In response to Free Morgan Foundation

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On December the 4th, the Free Morgan Foundation published a press release accusing Loro Parque of breaking the law “Orca Morgan Pregnant? Loro Parque in Violation!”. This is the latest smear campaign build by this organization trying to criticise Loro Parque and its activities, with the sole objective of release Morgan back to the wild, something that was refused more than three years ago by the Dutch Supreme Court.

Free Morgan Foundation tries to mislead the public opinion saying that the CITES permit was issued under the strict condition that has to be kept for research, suggesting that breeding was not allowed. But the truth is that the research use was the exemption to the Habitats Directive in order to keep Morgan used by the Dutch Authorities. This exception does not impede the breeding, and the CITES permit of Morgan does not limit breeding either. Free Morgan Foundation has been trying to convince the CITES Authorities about this bizarre interpretation of the CITES regulations sending letters to the Spanish, Dutch and International Autorities that enforce the Convention. And they have not received any support from them, on the contrary, the Spanish CITES Authorities answered that “ … it should be noted that the Community Certificate issued by the Dutch CITES MA doesn’t set any express legal limitation to breeding and authorized to keep the orca for research, breeding or education purposes.”. But Free Morgan Foundation never published this response in their website, nevertheless, you can find all the letters sent to the different CITES MA.

Free Morgan Foundation also accuses Loro Parque of “been busy trying to breed Morgan” despite “the ban on breeding and her young age which can be dangerous to both mother and calf.”. Morgan has been ovulating regularly during the last four years, hence it should be really easy to get her pregnant, as there is no difficuties in breeding killer whales. Nevertheless, Loro Parque haven’t tried to breed her, this pregnancy is totally spontaneous and confirms her integration in the group and the display of natural sexual behaviours. It is clear that the ban on breeding only exists in the imagination of Free Morgan Foundation, and about the age of Morgan, during the successive court cases (2010-2014) they were always arguing that she was older than 2 years at the moment of rescue. That means, in the opinion of Free Morgan Foundation, she will be giving birth to her calf when at the age of 11-12 years, which is the common time for Type 1 Eastern North Atlantic Killer Whales.

Finally, Free Morgan Foundation accuses Loro Parque of breeding orcas for “Financial profit” which is totally nonsense. Under the EU regulations all the cetacean species are considered non-commercial, hence they cannot be bought or sold, but only exchanged between authorized zoological facilities, making impossible any financial profit of breeding orcas.

In conclusion, all the arguments in Free Morgan Foundation press release are absolutely false, and they are aware of its falsehood. Their only goal is to damage the reputation of Loro Parque with defamatory statements, as they are also fully aware that Morgan is unreleasable as it was ruled by the Dutch Supreme Court in its final verdict. This campaign, and the new court case that they are promoting in Holland (an appeal to the two consecutive denegations by the CITES Dutch authorities of their request to invalidate Morgan’s CITES permit) are simply a smoke screen, it will be probably very profitable in terms of donations, but totally useless from the legal perspective.

Loro Parque Statement

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Loro Parque confirms that Morgan (one of the orca females housed in our facilities after being found almost dead and rescued in 2010 in the Wadden Sea) is pregnant. Pregnancies are a very frequent phenomenon in a modern zoological institution which takes care of tenths of thousands of animals from over 500 species. Commonly the gestational status of the animals is not communicated to the public, but in this case we have taken into consideration the exceptional public interest for Morgan.

This diagnostic was reached after a uterus ultrasound exploration due to a periodical medical check. The pregnancy was confirmed only four weeks ago.

The orca keepers and the veterinarian team of Loro Parque have the knowledge and expertise necessary to follow up the gestation, providing Morgan with the highest standards of animal care in the world.

Loro Parque considers the reproduction as a natural right of any animal which cannot be denied under any circumstances. Furthermore, breeding of animal species in zoos is one of the objectives according to the European Directive and the Spanish zoo’s law and is also supported by the criteria of the professional zoological associations, both national and international.

Better dead than fed, PETA says

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Source: Better dead than fed, PETA says

DON’T BE FOOLED by the slick propaganda of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The organization may claim to champion the welfare of animals, as the many photos of cute puppies and kittens on its Web site suggest. But last week, two PETA employees were charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty each, after authorities found them dumping the dead bodies of 18 animals they had just picked up from a North Carolina animal shelter into a Dumpster. According to the Associated Press, 13 more dead animals were found in a van registered to PETA.

