Riku Is Now Ready For Transport To The Bear Sanctuary – Can You Donate To Help ?

We are getting even closer to ensuring Albania can end the keeping of bears in cruel conditions, but there are still some that still need our help, including Riku.

In December 2016, Afrim Mahmuti, Site Manager of BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina, led an urgent operation to save Riku. Chained up since he was a cub, Riku was shackled, abused and kept in cramped, awful conditions.

Now a full-size bear, Riku’s owners were terrified of him and desperate to get rid of the bear.

The operation to rescue Riku didn’t take long. Within minutes, Riku’s chains had been removed and he was loaded into Afrim’s truck. But, with BEAR SANCTUARY Prishtina already full to capacity, Afrim and his team had no choice but to move Riku to a temporary home at Tirana Zoo.

Thankfully, an enclosure for Riku is now ready at our bear sanctuary Belitsa, in Bulgaria. But to move Riku there, we will need to transport him more than 350 miles over several days – beginning today!


Transporting a bear is a massive job that requires the help of many professionals.

Will you please help Riku reach his new home?

Your support has already transformed the lives of Albanian bears like Tomi, Pashuk and Gjina. A small donation could help give Riku a fresh start in life, and help other animals in need around the world. 

We at SAV have just donated to help Riku get to his new sanctuary home.  Can you help too ?

Donation link to support this rescue – https://action.four-paws.org.uk/donate/riku/15



China’s growing animal rights movement is making its voice heard.


SAV Comment –

It is great to see the work and campaigning undertaken on the streets by so many Chinese animal welfare groups.  We support them in every way and by posting the positive video below, we hope to show the world that positive moves for animals are really happening in China now.  Keep up the campaigning – direct action works !

The following is reproduced from the South China Morning Post –


China’s growing animal rights movement is making its voice heard.

China is the only major industrialised nation without major legislation against animal cruelty, but a growing number of campaigners hope to change this.

Wearing fake fur animal suits, chains and masks, the men, women and children – members of Freedom for Animal Actors (FAA) – protest outside the Beijing Workers’ Stadium. “I’m a monkey, chained, starved and beaten to learn to perform unnatural tricks. If you love me, don’t see my performance,” they chant in the video, as they try to deter people from attending a circus in the stadium.


FAA is one of a growing number of grass-roots animal welfare groups sprouting up on the mainland, where the scene is very different from the one recalled by Jill Robinson, founder of Hong Kong-based Animals Asia.

“When I first came to China in 1985, there was only one animal welfare organisation in the country. Today there are hundreds,” says Robinson, who set up Hong kong-based Animals Asia in 1988 and has since rescued more than 500 bears – kept for harvesting bile, used in traditional medicine – from farms in China and Vietnam.

Robinson says it’s vital that the hard work of welfare groups on the mainland is not overlooked amid the barrage of negative images spread worldwide on social media, from dogs crammed into cages waiting to be eaten at the annual Yulin dog meat festival, live rabbits having their fur torn off, cats skinned and cooked alive, and the Asiatic black bears she has worked to free, to a lone polar bear trapped in a shopping mall in Guangzhou, and live fish and reptiles sealed in plastic pouches and sold as keyrings. The list goes on.

Hong Kong Buddhists’ release of animals into wild needs regulating, Kadoorie Farm says

“The people of China are often the recipients of criticism from around the world when it comes to animal welfare. But there is an enormous and growing movement of animal activists in China today.”

Animals Asia’s welfare director Dave Neale agrees, and says groups such as the FAA will change hearts and minds on the mainland.

And ….. further reading on a positive stance.






England: From The Dog’s Mouth – Where Are We Going ? – Are We Somewhere ?

There may be some changes to this site in the near future.  We are currently consulting with a few contacts as to a way forward for the site.  With the situation regarding a new President in the USA, who gives the green light to all animal and environmental destruction; we are looking possibly at focussing our attention more to positives in the Far East, and their associated campaigns, rather than the utterly negative attitude that has been brought around by the Trump administration.  We cover one aspect of this a little further into this post. 

Here is what Jamie Rappaport Clark, President of (USA) Defenders of Wildlife has to say today, 3/5/17:

Dear Mark,

I don’t know what to say. The first 100 days of the Trump administration were nothing short of a disaster for wildlife.

