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In Latin America and Europe combined, approximately 250,000 bulls die each year. Do these bulls fall prey to a deadly virus, perhaps? Far from it. The bulls are tortured and killed for the sake of entertainment. Have we evolved at all since the Roman times?

Latest polls show that over 72% of Spanish citizens have no interest in bullfighting, yet, because of a small group of influential people in Spain, this inhumane tradition is being kept alive. Fortunately, in Europe and Latin America a growing segment of the population is standing up against bullfighting and calling for an end to this cruel spectacle.

Here to talk about bullfighting and what we can do to help is Alyx Dow, Programmes Officer (Anti-Bullfighting) for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

Thank you for this interview, Alyx. Could you start by giving us some historical information on how bullfighting began? What is its origin?

There is not much specific information on how or where bullfighting began, but it is thought to date back to Roman times when many different species of animal were killed for the sake of entertainment in public arenas.

Bulls were also sacrificed for religious purposes and more recently, bullfights were (and often still are) held on Sundays, as part of Christian Saints festivals.

Most people associate bullfighting with Spain. Besides Spain, which other countries practice bullfighting?

Bullfight in SpainWithin Europe, bullfighting can be found in Spain, France and Portugal. Approximately 40,000 bulls die in bullfights every year in Europe.

In Latin America, bullfighting can be found in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. ‘Bloodless’ bullfights can also be found in the USA. Approximately 210,000 bulls in bullfights die every year in Latin America.

Does bullfighting differ according to the country? If so, in what way?

There are 3 types of bullfighting ‘styles’ – Spanish, French and Portuguese. The Spanish version is the most common across both Europe and Latin America. Bulls die in both the Spanish and Portuguese versions, although in the Portuguese style it happens behind the scenes, after the bullfight has finished. The French style does not lead to the death of the bull but is also very stressful for the animals involved.

A lot of people ignore what really happens during a bullfight. They have a simple, even romantic image of a torero taunting a bull and of one final thrust of the sword bringing death to the animal. What exactly takes place during a bullfight?

In the Spanish style, which is the most common, there are 3 stages:

1. After the bull enters the ring, toreros wave capes so that the bull charges several times. This is followed by the entrance of the picadors on horseback, who drive a long spear into the bulls back. Both of these short stages are designed to tire the bull and weaken its neck and shoulder muscles, causing it to drop its head. There is also a significant risk to the horses involved – although they wear padding, the experience is very stressful for them and can cause serious or fatal injury.

2. Men called banderilleros enter the ring and use weapons called banderillas (colourful short spears with harpoon ends) which further weaken the bull when they are stabbed into the top of the bulls back. By this point the bull has lost a significant amount of blood and is exhausted.

Bullfight, Spain3. The matador enters with a cape and sword. Tiring the bull further with several runs at the cape, the matador thrusts the sword through the bulls back, with the intention of severing the aorta. The sword often misses, piercing the lungs and the bull drowns in its own blood – as can be witnessed when bulls are often be seen with blood pouring from their nose and mouth at the end. If the bull does not die quickly, a small knife is used to sever its spinal cord at the neck. If the crowd deems it a ‘good’ kill, the matador is ‘awarded’ the bull’s ears and tail which he cuts off himself (the bull is often still alive during this).

The whole process takes approximately 20 minutes – and the bull suffers an agonizing and torturous death.

In spite of bullfighting being a cruel and inhumane tradition, many people—not only Spaniards—watch this spectacle. Why do you think this is and what does this say about human nature?

Within bullfighting countries there is a small but strong following that keeps bullfighting alive, largely based on the claim that it is part of the country’s culture. All bullfighting countries have a fascinating history, with a rich culture that they should be proud of. However, evidence is showing us that most citizens of these countries do not want animal cruelty to be part of their heritage. Just as with the ban on foxhunting in the UK, citizens are speaking out about the importance of animal welfare over an archaic ‘tradition’ that is neither necessary nor humane.

The latest polls in Spain show us that over 72% of Spanish people have no interest in bullfighting. This climbs to over 80% in the autonomous region of Catalonia. Anti-bullfighting sentiment is growing across Europe and Latin America – people are standing up against the protection of bullfighting as part of national heritage and calling for an end to this cruel spectacle.

