December 19, 2020Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Tokyo Zoo Unveils the First Elephant Born There in 138 Years


December 3, 2020


Tokyo’s Ueno Zoological Gardens, the oldest zoo in Japan, announced the first male elephant was born since its foundation in 1882. The zoo asked the public to name him from the choices of Arun (“dawn” in Thai), Atsadong (sunset), or Tawan (sun) suggested by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo. The baby elephant calf was shown to the public for the first time on Tuesday, since his birth at the end of October.


The parents of the elephant were from Thailand in 2002 to celebrate the birth of the Japanese Princess Aiko.


The viewings of the baby elephant and his mother Authi are limited up to 2 hours per day now to avoid causing stress to the elephants. His father passed away at the age of 23 because of a bout of tuberculosis.


Commentaries of IALA

Public zoos are designed for multiple goals including conservation, education, and entertainment. Animals shall be treated with proper care and welfare standards in captivities. Japan does not have any regulations on animal welfare in zoos yet, but the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums set the requirement for its members on basic animal care standards. Check your local zoos and estimate whether animal welfare is properly addressed there.

See our blog on animal welfare in zoos here.

Singapore Becomes World’s First Country to Approve Lab-Grown Meat


December 5, 2020


Singapore has become the first authority in the world to approve lab-grown meat for sale. Lab-grown meat, which is grown directly from chicken cells, rather than a farmed animal, has passed the country’s regulatory authority and is now permitted for sale in the region.


The safety review by the Singapore Food Agency looked into lab-grown ‘chicken bites’ produced by US company Eat Just and marks the first regulatory authority in the world to approve lab-grown meat for sale.


Also known as cell-based or cultured meat, lab-grown meat is one of the leading solutions to eliminating factory farms and making the suffering of animals in the farming industry a thing of the past. And because it’s crafted in a lab rather than via animals on a farm, it’s healthier than conventional meat because it contains no antibiotics.


Commentaries of IALA

In Singapore, farms operation is regulated by the Animals and Birds (Licensing of Farms) Rules. Introducing lab-grown meat will become the first step to eliminate factory farms where animals are brutally abused and treated in horrible conditions. While the world vegan population is close to 0.1%, which is approximately 75 million people, in the Asia-Pacific region, the vegan population estimates 9%. More animal protection organizations have been working on exposing the truth of factory farms to the public and challenging consumer protection laws, however, it is too early to speak about the complete shut down of factory farms. Singapore with its introduction of lab-grown meat being the first country in the world is demonstrating an effective way to make farmed animals free from abuse.


See our blog on the protection of animals in Singapore here.

Chinese Woman Shares Home With 1,300 Dogs


December 8, 2020

"Each of us should respect life, and the earth is not only for humans but also for all animals," said Ms. Wen Junhong, a 68-year-old lady who is sharing a two-storey house with more than 1,300 dogs in Chongqing in south-western China. She took the first dog 20 years ago and she found she could not stop. She worries about the stray dogs facing accidents on the streets and being caught for the dog meat trade. She receives calls every day to help more dogs and abandoned pets and strays are left in her front yard. She also lives with 100 cats, four horses, and a scattering of rabbits and birds. “Her day starts at 4 am with the unenviable task of clearing 20 to 30 barrels of overnight dog waste and cooking over 500kg of rice, meat, and vegetables for the animals.” She got the complaints from the neighbors and kept moving.

Commentaries of IALA

The animal shelter is only a temporary home for abandoned animals and stray animals. Ms. Wen helps 1,300 dogs by herself and it would be great pressure on her daily life. Every shelter shall evaluate the capacity of animals according to the size, financial conditions, and healthcare standards. Keeping a higher-than-usual number of animals can be recognized as "animal hoarding," which is regulated in some jurisdictions to ensure that animals are able to receive sufficient care and support. Some countries provide the regulation regarding animal hoarding that limits the number of animals to be kept on-premises. The problem cannot be easily solved without the effort to regulate the pet industry, the animal owner's responsibility, and the adoption system of animal shelters.

5-Year-Old Orangutan Kukur Was Rescued in West Borneo


December 11, 2020

An orangutan who was wrongly being kept as a ‘pet’ in Senduruhan Village, Hulu Sungai District, Ketapang, West Borneo, was recently rescued by the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in West Kalimantan, along with a team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) Indonesia.

