ROYAL CANIN pledges FOUR PAWS full support in rescuing baiting bears
UPDATE at 31 July 2013
Royal Canin pledges FOUR PAWS full support in rescuing baiting bears
Pet food producer takes on responsibility and wishes to participate in long-term solution
Vienna, 31st July 2013 During yesterday’s meetings in Vienna Royal Canin made a commitment to FOUR PAWS to accept responsibility: the company will support the rescue of the bears, which have been tormented during brutal dog training. The meetings were triggered by last week’s publication by FOUR PAWS of video material which exposed Royal Canin as sponsor of the cruel events in Ukraine. The publication resulted in vehement protests worldwide, intensive media reporting and a public apology by the company.
After the bear baiting was uncovered FOUR PAWS presented a project proposal to the Ukrainian government, and then yesterday also to Royal Canin. A reception station should be set up where the 15-20 bears concerned can spend the rest of their lives in species-appropriate conditions. The organisation points to its years of experience in rescuing bears and its successful management of four sanctuaries in Bulgaria, Germany, Austria and, starting a few weeks ago, in Kosovo.
Dr. Amir Khalil, Director of Project Development and chief negotiator at FOUR PAWS, explains: “I am pleased that we have now been able to sit down with Royal Canin to discuss tangible solutions. We welcome Royal Canin’s willingness to take on responsibility. But of course words alone are not enough – now we need to see actions.”
Over the next few weeks a detailed project plan will be drawn up by the FOUR PAWS and Royal Canin negotiating teams. Dr. Khalil: “As part of this we will then also work together to map out the particulars of the support.”
“Royal Canin looks forward to opening this new chapter by helping to promote animal welfare in Ukraine. Therefore, we intend to provide funding for this project. We will also take the lead in building an alliance to include additional volunteering parties (business partners, associations, NGO etc…) to ensure the project is secured for the long term”, says Hervé Marc, Global Corporate Affairs Director with Royal Canin.
Dr. Khalil emphasises that this project is only at the start: “But it is already clear that we need the support of the Ukrainian authorities if we are to end the bears’ suffering. A project like this is very demanding logistically, financially and bureaucratically, and as such it also needs a lot of time.”
UPDATE at 26 July 2013
We have news for you.
At last ROYAL CANIN has officially contacted FOUR PAWS and a face to face meeting between ROYAL CANIN and FOUR PAWS has been scheduled for Tuesday next week.
In this meeting FOUR PAWS will emphasise the need for a swift and lasting solution for the bears in Ukraine.
We will keep you updated!
Ukraine, 25. July 2013 – This week the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS published damning video material which proves that ROYAL CANIN has sponsored illegal and brutal bear baiting in Ukraine. The first statement from the globally-active French animal food producer is vague, evasive and makes no suggestion as to how the bears can be helped. With an international letter of protest FOUR PAWS is calling on the company to finally accept responsibility.
“Despite increasing media pressure and the intense public reaction, ROYAL CANIN still shows no interest in talking to us. Curt excuses and comments that they were unaware of the bears’ involvement demonstrate an almost helpless ignorance on the part of a company which should accept responsibility once and for all”, says Dr. Amir Khalil from FOUR PAWS. The branded trophies for the contest make clear reference to bear baiting, carrying the following inscription (translated): “Second championship between hunting dogs for bears and wild boar”. “Accepting responsibility means genuinely supporting species-appropriate accommodation for the bears tortured in these contests. And this is exactly the sort of solution we are currently working towards with the Ukrainian authorities”, specifies Khalil.
In an initial statement ROYAL CANIN says it is “shocked and deeply upset” about the incident. However the company will not utter a word on what should now be done for the ill-treated bears. They will merely say that the Ukrainian office “has taken measures to halt any type of sponsorship or events which run contrary to the animal welfare ethics of the company”, and that worldwide “all ROYAL CANIN offices have again been made aware”.
Furthermore the ROYAL CANIN Germany website states that “the Ukrainian office inadvertently supported an event”. Khalil: “That is not true. We have proof that ROYAL CANIN did not only support the April 2013 contest. During our research material was passed to us which proves that a similar contest back in February 2012 was sponsored by ROYAL CANIN.”
ROYAL CANIN Switzerland told journalists this week that they knew nothing of “events like this”. FOUR PAWS can also disprove this. Amir Khalil: “In May 2013 we contacted all European offices of ROYAL CANIN in countries where FOUR PAWS have an office – which includes Switzerland – and also the headquarters in France. We confronted them with extracts of the visual material and requested a personal meeting. A personal meeting has been refused right up to today.”
FOUR PAWS estimates there to be between 15 and 20 so-called baiting bears in Ukraine. The organisation wishes to give them a species-appropriate future – by building a bear refuge there. For this FOUR PAWS needs the support of the Ukrainian authorities, but also support from ROYAL CANIN.