Furthermore, the WSPA believes that culture is no excuse for cruelty, no matter where in the world it happens or the rationale behind it.

Unfortunately a huge amount of support also comes from tourism; again because tourists are led to believe that bullfighting is part of a particular country. They are unwittingly supporting a dying industry that thrives on the torture of an animal: many leave the fights shaken and disturbed by what they have witnessed, which is, simply, animal cruelty for the sake of entertainment.

What arguments do supporters of bullfighting use to defend their tradition?

They use many arguments to defend the spectacle, mostly in reference to culture and the economy. You can read more on these ongoing debates at www.bullfightingfreeeurope.org, a website sponsored by WSPA and ten other animal protection groups across Europe.

What is the WSPA doing to end bullfighting? Have there been any significant developments in the last few years?

In Catalonia, WSPA is running its Culture Without Cruelty campaign with member society ADDA, and there have been a series of successes in the region in recent years. 47 towns, including Barcelona, have declared themselves anti-bullfighting. You can sign our petition, calling for a ban on bullfighting in Catalonia, here

In Spain, WSPA is supporting work done by member society Stop Our Shame who are working to end the national subsidies (funded by Spanish taxpayers) given to the bullfighting industry, which total a staggering 530 million Euros a year.

In France, 3 towns have recently declared their anti-bullfighting status. You can find out more at Anticorrida.com.

WSPA is also working closely with an alliance of ten other animal protection organizations from across Europe to tackle the issue at European level. The EU currently gives subsidies (funded by EU taxpayers) to breeders of fighting bulls, as part of its annual agricultural subsidy system. We recently held a series of events in Brussels at the European Parliament to highlight this issue and call on Parliamentarians and the Commission to end these subsidies. You can find out more at www.bullfightingfreeeurope.org

In Latin America many of WSPA’s member societies are working towards bans of bullfighting across the region. The first two anti-bullfighting towns in the region have recently been declared: Baños de Agua Santa in Ecuador and Zapatoca in Colombia. In Medellin, Colombia, the first ever group of anti-bullfighting city councilors has been established. You can keep up to date with the latest developments on the WSPA International website.

What is Spain’s position?

In Spain, there is a small group of powerful and influential people behind the bullfighting industry that are keeping it alive. Bullrings are suffering from declining attendance and a lack of patience from the public in terms of its increasing awareness of animal welfare. Unfortunately, government officials often hesitate to speak out against the spectacle; as was the case a few years ago with foxhunting in the UK. However, the Spanish people are telling us they have had enough, as shown in Catalonia and the Canary Islands (who have also banned bullfighting), and by the recent banning of the broadcast of bullfights on state TV, following the assertion that it is too violent for children. We think it is about time that the government listens to its citizens and ends bullfighting for good in Spain.

Do you see Spain making bullfighting illegal any time soon?

Based on public opinion polls that have been done, dwindling attendance at bullfights as well as the achievements in recent years in getting anti-bullfighting declarations, we are confident that bullfighting is a dying industry that is destined to be banned in the near future.

Is there a way bullfighting could be modified to become a humane practice?

No – the practice would still involve placing an animal into an unnatural situation that causes the animal stress and anxiety, for the sake of entertainment. WSPA wants to see an end to bullfighting worldwide, in all its forms.

What can Spaniards do to help stop bullfighting in Spain?

Spanish people can help to end bullfighting in their country by writing to their local politicians and high level officials within the government, expressing their wish for national subsidies to the bullfighting industry to end, and for their to be a national legislative ban on bullfighting in Spain. They can also avoid attending bullfights and spreading the word to their friends and family.

They can also sign our petition to achieve a ban in Catalonia which can be found here.

Another way to help is to support their local animal welfare organizations, either through donations or by attending peaceful events that call on the government to end bullfighting.

What can the rest of the world do to help?

The number one thing that people can do to help end bullfighting is not to visit bullfights when they go abroad. Tourist money is a huge factor in keeping the industry alive. Whilst curiosity can often lead people to ‘just go once’, this is enough to sustain the industry and the animal cruelty that it promotes.

