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I have tried to keep a statement about the Cincinnati Zoo tragedy off of OVFA until we had all of the information, but with every passing day, I’m finding it harder to do so. Before I give our opinion on this I would like to cover a few things that have become overwhelmingly clear over the last week. I have never seen such cruelty, such ignorance, such name calling, such harassment, such horrendous behavior from my peers. I am disgusted and I am saddened beyond words. I have seen the most shocking comments from self-titled experts. To see someone of name insinuate that it would have been better if the child had died instead, left me appalled and then to see activists agree made me want to vomit. The actions of the majority of animal rights activists have led to me coining a new name for myself. I will no longer accept being called an animal rights activist; instead you can me an animal welfare realist. I do not want to be part of a group of people that don’t listen to the answers given to a question they ask. I refuse to be part of a group of people that put any life above another. I will not be part of group of people that treats others with such disrespect and follow the lead of those who made a profit from and became celebrities off of animal torture. These individuals put down people like Jeff Corwin, Jack Hanna and the zoo’s and claim they exploit animals when they themselves have TV shows and are now, because of the animals, famous. Is that not the same form of exploitation? The old saying goes, “Don’t throw stones if you live in a glass house”. The cracks in those walls are countless.

With that said, there have been 3 incidents of children falling into gorilla habitats. In one instance a new mother who was trained with dolls to hand over her baby to keepers for health evaluations, picked up the child and carried him to a door. She held him very sweetly. In the next instance, a silver back calmly walked to the child that had fallen and touched him gently, examined him thoughtfully and walked away. Moments later another gorilla was kept at bay by two men as the boy was removed from the area. And the third instance. A silverback grabs a small boy who had fallen in and drags him through a moat. It is said that he pulls the boys shorts up and adjusts them, but I find that hard to believe as  gorillas don’t know how to put on shorts. So instead we will tell it how it really is. The gorilla examines his clothes. He then pushes the boy down and drags him by his ankle through the moat once again. It’s been said that the gorilla held the child’s hand as if to befriend him. What open eyes saw is a gorilla picking up a child’s hand, looking at it and putting it down. It’s been said that the gorilla put his arm around the child. Eyes in reality saw a simple examining touch from a beautiful inquisitive being. The three situations are completely different and should not be compared. Do I feel that Harambe wanted to harm the child? No. What I saw was a very young silverback full of curiosity and confusion that had found a new toy.   

With that said, I will reiterate the sentiments of real experts who have studied and truly know these animals. As much as hurts my heart to say so, I do believe in this particular situation the correct measures were taken. Tranquilizers could have made an already agitated animal more so causing him to lash out at the child which would have resulted in him being shot anyway. What we have is a very short video that tells us nothing more than the child and gorilla were in a moat. We do not know if the zoo staff attempted to lure him, hose him, or calm him. We do know they called for him. That’s it, that’s all we have. How can we be so judgmental to the decision if we have no information? My condolences go out to the zoo staff that cared for and built a bond with Harambe. My heart goes out to his troop that is now grieving him. Having seen him in person, I know what a truly majestic boy he was. I can only hope that if nothing else comes out of this tragic time, at least we as a society grow an interest and love for these critically endangered animals and work as a collective unit to fight to save the specie. 

Ringling Brothers Fazing Out Elephants

VICTORY! Ringling Brothers Circus has finally made a wise decision. They are phasing out elephants in their shows and will have completely let go of all of their elephant act by 2018.    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ringling-bros-circus-phasing-elephants-shows-2018-article-1.2138319

OVFA's Be Their Sunlight Event

OVFA has decided to dedicate our Winter Solstice to animals and children in need. Every year we will hold the Sunlight event. All we ask is that you light a candle or many on this longest of nights to shine a little light for those in need of it. These animals and children don't have the advantage of waking up the day after the solstice and knowing that the light is returning. Their lives are constant emotional darkness. We welcome any vigil you want hold. If you can't make it to an event, just light a candle in your home and tells us about it. Please join us and be their sunlight.

(Please click here for the Be Their Sunlight promotional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs56Inn24II&feature=youtu.be )

OVFA World Animal Day Event

October 4th is World Animal Day and we want you to express your love for them all over the web! Take a picture of yourself, your pet, your kids, your friends, a park sign, a beautiful place in nature, let your kids draw a picture of their favorite animal, ect, with a sign that says "World Animal Day 2014" and the hashtag #OVFAWorldAnimalDay. Maybe film your kids telling the world why they love animals. Whatever you want as long as it celebrates animals, brings awareness to the animal issues close to your heart, and includes the hashtag in it. When you have your pic or video, post it on our Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/683013151782782/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming, or on Twitter, (both with the hashtag), or send them to us at sh@ourvoicesforanimals.org and use the hashtag as the subject line. Don't forget to tell us about your cause so we can bring it to the attention of the rest of our friends. No donations are needed unless you want to donate to your favorite animal charity. Have fun with it. This day is to bring awareness, show love to the animals, and to make your voice for animals be heard! (pic example below)

