Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Darren Sims AKA "DAZ" tirelessly raises funds for UK Charities

I am thinking that many of my readers, friends and online pals may not have heard of Daz.  I have known him as an online friend for well over 7 years and he is like the Energizer Bunny - he just never seems to stop!

Daz in action - Rock 4 Charity
He puts together an annual event called "Daz's Rock 4 Charity" which often takes place at the Colston Hall, in our mutual home city of Bristol, England.

He can also be found at pubs, clubs and private functions doing what he does best - entertain, and more often than not, he also raises funds for individuals in need as well!

Back in 2008 my father in law passed away, and I wrote a short poem about sitting by his bedside shortly before he passed away.  Daz was kind enough to turn that poem into a short song - he both sang and composed the music track -so now I have a lovely memory that I will always cherish.  How many other people do you know that would do that for you?

Personally I think one of the things that makes Daz so popular is that he has such a great rapport with people - be they individuals or massive audiences.  At his concerts he's always getting people up dancing and singing along with him, and I've yet to hear of anyone not enjoying themselves.

Not only is he a great entertainer,
Daz - Land's End to John o'Groats
but he is also a massive charity fundraising power house!  As I am writing this, Daz is on an epic bike ride from Land's End to John O'Groats raising funds for the Darren Wright Foundation. and Variety - the Children's Charity UK.

Along with the bike ride, Daz's original track "Sunshine Girl" has been released, and with the generous help of others has also been made into a humorous video. The aim is to get the single into the UK charts as soon as possible, which can only be achieved via loads of support and of course people downloading the song via Amazon UK or iTunes.

The video is at the end of this post, but if you'd really like to help out even more, you can download the song for just 99 p from Amazon UK or iTunes - with all proceeds going to the fundraiser.  Just click on either the Amazon or iTunes links below to take you to the preferred download site.

Amazon UK Sunshine Girl - MP3  or iTUNES UK 

If you want to check out Daz's journey with loads of photos, short videos and updates, please go to the Facebook page of :  Get Sunshine Girl in the Charts to help Variety and the Darren Wright Foundation.    You can also follow Daz on twitter  https://twitter.com/dazdazzle

Sunshine Girl - Facebook Page

Sending Daz and everyone involved much success - it would be awesome to see this in the UK Charts soon!


(Photo's copyright Darren Sims)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Kaavan - the solitary Elephant

Meet Kaavan.

Kaavan in his enclosure at the Zoo

For the past three years Kaavan has lived a solitary existence in his enclosure at the Islamabad Zoo since the death of his long term and only companion Saheli.

Kaavan was gifted to the Zoo in 1985 by the Government of Sri Lanka, when he was just a year old. He is now 31.

Most people know that Elephants live in herds, are very sociable and intelligent beings.  Poor Kaavan spends all of his time alone, and some of that is also spent chained.(visitors to the Zoo seem to think it is far more time in chains than not). Elephants in the wild are known to roam anywhere from a few miles to up to 50 - something of course that Zoo Elephants rarely experience.

Video of Kaavan show typical behaviour of stress - the swaying of his head from side to side and hardly moving from his spot is known as "weaving" and can often be seen in both Zoo and Circus Elephants. (And other animals confined in cages and inadequate enclosures).

Weaving is a surrogate activity caused by boredom, frustration and desolation. It should be in the interest of every elephant owner to offer to his or her animals an interesting and varied life that is appropriate to the species.

What can you do to help?

You can sign this petition on Change.Org - Speak up for Kaavan the chained Elephant

You can also follow up to date information on the Facebook Page Unchain Kaavan The Elephant

The ideal outcome would be for Kaavan to be moved to a Sanctuary rather than have the Zoo acquire another Elephant for company - he would have the freedom to roam and interact with other Elephants, rather than yet another poor animal being brought in to await the same fate.

A great article appeared on the Pakistan Tribune as recently as September 4th, which you can share and tweet to spread awareness.

It really is time for these beautiful animals to have a life lived as it should be and not be kept for human entertainment or amusement.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

St Bernards - an Asian delicacy

Recently I came across this organisation  - Sirius Global Animal Organisation who have been working against the dog meat trade for well over a decade.

