Money Talks … Or Let’s Hope So

An article today from the Dodo really caught my interest, especially since most of my career has been spent in the advertising industry. The other day I talked about how signing petitions does in fact have a positive effect for many causes. What has an equally, if not bigger, effect on eliciting change is when big money is involved.

The Dodo reports that several advertisers have pulled their commercials from NBC’s show “Shark Hunters” because they are enlightened enough to see the critical damage that shows like this inflict on delicate ecosystems. It’s nice to see that these big advertisers are using their financial power to make a difference. I believe more and more advertisers will jump on board so it will be interesting to see how long it takes NBC to cancel the show.

The same method of protest worked when advertisers began to pull their commercials from the Animal Planet show “Call of the Wildman” because insiders revealed how animals were being harmed in the making of the program. So let’s hope NBC follows suit and does the right thing.

Here’s the article from The Dodo, dated today, September 3, 2014:


The list of companies to pull their advertisements during NBC Sports’ show “Sharkhunters” just got a little bit longer.

The latest brand to join the movement is Citrix, an American software company, which said in an email that “supporting the environment and our local ecosystems is important to our team as well as our corporate culture.” A spokesperson noted that no future ads for the company will appear during “Shark Hunters.” The company joins Allstate Insurance, Tripadvisor and Kingsford Charcoal, all of which have pulled their ads.

The show has incited a wave of backlash for featuring trophy fishermen who catch thresher, mako and porbeagle sharks — all of which are on the IUCN Red List as “vulnerable” — as well as blue sharks, which are considered near threatened.

During the show, fishermen compete in contests to reel in the biggest shark for a $10,000 payout. While many contend that they tag some of the sharks, making their catches worthwhile, conservationists argue that they do far more harm than good.

“The thing about these shows is that they target the animals that are already not doing well,” Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, research scientist at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, told The Dodo, adding that the compounded pressures of commercial overfishing, bycatch and other factors have contributed to a global decline in sharks over the past 50 years.

Hammerschlag added it also matters which individual shark is being caught. For instance, sharks take a relatively long time to sexually mature — usually about ten years. Sharks also continue to grow their entire lives, and become more effective reproducers as they get older and larger. What’s more, older fish tend to produce larger and healthier offspring.

“So if you’re catching a shark, it makes more of a big deal if you’re catching one that’s mature,” he said. “These trophy shows target the biggest ones — meaning the mature, most reproductively active ones.”

Because the cash prize is awarded to the fisher with the biggest catch, the fishermen favor the most ecologically valuable individuals. To make matters worse, many species will either be injured or die after they are caught — then they’re thrown back in search of a bigger catch. It depends on the species, because some are more resistant to being caught than others, but for many sharks, two hours of struggling on a fishing line will usually lead to death.

All of these factors combined can spell bad things for shark populations as a whole. Recreational fishers can have massive effects on fish populations — for reference, global capture by anglers exceeds about 47 billion fish, of which about two-thirds are released. As Hammerschlag and his co-authors write in a recent paper on the subject, these catches can have a disproportionate effect on local populations, conflating the already dire outlook for sharks. They write:   

So long as there are incentives to catch the largest, oldest, most fecund [reproductive] and fittest individuals within a population, recreational fishing pressure will continue to target these fish and likely exacerbate population declines. 

Conservationists are pointing to “Shark Hunters” as a perfect example of this problem. A petition on the site calling on NBC to cancel the show has already gained over 84,000 signatures.

Both NBC and NBC Sports have not replied to repeated requests for comment. 

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What are your thoughts on this issue?



Signing your name on petitions does indeed work! Some people think that these petitions floating around on the internet don’t do any good. NOT TRUE! As in many instances, here’s another case where petitioning has helped:

A Petition Update had this to say:

Aug 19, 2014 — In June, we asked you to sign a petition to stop the expansion of commercial dog racing to South Africa. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Department of Trade and Industry listened to your concerns and has decided that dog racing will remain illegal in the country!

Victory for Greyhounds!


A note (and video) from Grey2K, the greyhound protection group who spearheaded the petition, celebrated with this letter to those who helped:

Dear Friends,

In June, we asked you to sign a petition to stop the expansion of commercial dog racing to South Africa. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Department of Trade and Industry listened to your concerns and has decided that dog racing will remain illegal in the country!

Thanks are due to everyone around the world who wrote to officials and asked for the proposed authorization of dog racing to be dismissed. Our friends at the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the International Fund for Animal Welfare also spoke out strongly to prevent the coming of this cruelty to South Africa. In fact, a television piece which featured these organizations and used our research is thought to have had great influence on the debate.

