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Is French Reunion Island Still Using Dogs and Cats as Shark Bait?
You may have seen the photos on the web, may have seen the very disturbing videos of dogs and kittens being hooked alive and thrown into the water to catch sharks or large fish. The cries of the kittens is enough to make anyone's eyes tear but the laughter of the fishermen is sickening and can only make one angry at the unnecessary cruelty to these helpless creatures.
This was more than a curiosity to me but a mission to find out the truth behind these stories and pictures. Unfortunately what I found was disturbing and confusing.
In late 2005 when National Geographic ran a story about this horrific cruelty to animals, the island received backlash from animal lovers everywhere. The French embassy stated that these cases were isolated and assured people that the people responsible were arrested and charged. But is a 2 year sentence and a 5000 Euro fine enough for this act?
In September 2005, the government of Reunion responded to the outcries by passing into law a bill that makes it illegal for fishing boats to carry any dogs or cats, alive or dead. My question would be, how are these boats monitored? Are they searched? In an island as big as Reunion, I would probably have to guess that's a no.
With a population of over 800,000 people, the 969.9 square mile French island, which is located in the Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar, is administratively run by France. In fact, as of January 3, 2005, just 9 months before the National Geographic story, a decree was signed, transferring the administration of the outlying islands to the Prefet, a higher administrator of the Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises (TAAF).
Reunion Island is made up of people originally from France, Mozambique, India, China, Madagascar and the Comores but they are all administratively French citizens. Although French is the official language, Creol is the language spoken. Their major exports are sugar, rum, vanilla, and perfume essences. Imported commodities include manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco, raw materials, machinery and transportation equipment, and petroleum products.
According to E Turbo News, in 2011, 471,268 tourists landed in La Reunion, an increase of 12.1 percent when compared to 2010. What that means, is that in 2012, Reunion Island or La Reunion as the natives call it, made 388.7 million Euros in tourism revenue, a rise over 2010 by 18.3 percent. In American dollars, that works out to $505,465,480.00, enough I think to control criminal activity such as fishermen who use dogs and cats as bait and more than enough to be a bit worried about their tourism ratings if they anger enough people about this activity.
In 2010, Stephanie Roche of the Brigette Bardot Foundation, an animal welfare organization in France that has been fighting Reunion Island to stop its cruelty to its animals for shark baits for over 10 years, stated that this practice is not widespread.
A few months ago, I myself spoke to one representative of La Reunion Island Tourism Board, who stated to me that this practice stopped in 2005, which I know is untrue, since even the Bardot Foundation in 2010 said otherwise. When I asked more questions, I received less answers until I was eventually ignored. All I wanted was some kind of documentation to prove their defense so I could write this article and put peoples minds at ease. To this date, I have yet to receive a reply. Sometimes the silence is the answer.
There is no real way to know unless you go on your own to investigate but from my perspective, the truth remains intact; La Reunion Island did in fact use barbaric methods to kill, maim and dismember animals to use as shark bait. Their laws are obviously not stiff enough to prevent illegal activities on the island and the French, who no doubt know what is going on are doing absolutely nothing to prevent future incidents or prefer not to get involved.
The reason is not important because a fact never changes. The only thing we can do if we want to get involved is share, network, communicate and remember that every time we spend our hard earned money, we choose what happens in our world. We control our planet and we can change it by one simple act; not feeding the machine that kills.
- Dogs Used as Shark Bait on French Island
The story by National Geographic from 2005
WARNING: Do not watch if you have a sensitive stomach
Please Sign the Petition
- We want the French and United States Governments to stop anyone using puppies and kittens as shark a
This is a new petition per comment of the other not working. Just put it in 12/12/12