  • You can pledge not to visit a bullfight at WSPA member society The League Against Cruel Sports.
  • Sign the WSPA/ADDA petition to end bullfighting in Catalonia.
  • Spread the word to any friends, family and colleagues, especially if you know they are visiting Europe anytime soon.
  • Write to politicians in your own country, asking them to call on bullfighting countries to improve standards of animal welfare and not to promote cruelty for entertainment’s sake.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

The WSPA is also campaigning for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations – international recognition that animals matter and governments should be doing more to protect them. Such an agreement would help us talk to governments about issues like bullfighting. You can sign the petition in support at www.animalsmatter.org.  

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions on this important subject.

I would like to end this interview by quoting some wise words from Mahatma Ghandi:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

 

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Practitioners of Traditional Asian Medicine have used bear gall bladders and bile for 3,000 years. Yet it wasn't until the 1980's that the cruel, intensive 'farming' of bears began. Though there have been positive developments with the Vietnamese government recently, bear farming still takes place in other parts of Asia. It is estimated that at least 12,000 bears are trapped in these inhumane facilities inside tiny cages the size of their bodies and subjected to a lifetime of suffering and pain as their gall bladders are drained on a daily basis. In spite of the fact that there are a large number of natural and synthetic substitutes for bear bile, making bear farming needless, bears continued to be subjected to this inhumane treatment.

In this interview, Dena Jones, Program Manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) US, talks about bear farming, the campaign against it, and what we can do to help these beautiful wild creatures from experiencing a lifetime of suffering.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions on this important subject, Dena. What is the origin of bear farming? When did this cruel practice begin?

Bear gall bladders and bile have been used in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) for some 3,000 years. During the 1980s, the practice of extracting bile from bears held captive for this purpose became popular in a number of countries in Asia. Since that time, the marketing of and resulting demand for bile products has led to the introduction of the intensive “farming” of these wild animals.

The number of bears on farms has increased dramatically in recent years. At present it is believed that there are approximately 7,000 bears held on farms in China, 1,400 in South Korea and 4,000 in Vietnam, although the actual number could be considerably higher than official figures suggest, particularly in China.

What countries are currently involved in this practice?

WSPAAs mentioned, bear farms are known to exist in China, Vietnam and Korea, but some low level of the activity also probably takes place in other Asian countries. While the scope of bear farming is limited to Asia, the killing of bears for their viscera and the commercial trade in bear parts is a global problem.

Due to the decreasing number of Asiatic black bears left in the wild, gall for use in TAM now also comes from American black bears, Polar bears, Sun bears and Himalayan brown bears. Bears in North America, for example, are killed illegally and their galls removed and smuggled out of the country for sale in traditional medicine shops in Asia.

What is the bile extracted from the bears used for?

Bear bile contains an active constituent known as Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA), which on ingestion is believed to reduce fever and inflammation, protect the liver, improve eyesight and break down gallstones. The products of the bear parts trade can be divided into three categories: manufactured bile medicines, farmed bile powder and intact bear gall bladders. Intact bear galls are sold for the highest price. During a 2006 investigation conducted by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), a TAM shop in Los Angeles was found to be selling a single gall bladder for $2,800.

As a result of the growth of the marketing of bear bile and the bear farming industry in Asia, bear bile is now being added to many non-medicinal products, such as wine and shampoo.

Isn’t there a substitute that can be used in place of bile for those who practice traditional Asian medicine?

Yes, there are a large number of herbal and synthetic alternatives to the use of bear bile. WSPA has surveyed TAM practitioners asking them about herbs that have the same medicinal properties as bear bile. This has resulted in a list of many different herbs that have the same properties and can be used as alternatives to bear bile.

UDCA, the active ingredient in bear bile, can be made synthetically, and it is estimated that 100,000 kg of this substitute is being consumed each year in China, Japan and South Korea, and that global consumption may be double this figure. WSPA actively promotes the use of both herbs and synthetic UDCA to reduce the suffering of bears on bear farms and the poaching of bears from the wild.

What exactly happens to the bears in these farms?

WSPAExtraction of bile from bears differs between countries, although all techniques result in serious animal welfare problems. In China the procedure involves the creation of a tissue duct, or fistula, between the gall bladder and the abdominal wall. Bile is collected by inserting a rod through the fistula, which then drains the contents of the gall bladder. To prevent the fistula from closing up the wound must be constantly re-opened, usually once or twice a day. Bears have been seen with inflamed and bleeding wounds, open incisions for bile extraction and swellings in the abdominal area.