Please watch the Carte Blanche segment and then let’s all celebrate this great news today!

Best wishes,

Christine A. Dorchak, Esq.
Christine Dorchak Carey M. Theil
Executive Director
Carey Theil


So, you see, it does help when you add your name to a petition. So keep on signing those petitions for the causes you believe in. Together we can make a difference. We definitely made a difference for countless greyhounds with this victory! 






Help Stop the Dog Meat Trade in China!

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I’m participating in the Blog the Change for Animals Blog Hop. All participants write about a particular issue for which they are passionate and together are blogging to make a difference in the lives of animals. The topic I have chosen to discuss is the barbaric dog meat trade in China.

 This is a horrifying industry and needs to be stopped! For the last several years activists have been trying to make headway with changing this barbaric practice in China. They are making small strides but we need to continue to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Please help spread the word so the lives of these dogs can be saved. Continued pressure from public outcry can result in the implementation of much needed laws. Social media is playing a big role in these efforts so please help spread the word. Many thanks.

Here are a few of the stories from within the last several months, with current updates:

From Peace Panthers, including the latest update of reaching 200,000 signatures as of March 24, 2014: Stop Horrific Dog Meat Trade!!! Demand China Make Animal Cruelty Laws!!!

Chinese activists recently stood up to dog meat traders and rescued 900 dogs bound for slaughter for human consumption. Many of the dogs were clearly stolen family pets, even wearing tags and collars: Huskies, German Shepherds, Poodles and the like, many extremely ill and dying from the slave ship like conditions of the truck and cages. One woman found her lost Golden Retriever on the truck, but was told she could not take him home unless she paid off the trader. The activists were beaten and after a 50 hour standoff finally rescued all of the dogs. However, by that time some dogs had died and the activists were forced to bury them at the scene.

hundreds of dogs stuffed in cages for transport in Chinese dog meat trade

The world has watched these pictures and videos in astonishment that in this day and age people could be so fiendish and barbaric. Everyday dogs and cats are dying in the smashed cages on the trucks, denied food and water for days, then skinned alive in front of the other dogs to increase terror and suffering. Some of the dogs give birth while in the cages and many pups die because of crushing, filthy conditions or simply falling out of the cages. Workers throw the cages to the ground when unloading the trucks, breaking the bones of the dogs. A recent undercover operation showed the skinned animals actually able to still lift their heads after being thrown into a pile of other dogs.

The fact that China has absolutely no laws for the care and humane treatment of animals is outrageous. We ask you, President Xi Jinping, to put animal cruelty laws in place now and to ban all aspects of the dog meat and dog and cat fur trades. The world is watching. We stand with the brave activists who saved the 900 dogs in Anwen town.

 See the Petition below and view the progress reports here.

To: Chinese President Xi Jinping,
President Xi Jinping:
We, the undersigned, urge you to put an end to the corrupt and horrific Chinese dog meat and dog and cat fur trades immediately. Recently the world watched as Chinese police stood up for the corrupt dog meat traders and beat activists who tried to stop a truck overloaded with 900 dogs, some of them family pets. Undercover footage has shown dogs and cats being skinned alive, some still able to hold their heads up as they look into a camera. Because of these inhumane and fiendish acts, people around the world are looking at China with shame and disdain.The purpose of this petition is to demand that China design and implement anti-cruelty laws now, and end all aspects of the corrupt dog and cat trade. China is being ruined in the eyes of the world and many people already boycott all Chinese made products. Is it worth it to have the good people of your country dragged through the mud because of a few who behave without dignity, humanity or honor? Please do the right thing for your country and your presidency and draft animal anti-cruelty laws, and ban the dog and cat meat and fur trade now. The world is watching and the world stands in solidarity with the brave activists who rescued the 900 dogs in Anwen town.
Thank you,

[Your name]

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From Ultraculture: Dog Meat, Animal Cruelty and the Growing Outcry of Chinese Digital Activists Chinese Dog trade - dogs in cages

Imagine seeing a wire cage the size of a shopping cart stuffed with fifteen dogs. Huskies, German Shepherds, poodles and retrievers. All painfully unable to move, most unable to breathe and suffocating. Now imagine an entire flatbed truck full of dogs in those kinds of cages—927 dogs to be exact. This is what people in Chongquing, China, saw on March 2, 2013. The truck was bound for a slaughter facility, and the dogs were to be for human consumption. Many of the dogs were visibly ill and dying; some were already dead. More shocking is the fact that many were wearing collars with tags; clearly stolen family pets.

dogs stuffed in cages for transport in horrific Chinese dog meat tradeA peaceful but concerned group of citizens eventually surrounded the truck, asking for the release of the dogs. What ensued was to be a 50 hour standoff between them, dog meat traders and police. Amidst beatings, the activists set up a makeshift camp around the truck. They managed to unload the dogs as more people arrived on the scene as reinforcements. One woman found her lost Golden Retriever in one of the cages and was told she could not take him home as he was property of the meat traders. The woman had to buy back her dog from them as they announced they were prepared to let all the dogs die of “natural causes” by denying food and water. Volunteers had to give her dog IV fluids because he was very weak and unstable, as were all of the others.