The arrest followed a rash of unwelcome discoveries of dead animals dumped in the area. According to veterinarian Patrick Proctor, the PETA people told North Carolina shelters they would try to find the dogs and cats homes. He handed over two adoptable kittens and their mother, only to learn later that they had died, without a chance to find a home, in the PETA van. “This is ethical?” Proctor railed over the phone. “I don’t really think so.”

This is not the first report that PETA killed animals it claimed to protect. In 1991, PETA killed 18 rabbits and 14 roosters it had previously “rescued” from a research facility. “We just don’t have the money” to care for them, then PETA-Chairman Alex Pacheco told the Washington Times. The PETA animal shelter had run out of room.

The Center for Consumer Freedom, which represents the food industry, a frequent target of PETA campaigns, released data filed by PETA with the state of Virginia that shows PETA has killed more than 10,000 animals from 1998 to 2003. “In 2003, PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in,” said a press release from the lobby, “finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk (Va.) SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent.”

The Center’s David Martosko considered PETA’s hefty budget — reportedly, $20 million — and many contributions from well-heeled Hollywood celebrities, then figured, “PETA has enough money in the bank to care for every unwanted animal in Virginia (where it has its headquarters) and North Carolina.”

PETA prefers to spend donations, apparently, not caring for flesh-and- blood animals entrusted to it but on campaigns attacking medical researchers, meat-eaters or women wearing furs. It is as if PETA prefers the idea of animals to animals themselves.

Why does PETA kill animals that might otherwise find a home?

I repeatedly phoned PETA, but never reached an official who would answer my questions. PETA’s Web site spun the story under the banner, “PETA helping animals in North Carolina” with an emphasis on its efforts to “solve the animal overpopulation in North Carolina.” Here’s more: “PETA has provided euthanasia services to various counties in that state to prevent animals from being shot with a .22 behind a shed or gassed in windowless metal boxes — both practices that were carried out until PETA volunteered to provide painless death for the animals.” Make that painless deaths for animals that could have found love.

Besides, PETA always has been about killing animals. A 2003 New Yorker profile included PETA top dog Ingrid Newkirk’s story of how she became involved in animal rights after a shelter put down stray kittens she brought there. So she went to work for an animal shelter in the 1970s, where, she explained, “I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn’t stand to let them go through (other workers abusing the animals.) I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day.”

That’s right. PETA assails other parties for killing animals for food or research. Then it kills animals — but for really important reasons, such as running out of room.

Martosko hopes animal lovers will learn that their donations will do more good at a local animal shelter than at PETA. “For years,” he added, “we thought that PETA just cared for animals more than they cared for humans. But now it seems they don’t care much for either.”

No lie about not caring for people. In 2003, Newkirk hectored late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat because a terrorist blew up a donkey in an attempt to blow up people. Newkirk also told the New Yorker the world would be a better place without people. She explained why she had herself sterilized: “I am opposed to having children. Having a purebred human baby is like having a purebred dog; it’s nothing but vanity, human vanity.”

Now you know. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doesn’t really like people. PETA has no use for ethics. And PETA kills animals.

Where Rights May Be Wrong

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Original article: Island Connections – Loro Parque vs PETA

After several months of wrangling, a legal dispute between the animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Loro Parque has now come to an end. Here’s a look behind the scenes of this animal rights activist group. The sequence of events is as follows. In 2016 Loro Parque sued PETA over accusations made to the Guardia Civil SEPRONA division (Spanish nature protection service) over supposed maltreatment of its orcas. PETA not only reported Loro Parque to SEPRONA but also started an international press campaign against the park, even though the previous investigations by SEPRONA had confirmed that there were absolutely no indications of maltreatment and that the orcas were in the finest conditions. The sentence published on November 7 by the Puerto de La Cruz court confirms and accredits that, “The orca installations at Loro Parque fulfil the regulations in force and the general condition of the orcas is the correct one”. It also states that, “The activity developed at Loro Parque complies strictly with the applicable legal requirements and has the obligatory authorisations and licences” and confirms that it has been verified that, “The zoological park has qualified personnel to take care of and medically treat the orcas that live in its installations”. At no time does the judicial resolution question the wellbeing of the orcas at Loro Parque, on the contrary, it makes it very clear that the orcas are in good condition, and attended to by qualified professionals and experts. This implies clearly that the accusations of maltreatment or even torture were not true. However, the sentence balances between the right to honour and the freedom of speech. The court understands that these affirmations, although demonstrated as false, are protected by the right to freedom of speech.

