laie, Kaaawa, and Kaneohe Kahuku, Laie, Kaaawa, and Kaneohe), and Representative Jessica Wooley (D- Laie, Hauula, Kahaluu, Kaneoh), the bill would make it illegal to purchase, sell, transport or deliver bear gallbladders or bile, or any product, item, or substance containing, labeled, or advertised as containing bear gallbladder or bile.

Because the Asiatic bear is endangered, poachers turn to the U.S. to supply market demand. Bear gallbladders and bear bile are used in Asia and Asian communities in the U.S. to create medicines and luxury cosmetic items and toiletries such as shampoos and even hemorrhoid creams. While American black bears are poached in the wild to supply the gallbladder trade, Asiatic black bears are kept in coffin-like cages, constantly “milked” for their bile. There are reportedly as many as 54 known herbal substitutes to the use of bear gallbladders and bile that still conform to traditional medicinal applications.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Senate bill introduced this week

Washington D.C., February 3, 2012 -- West Virginia is one of only eight states left (Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Wisconsin), lacking any restriction or oversight for the private possession of exotic animals.  Born Free USA, a recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, is working to put an end to the epidemic of exotic animals as “pets” in this country.

In the aftermath of October’s Zanesville, Ohio animal tragedy, Born Free USA and Senate President Jeffrey Kessler (D-Marshall) have introduced Senate Bill 477, an historic initiative aimed at limiting possession of exotic animals. Only individuals in possession of exotics on the bill’s effective date would be allowed to keep them as long as they first comply with strict safeguards.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “It is time for West Virginia to place strong restrictions on the private possession of exotics. Keeping these animals as a ‘pet’ is inhumane and these animals are incapable of ever being domesticated - - they are dangerous to the public, highly unpredictable, and most people cannot provide the care, housing, diet and maintenance they require.”

Despite daily incidents that put animals and the public in danger, people continue to want wild animals as pets, as documented in Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database (www.bornfreeusa.org/database).  Roberts explains, “Wild animals belong in the wild, and until there is government action, animals will continue to suffer and people will be put in life-threatening situations. We are grateful to President Kessler for introducing this critical bill.”

"This bill is about protecting the public and the animals," says Kessler. "There is a difference between a Siamese cat and a coyote, a Bernese mountain dog and a mountain lion. Wild animals belong in the wild."  

The bill requires the state’s Division of Natural Resources, in consultation with the state Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Public Health, to establish a comprehensive list of exotic animals and to strive to create a database that tracks all exotic animals kept in private possession. All three agencies must work together to develop an emergency response plan for emergent situations involving exotic animals.

Only individuals in possession of exotics on the effective date of the new law would be allowed to keep exotics as long as they apply, on an annual basis, for a permit and abide by strict safeguards, including certifying that they have not been convicted of local or state cruelty, neglect, or other animal mistreatment charges; obtaining liability insurance; having a plan for the quick and safe recapture of the animal should it escape; providing cost of the animal’s placement and care if confiscated by authorities; and notifying the state when care can no longer be provided for the animal.

Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents database includes several incidents in West Virginia. For example, in Pocahontas County there was a case that involved a tiger who escaped from his enclosure, and then was shot and killed by his possessor. Another incident involved a child in Huntington who suffered injuries after being bitten by a pet capuchin monkey.

Roberts continues: “Every year captive exotic animals are involved in incidents that result in human injury or death. How many more incidents and state resources will it take before West Virginia makes a change? In order to protect children, communities, and the animals themselves, statewide legislation is needed.”

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA

 Actress and beauty entrepreneur Victoria Principal; international couture legend Elizabeth Emanuel; red carpet host Melissa Rivers; Tony Award-winning costume designer Marina Draghici; Emmy Award-winning actress Julia Barr  among this year’s judges

Washington D.C., January 20, 2012 - -   Independent fashion designers are invited to enter their fur free fashions in the fourth annual Born Free USA fffashion Competition for a chance to win prizes; significantly boost their fashion career; be featured in a national magazine; and help promote the ethical and environmental benefits of fur free fashion. 

Entrants will have the chance to have their submissions judged by an expert panel including international design and couture legend Elizabeth Emanuel perhaps best-known for creating Princess Diana’s wedding gown; actress, bestselling author and beauty expert Victoria Principal; and Melissa Rivers, host of fashion events on TV Guide Channel and Fashion Police on E!, among other star-studded red carpet and reality programs.    

The judging panel also includes Marina Draghici, Broadway, film and television Tony Award-winning costume designer and Hollywood stylist; Julia Barr, two-time Emmy Award winning actress most famous for her role as Brooke on All My Children; Brita Belli, editor of E/The Environmental Magazine; eco-model, activist and green living expert Summer Rayne Oakes,  and fashion stylist and journalist Devon Poer

According to Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate at Born Free USA, who oversees the competition, “This is an extraordinary opportunity for emerging fashion designers to gain exposure in the industry and showcase their talent, while promoting compassionate eco-savvy designs. Born Free’s fffashion campaign and this annual competition aim to send a message to fashion designers, retailers, and consumers that fur has no place in socially-conscious ethical fashion.”   

Previous fffashion competition winners include designer Valerie Mayen, a competitor on the 2009 season of Project Runway. 

To compete in 2012, designers must create a fur-free woman’s or man’s coat, shirt, pants, dress, skirt or suit.  For details, rules, and to enter the competition, go to www.bornfreeusa.org/fffashion.  Deadline for entries is April 15, 2012.  Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, selected from the top ten finalists. There will also be a “Green Award” and a “Student Award.”

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA

Washington D.C., January 6, 2012 --   In collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and the Blu-ray/DVD release of its birding comedy The Big Year, Born Free USA has launched a national bird photo contest to support the appreciation, protection, and survival of birds the wild. 

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “The Big Year is a funny film but the thread in the movie about celebrating wild birds, brings to a very wide audience the activity of birding and all its beauty in this country.  Born Free USA strives to encourage awareness and open people’s minds about wildlife conservation and appreciation and, in an off-beat Hollywood way, this terrific film accomplishes that.”

The Born Free USA “Free Bird Photo Contest” kicked off this week in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of National Bird Day, and ends on January 31, 2012, the release date of The Big Year on Blu-ray and DVD.  The top 20 winners of the photo contest will all receive a Blu-ray or DVD copy of The Big Year.  The first prize winner will also receive a pair Visionary 8x42 waterproof binoculars, among other gifts. For contest details visit www.bornfreeusa.org/bigyearphotocontest.

January 5 every year is National Bird Day, a time when Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, shines a spotlight on issues critical to the protection and survival of birds.  The National Bird Day campaign focuses on education and action to improve the welfare of captive birds stop the international trade in wild birds; and protect and appreciate birds in the wild in the U.S.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is a recognized global industry leader and a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company. Representing 75 years of innovative and award-winning filmmaking from Twentieth Century Fox, TCFHE is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming, acquisitions and original productions on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Digital Copy, Video On Demand and Digital Download. The company also releases all products globally for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce throughout the world.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

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