NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
ANIMAL lovers worldwide scored a huge victory after it was announced that dog and cat meat will be banned from this year's Yulin Festival in China.
The ban will come into effect on June 15, a week before the start of the gruesome festival that in recent years saw the slaughter of thousands of dogs and cats, many stolen from their owners, for their meat.
Eleven million people around the world have signed the petition to stop the organizers and supporters of Yulin Festival from killing and consuming dog and cat meat by first bludgeoning them to death or even cooking them alive.
According to Andrea Gung, executive director of Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project, the ban ends the sale of dog meat in restaurants, markets and by streets vendors. Those who violate the ban will be arrested and fined up to 100,000 yuan (nearly $15,000).
Although it is only a temporary ban, Gung said it will hopefully lead to the collapse of the dog meat trade. Yulin Festival is not an old tradition but a mere creation of enterprising dog meat traders that started in 2009. Gung said the ban is consistent with how Yulin and the rest of the country are changing for the better.
Animal rights activists, campaigners and international celebrities like Ricky Gervais, Sharon Osbourne and the late Carrie Fisher were in the forefront of the fight against the unthinkable cruelty that thousands of innocent animals were subjected to for the ghastly dog meat festival. At its height, the 10-day Yulin Festival saw the deaths of up to 15,000 canine and other animals.
The signature campaign, organized by the Humane Society International and other charities, was also instrumental in petitioning the local government to halt the practice of killing and eating dogs and cats in Yulin. -- MetroPets
By ALMA J. BUELVA
IT is said that dead men tell no tales, but apparently dead dogs do especially when killed as part of a movie.
When the dog in the photo was allegedly killed to create one of the scenes in the movie ORO, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) immediately asked for an investigation from the Metro Manila Film Festival. After initial meetings with the film body, PAWS said it will file criminal case against those who killed the dog and against the people who watched/filmed the crime as it was happening and did nothing to stop it.
"A screenshot of the dog that was killed in the MMFF movie ORO. The dog was put in a sack, beaten to death, skinned and gutted. Are the good reviews and awards the film got worth it at the cost of an an innocent creature's life?", asked PAWS which uploaded this photo on their official Facebook page.
ORO, one of the movies in the recent Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), is about the interplay of politics and poverty to make life harder for struggling villagers who work in gold mines somewhere in Bicol province where supposedly a group called Patrol Kalikasan are known to eat dogs.
It is against this backdrop that the dog in the photo, according to PAWS, was “put in a sack, beaten to death, skinned and gutted” as part of the movie.
In a statement posted on the movie's Facebook page, ORO director Alvin Yapan denied ever killing a dog for the movie. He also said no actor would agree to kill a dog nor would he put any actor in that position.
In its official statement regarding the issue, PAWS reported that the filmmakers have reasoned that they only happened upon the dog's killing in the location they were filming. The animal rights and welfare group, however, challenged this by pointing out that a PAWS Board Member Rich Ilustre, a director himself, made the observation that using actual footage of dog killing and editing it seamlessly into a scene with actors is extremely difficult.
Don Michael Perez, a television and film writer and director, believes there could have been creative ways of mounting the contentious scene at no cost to the life of a poor dog.
“I think it's reprehensible. I hear the filmmakers wanted to show the brutality of dog killing paralleled with the disregard for human life depicted in the story but in the process they have disregarded the life of a sentient being while making the film...And by going for shock value the filmmakers displayed that they're just as heartless and brutal as the evil men in their film,” Perez told MetroPets.
Meanwhile, PAWS said they obtained a copy of the ORO script that showed that the graphic dog-killing segment was indeed part of the scene. PAWS also said that it was established that the ORO filmmakers lied to the MMFF Screening Committee by claiming that the dog was not harmed in the scene.
“During the inquiry, the filmmakers eventually admitted that the live dog shown at the start of the controversial scene and the dead dog being gutted is one and the same,” PAWS said.
PAWS has asked the MMFF Executive Committee to require the ORO filmmakers to submit the raw footages of the dog killing to help complete the ongoing investigation.
Killing an animal for dramatic purposes or entertainment is ethically reprehensible, PAWS said, stating that “The director, producer, crew, and (possibly) the actors and extras, violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by procuring a dog for slaughter, and actually having it killed – whether by them directly or by some other people – for the movie.”
ANIMAL CRUELTY IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT
PAWS' request to have the ORO movie stripped of all awards it received and for the director and producers to be administratively sanctioned has so far resulted in the recall of the Fernando Poe Jr. Memorial Award granted to the film.
PAWS said that upon consultation with the family of the late Fernando Poe, Jr., the MMFF Executive Committee has decided to take back the said prestigious award as the dog's death had cast doubts on the movie's ability to exemplify the human and cultural values espoused by the late actor who is an icon in the local movie industry.
Meanwhile, PAWS said all members of the entertainment industry must uphold humane standards for the use of animals and to call out their colleagues when they commit acts of atrocities towards animals in the making of films and TV shows.
Director Perez, who owns Bengal Brew Cat Cafe and Wolf & Bear Dog Cafe, agrees with PAWS.
“As a fellow filmmaker and animal rights advocate I condemn this act in the strongest terms,” he said. “We should all make our voices heard to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. The recent MMFF was groundbreaking in many ways. Too bad this ORO controversy tarnished that,” Perez added.