There is no doubt that in a democratic society this right has to be protected but it is also necessary to protect the legal and legitimate economic activities which are the motor of our society. Therefore, Loro Parque will appeal against this sentence to the High Court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in order to address the fact that the legitimate use of freedom of speech cannot be an excuse for organising defamation campaigns against organisations like Loro Parque, which has been fighting for and funding the conservation of nature and the wellbeing of animals for 45 years. The zoological director of Loro Parque,  Wolfgang Rades, commenting on PETA’s activities, said, “We are regularly audited and awarded by independent organisations. We work constantly with scientists from all over the world to confirm that our animals are doing well. In some of the radical protest organisations, people from completely different professions call themselves specialists who allegedly know better than qualified scientists.”

But who and what is PETA and what does the organisation that so vehemently attacks Loro Parque stand for? PETA is the abbreviation for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, founded in Norfolk (USA) in 1980 by the former activist and today’s PETA boss Ingrid Newkirk. The organisation now has more than two million members around the world and earns about $30 million a year. This money is exempted from taxes due to the non-profit status of the association. But how non-

profit is PETA really? This is a question that the organisation, which repeatedly draws attention to itself through media effective campaigns, has to put up with. First of all, it does not, as is so often mistakenly understood, stand for animal welfare, but for animal rights, and the organisation obviously interprets this concern very creatively. In general, the PETA representatives are against the exploitation of all animals. This also includes a ban on meat and dairy products, the wearing of leather, wool and fur as well as the rejection of leisure activities such as horse riding, hunting, fishing or beekeeping, and of course, the zoos and circuses are at the top of the list of the most criticised. In macabre flyers, the so-called responsible persons compare hen batteries with a concentration camp. Children are unsettled by sentences such as, “Your father kills animals”. In fact, a flyer addressed to children says, “Your daddy teaches you the wrong things when he tells you what is right and wrong – so you should explain to him that he kills fish while fishing and that it’s wrong to kill someone. Until your dad learns that killing others is no fun, keep cats and dogs away from him. He enjoys killing helpless animals so much that they could be next in line.”

Regarding the killing of animals PETA should keep its own doorstep clean. Animals that are freed by PETA, often with media impact, are seldom cared for until they are adopted. In 2016, the Washington Post reported that approximately 72 per cent of the rescued animals were put to sleep, not only because they were old, injured or too aggressive, but also because the effort to find a new home was described as a, “Waste of resources”. A former employee, who under the name of Mom2nomads, published her experiences on a blog, confirmed this. She says that not all new entries have been registered, or their weight has been reported as higher than it really is, so that more animals can be put to sleep without anyone knowing, some of them on the same day. Like the Chihuahua Maya belonging to nine-year-old Cynthia from Virginia. At the end of 2014, the animal vaccinated or sterilised and the owners could be encouraged to behave responsibly. But that was rejected outright. During this time, the organisation also decided to sterilise only the bitches of fighting dogs for cost reasons, knowing full well that there is a great danger that the male offspring could be used for dog fighting. All this has so exhausted me that I couldn’t bear it any more”. It is estimated that around 30,000 animals in PETA’s care have been killed over the last ten years. On flyers, PETA warns cat owners against letting their cats run free. The dangers posed by traffic and people are too great, in other words it’s a plea for keeping cats at home as the best way of life. Does this really do justice to the nature of the animal? And what is the difference between keeping a pet exclusively in one’s own four walls and keeping a tiger in a zoo enclosure suitable for the species? PETA’s line does not appear to be quite clear then put towards financing processes which cause more of a spectacle.

