No longer putting animals last in war

2013-09-09 00:00

USUALLY animals come last in war-ravaged zones, but this might soon be a thing of the past if the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation succeeds in changing the international law that seeks to protect animals in captivity in times of war.

Anthony, who died in March last year, was the owner and head of conservation at KwaZulu-Natal’s Thula Thula Game Reserve and the author of several bestsellers, including The Elephant Whisperer. He is best remembered for his bold rescue of a pack of starving zoo lions after America invaded Iraq in 2003.

Speaking to The Witness, the NGO’s Durban-based director Yvette Taylor said they first submitted their draft resolution in 2009 to the United Nations and they accepted the resolution in good principle. But now they need backing from the UN member states and are to submit their warzone draft resolution to the International Criminal Court. The whole process could take up to a year.

Taylor said animals have become a currency in warzones and rebels sometimes even use them to extract ransom money.

The Earth Organisation is an independent, non-profit group that seeks to preserve the dwindling plant and animal kingdoms, and environment through education and action.

“Animals come last and it has happened in Afghanistan, Gaza and Egypt,” Taylor said, adding that animals in zoos often die horrible deaths with no water or food.

She said in Baghdad, by the time Anthony got there, out of the 650 animals in captivity only a few were alive.

“People used to ask Anthony why they should care about animals when people are dying? And we say we can help both of them, there are enough human beings to help both,” said Taylor.

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