*The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) or RA 8485, as amended by RA 10631 imposes a penalty of 2 years and 1 day to 3 years imprisonment, and/or a fine not exceeding P250,000 if the offense is committed by a person who makes business out of cruelty to an animal.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
“WE want you to learn carpentry.”
With these words, Robbie De Guia, president of Dunsk Kuhner, the company behind St. Roche dog shampoo, ushered groups of pet lovers to the 1,400sqm property in Silang, Cavite that will be the site of Haven of Love, a home for abused and neglected animals.
The recent gathering marked St. Roche's groundbreaking ceremony for the planned animal home. Company executives emphasized that an animal home is more than an animal shelter because it will also provide loving care on top of food and shelter for animals and education for people.
“Animals deserve a shelter not a home. In our culture, dogs are reincarnated as humans so we would like to treat them as humanely as possible. Let's keep this a beautiful place for dogs, said top company executive, Raja Menghrajani.
Volunteerism will be at the core of this endeavor which targets to have a soft start before the year ends. De Guia said they aim to spend only for the building materials and a construction foreman's salary. Labor will be a collective effort of volunteers.
HAVEN OF LOVE
During the ceremony, St. Roche officials took turn touring guests to the vast property where facilities and buildings will be built.
The Haven of Love is envisioned to have the following:
* A building with conference rooms for the use of veterinarians and pet groups, a clinic, and food storage.
* The Home (at least 7meter x 7meter), partly covered by football turf so it will be parasite free.
* Sleeping quarters made up of five houses, each able to room from six to eight people. Each house will be about 30sqm.
* A 400sqm Pet Cemetery with an incinerator machine. A memorial plot will be for sale.
* A Vegetable Farm to grow squash, okra, fruit-bearing trees, sweet potato, eggplant and other vegetables that can be used to feed cats and dogs.
* A Cat Area that is 150sqm big at least. It will be an enclosed area with good ventilation for the benefit of 200 cats.
* A Fish Farm that is 100sqm big, good enough for tilapia, catfish and other kinds of fish to thrive. Volunteers will be allowed to fish for their meals.
* A Dog Pool about 30 to 40 feet for dogs' enjoyment and exercise.
* A Dog Quarantine with about 50sqm floor space.
There will be five of the “Home” structures with ceiling fans and comfy dog beds and pillows from Daki. The interiors will be painted blue and green as these colors have a calming effect on dogs, especially those that have been traumatized in the past. De Guia said each Home can keep 30 to 40 dogs.
So far, 1,300 individuals have expressed their interest to donate their time and skills to help build the Haven of Love animal home. Even homeless people who can be proven to be of good character and are animal lovers could potentially be tapped to help out at the shelter.
De Guia said, volunteers can earn “love tokens” commensurate to the services they render. The love tokens can be used to avail of the free use of facilities like the conference room for team building.
The Haven of Love is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a foundation with a seven-man Board of Trustees.
Aside from enlisting more volunteers to help build the shelter, St. Roche is also getting creative with its fund raising campaigns. It is selling for P2,000 the St. Roche Love Pack, a basket full of St. Roche products, with 75 percent of the sales going to the shelter. They also created a “Wall of Love” at the site where people could write a dedication to their former pets for a small fee of P100.
In addition, the company will launch a personalized logo of St. Roche with a customer's pet's photo for P1,000.
Meanwhile, the dogs that will be homed in Silang will enjoy food and treats from a Canadian dog food manufacturer. De Guia said they target to open Haven of Love early next year or before the year ends.
Present during the groundbreaking ceremony are several dog groups (photos below) such as the Cavite Husky Pack, Tarlac Dog Walkers, Mandaluyong Pack Leaders, Philippine Dog Pawsitive, UPLB-Veterinary students, United ShihTzu Lovers Philippines, Bulacan Dog Walkers, Noah's Ark Petlovers Society, Canine Lovers Association of Pampanga, Boston Terriers Tribe, and the Valenzuela South Alpha Dogs, and others. Also present are several individuals who are not necessarily part of any dog group or association.
THE People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia is offering up to P50,000 reward for information that could help find the person or group that killed innocent cats from Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.
On Jan. 13, a dozen community cats from the posh village went missing and some were found dead, apparently from unnatural causes. In a circular released by the village management, one cat was reported to have died from chemical burns after paint thinner was poured over him.
The community cats in Dasmariñas Village have been spayed and neutered through CARA Welfare's Trap-Neuter-Return program and are fed by residents of the village. Before the cats' disappearance and deaths, a note was found saying: “You stop feeding cats. Our village is no cat sanctuary. Or else...”
The management and security of Dasmariñas Village are looking into the barbaric series of crimes against the cats, but so far no suspects have been identified.
"It's imperative that any community faced with a violent act such as the vicious killing of the community cats of Dasmariñas Village take measures to find the culprit or culprits and bring them to justice," says PETA Asia Vice President for International Operations Jason Baker. "Animal abusers are a danger to everyone: They take their issues out on whomever is available to them, human or nonhuman, and must be caught before they act again. We're appealing to anyone with information about those responsible for these cruel crimes to come forward now so that the perpetrator or perpetrators can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
PETA hopes to bring the person or persons responsible for the cats' deaths and disappearances to justice. Aggravated cruelty to animals carries a penalty of up to P250,000 and three years imprisonment under the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 as amended by Republic Act No. 10631.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the PETA Asia hotline at 0999-888-7382.
* Laika and Felicette, pioneer pet astronauts