British photographer David Slater can also tell a tale or two. About six years ago, he observed and photographed macacos in Indonesia to publish a picture book. The animals got used to his presence. One day, a monkey he called Naruto took advantage of an unobserved moment to use the camera’s shutter release and took his own picture. At first, Slater thought it had been an absolute stroke of luck. But the photos went around the world because PETA accused the photographer of denying the monkey the right to his own image. So, the monkey has a right to determine his image and everything about it? Every reasonable thinking person asks himself, “What are they doing? But not PETA. The organisation has ruined the photographer with its legal cases. He couldn’t make it to San Francisco on the last day of the case because he couldn’t afford the aircraft ticket. The photos are so well known that he can’t earn any more money with them anyway. In his commentary about the grotesque monkey selfie, the author and moderator Micky Beisenherz asked on the German website www.stern.de, “What about the countless photos of dead animals whose corpses you show off without their consent for your campaigns, robbing them of their last dignity?” Would it not make more sense to put the money of animal-loving humans into genuine animal protection, instead of into numerous questionable campaigns, nonsensical legal processes and apparent animal shelters, which are more like killing stations, and above all into their own bank account? All donors are advised to check carefully who they provide their money to and whether this really makes sense. He who screams loudest is not always right, but the one who does the most, is.

“Ineffective” Pseudoscience about Orcas teeth

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Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.de/philipp-j-kroia/zahnlose-pseudo-wissenschaft-zu-orca-zaehnen_b_18492062.html

By: Philipp J. Kroiß

It is a well-known topic of the animal rights industry: the teeth of orcas. Again and again, this is brought up and it exploits the ignorance of many trusting animal lovers to repeat already refuted accusations.

Orca teeth in the wildness

The teeth of killer whales are different from human teeth – not only in size and shape. The teeth of orcas are quite easy to  wear down due to their consistency. Orcas, which feed on many sharks in nature, even erode the teeth to the edge of the gums and then often die miserably. But orcas, which are eating other type of fish, show in their natural habitat significant wear down the teeth as you can see in captivity.

Why are the teeth wear out? Orcas have no hands. They also do not touch with their flippers, because they have other tasks than human hands, although they are anatomically in a similar position. Orcas feel their environment with the mouth. Tongue and teeth are necessary for exploring the environment. These were comparatively the soft teeth out. If you go to museums where orca skeletons are shown and the teeth are in their original state, you will find scuffed, missing and / or worn-out teeth. Anyone visiting the “reading room” of the Museum Naturalis in Leiden will see such an orca skeleton. The North Sea Museum Bremerhaven has given to the Sugar Museum in Berlin a carcass-eaten orca tooth. Quite famous is the skeleton of Old Tom, where you even see this very clearly.

Anyone who has the opportunity to look at their teeth during the necropsy of stranded animals will be able to see that it is difficult to find a perfect row of teeth. Particularly impressive are the photos from A. Kitchener. The photos in the National Museum Scotland show jaws from stranded animals. Under the registration number NMS.Z.2015.142.78 you can find a sub-adult male, which has a lack of seven teeth in the left lower jaw and three teeth in the right lower jaw and with very good visible black holes. In the upper jaw missing a total of 9 teeth and some are heavily abraded. A female (NMS.Z.2016.118) had no teeth in the upper jaw at all – quite as if there had never been any, and the rest was clearly rubbed off. These are just two examples of many.

Incidentally, such rows of teeth are not only a problem of orcas in the natural habitat – they are also found in other types of dolphins. As early as 1977 it was scientifically described that tooth diseases can be described as quite normal – for wild bottlenose dolphins and even for those in the Dolphinarium.

 

Orca’s teeth in captivity

The main difference between the ones living in the wild and the others in captivity is, that to the last ones you can treat the teeth well.

Unlike in nature, infections or other diseases rarely develop in the first place, and if they have then it will be quickly resolved after a relatively short treatment. For the animals this is less stressful than for most people the treatment at the dentist, because for them, the dental care is integrated into a training in which they participate voluntarily.

In the Loro Parque the animals are regularly cleaned – not with a brush, but with a stream of water. The animals seem to like this because they voluntarily come out of the water only to get their teeth cleaned by the trainers. So the rows of teeth of the animals could be in some kind worn out like in the wild orcas, but just healthy. Currently, no animal in the Loro Parque has any diseases in this direction – many wild of the same species would be glad if that would be their own case with. It would be almost surprising to see a flawless row of teeth in all animals.

At this point, I cannot speak about SeaWorld, because there I have neither seen the rows of teeth properly, nor am I aware exactly what measures are taken such as for dental care or how healthy the animals are currently. In Loro Parque, I was able to observe the animals in compliance with all safety standards, as an independent journalist. This snapshot of the matriarch Kohana was taken during a feeding session.Feeding  Orca matriarch Kohana | (c)opyright: Philipp J. Kroiß

Kohana is currently 15 years old and compared to other Orca matriarch, in the wild and in captivity, she has an impeccable set of teeth for her age. Both the veterinarianson site and an independent veterinarian, could confirm me in personal talks that no animal had any problems.

