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WSPA announces new Director General
Peter’s retirement marks the end of a very successful chapter for the organization, during which WSPA saw massive growth and development – not just in size, but in capacity and ability to influence policy and legislation worldwide. Peter Davies said, “When I reflect on my time here, there is much WSPA has to be proud of – not least our creation of this truly global animal welfare movement. Today, WSPA has a presence in over 150 countries around the world and the commitment displayed by every member of this alliance has allowed for some truly impressive achievements – the sound of so many voices speaking on individual issues has been a powerful tool for advancing global animal welfare.” Through partnership with hundreds of member societies we strive to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.

WSPA Congratulates New York Legislature on Major Step for Marine Animal Welfare
WSPA looks forward to the governor's enactment of the law, and congratulates the entirety of New York on a strong step to prevent the dire collapse of shark populations worldwide. Nearly 100 million sharks are killed for shark fin soup every year, leading to the recent decline in many species of shark. Once passed, the law will further support national shark finning bans by shutting down the primary market for the trade. WSPA hopes this will lead to the collapse of the global shark trade and discussion of best ways to protect marine animals and habitats. The dish is highly controversial because of the manner in which shark fins are harvested outside of the U.S. and the precarious status of many shark populations.

World Society for the Protection of Animals Recommended for General consultative status at the United Nations
WSPA was the only organization recommended for such designation during the current session, and once formalized, will become the only international animal welfare organization with this status. Consultative status provides NGOs with access to not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, as well as special events organized by the President of the General Assembly. General consultative status is reserved for large international NGOs whose area of work covers most of the issues on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies. These tend to be fairly large, established international NGOs with a broad geographical reach.

WSPA Board and Advisory Council announced
Mark Watts, Cecilia Vega Leon and Chinny Krishna WSPA welcomed three new Board members at the 2008 annual general meeting, held on June 3. Cecilia Vega Leon (Mexico), Chinny Krishna (India) and Mark Watts (UK) will also serve on the Advisory Council. The new Board members join some experienced colleagues. Following the meeting, the Board elected new WSPA Officers for the coming year: Dominique Bellemare (Canada) as President, Professor Ranald Munro (UK), as Senior Vice President Hanja Maji-Weggen (Netherlands) as Junior Vice President, Andrew Rowan (USA) as Treasurer and Peter Mason (New Zealand) as Secretary. Read more about WSPA, who we are and what we do >>

WSPA sponsors Caribbean conference
Hosted by WSPA member societies the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society and the Pegasus Foundation, and sponsored by WSPA, key topics of discussion included disaster management, animal welfare and humane stray control and marine mammal issues that affect the region. Coincidentally, the Montserrat volcano erupted just two days after the conference concluded, underscoring the importance of disaster mitigation and response in the Caribbean. Other highlights included in-depth sessions on dealing with animal cruelty, which can be rampant across the region with its enormous stray population, and discussions about activities NGOs can engage in to preserve and protect their marine resources. To view some of the conference materials relating to whales and whaling, please click the links below.

Global meeting delivers mixed blessings for whales
After a week of debate, the 64th annual International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting has concluded with both successes and disappointments for those committed to protecting marine mammals. WSPA was in Panama lobbying delegates from around the world for better whale welfare and protection. The endorsement is both a renewed formal commitment from the IWC to invest in and develop its animal welfare work and the first-ever formal recognition that animal welfare is a relevant and important science across the whole spectrum of the Commission’s work. As WSPA’s work to protect marine mammals develops, we continue to urge the IWC to use Time to Refocus 2012 as a blueprint for the transition from a whaling talking shop to a powerful global body for marine animal protection.

Report exposes suffering at whale and dolphin attractions
The fourth edition of the report reflects the changing nature of the captive display industry. The demand from the tourism industry for marine mammal attractions at these facilities has resulted in increasing live animal captures from wild populations, particularly in Asia, the Caribbean, Russia and the South Pacific. However, captive animals are rarely considered ideal research subjects when attempting to answer questions related to wild populations and conservation. Marine mammals are some of the most charismatic creatures on the planet and it is certainly understandable that people are drawn to them. WSPA and the HSUS believe there can be no justification for subjecting these animals to traumatic captures and an impoverished quality of life.

WSPA names Disaster Management Director
For more than 25 years WSPA has worked with the animal victims of disasters, and is often the first, and sometimes the only organization that will go to the heart of a disaster to save animals. This aspect of WSPA's work can be traced back to a landmark project in 1964 when WSPA staff directed the successful rescue and relocation of almost 10,000 animals in Suriname, South America, when 600 square miles of rain forest was purposely flooded during the construction of a hydroelectric dam. In addition to deploying disaster relief teams, WSPA has also implemented numerous long-term recovery projects to assist in affected areas.

Dr Gus Thornton, a former WSPA president, has died following a long illness
Dr Thornton and his granddaughter Rose © Courtesy of the MSPCA-Angell He grew up and went to veterinary school in Oklahoma, USA. Through his work for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), he helped WSPA set up its first office and later served two years as WSPA President. Mike Baker, Director General of WSPA, said: “He was a great veterinarian and humanitarian, and he was a true leader in both fields, nationally and internationally. He cared so very deeply about animals and people, was a kind and generous person, and he spent his life helping others….he will be greatly missed.”

Brutal pig slaughter in Egypt
Egyptian authorities are undertaking an unacceptably cruel assault on the pig population in Cairo. Pigs being hit with iron bars, scooped up into bulldozers and flung into pits to be burned alive with chemicals; these are the truly distressing visuals that appeared as the Egyptian media started to report on the cruel methods being used in the cull. Initial reports suggested that the pig cull in Egypt was intended as a precaution against the spread of the ‘swine flu’ infection from pigs to humans. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has explicitly stated that culling is an inappropriate reaction to the outbreak of swine flu, as there is no known link between the flu and pigs.

New, comprehensive text on long distance transport launched
Long Distance Transport and Welfare of Farm Animals – the book that provides the scientific basis of the Handle with Care campaign – was launched at the 76th General Session of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris. The largest and most comprehensive academic reference text on the long distance transport of animals for slaughter was presented to almost 100 of the world’s Chief Veterinary Officers in a reception on May 26 2008. The reception was also attended by nearly 250 delegates of the general session, including the OIE Director General and Deputy Director General. The following day, Peter Davies, Director General of WSPA, addressed the OIE general session and highlighted the Handle with Care coalition’s global transport campaign.

WSPA and Dubai to promote animal welfare
Dubai Municipality and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share expertise and technical know-how with the objective of promoting animal welfare and humane treatment of animals. Animal health and soundness are essential elements of public health and control of animal diseases that may cause harm or diseases to humans, he noted. The organisations also commits itself to continuous revisions and updating of techniques and programmes delivered. The Municipality will act as a model to the area and work with WSPA to provide training and assistance to other programmes in the region.

Proposed dolphin scheme in Thailand thwarted
WSPA is pleased to report that plans to build the facility have been abandoned. Dolphin-assisted therapy is a controversial idea, with little research to support its effectiveness. Dr. Kongsted claimed that the facility would use dolphins that stranded themselves on local beaches as well as importing captive-bred dolphins from the United States. WSPA's objections, coupled with funding difficulties, led Kongsted and the PMBC to announce that they would not pursue their plans for a captive dolphin facility any further. You can help WSPA protect dolphins by letting us know whenever you hear about a new captive dolphin facility being proposed in your community.

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