The most common method of bile collection in Vietnam involves the use of ultrasound equipment to locate the gall bladder. Once located a long syringe is inserted into the bear’s abdomen to puncture the gall bladder. The bile is then siphoned off into a collecting jar. In Korea the extraction of bile from live bears is illegal. Instead farmers breed bears and slaughter them in front of their customers to prove the authenticity of the gall bladder.

Many bears live in cages measuring around 1 meter wide, 1 meter high and 2 meters long. Bears have been observed to be wounded and scarred from rubbing or hitting themselves against the bars of their tiny metal cages, where they cannot stand up or easily turn around. Prior to being used for bile extraction, bear cubs in many farms are trained to perform tricks such as tightrope walking for the amusement of visitors to the bear farms. At three years of age they are operated on to be farmed for their bile.

Is bear farming, and the commercial trade in bear bile, legal?

Bear farming is illegal in Vietnam but remains legal in China and South Korea. Products containing bear bile can be legally sold within these countries. However, international commercial trade from bear farms is illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). CITES is an international agreement between governments aimed at closely monitoring and controlling international trade in endangered plants and animals.

The legal status of the trade in bear parts within a country depends on the wildlife laws of that particular nation. For example, in the U.S. interstate trade in illegally taken wildlife or products from wildlife is prohibited, and 34 states ban the sale of bear parts within the state. Unfortunately, poaching of bears continues, in part due to the inconsistency of state laws and the fact that 11 states allow the sale and 5 states have no laws related to trade in bear parts.

How does the practice of bear farming affect bears in the wild – in Asia and elsewhere around the world?

All eight species of bears on our planet are regulated by CITES because they are either threatened with extinction or may be threatened if trade is not restricted. Five of the species are listed on Appendix I of the CITES agreement, which prohibits all international commercial trade in these animals or in products from them. With 75% of the world’s bear species already threatened with extinction, preventive measures are needed to protect remaining bears from a similar fate. The trade in bear parts puts pressure on small, isolated bear populations in particular.

One of the most common arguments made by the bear farming industry is that farming bears reduces pressures on wild populations, thereby aiding their conservation. It is argued that if the demand for bear bile is met by farmed bears there will be no need to hunt or poach wild bears. However, there is no evidence to support this claim of beneficial protection, largely due to an almost complete lack of information on wild Asian bear populations, particularly in China.

What is WSPA doing to end bear farming?

WSPA is pursuing a variety of approaches to reduce both the supply and demand for bear bile around the world. Through investigations WSPA has helped to expose the cruelty of bear farming and the illegal trade in bear parts. WSPA conducted international undercover surveys of the illegal trade of bear bile products in 2000, and again in 2006. This research documented the extent of the trade in several western and Asian countries including the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The organization has lobbied governments to take a strong stand against the bear bile trade and bear farming and also promoted the use of herbal alternatives to bear bile. Celebrities, like comedic actor Jackie Chan, have been enlisted to bring the anti-bear farming message to audiences around the world.

Have there been any significant developments in the campaign?

In 2005 WSPA reached a landmark agreement with the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to establish a national task force to phase out bear farms in Vietnam. The agreement outlines the government plans for three main stages: 1) registering and micro chipping of all bears in captivity, 2) stopping the breeding of bears on bear farms and 3) enforcing the ban on the taking of bears from the wild.

WSPA has also funded the development of a bear parts detection kit to assist in efforts to enforce laws against the commercial trade in bears. The kits are currently being tested in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, and plans are underway to trial the kits in Asia. Use of the kits will allow government officials to monitor the presence of bear bile in medicinal and cosmetic products and will help in determining the trade routes used to distribute bear bile products.

What can people do to stop bear farming in Asia?

Anyone using alternative medicine should ensure that they are not consuming products that contain bear bile (usually but not always identified by the word “ursus” on the ingredient list). Citizens or ex-patriots of Vietnam, Korea and China should communicate to government officials their desire that bear farming be phased out as soon as possible in these countries. Citizens of other countries can also help by asking their federal officials to encourage the Chinese and Korean governments to end bear farming.

What can teachers and parents do to teach children about these important animal welfare issues?