Pseudoscience of animal rights activists

Ingrid Visser, who occasionally visits Loro Parque and is one of the authors of a very dubious study of orca teeth, rightfully has no way to examine the orcas or take other photos than any other visitor. It would be negligent, for example, to let a person close to the animals that says, for example, that the adorable orca matriarch Morgan should rather be dead than live in Loro Parque.

Independent experts and scientists, however, who are not in contact with her; see that could have had a promising scientific career and throw it to the hut just to spread populism via orcas in captivity, or are involved with other activists of this grouping, may and should of course be able to assess the orcas. No credible scientist has yet complained about the dental situation. Thus, the Loro Parque achieved the best rating in the prestigious and independent audit for the Humane certificate.

Naturally, those who use disinformation to entice bona fide donors to their donation pot claim the opposite. Four of the five authors of the paper “Tooth damage in captive orcas (Orcinus orca)” are animal rights activists and none of them are veterinarians or experts in the field of Orca care. The animal rights industry is represented in this study of two dishonourably dismissed former SeaWorld Trainer, one animal rights author and of only a person with an academic qualification in this field, called Carolina Loch (Santos DASilva) – although she is not a veterinarian, and she has been involved with this study completely exposed to the mockery of serious scientists. Why?

Unlike reputable dental studies, these animals were never examined by veterinarians. The animal rights activists just went to the parks and took pictures – as every viewer can do (several meters away). Based on these photos, an evaluation took place. You have to imagine that: you go to the dentist, who takes pictures and then makes a diagnosis. This is not a serious doctor.

So anyone can understand that this pseudo-science is pretty “ineffective” because it cannot make representative statements.  It is because of their actions, the paper on which it was printed, not worth. The activists are currently trying to cover up their advertising for the study neatly to persuade donors to donate their well earned money to very intransparent and frivolous organizations, because in the animal rights industry you earn well – for the top players are three-digit annual salaries in the management floor not uncommon.  Such flamboyant scandals undoubtedly fill the coffers and are ultimately lucrative for populists by ultimately no spending.

What is left over?

Except for a bit of “publicity feed”, this study has no importance. Anyone who cites them as evidence in the professional world will be punished badly. It is not used except in the circles of animal rights, because it is not serious enough then just for than populism. Whether Loch will ever be able to work respectably again, after she gets her name for this ridiculousness, one has to wait. It is extremely embarrassing without a veterinarian, the neatly examined the animals to give from the audience perspective assessments on the health of animals and then want to sell the sale as a science. People who have been minimally concerned with the matter know that too.

 

The zoo world will keep this study active for a while, because it will certainly be dug up again and again by the fanatical zoo opponents. The Loro Parque has already informed about it. Since the activists keep affixing this theme, it has long been disproved on the zoos.media, YouTube channel, which cited a video by dolphinaria.truth:

We will see how long the animal rights activists will still ride on this already refuted “Möchtgern” argument and also how many articles, videos and blog posts there are.

What is certain, is that the laws of the animal rights industry also do not become truer although it is constantly repeated or tried to prove by ineffective pseudo-science.

Loro Parque – 45 years of progress

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Author: Rosemary Low

When Wolfgang Kiessling bought a small hotel on the island of Tenerife no one could have foreseen that this action would put the then small village of Punta Brava on the map worldwide. The fledgling parrot park the he opened there in 1972 was the forerunner of what today has been voted the world’s number one zoo by Trip Advisor. It has received countless other accolades.

When I was there in October I met an English couple who told me: “We don’t like zoos. But the Loro Parque is amazing. We loved it!”

The success of the park is due not only to its immaculate condition and exceptionally beautiful botanical garden setting, but to its constant upgrading of exhibits and the inauguration of new ones. However, it is what happens behind the scenes that makes Loro Parque a world leader. Its 4,000 parrots make it the most important reserve of parrot species anywhere on the planet, with 319 species and sub-species. But, in my view, even more important is Loro Parque Fundación.

Founded in 1994 to support conservation, it has done so in a manner unrivalled by any other organization. Up to 2016 it had committed more than US$17 million to conservation, mainly to parrot projects but also to cetaceans (dolphin and whales). At the 2017 board meeting held in October, it again allocated just over one million dollars to conservation for the coming year, under the able chairmanship of LPF’s Director Christoph Kiessling.

