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Arturo: The White Bear Who is The Black Eye of Argentina

March 5, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

Temperatures reach a scorching 104 degrees in Western Argentina, but that doesn’t stop the city of Mendoza from holding an arctic animal captive in its zoo. And that is only one of the reasons why Arturo the polar bear is going insane.

Polar bear Arturo is depressed and shows signs of insanity

Polar bear Arturo is depressed and shows signs of insanity

The Mendoza Zoo in Western Argentina

The Mendoza Zoo in Western Argentina

For over 20 years, Arturo, who is the only polar bear in Argentina, has been confined to a small concrete pit that deprives him of the ability to do anything that comes naturally to him, including swimming in the open water, traversing the sea ice and hunting for seals. Since Pelusa, his polar bear companion, died in 2012, he has had no contact with members of his own species. His only stimulation is a shallow pool that, according to visitors, is often empty.

Arturo sits in 20" deep pool

Arturo sits in 20″ deep pool

Arturo has been robbed of everything that makes life worth living, and he lets the zoo patrons who peer into his prison cell know it by displaying signs of depression, such as swaying, rocking and pacing.

For many years, activists have advocated to transfer Arturo to a Canadian zoo where the climate is more suitable to polar bears; where the enclosure if far superior and where he’d live with members of his own species. While captivity at Canada’s Assiniboine Park Zoo would be no substitute for freedom, it would be a major improvement for “the world’s saddest animal,” as he is often described.

Assiniboine Park Zoo's  polar bear exhibit - where Arturo should be

Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new polar bear exhibit opened in 2014 (photo: Mike Deal, Winnipeg Free Press)

In response to a 2014 petition with 400,000 signatures demanding the the Mendoza Zoo relocate him to Canada, the Zoo’s director stated that Arturo must stay on the grounds that the journey could kill him. But captivity is killing him right now, which is why activists believe the transfer to this facility in Canada is well worth the risk:

Like Nosey the elephant and Lolita the orca, Arturo has captured the attention of activists worldwide and has become a global symbol of the barbarity of animal captivity. But, with the Mendoza Zoo refusing to transfer him, Arturo’s advocates are working to determine the best approach to helping him.

For the moment, #FreeArturo  and #Storm4Arturo “tweet storms” are keeping his plight in the public consciousness. In 2014, both Cher and Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted on his behalf.

Cher Tweets for Arturo the Polar Bear

Cher tweets in support of relocating Arturo to Canada

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, tweets for Arturo

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, tweets for Arturo

Your Turn

To keep apprised and participate in the effort to relocate Arturo, please “like” Free ArturoSave Polar Bear Arturo and Proyecto Ecoparque Mendoza (local group in Mendoza) on Facebook.

If you have a Twitter account, please use the #Tweet4Arturo Facebook page as a resource to tweet on his behalf.

Sign the Change.org petition.

Share this article with others to raise awareness of the plight of Arturo and all animals held captive for entertainment and profit.


Filed under: Entertainment
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Turning the Tables, Filmmakers to Lock Up Humans in Crates

December 8, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Activists will go to extreme lengths to help animals — from protesting naked to liberating minks from fur farms. But how many are willing to live in their own excrement for 10 days?  “We have a waiting list,” according to the makers of Farming Humans, a one-hour documentary film in the early stages of development.

In Farming Humans, 12 people will be locked up in small cages for 10 days to emulate the intensive confinement of pigs, calves and chickens on factory farms. Unlike other animals, the captive humans will be able to describe their physical discomfort, the smell of their waste and the stress of being unable to move. They will also be able to beg for mercy and leave if they start to go insane, which is what happens to pigs in gestation crates.

gestation crates

Pigs who go insane from confinement chew the metal bars that imprison them

The filmmakers will make life difficult for the human animals, but they will stop short of carrying out the worst abuses, such as castration, dehorning, tail cutting, branding, debeaking, gratuitous physical attacks and, of course, slaughter.

TV host Jane Velez-Mitchell talks to the filmmakers about their provocative concept in an interview.

This isn’t the first time that human animals have stepped into a farm animal cage. In the months leading up to a vote on a gestation crate ban in New Jersey, HSUS challenged people in the state to step inside of one. That challenge, however, lasted only 4 minutes.

Gestation crate challenge in NJ (Photo: HSUS)

Gestation crate challenge in NJ (Photo: HSUS)

As expected, NJ governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill in an effort to curry favor with  hog farmers in Iowa, who have an outsized influence in the race for U.S. President. In reaction to his veto, actress and musician Cher called him a “despicable bully,” and comedian John Stewart criticized him on his show:

cher gestation crate

Your Turn

To learn more about the project and/or support the filmmakers in this endeavor, please visit Farming Humans.


Filed under: Food
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