One of the best ways to address the mistreatment of animals is through improving human understanding of and attitudes towards them. One way to accomplish this is by encouraging the inclusion of humane subjects in educational programs. WSPA works across the education spectrum, from school age children to university students studying veterinary medicine and other sciences.

“IN AWE” is the WSPA program for 5 to 16-year-old school children, teachers, teacher trainers and curriculum developers. Working with governments, teachers and some of its member societies, WSPA has helped embed animal welfare into the school curriculum of several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Information about WSPA’s humane education program is available at http://animal-education.org.

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Norwegian waters turn to blood with the start of the annual whaling season. This year alone, Norway, Iceland and Japan plan to kill over 2,500 whales with cruel, primitive methods that go back to over a century.

Why is this ugly tradition still alive when 1 in 4 Norwegians under 30 are against it, and when so many people are aware of the high intelligence of these mammals and their ability to experience pain and suffering?

In this e-mail interview, Sharanya Prasad, marine mammal program officer, World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) USA, talks about the origins of whaling, the methods the whalers use to kill the whales, what people can do to stop it, and the importance of educating the public, among other things.

First of all, for those readers who aren’t familiar with Norway’s whaling season, could you give us a bit of background on how this practice began?

I would like to begin by thanking you for giving me this opportunity to discuss whaling and the associated welfare issues with you.

Whaling refers to the hunting of whales for their meat and other products. Whaling dates back to the 9th century when the first large-scale whaling took place. By the end of the 19th century many countries had invested in this industry and developed major whaling industries. Today Japan, Iceland and Norway collectively kill over 2,500 whales annually, using methods that have not changed in over a century.

Why kill whales? What are they used for?

The development of modern whaling techniques was spurred in the 19th century by the increase in demand for whale oil, whale bone and baleen. Over time some species were hunted to the brink of extinction and it became apparent that sustainable whaling could not continue on such a large scale. Thus in 1986 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) adopted a worldwide ban on commercial whaling.

Whale oil has long been replaced by fossil fuels, and whalebone corsets are not considered fashionable anymore, thus modern whaling primarily has commercial value as a food source (whale meat). Countries that continue to whale have repeatedly announced their long-term intention of continuing whaling and resuming commercial trade in whale meat and products.

Despite the 1986 worldwide ban on commercial whaling, loopholes in the treaty still allow Japan, Iceland, and Norway to hunt whales. The three types of whaling conducted today are commercial whaling, aboriginal subsistence whaling, and so-called research whaling. Iceland and Norway both hunt commercially under an objection to the ban, allowing them to award themselves quotas outside the of the IWC’s recommendations. Japan hunts under the guise of conducting scientific research. The US, Greenland, Russia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines conduct aboriginal subsistence whaling. Whaling also occurs outside the IWC’s control by countries not party to the treaty such as Canada and Indonesia.

How are whales hunted down and killed?

The methods employed to kill whales have not changed in over a century and were originally developed by Norwegian whalers in the late 1800s. The weapon used is the penthrite grenade harpoon which is fired from a canon mounted on the bow of a ship. The harpoon is intended to penetrate into the whale before detonation and kill the animal through injury to the brain and spinal cord. The grenade creates a large, painful wound, which triples in size when the harpoon’s barbs hook into the whale’s body.

Despite the power of the explosive harpoon, a second penthrite harpoon or a rifle is often required as a secondary killing method used on whales who do not die instantaneously. The common use of secondary killing methods reflects the inefficiency of the primary killing methods.

Given the constantly moving environment in which whales live and are hunted and the sheer size and body mass of whales, it is impossible to guarantee instantaneous death for a whale being hunted at sea. If the weather, sea conditions or the motion of the vessel do not allow for a properly aimed shot, then there is a significant risk of a poorly placed harpoon or bullet causing an extended time to death and associated suffering.

How long does a whale take to die?

It has long been established that whales are intelligent, sentient individuals who are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. Data from the Norwegian Government itself reveals that 1 in 5 whales suffer long and painful deaths, some taking an hour or more to die after being hit with explosive harpoons. During this time, whales can suffer terribly. Whales’ bodies’ are adapted for diving and going without oxygen intake for long periods in water. This may mean that whales are able to experience pain over a period significantly longer than suggested by the current IWC criteria for determining death in whales.