Loro Parque is famous for hosting an international parrot conference every four years, since the first in 1986. The conferences are a Mecca for everyone with a serious interest in parrots and always a meeting ground of countless friends.

Mr Kiessling once jokingly suggested to me of the event, “This is all your fault!”, since it was I who mooted the idea of a convention on our first meeting in 1984.

I have many memories of these important meetings but there is one that stands out about all others. In 1994 I was moved almost to tears by the presentation of Dr Niels Krabbe. He spoke about the yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis) – then called a conure. He showed a video of what was the last know population. Only 60 birds were know to survive. So at the beginning of 1996 Loro Parque Fundación (LPF) started to support the work of Dr Krabbe in Ecuador. He was trying to protect the land on which the last remnant population was known.

I feared that this would be the next parrot to become extinct. Sadly, the Ecuator population disappeared in 1998, possibly trapped, but the species had been rediscovered in Colombia in 1997. The areas it inhabited were so remote that the tiny population could have died out, with only the local people noticing their disappearance.

The story of the yellow-eared parrot is without doubt the most remarkable in the whole history of parrot conservation and ranks near the top for bird conservation worldwide.

Today its population numbers more than four thousand individuals and its range has increased enormously.

The reason I dwell on this species is because there is no doubt that without the funding from LPF, which has reached more than US$1.5 million, and the personnel of ProAves who work in the field, there is no doubt that by now the charismatic yellow-eared parrot would be extinct. It would be difficult to over-state the importance of the work of the foundation. No other organization worldwide supports parrot conservation with even a fraction of the funding provided by LPF. Its projects are implemented by the staff of well chosen NGOs, such ProAves in Colombia and Aquasis and other in Brazil.

In the Philippines, the Katala Foundation, directed by the dynamic duo of Indira and Peter Widman, is largely founded by LPF. It has almost certainly staved off extinction for the red-vented cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) with its multi-faceted programme of field work and education. Incidentally, the biggest genetic captive reserve of this cockatoo is held by the Loro Parque Fundación. Eight young have been reared so far this year.

Other examples of successful projects are too numerous to mention here. But the foundation’s work does not end in the field.

Scientific and veterinary research is also important. Veterinarian and vet students from the best universities in many countries have worked as interns in the clinic at Loro Parque, learning so much that assists the health and welfare of parrots and enabling them to share the knowledge gained.

Viral diseases are a major problem in parrot worldwide. Remarkable strides have been made by the veterinarians at Loro Parque in reducing or eradicating viral diseases in the collection. As an example, polyoma virus has been reduced from 7% in the collection in 2015, down to 0.1% today.

All birds bred in the park and in the Foundation’s breeding center are tested for viral diseases before they are sold. It should be noted that the income from such sales goes to the foundation.

At the board meeting the curator Marcia Weinzettl reported on the 2017 breeding season to date. Outstanding success included 23 blue-throated macaws (Ara glaucogularis), 27 Mount Apo lorikeets (Trichoglossus johnstoniae) and eight rarely bred Pesquet’s parrots (Psittrichas fulgidus).

Marcia’s aim, since she assumed the position of curator last year, is to annually increase the percentage of parent-reared young. In 2015 46% were parent-reared; this year (up to October) the total was 57% of the 779 chicks ringed. Other interesting statistics are that 190 pairs were made up last year and 59.7% of the parrots in the collection are adults.

Loro Parque is strongly represented in the media. In 2017, up to October, 186 articles were published about its work; personnel gave 33 radio interviews and twelve on television and spoke at 32 conferences. The Foundation has 35,800 followers on Facebook.

Thirty-six thousand copies of its newspaper Cyanopsitta were published, many of which were distributed in local newspapers, including colouring pages to attract the attention of children.

Loro Parque Statatement

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With regard to SeaWorld’s press release on November 7th, 2017 Loro Parque states the following:

As consequence of different criteria regarding the handling of the orcas at Loro Parque, both companies have agreed that these animals will remain in their present installations. All activities related to their wellbeing will be compliant to the European regulations, as has been done since their arrival at Loro Parque in 2006.

Loro Parque, with its team of professionals, will maintain its firm commitment in its work to ensure the maximum wellbeing of the animals, always fulfilling the applicable standards of the European Union.