In the end, with the help of the Chongquing Small Animal Protection Association, all 927 dogs were turned over to the activists. The traders could not provide documentation for each dog, since many were stolen, making it a “food safety issue.” Sadly, at least twenty dogs had died, and the activists were forced to bury them at the site. They then called for a “civil and organized” intake of the dogs, with veterinarians providing assistance; donations of food, cleaning supplies, and suitable cages pouring in from around China.

The young Chinese generation coming of age now has grown up with the Internet and is taking a stand against what they see as the barbaric practices of the past. The use of smart phones, cameras and social media were instrumental to organizing a spontaneous, peaceful uprising of this scale.

In a country plagued with crippling pollution and corruption, it is almost unheard of for people to protest the abuse of animals. But the young Chinese generation coming of age now has grown up with the Internet and is taking a stand against what they see as the barbaric practices of the past. The use of smart phones, cameras and social media were instrumental to organizing a spontaneous, peaceful uprising of this scale, and has since led to at least two more public seizures of dog meat trucks, totaling over 3,000 dogs.

As I write this, more stories are pouring in from the volunteers, the majority of which have never protested anything before. At least one activist has been detained by the Yuhong Police Department and is now unable to be located. Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, petitions and websites are cropping up with pleas to the world: help us. We’re outnumbered and need to know we are being heard.

This situation is not being reported by mainstream news in China, as much of China has traditionally preferred to keep the dog meat trade behind closed doors. During the Beijing Olympics, city restaurants were ordered to remove dog meat from their menus in an attempt to placate visitors’ sensibilities. Dog meat has been eaten for centuries, but many Chinese today are vehemently against the eating of dogs and cats, one petition gathering 42,000 signatures against the practice. What is important about this uprising is that the people of China are demanding that the country establish animal cruelty laws. This is a turning point in the history of animal rights for China, as important as Stonewall or Rosa Parks was for gay and civil rights. If China is to move forward humanely, this is a crucial moment of truth.

If eating dogs seems gruesome, their treatment in transit, and subsequent slaughter is absolutely fiendish. Undercover videos show animals skinned alive, thrown onto piles of other dogs while still having the strength to hold their head up before succumbing. The dogs are skinned in front of other dogs to induce terror because of the false belief that the flavor and properties of the meat are enhanced by this. In transit, some dogs give birth to puppies and they are suffocated in the cages, fall to the road or die from the crushing filth. When unloading the trucks, the workers toss the cages off the top of the truck onto the ground, resulting in the dogs’ necks and other bones being broken. They are denied water and food for days while waiting to be killed either by beating or genital electrocution, in the case of the fur trade. Regular people know these facts and are becoming more outspoken because of the dire need for reform. They are becoming activists simply because they are outraged by the very cruel and outlandish way these living creatures are being treated. Good people across China are saying “enough.”

It’s unclear what will happen next for this movement, but growing online support from around the world is gaining momentum. People realize what this could mean for the animals and people of China, as well as animal rights for other countries. The cacophony of voices on the front lines in this heartbreaking scenario are begging for help from people outside of China. Message boards are flooding with postings such as, “I am sincerely begging for help from the international organization that would give us a hand to STOP this disaster happen to our human being’s best friends!” and “Please stop this crime and restore humanity! Let the world know what is happening in China! The volunteers on scene are fighting a very difficult war!” Right now, people in and outside of China can sign a petition to President Xi Jinping to establish animal cruelty laws and ban the dog meat trade. Sharing the activists’ Facebook page and information also helps, as well as contacting local and national press and animal welfare organizations. It is up to all of us to do anything we can to help these brave people, truly underdogs in China’s growing animal rights crisis.

Change: Stop Horrific Dog Meat Trade: Animal Rights Activists Fight to Save Lives of 3000+ Dogs (Warning: graphic!)

Fight for Animal Cruelty Laws in China

Animals Asia Organization – Cat & Dog Welfare

– See more at:

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On April 15th, join Team BtC and others who care about animals in need. Write about your favorite animal-related cause, read posts, leave comments, and share!

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