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2011 Achievements

Stray Animal Care: Success in various countries and opposition to Romanian killing law

The care and neutering of stray animals, one of the key projects of FOUR PAWS, has continued to be a success in 2011. Numerous municipalities in Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and Slovakia opted for the Stray Animal Care project and abandoned killings. In addition, teams were working in Jordan, in cooperation with the Princess Alia Foundation, and India, where FOUR PAWS serves as a partner to the renowned Blue Cross of India. Also on an EU level there was plenty of new backing for a responsible stray animal policy. In Romania, however, a highly controversial law was passed, which has been received as a massive fallback into the bleak past and has triggered protests in front of the Romanian embassies in several European capitals. Also in the Ukraine, co-host of the Euro 2012, thousands of animals were systematically killed. FOUR PAWS is planning to start the first SAC project in Lviv before the end of the year.

LIONSROCK: New lions and extension works

At the South African FOUR PAWS big cat sanctuary LIONSROCK, more lions have arrived from bad keeping conditions in Romania and Bulgaria. The highly trained team on site made sure that the animals would settle in well into their new surroundings. The expansion works for 15 new enclosures are progressing well, even though they were also the cause of a fire, which thanks to the quick reaction of staff and neighbours did not cause substantial damage. Tiger Martin, who grew up in a concrete cage in Bulgaria, has adapted well to his new life and loves to swim in the pond.

Disaster Relief: Libya and Pakistan

For the second year in a row, a team of FOUR PAWS Disaster Relief delivered essential help for animals during a major flood in Pakistan, this time in the region of Jhando Mari. The hard-hit farmers were provided with much needed fodder. In the Libyan capital Tripoli, 700 wild animals were severely threatened by starvation. The zoo staff had left the animals to their fate after the fighting had reached the city. A Disaster Relief team provided vital aid work, provided fodder supplies and brought in medicine and equipment from South Africa. Current plans are aiming at the zoo to be reformed to modern standards in order to improve the living conditions of the many traumatised animals. Earlier in the year, the political unrest triggered another relief effort in Egypt, where 3000 horses and camels were fed and treated.

FOUR PAWS Bear Sanctuaries

Excellent work has also been done in the three FOUR PAWS bear sanctuaries. At DANCING BEARS PARK Belitsa, home to 25 former dancing bears and several animals rescued from bad keeping in zoos, another annual vet check was performed, with a respected veterinary team coming in and treating particularly serious cases and chronic ailments. At BEAR PARK Arbesbach six bears that used to live in private captivity are being cared for, whereas BEAR PARK Müritz was reopened after extensive expansion work. This created space for other animals that lack an appropriate habitat: in 2011 several bears have been transferred from Eastern European zoos. Also the BEAR ORPHANAGE Harghita, a cooperating facility in Romania, where foundlings are prepared for a life in freedom, took in new cubs.

Mobile Vet Clinic in Kenya

A drought lasting throughout the winter months in Kenya was the decisive factor in a difficult year for the FOUR PAWS funded mobile vet unit. The team, however, managed to do outstanding work on a daily basis. Numerous animals had to be freed from snare traps and treated due to arrow wounds. Poaching is on the rise and also the intensive farming along the river banks aggravates drought in the national parks of Tsavo and Amboseli. Only the rain falls of November eased the situation temporarily.

Horse projects

FOUR PAWS supports farmyards in several countries, providing care for horses rescued from bad keeping conditions. It emerged that in Romania about 70 wild horses had been illegally captured and sold to a slaughterhouse. Most of them were saved in a long, dramatic relief effort. Depending on the state of their health they are now gradually released again - FOUR PAWS delivers over 100 tons of winter fodder to the region.

Care Centre for Wild Birds

Since 2009 FOUR PAWS is partner of the EGS, a care and rehabilitation centre for owls and birds of prey in Austrian Haringsee. About 400 wild birds, mostly foundlings and orphans, live here and are, if possible, prepared for a life in freedom. During the program the birds live in social groups, which allows them to be kept in large aviaries. For many endangered bird species in Central Europe, this unique program is of great importance.

Wild Animals in the Circus

FOUR PAWS takes a stand for a general ban on wild animals in circuses. We worked tirelessly on the campaign in the UK, where a ban was imminent. Instead, due to an Austrian court case, the ban was not approved. However, great news from Austria: the constitutional court held up the ruling on the ban of wild animals in circuses which already had been established in 2004. This is very significant in the campaign to ban wild animals in the circus in the UK.

Fur Animals

Millions of wild animals suffer and die under gruesome conditions on fur farms. FOUR PAWS is advocating a ban on fur farming throughout the E.U. Fur does not only mean animal cruelty but can also pose a threat to human health, as attested in our study “Toxins in Fur 2011” which constitutes the largest analysis of toxins in fur products of the fashion industry ever published in Europe.

Lab Animals

In 2011 our commitment for the termination of animal testing focused primarily on the cosmetics sector. Our Campaign “The ugly face of animal testing for cosmetics” supported a sales and import ban for cosmetics utilizing animal testing within the E.U. from 2013 on. Tens of thousands of people already signed our petition.

Farm Animals

Our campaigns to stop the force feeding of geese and the live feather plucking were successful; in 2011 in Austria all retailers phased out products from farms still using this practice following our campaigning and research. FOUR PAWS could even save a flock of geese from force feeding and rehomed them in a sanctuary.

We also advocated for better keeping conditions for rabbits and against battery cages for farmed rabbits. In 2011 FOUR PAWS revealed the truth of rabbit farms in the UK - a very secretive industry that the public are on the whole, not aware of.


Puppy Trade


We continued campaigning against the illegal puppy trade. FOUR PAWS launched a UK petition and has attended events to specifically highlight the puppy trade, with puppies being sourced from Ireland and Wales.