Lots of interesting information to be found there.  I think the saddest thing of all is knowing that dog breeders in Europe have been exporting stud dogs to Asia to be bred for dog meat.  How could a dog breeder even consider the idea that one of their own dogs (and of course it's offspring) would end up being tortured, skinned alive, boiled or whatever the butchers fancy is and STILL send dogs?

  • In China, a Saint Bernard breeder admitted his stud dogs came from Switzerland
  • A report from the China Journal of Animal Husbandry and Aquatic Productions July 25th, 1999 quotes:

    "Because foreign people resent the dog-eating habit in some areas of China, they are not willing to sell their pet dogs to China which causes some difficulty to our importation. Currently we are trying to negotiate with foreign companies on how we can import stud dogs in order to meet the internal needs".

    Affidavits exist from breeders approached by people with businesses in China wanting to buy whole litters of Saint Bernards alone.

If this doesn't horrify you, I don't know what would!

Source: The Dog Place Org
 You can also read about this awful situation by clicking on this link for the site The Dog Place 

While I realise this isn't 'new' news, it may be of interest to those that think it's just stray dogs and stolen pets that are treated in such an abhorrent manner.  Not that it matters where the dogs come from - they all feel the same pain.

Here is another article mentioning the 'fur' side of the dog meat trade. 

Man domesticated dogs, they were never meant for consumption.  Yes, you can also argue that cows, sheep and pigs etc should not be consumed.  However, even meat eaters speak out about deplorable treatment of farm animals in massive factory farms and the suffering many of them endure at slaughter houses.  This isn't about 'food' in any shape or form.  It is purely the torture that these poor dogs (and cats) go through.  Animal cruelty on a massive scale based on non scientific ideas that
The Chinese believe that dog meat holds special medicinal properties. It is thought to benefit the internal organs and is considered to be particularly good for the elderly and infirm.
Be wary of anything you purchase that states 'fake fur', more than likely it is not. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

Guardians of the Voiceless

I have been following Guardians of the Voiceless on Facebook for several months now. They are a non profit organisation based in Patiala, Punjab, India.

In their own words.

Guardians of the Voiceless is a unique organization that focuses on helping injured animals and educating children at the same time.

We believe that by providing education, basic healthcare and mentoring children they will be our future ambassadors in our goal of humane treatment of animals in India.

Our niche lies in treating injured stray animals and sterlizing them, creating an efficient and effective follow up program for their treatment until they recover.

Click on the photo to go to their Facebook Page
Guardians of the Voiceless - Facebook

This organisation works tirelessly to help animals, especially dogs, although they will help and treat any animal that needs it.  Street dogs however, are a common sight and you can imagine how tough it must be for the dogs to survive.  Luckily many of the locals do help where they can, and work together with the Guardians.

Some of their photo's are truly heartbreaking, but with some medical attention and care, many of the dogs soon recover from their wounds or infections with follow up visits until they are back to basic good health again.  Being street dogs of course has its dangers, and one of them being that if they get into fights and their wounds remain untreated then they can get other infections and of course maggots.   Some of them are also very skinny and need IV's and additional medical aid.  

One that recently caught my eye, and yes call me biased, was that of "Sally".  Firstly I thought it unusual for a dog in India to be called Sally, so I had to read more.  The photo's broke my heart.

I have been checking in daily, not just for updates, because there are ALWAYS new stories of so many animals they treat, but I admit, I have a soft spot for Sally.

