SAV Comment: Public Pressure to expose works !!
***IMPORTANT UPDATE – 28/07/2013***
Express Link: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/417896/SHOCKING-VIDEO-Dog-v-bear-fights-linked-to-Pedigree-Chum-owner
A COMPANY linked to Britain’s most popular pet foods sponsored a barbaric fight between fierce dogs and a tethered bear in the Ukraine.
By: James Murray
Published: Sun, July 28, 2013
French-based pet food makers Royal Canin, which sponsors hundreds of dog shows in Britain each year, even gave two cups to the owners of dogs involved in horrific fights with the terrified bear.
The scandal has caused an international storm and infuriated Royal Canin’s French bosses who had no idea workers in Ukraine were supporting bear baiting.
Now, after strong protests from the Austrian-based Four Paws bear charity and pressure from the Sunday Express, Royal Canin will this week pledge to give £250,000 to find and save up to 20 bears.
Royal Canin is owned by Slough-based Mars, which makes Kitekat and Whiskas cat foods and Pedigree dog food (formerly known as Pedigree Chum). Mars prides itself on animal welfare and executives are said to be shocked by Royal Canin’s involvement in the Ukrainian savagery.
These sickening pictures, supplied by Four Paws, show a clearly frightened bear tied to a tree by a 30ft rope while hunting dogs taunt and bite it.
Sick gamblers place bets on the bloody outcomes of these appalling encounters. Bears seldom die but many suffer horrific injuries to their necks, bleeding profusely from deep wounds as fights progress.
Our Animal Welfare Policy states that we do not undertake, support or sponsor research that harms animals.
Herve Marc, global corporate affairs director for Royal Canin
Hunting dogs are deliberately trained to attack their necks to try to bring them down, often hanging on for several minutes when they sink their teeth into the bears. As one dog clenches the animal’s neck, another bites its legs.
On Tuesday, Four Paws chiefs will show Royal Canin executives in Ukraine the full horror of the fights.
Initially, the company said the support was “inadvertent” but after the Sunday Express showed executives pictures of Royal Canin cups presented for bear fights they changed their tune.
Herve Marc, global corporate affairs director for Royal Canin, originally wrote to the charity saying: “It appears that these photos were taken during a dog show in Dubovy Gay in the Ukraine, on April 27-28, 2013.
“Our colleagues in the Ukraine confirmed that we sponsored brand placements with one banner, two cups and a free product for a dog show and nothing else. There was no mention of the demonstration using the bear.
“As a result of our investigation, we have decided to immediately pull out of future sponsorship of this event and undertake some additional actions, such as reminding our sales and marketing teams around the globe of the relevant policies in place.
“Our Animal Welfare Policy states that we do not undertake, support or sponsor research that harms animals.”
By Friday afternoon, the company issued a very different statement saying: “Royal Canin unreservedly apologises for sponsoring the event where the bear baiting took place. As a company with knowledge and respect for animals at our heart, we condemn any activities that harm or endanger animals.
“Royal Canin has been absolutely horrified to see these images linked with our brand. The sponsorship of this event is not consistent with Royal Canin’s animal welfare policy, our philosophy of Pet First or our vision.
“This has been a humbling experience for Royal Canin. We again thank Four Paws International for bringing this practice to our attention and in doing so reminding us that diligence in ensuring our policy is followed is paramount.
“We look forward to working with all our partners to prevent animal cruelty through policy change and improved animal welfare practices. Specifically, Royal Canin will work to improve the welfare of the Ukrainian bears and dogs involved in bear-baiting.”
The Four Paws picture shows the name of the company on a bear baiting cup with an inscription for the “field champion” in the contest between two dogs and one bear. Another cup is for the winner of a contest between one dog and one bear.
Four Paws spokesman Dr Amir Khalil said: “The branded trophies for the contest made clear reference to bear baiting, carrying the following inscription ‘second championship between hunting dogs for bears and wild boar’. During our research material was passed to us which proves that a similar contest in February 2012 was sponsored by Royal Canin.”
The bear in the pictures on this page survived and is being tracked by the charity which wants it to be taken to a bear refuge. Four Paws wants to see a bear refuge built to house the estimated 15 to 20 baiting bears in Ukraine.
A spokesman added: “Royal Canin has officially contacted Four Paws and a meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday. In this meeting Four Paws will emphasise the need for a swift and lasting solution for the bears in Ukraine.”
Filed under: CAMPAIGNS - Global Animal Welfare Issues, GENERAL NEWS - International / National / Regional, SHELTER - Information, VIDEOS | Leave a comment »