My affinity for World Animal Protection began before I knew the organization existed. It started when I was a little girl and saw big boys torturing small animals for fun and games. I wanted to protect the animals, but I felt powerless. The boys had abused me, too, so I would just hide and cry.
As an adult, my childhood trauma resurfaced in an anguished instant one afternoon, at an art museum in San Francisco, when I saw the painting “Bear” by Sue Coe. It depicts a dancing bear, flames licking the metal platform under its feet, surrounded by cheering, jeering monsters (people). I collapsed onto a bench, tears streaming down my face. I remembered when I’d once heard someone exclaim, “If I saw a man fighting a bear, I’d shoot the man!” I thought, too, about a news story I’d seen showing a circus elephant who escaped the Big Top and rampaged through town, stomping and crushing people. It was horrific. But what struck me the most was that the elephant was wearing a little party hat.
World Animal Protection works to end the exploitation of animals for entertainment, and from abuse of all kinds. From big cats to butterflies, the organization fights for a better life for all animals, wild and domestic. I found out about them after that day at the museum, when I searched for an animal welfare group with a dedicated program to end abuse of captive bears.
World Animal Protection has been advocating for and rescuing bears since 1992. When they first started, the problem seemed insurmountable, with bears being abused all over the globe—whether in bear bile farming, entertainment, or being kept cruelly confined as attractions or pets. Since then, there have been some amazing successes: An official ban on bear baiting and fighting in Pakistan. Ending the dancing bear practice in India. Phasing out bear bile farming in South Korea. With their partners around the world, they’ve established and supported bear sanctuaries in Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Pakistan, Romania and beyond.
With offices in 13 countries, World Animal Protection helps the world see how important animals are to all of us and inspires people to help transform animals’ lives. World Animal Protection‘s mission is to change the way the world works to end animal cruelty and suffering. Forever.