The orangutan, named Kukur, was being kept in a hut in the middle of the woods, living with a family and their dogs, pigs, and chickens. The orangutan’s ‘owner’ claimed to have found Kukur in the forest while he was farming. He said he felt sorry for the orangutan and brought him home, where he was tied up with a rope around his neck and fed rice, instant noodles, coffee, and fruit.


The team transported Kukur to the IAR Indonesia center in the village of Sungai Awan in the Ketapang District. The center has all the facilities required for the care and rehabilitation of orangutans. Kukur will spend eight weeks in quarantine, during which time he will also undergo further medical examinations to ensure that he is not harboring any diseases that could be transmitted to other orangutans at the facility.


As part of IAR Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to reduce cases of wildlife being kept in captivity, as well as to raise awareness of the need to protect animals in the wild to prevent the spread of zoonoses, IAR Indonesia fielded an education team in a number of areas, including the District of Hulu River.


Commentaries of IALA

General welfare provisions of Law No. 18 of Indonesia apply to wild animals. Article 66 provides that all measures shall be taken in the interest of animal welfare with relation to “catching and handling, placement and multiplication, care, transportation, slaughtering and killing, as well as reasonable treatment and tender care of the animal.” Moreover, Article 83 of Regulation 95 states that the survival of wild animals depends on humans, meaning this provision will apply to those animals that have been trapped or caught. Animals should be free from pain, injury, disease, discomfort, persecution, abuse, fear, and distress. However, these duties apply only to legal animal owners, those who keep animals as part of their jobs, and animal care facility owners.


See our blog on the protection of animals in Indonesia here.

Plastic Waste Forms Huge Deadly Masses in Camel Guts


December 15, 2020

About 390,000 dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) live in the United Arab Emirates. Now in a study in the February 2021 Journal of Arid Environments, Eriksen, Wernery, and colleagues estimate that plastic kills around 1 percent of these culturally important animals. Of 30,000 dead camels that Wernery, a veterinary microbiologist at the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai, and his team have examined since 2008, 300 had guts packed with plastic ranging from three to 64 kilograms. The researchers dubbed these plastic masses “polybezoars” to distinguish them from naturally occurring hair and plant fiber bezoars.


With a stomach full of plastic, camels don’t eat because they don’t feel hungry, and they starve to death. Plastic can also leach toxins and introduce bacteria that poison the one-humped mammals, Wernery says.


Commentaries of IALA

Camels are symbolic animals for Emirati culture and history. A survey has been made recently, which resulted in the necessity to ensure the protection of camels. These mammals generally enjoy eating wild grasses and desert shrubs, however, with human intervention and pollution, camels’ population is threatened. According to the Center for Waste Management - Abu Dhabi, 19% of domestic waste is plastic bags. Due to the public concerns and the death rate of camels (50%), Abu Dhabi is planning to ban plastic bags, beverage cups and lids, plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, and food containers.

Sickly Dancing Bears Leaving Pakistan for a New Life in Jordan


December 16, 2020

A pair of Himalayan brown bears, Suzie and Bubaloo, will leave the Marghazar Zoo in Pakistan’s capital, for a sanctuary in Jordan. The zoo was ordered by the Islamabad High Court to close down earlier in 2020, because of the outrageous conditions and systemic negligence for nearly 1000 animals and half of them disappeared. The bears, Suzie and Bubaloo, were trained as dancing bears and both of them are with a number of health issues and badly neglected, and they have suffered years of mistreatment to conduct the “performance” and their stereotypical behaviors. The new home in Jordan will be a sanctuary 1,100 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level with the snowy, cold conditions more typical of the natural habitat for the bears.

Commentaries of IALA

Bear dancing is one of the animal performances with cruelty. "Bear dancing is a cruel spectacle where bears who have been taken from the wild as cubs are forced to ‘dance’ on the streets, mainly used as a form of begging.'' Both the training and performances are against the nature of the bear and they harm animals' physical, mental, and behavioral health. All types of entertainment of animal performances and human-animal interaction activities shall be avoided even if animals are well-behaved and well-trained because they were trained from the process full of cruelty.

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