OVFA Statement on 'Hunting as Conservation' and 'Huntress' Controversy

I am a conservationist. I belive in conserving life and the environment that sustains life through awareness, advocacy, and raising numbers of declining species. Being a conservationist, I have made a vow to never kill anything, but instead to help animals live by stopping those who set out to kill or hurt them. With every bullet, arrow, trap, and heartless soul that takes an animal out of this wo...rld, the number decreases. We lose one more of that specie. That is one more to give birth, one more that could populate the world. Any one that does not see that this is what conservation really is, is an uneducated fool. It costs more money than most people make in a year to travel to foreign lands, pay for the right to "hunt", and export the trophy back to your home. That cost, when given to charity could save a herd, could help a village live for months, even longer. But that money instead goes to breed the animals, to human labor in the hunting farms, and all the countries poor see, is maybe, the meat, but mostly likely not. How can one call themselves an animal conservationist when they only contribute to the conservation of a breeding farm that hurts, tortures (both physically and emotionally), and then kills a specie of animal thats numbers are declining in the wild? The title, "Conservationist" used to be one I proudly wore, now when I call myself a conservationist, I'm put in the same category with people like SCI. That puts shame into a once beautiful and heart felt title. Let us all be educated about the true meaning of conservation.

noun \-sh(ə-)nist\

: someone who works to protect animals, plants, and natural resources or to prevent the loss or waste of natural resources : a person who is involved in conservation

Canned hunting and hunting for trophy and fun could not be more wasteful and as I said above, we lose one more that could add to the numbers with every kill.

That said, I will not repost anything about Kendall Jones or any other attention seeking model wanna-be with a paid hit out on an animal for notoriety. They are not worth my words, they are not even really human, and they certainly are not women. Women give life, appreciate life, and nurture. These women, by gender only, are heartless and have cold lifeless wombs. I feel very sorry for any children they might have someday or already do have. After all, they 'love' animals and want to help them, so they kill them. What happens when they 'love' their child to much and want to help them? Scary thought. I refuse to give Kendall the promotion she is seeking so she can get her tv show, while her lack of real talent and even bigger lack of real hunting skills could not get it for her on their own stature. She is a waste of breath. I will sign any and all petitions and I will fight her and any faux women that kills my earth and its precious creatures for fun and a hopeful layout in Playboy or walk down a runway, until my last breath and I will leave a legacy of nurtured human beings that will carry on my fight, long after their 15 minutes of bloody fame and ugliness they call physical beauty have faded to as dark as their souls. I will never ever give her what she wants, being my voice for her pocket to continue the slaughter of my animals. Someday with any luck, their guns will malfunction as bad as their hearts.

Ban On Dog Racing

Colorado Became the 39th state to ban dog racing. Thank you Colorado!

China Wants No Part Of Seal Hunts  (From Captain Paul Watson)

(Photo by David Boily)

"China Pulls the Rug Out From Under Canadian Seal Killers

The key to ending the horrific slaughter of baby seals in Canada is removing the market. Seal pelts and products have been banned in the USA since 1972 and the ban by Europe a few ye...ars ago was a major blow to the primitive and heartless Canadian industry.

Since 1985 Canada has been wooing China as a customer but without much success.

So as the first day of the seal hunt began yesterday Beijing announced that they want no part of Canada's shameful sealing industry.

Canada’s Fisheries Minister Gail Shea broke the news of the failed deal. She was not happy.

“Part of the thing that’s holding it up is that animal rights groups put a lot of pressure on there as well, on the Chinese,” Shea told the Canadian Press.

Yes that's right Gail and wherever you try to peddle your bloody product we will follow to stop the trade again. Our objective is the complete and total eradication of the perversions of whaling, sealing and dolphin killing."

Good News For Elephants

Elephants are making a surprising recovery in Chad.

At the hands of poachers, the number of elephants in Zakouma National Park had plummeted from 4,000 to just 450 in only a few years.

Adding to the disaster, the remaining elephants were so stressed they had stopped reproducing.

While the government of Chad was committed to saving these giants, they lacked the resources to do so. Their wildlife protection rangers were dedicated and courageous, but ill-equipped and outgunned by the poachers.

However, with additional outside resources and the help of many dedicated conservation groups, the rangers received the equipment and support they needed.

In 2013, not a single elephant was poached in Zakouma.

And making their own statement of resilience, the elephants are breeding again, and a new generation of young elephants has appeared. One of the greatest pleasures is seeing them frolicking at the local waterhole every day.

Recently, the Chadian government took another step in their fight to save elephants: they burned their 1.1-ton stockpile of ivory.

(Letter from Sarah Festa Stallings of National Geographic)

Dog Bite Legislation Signed In Maryland

"It's official!! Dog bite legislation was signed by the Governor, today! It’s an important day in Maryland. After several years of trying to pass legislation that would best protect dog bite victims and hold all dog owners accountable for their dogs without singling out one type or breed of dog, the House and Senate passed the legislation and the Governor signed it into law! The law is breed neutral, no longer holds landlords liable for dog bites, and no longer deems pit bulls as "inherently dangerous." (Maryland SPCA, 4-8-14)

Plymouth, MA Bans Use of Wild Animals in Circuses

(Photo by, Tony Cenicola, New York Times)

"On April 5, 2014, Plymouth Massachusetts Town Representatives voted to enact a new bylaw in the town warrant to “prohibit the displaying of non-domesticated animals for public entertainment or amusement in circuses, carnivals or other similar entities on property owned by the Town of Plymouth, on Town-owned property under lease, or on private property.”...