SENTENCE RULED BY THE COURT OF PUERTO DE LA CRUZ IN THE LAWSUIT LORO PARQUE VS. PETA (People for the Ethic Treatment of Animals)

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In 2016 Loro Parque sued PETA for its accusations made to SEPRONA (Spanish Environmental Police) for mistreatment of its orcas. PETA not only accused Loro Parque to SEPRONA but also started an international press campaign against the park, although the previous investigations of the Spanish Environmental Police confirmed that there were absolutely no indications of mistreatment and that the orcas were in optimal conditions.

The sentence published yesterday admits and accredits that “the installations of the orcas at Loro Parque fulfill the regulations in force and the general condition of the orcas is the correct one”.  It also states that “is unquestionable that the activity developed at Loro Parque complies strictly to the applicable legal requirements and counts with the obligatory authorizations and licenses” and accepts that it has been verified that “the zoological park has qualified personnel to take care of and medically treat the orcas that live in its installations”.

At no moment, the judicial resolution questions the wellbeing of the orcas in Loro Parque, on the contrary, it makes clear that the orcas are in good conditions, attended by qualified professionals and experts. This implies clearly that the accusations of mistreatment or even torture were not true.

However, the sentence weights between the right of honor and the freedom of speech. The court understands that these affirmations, although demonstrated as false, are protected by the freedom of speech. There is no doubt that in a democratic society this right has to be protected but it is also necessary to protect the legal and legitimate economic activities which are the motor of our society.

Therefore, Loro Parque will appeal this sentence to the High Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in order to address that the legitimate use of freedom of speech cannot be the excuse for organizing campaigns of defamation to commit an outrage against organizations like Loro Parque, who has been fighting for conservation of Nature and the wellbeing of animals for 45 years.

Loro Parque awards ‘Premio Gorila 2016’ to Versele-Laga

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Last Friday, October 20th, the presidential office of the Canarian Government hosted Loro Parque´s award ceremony ‘Premio Gorila 2016’, during which the company Versele-Laga was awarded with this prestigious recognition. This Belgian corporation is an internationally known manufacturer of high-quality food and care brands for animals and pets. This annual award ceremony took place in its 14th edition and aims at recognizing exceptional performance, environmental responsibility and active implementation of the strategies towards the sustainable use of resources.

This event was hosted in the main Auditorium of the Presidential Office and it was attended by almost three hundred guests. Among those who attended the ceremony were regional, insular and local authorities, as well as civilian, military, consular officials as well as business representatives.

The President of Loro Parque, Wolfgang Kiessling, stressed the importance of the Versele-Laga’s labour, as the company sponsors Loro Parque Fundación in their efforts dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity. Versele-Laga’s principles match exactly with the philosophy of Loro Parque and that is something that is highly important in a world where human population is increasing disproportionately to the amount of the natural resources. As a consequence, the natural habitats of the many wild animals are quickly deteriorating leading to the disappearance of many of these species.

There is more than one reason why Versele-Laga has been awarded with ‘Premio Gorila 2016’, whose representative, Mr. Lode Versele assessed to be ‘really proud to be one of the main sponsors of Loro Parque Fundación’ and told the attendees how ‘Loro Parque’s vision about the conservation of nature was aligned to that of their company. Versele-Laga, which has been collaborating with Loro Parque Fundación for 15 years, considers the labour of scientists and of those who love and dedicate their efforts to nature as key for its preservation. Among many other initiatives, the company has also been supporting foundation financially as a way of contributing to their cause.

 

About Versele-Laga:

The company started with Prudent Versele, a visionary entrepreneur, who started to produce and sell cattle nutrition products on a small scale in 1932. In 1937, less than five years later, in order to meet the demand, he had to build his first cattle feed-producing plant in Deinze, Belgium.

The following years were successful; the factory expanded further and even became one of the most modern and best performing ones of its time. The passionate employees who worked for Versele-Laga soon managed to convince the Versele family to develop mixes for racing pigeons.

They were soon followed by products for other sporting animals and pets such as birds, farm animals, horses and dogs. Since the 70s animals increasingly became part of the family and more and more birds, rodents, dogs and cats were taken into people’s homes.

Versele-Laga follows all the market developments very closely and accompany them with new investments. Thus, they can provide increasingly better answers to the needs of the pets and performance animals.

