Today, I reflect on an amazing year for animals and for Born Free! The work we do is so very challenging-trying to raise money in a competitive animal protection marketplace; battling entrenched and wealthy industries that support cruelty, whether fur retailers, captive animal entertainment, or trophy hunters; and convincing legislators at all levels to embrace compassionate bills that will make life just a little better for animals everywhere. The challenge is great, indeed.
But, I am so proud of Born Free and the work we've done-together with staff and supporters and political champions-to face these challenges head-on... and win!
In 2014 alone, we have:
- added experienced and talented new staff, bringing terrific additional firepower to our operations at all levels;
- further developed global operations, including our work in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka;
- helped move legislation at the state and federal levels, while also launching important new initiatives, such as the Humane Care for Primates Act;
- commissioned two groundbreaking reports in partnership with C4ADS to expose the nefarious forces behind the global ivory trade;
- participated effectively, for the first time, in the meeting of the Convention on Migratory Species, successfully fighting for polar bears and lions;
- successfully concluded our effort to convince the Department of the Interior to give federal protection under the Endangered Species Act to lions, while persuading a judge in the U.S. District Court to restore protection for wolves in the Great Lakes region;
- started a Fur for the Animals drive to donate furs to wildlife rehabilitation centers for their orphaned wildlife; and
- continued to give the most amazing care to the primates at the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas.
We have forged new partnerships, solicited new supporters, done more media outreach than ever before, and really set the stage for a productive 2015. Amazingly, this is only a selection of our 2014 highlights!
But, we can never be complacent. Bears are being exploited for their organs; elephants are being killed for their tusks and rhinos for their horns; lions are being slaughtered for sport in Africa; tigers are being slain in Asia for bones, blood, and organs; foxes, beavers, raccoons, and other furbearers are being brutally trapped in forests and waterways throughout the country for their skin; primates are being confined as "pets"; and animals are being bred for a lifetime of confinement, shuttled from cage to cage across the U.S.