In just over three months in office, the Trump administration and anti-conservation forces in Congress have laid waste to our collective and widely popular protections for preserving our nation’s wildlife, wild lands and waters.

With every new Executive Order or bill in Congress, I have been shocked by what is undeniably the most anti-wildlife, anti-environment administration I’ve seen in my lifetime. Not only does it defy my understanding, but these attacks and actions overtly and unabashedly defy science, facts and reason.

The first 100 days of the Trump administration have included:

  • President Trump’s approval of Congress’ action rescinding the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule, potentially allowing for extreme killing methods like shooting mother bears with cubs and killing wolves with pups during denning season on national wildlife refuges in Alaska;

  • An Executive Order undermining the Antiquities Act and opening more than a billion acres of protected national monuments up for review in the interest of allowing oil and gas industries and other special interests broader access to public lands;

  • An Executive Order calling for construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall that could jeopardize the existence of at least 89 endangered or threatened species and 108 migratory bird species;

  • An Executive Order to “review and reconsider” the Clean Water Rule and putting our national health at risk; and

  • An Executive Order instructing the Department of the Interior to “review” offshore drilling restrictions in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

And these are only a FEW examples of the many terrifying actions we’ve seen by this administration.

Back to me;

The US Presidency has very sadly become a family type business run for the benefit of the Trump family and not for American citizens – certainly not the common man.  He spouts off during campaigns about ‘making America great again’, whilst at the same time daughter Ivanka (behind the scenes) is importing 53.5 tonnes of clothes for her own clothing label into the US – from China ! – see for yourself below.  Where did he get the words ‘Buy American and Hire American’ from – part of his campaign slogan ???

Information shows that more than 1,200 shipments of Trump-branded products have flowed into the US from China and Hong Kong over the past decade. Nordstrum stores decided to drop the Ivanka Trump label; but Presidential ‘spokesperson’ Sean Spicer declared the action was a ‘direct attack’ on the Presidents policy of buy and hire American.  Strange that, eh ? – what’s ‘hire American’ when you import goods from China ?







What is next ? – a sell off of US national monuments which it is claimed will return the land to the people.  Possibly though this will enable certain Republican led States to sell off public land for industry such as mining and water.  And who we ask will benefit from handing over public areas of outstanding natural beauty to the mining industry ? – lets think and hazard a guess – Mr Trumps friends and business partners ?

If ‘buy and hire American’ actually means importing products and services from China, then maybe we need to adopt a similar policy at SAV.  We are not in business of any kind; but maybe we should now address the positives happening in the Far East rather than the negatives in America of what has happened since the Trump inauguration and the huge negatives with US animal welfare issues.  America elected Trump; now America has to respond to the actions.  Why should people such as us in the UK contribute (as we have done many times in the past) into ‘fighting funds’ enacted by groups in the US to fight various negative actions on nature, animals and environmental destruction ? – I have had many brilliant times visiting and enjoying places of natural beauty in the USA in the past; and the thought that a businessman cum President will now hand these wonderful lands over to mining companies etc to exploit for nothing but profit and financial gain fills me with dread.   I am not prepared to financially support campaigns to act against Trump policy – there are loads of issues in the UK and EU that I can put my money into.  America voted him in, now let America take the actions necessary to change things.  Also I ask; for example, what exactly, or who exactly, will benefit from little bear cubs now being allowed to be slaughtered in their hibernation dens in accordance with new legislation ? – what exactly is the purpose of this and more importantly; the question that America should really ask; who exactly will benefit from this new action by Trump ?

Also; who exactly will benefit from ‘Ag Gag’; I guess that it is industry and financial lobbyists who wish to keep their abuses of animals on factory farms and in slaughterhouses under wraps.  The public must not see this; or the undercover journalists and investigators trying to expose bad issues to the public will pay for their work and exposure of such by being handed down prison sentences, whilst the abuses and the abusers can continue with their work without worry.  Sad, worrying and very ‘big brother’; I say no more.

Fortunately, the Far East now shows quite a lot of positive signs that it is moving forward with regard to better animal welfare legislation.  Hopefully the new elections in South Korea on 9/5 will greatly improve this even more and set a positive precedent for the dog meat trade in the Far East.  As for the USA, what can you say about the election of Trump ? – apart from basically negative for almost everything except business and status that involves his personal family.  He gives not a damn about anything but his status and making money – to hell with the rest.