An hour or so ago, this was the update:
*Update on Sally. After five days Sally ate some special energy food and drank water on her own for the first time! We feel an incredible emotion to see this girl fighting for her life. Guardians is with her day and night, today we took Sally again to the Hospital, we want to make sure she has all the care that she needs. Even she is responding a little better we need to be extremely careful with her, she still is in critical condition. She was diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis which is transmitted by ticks. She also has a large wound, fortunately her wound is looking much better.
Sally is on proper medication as well as she is on IV fluids day and evening as the Veterinarian suggested. She is also eating little by little special food that was recommend for her, as well as she is eating soup with a syringe as she is to weak an cant not lift her head for to long.
Sally needs lots of love and care, we truly do not know if she will survive but in our hearts we wont loose hope. All we do for her comes from our heart, we are truly in love with this special girl. We have her in a crate to make sure other dogs do not trouble her, she likes to be there as she feels protected.
Sally is very grateful as sick as she is she still wags her little tail when she sees us. Please send good wishes and support for Sally, she truly needs of the love she can get. God bless her!
Team members - Sourav and Keshav
Our PayPal account is give@guardiansofthevoiceless.org
Guardians of the Voiceless Pankaj Arora LuzMa Gomez Rajiv Mahajan

As you can see, they have a paypal account for donations if you so wished to help.  Even liking their page and sharing will help.

Personally, I think they do an amazing job with the resources they have.  They are kind, compassionate, fearless and tireless in the work they do.  What's not to love?

UPDATE August 30th - it seems that poor Sally did not make it.  While I know the Guardians did all they could for her, it is not surprising, given her condition when they found her that she might not survive.  So sad.  At least in the last little while she knew that people loved her and were trying to get her better.  Sometimes things are just out of your hands. x

Bear boxing? Cycling Bears? Bear Bile Farms?

The Tsingtao Wild Animal World park in China seems to think that abusing bears by dressing them up in ridiculous outfits and then having them box each other is 'entertainment'.

Bear Fighting in China
The article doesn't say much, but there are more photos shown at the Daily Mail UK

The bears are kept on tight leashes and are muzzled to stop them biting each other. What the hell is wrong with the world? This is 2015 not the Victorian ages!  Are people's lives so boring and sad that the only way to get enjoyment is to watch wild animals dressed up in ridiculous outfits doing something so unnatural?  

While there are of course many dedicated animal activists and rescues in China, there is still a long way to go until this kind of "entertainment" is banned for good.

Alas this park is not alone.  The Shanghai Wild Animal Park also puts on 'performances'. Even their blurb under the tab Beasts Hall states:

Animal Park Arena is my earliest established animal performance venues, has developed into a performance-based combination Liger bears, monkeys, goats and other funny performances featuring comprehensive performance venues, which can accommodate 1,500 spectators around. Here bears and macaques hands as close as friends become rivals competing against lions and tigers. Lions and tigers majestic king of the forest, or that what, in the hands of the trainer can bring us what surprise? All in the animal arena revealed mystery.
Sadly an incident in 2013 where a monkey was mauled by a bear at this park during a performance made world news.  From the article:
"The performance is pure mistreatment," Zhang Dan, co-founder of the China Animal Protection Media Saloon, was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper on Friday. "It goes totally against the nature of the animal. But they cannot speak for themselves about their fear, pain, or unwillingness."
The Bear and Monkey 'race'.

None of this is worthy of anybody's time or money.  What sort of mentality does it take to think this is ok?  Bears belong in the wild, not caged up and then brought out to perform for uneducated morons!

Of course this kind of 'entertainment' is not just limited to China, it's a global problem.  I would think that if as many people who vote on reality TV music shows and retweet photo's of Kim Kardashian would actually spend as much time looking at what is REALLY going on in the world, things could change a lot faster.  I live in hope.

Meanwhile there is also the horrific abuse of bears in Bile Farms.  If you are not aware of Bile Farms - from Animals Asia

More than 10,000 bears are kept on bile farms in China, and official figures put the number suffering the same fate in Vietnam at 1,245. The bears have their bile extracted on a regular basis, which is not only used in traditional medicine but also in many ordinary household products.
Bile is extracted using various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection in the bears. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives.
Most farmed bears are kept in tiny cages. In China, the cages are sometimes so small that the bears are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Some bears are caged as cubs and never released, with many kept caged for up to 30 years. Most farmed bears are starved and dehydrated, and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them.
If you would like to learn more about this terrible situation be sure to visit Animals Asia's Page.  Or if you are on Twitter, follow them at @AnimalsAsia