To contunue this article from Animal Defender International please click the link: http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=3606&ssi=10

Fact That Will Make Your Heart Break

From 1999 - 2008 Americans imported 4021 lion trophies to USA. That's 400 Lions Killed Per Year.

Good News For Whales

Japan has been ordered to halt it's annual whale hunt!


Canned Hunting Thrives In US

It is not only in Africa that canned hunting exists. Texas is a thriving kill zone for exotic animals to be killed for profit and a head on the wall. Please take a look at this article from Big Cat Rescue.


Botswana To Ban Canned Hunting

Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism said in a statement on Thursday that efforts are underway to strengthen legis...lation to ensure that this "abhorrent and unethical practice does not find its way into Botswana under any guise."

"The Government of Botswana is committed to conserving our biodiversity; large carnivore included and does not tolerate cruelty to our wildlife in any form," said the ministry.

The development comes after the department of wildlife and national parks in the ministry banned exports of wildlife including captive carnivores in January.

Thank you Botswana!

Global March For Lions: The World ROARS!

I had the pleasure of being a part of an incredible event called the Global March For Lions on March 15, 2014. People from all over the world, over 60 cities stood up to this needless, cruel, and cowardly form of “sport hunting”. Fewer than 4,000 African lions remain in the wild, and only 10 white lions endure. While 8,000 African lions, white lions included, can be found living in horrid conditions awaiting death by arrow or bullet. Hunting groups, members of government, travelers, animal lovers and religious groups and icons have made their point that they will no longer stand for such an atrocity to nature. A powerful prayer, to end this crime to earth creatures, by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu began the marches and his daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu spoke and marched in Cape Town and is quoted as saying, "We fight now for our natural heritage that all South Africans both human and other, animals, can live and flourish".

(Desmond Tutu’s prayer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DJMKbfvcCA )

Thousands of people filled the streets and sidewalks from New York City to Los Angeles, from Jerusalem to Sao Paulo, from Hong Kong to where I proudly kept pace in Washington DC while we marched to the South African Embassy and gave a memorandum to a representative. On March 15th, the world roared for lions. Every protest was unique, such as, Tippi Hedren in Los Angeles, placing a flower on a lion memorial. But, the marches that blew my mind, were those in South Africa.

(Johannesburg March http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL7O_mMNLks )

The South African President said that, compassion for animals is un-African. What the Global March For Lions proved to me, is that in a very large majority of this country, his words could not be further from the truth. 1,700 people alone marched in Cape Town where Chris Mercer, Executive Director of www.cannedlion.org, gave a petition to IFP Member of Parliament, Dr. Mario Oriani-Ambrosini in a moment filled with compassion.

(Cape Town march and handing over of memorandum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ndLLmDGQSo)

(Dr. Oriani-Ambrosinis’ speech:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkhAMZFnbX8 )

50% of the “hunters” that travel to Africa to slaughter lions in cages, are from the US with another 40% from Europe. Hunters claim that the money from these hunts goes to sick children and Africa’s needy, but it is very unlikely that these people see the money. Tourist visit Africa to see the wildlife. When the wildlife is gone, so will be the tourist. If these "hunters" really want to help Africa’s needy, put down the bows and guns and visit as a tourist, that is where the income comes from. Maybe donate that huge amount of cash they are using to get there and the thousands of dollars they spend to murder these animals to a charity for the needy. Otherwise, they are only taking away from the people for their own immoral selfishness.  

For more in-depth information on canned hunting as well as the cycle of life for a canned lion, please visit, www.cannedlion.org and www.whitelions.org

In ending, the plight of these animals is felt by everyone with a heart and this form of “sport hunting” and this type of “hunter” is not needed nor appreciated by anyone of sound mind. I use the term “hunter” loosely as there is no hunting involved. One fair chase hunter is quoted as saying, “It is nothing more than contract execution.” Another called it, “Pay to slay.” I also refuse to call this a sport. In a sport there is a competitor, rules and it is played fairly. In canned hunting there is only a tame, sick or old animal confined in a space where it is killed by a human. There is nothing fair and there is no competition. Lives are not a game and heads are not trophies, unless you are a serial killer. Someday very soon, I am hopeful that with the efforts of people like those I met in Washington DC and those who stood up for the lions, all over the world, this horror will end. Some of the most brilliant minds through out time have voiced their love for all life forms and I'm proud to follow their lead and I am thankful and humbled to have been a part of such a powerful movement in the right direction.

“A good man takes care of his animals, but wicked men are cruel to theirs.” Proverbs 12:10

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

“How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished.” Jeremiah 12:4

“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.” --- Ellen DeGeneres

“You can judge a man's true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.” ―Paul McCartney

 “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” ―Alice Walker

Forever we stand up and speak out for animals. Forever we ROAR!