Maybe now SAV will look for and report more on the hopes and positives in the Far East rather than all the negative and damaging environmental / animal welfare news that we witness each and every day in the USA.  Will the Trump actions make America great again ? – I think we know the answer to this already, but we wait and see – time and responses will tell.

The election of President Trump in the USA now causes many of us in the welfare movement to question exactly what his intentions are in relation to certain actions that we have already seen being scrapped and scrubbed by the stoke of his pen, whilst proudly displaying the executive orders across tv screens like some child waiting for praise from a parent and having a copy stuck on the fridge door.

Within the first two weeks of his administration, many thousands of documents detailing animal welfare violations nationwide across the USA have been removed from the website of the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, which has been posting such violations publicly for many decades. In doing such, and by hiding online records of animal welfare violations, the USDA national agency robs investigators, journalists, and the public of information— whilst at the same time taking pressure off of animal abusers. The records which have now been removed from view have revealed the many cases of abuse and mistreatment of animals, national incidents that, if the reports had not been publicly posted, would likely have remained hidden – thus allowing animal suffering and the cruelties associated with it to remain hidden. Ag Gag for sure !  Many good people and organisations have now been plunged into the dark about animal welfare issues at facilities across the country thanks to the sweeping pen of Mr. Trump.

Countless cases of animal cruelty have been removed, and what would appear to be the actions and identities of abusive companies have been hidden. It should be the case with the national government that US citizens deserve more transparency and accountability, not less as is being shown under the Trump administration.

Reasoning has to be questioned.  The USDA has long redacted sensitive information from these records; so it is not as if something new has now been eradicated from service.  Mr. Dan Ashe, head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and also the former director of the (US) Fish and Wildlife Service; says the USDA’s removal of records is “not in the interest of credible, legitimate animal care facilities. What this action does is it erodes public confidence, because when people see something like that, they’re inclined, rightfully, to think that the government is trying to shield something from their view.”

What is President Trump trying to shield from public view by his actions ?; one has to ask.  What is the true reasoning behind such actions ? – one has to think that money comes into the equation somewhere; scratch back favours for industry, political party donors and the rest who want it played and kept ‘their way’.

Mr Adam Roberts, Chief Exec of Born Free USA, associated with the Born Free Foundation originally created here in the UK, is “shocked” by the purge. He declares correctly that the documents originally shone a light on cruelty in “substandard roadside zoos, shameful animal circuses, puppy breeding factories and more.” He says “the government’s (Trump) decision to make it harder to access this information still further protects animal exploiters in the shroud of secrecy on which their nefarious activities thrive.” – Worrying !

From now on the documents will only be accessible via official requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOI. FOI requests can take months to process; and also, many citizens will not be bothered to undertake FOI requests for information that used to be available to them at the strike of a computer button.

Mr. Roberts says that whenever Born Free receives welfare complaints from concerned citizens, the organization always checked USDA records to see if any complaints had already been made involving the facility or animal(s) in question. Waiting months now for a FOI report for information that previously could be obtained with the click of a button “may mean prolonged suffering for an animal or animals in need,” he declares.  We at SAV support his views 100%.

In response to the Trump actions, animal-rights groups have since launched a counter attack. On February 6, the Humane Society of the United States initiated legal action against the USDA, arguing that the removal of records violates a 2009 settlement between the two parties. Other groups, including PETA, the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, as well as Born Free USA, have filed a joint lawsuit against the USDA, arguing that by removing this data, the department is in violation of FOI and that the action hinders the groups’ ability to identify violations of the Animal Welfare Act. As far as we are currently aware, the USDA has yet to respond to either legal action.

As legal battles over access to information gather momentum, the impact on professional journalism, and consequently the public’s awareness of any national animal suffering, will be keenly felt. Mr Doug Haddix, Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, based in Columbia, Missouri; declares that the added burden of animal requests could slow FOIAs down even more. 

By doing this, there is a clear destruction of belief and trust in a government service; instead it could be said that public trust in a US service intended for use by the US public has been destroyed in the swipe of a pen by a new president named Trump – the person who preached that he would make America great again.  These actions do nothing for the ‘great again’; far from it.  Many questions about policy are now being asked right across the EU and the rest of the world.  Access to public data and documents should not be for the privileged few; and anyone concerned about both responsible and transparent government in the United States should be alarmed by the actions of Trump and the USDA; and what is now happening in the USA as a whole.