Response to the publication in The Journal of Oral Biology “Tooth damage in captive orcas”

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These past couple of days much has been said about the paper published in The Journal of Oral Biology “Tooth damage in captive orcas”, written, among others, by John Jett (a former SeaWorld trainer and now a biologist), Ingrid Visser (an activist for the liberation of orcas and a researcher) and Jeffrey Ventre (a former SeaWorld trainer dismissed for misconduct and now a physiotherapist). At first glance, it could appear as a scientific work developed with the intention of getting to know better the different problems affecting orcas. However, once you take a deeper read, it turns out to be a simple statistic analysis of the pictures that Ingrid Visser and other activists have obtained of the orcas at both SeaWorld and Loro Parque. The most important conclusion of that study is that orcas in human care present dental damage, which needless to say is too obvious to write a whole scientific article about it.

We could wonder ‘How is this article going to improve the knowledge on the species and its conservation?’ The answer is quite simple: in no way. The dental deterioration of 50 orcas kept under human care is absolutely irrelevant for the conservation of the species. It would have been a lot more interesting to research, for instance, how chemical contamination affects wild orcas (like the investigation supported by Loro Parque in collaboration with Aarhus University to evaluate how toxic elements affect orcas immune system), specially since there is increasingly more evidence material that a contamination is a problem for the reproduction of wild orcas. Any other research on the consequences of noise in the sea, the availability of food or the interference of fisheries would have been extremely helpful for the species. But that does not seem to be important enough for Free Morgan Foundation, an organization with different goals: getting rid of zoos that keep orcas in their care, using any excuse they can find to archieve these goals.

If one reads closely the article “Tooth damage in captive orcas”, one will see that it does not demonstrate that orcas suffer any well-being issues because of their dental damage, it just speculates about such a possibility. It speculates about pain and discomfort, but it does not provide evidence, simply because it is not possible to verify any of these presumptions just by taking pictures 40 meters away from the orcas. What is this article useful for, then? Well, it is simply an excuse so that some of their authors can then make speculative statements that are not based on research. Thus, John Jett declares in Voice of the Orcas (specialized webpage against SeaWorld created after Blackfish by some former trainers): “We have found that more than 65% show moderate to severe dental damage on their lower jaws, mostly because they bite the concrete and steel surfaces of the tanks”. This is a huge speculation. If that behaviour was as frequent as he confirms, why have they not documented it photographically? How can they determine just by looking at a simple picture what the real cause of this dental damage is? On his part, Jeffrey Ventre assesses: “Dental damage does not only causes mortality and morbidity in captive orcas, but frequently leads to chronicle therapies with antibiotics which endanger orcas’ immune system”. This conclusion cannot be found in a scientific paper either, mainly because it is just a speculation with no veterinarian base at all.

It is not true that dental damage causes mortality or morbidity, and authors do not provide any scientific evidence of it. How many orcas have died because of dental damage at zoos? With an adequate dental hygiene there are no dental infections, so it is false that there are animals with chronic treatments (Dr. Ventre should know that treatments are never chronic and that this adjective is only used in a reference to diseases, so maybe he should revise his professional knowledge). Furthermore, the affirmation of those treatments affecting negatively their immune system is false. It is worrying that someone like him does not know the therapeutic and side effects of a medicine as ordinary as antibiotics. These kind of assessments, made without evaluating clinically any of the animals, and without revising their clinical history, are simply self-interested speculations. And what about Dr. Ingrid Visser? Just as the previous ones, those cannot be found in the scientific article nor in any of its conclusions. For Dr. Visser: “Those wounds must be extremely painful”

How can she assess something like that without having examined an animal, contradicting the opinion of marine mammals’ expert veterinarians with more than 40 years of experience? Well, simply because her only goal is demonstrating that zoos that maintain orcas in their care mistreat animals and cause them pain, no matter what science says or what the real truth is. All animals go through daily inspections and any inflammation, pain or (rarely) infection is treated by expert veterinarians. That is why, in zoos, these processes do not cause them pain, nor are of any importance for the animals. However, if those animals were to be freed or confined to sea pens where their control and treatment would be more difficult, and would consequently cause pain, uneasiness and infections.

One more time Free Morgan Foundation has used their confusion and misinformation strategy to attack zoos who keep orcas in their care. Unfortunately for them, we will not keep quiet and we will keep exposing their lies and their manipulation attempts.