What is WSPA’s position on whaling?

WSPA believes that there is no humane way to kill a whale at sea. This is due to the high number of uncontrollable factors (such as visibility, sea conditions, movement of the boat, distance, speed and gunner accuracy) which make a single guaranteed lethal shot almost impossible. A whale can almost never be killed in this way without it first enduring prolonged suffering. On these grounds alone, WSPA believes all whaling should be stopped.

WSPA also believes that responsible and sustainable whale watching which is now a multi-billion dollar segment of the eco-travel industry should be pursued as an economically viable and animal-friendly alternative to killing whales.

Are dolphins killed as well?

In addition to the large whales, tens of thousands of small whales, dolphins and porpoises, collectively known as small cetaceans, are killed annually in hunting activities not regulated by the IWC. Some of the species hunted include pilot whales, pygmy killer whales and bottlenose, stripped and spinner dolphins. Some examples of these annual hunts include the dolphin drive hunts in Japan and the pilot whale hunts in the Faroe Islands. Furthermore, some whaling is conducted in Grenada, Dominica and St. Lucia.

I understand the plan is to kill 1,052 whales in 2008. That’s a pretty specific number. What is the reason and who comes up with this number?

Since Norway is not bound by the whaling ban, their government’s fisheries department has come up with a quota of 1052 whales in 2008. I cannot speak to how they came up with this particular number.

We all know that dolphins and whales are mammals just like us, and that this quality sets them apart from their other sea companions. In terms of their intelligence and family life, would it be fair to say that harpooning a whale with explosives is like harpooning a domestic dog in the same way ?

Cetaceans are extremely intelligent, social and sentient wild animals who are capable of experiencing pain and suffering. One of the analogies used to describe the harpooning of a whale is attributed to Dr. Harry D. Lillie (1947) who spent a season as ship’s physician aboard an Antarctic whaling ship. Dr Lillie said “If we can imagine a horse having two or three explosive spears stuck into its stomach and being made to pull a butcher’s truck through the streets of London while it pours blood in the gutter, we shall have an idea of the present method of killing. The gunners themselves admit that if whales could scream the industry would stop, for nobody would be able to stand it.”

Why does Norway’s hunt continue despite the fact that Norway is a member of the International Whaling Commission and that 1 out of 4 Norwegians under 30 do not support the whaling in their country?

As I mentioned earlier, despite the 1986 worldwide ban on commercial whaling, loopholes in the treaty still allow Japan, Iceland, and Norway to hunt whales. Norway hunts commercially under an objection to the ban, which allows them to award themselves quotas outside the of the IWC’s recommendations. As for why they continue to hunt despite the lack of support among young Norwegians, this would be a wonderful question for a representative of the Norwegian government and if you or any of your readers gets an answer from them please let WSPA know.

What can Norwegians who are against this practice do to help stop it?

Norwegians can participate in petitions and events organized by WSPA’s member society the Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals (Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge). To find out how you can support WSPA’s work around the world please visit http://www.wspa-usa.org/pages/8_ways_to_help.cfm.
What can non-Norwegian people do to help?

WSPA urges all readers to tell their government that it is time to refocus on whales. You can help WSPA remind the world that the argument should not be about kill quotas, but protecting whales from suffering by signing the petition at www.endwhaling.org.

Why do you think there still is so much indifference in the world when it comes to animal suffering?

In my opinion, awareness of animal welfare issues, sensitivity to the needs of animals, and the understanding that they are capable of and do experience pain and suffering determine the sensitivity of people to animal suffering. Educating people about animal welfare is crucial to animals, people and the environment. WSPA understands that real change in animal welfare does not come unless you can change hearts and minds of people, and therefore education is a central part of all our programs.

What can parents and schools do in order to instill human compassion toward animals to our children?

WSPA promotes humane education programs in schools to encourage respect for animals and responsible stewardship. We provide training on the humane treatment and care of animals and strive to put in place the laws and enforcement structures to provide legal protection for animals. WSPA’s aim is to develop compassion, a sense of justice and to teach others to respect animals and we have plenty of resources for educators to help them achieve this goal. If any of your readers are interested in learning how they can help instill these values in their communities they should contact us at wspa@wspausa.org. You can also learn more about our programs by visiting our website at www.wspa-usa.org.

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