Dear ANIMALS 24-7 readers:
Beth and I, through the generosity of a donor who funded us specifically to attend, are just back from the 2018 Africa Animal Welfare Conference, held at the United Nations complex in Nairobi, Kenya. Though our daily online readership has never been greater, we have worked for half pay or less for more than a year now, and without that donor’s help, would have had to think twice about the cost of even parking at the airport.
Yard sale proceeds
Yard sale proceeds then helped us, after the conference, to endure eight grueling days of microbus travel, shared with many other passengers, to investigate both wildlife and domestic animal issues in Kenya.
Having banned sport hunting since 1977, Kenya has long encouraged wildlife conservation without consumptive use, a positive example to the world.
But much more is going on in Kenya than wildlife tourism. Kenya has also become the main portal for Chinese influence and investment in Africa, with visible consequences––both good and bad––for animals of every sort, from elephants and donkeys to cats, dogs, and marabou storks.
Bring your own TP
To stretch our limited budget to the utmost while investigating all of this first hand, we stayed––with no complaints––mostly at bring-your-own-toilet-paper-class accommodations, where western tourists were few, and the vegan menu was cabbage, rice, and lentils every night.
We felt fortunate to have been enabled to be there, to collect a wealth of new insights, plus more than 400 photos that Beth snapped of every animal in sight whenever our vehicles stopped bouncing over ruts and potholes.
We have already shared some of this material through the ANIMALS 24-7 web site, and will be sharing much more for months to come, between keeping up with other matters of urgency on the U.S. and global animal news beat.
Toward the end of our expedition we visited the offices of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare in a not-so-affluent Nairobi business district. The half dozen-or-so cramped cubicles are downright spacious compared to the closet-sized office where 20 years ago founder Josphat Ngonyo began building the first major indigenous African animal advocacy organization, and we began telling the world about his work.
Beth mentioned to one of the ANAW staff that I have now been reporting about animals and habitat for 50 years. Politely asked the ANAW staff member, “What would you say your legacy has been?”
“Legacy?” I asked.
Never about building legacies
Beth and I investigate and report breaking news about animal issues, bringing you updates almost daily.
Our work has never been about building legacies. Likewise, our struggle to survive as independent eyes, ears, and a voice for people who care about animals is day-to-day, amid the fog of subsidized media that promote interest groups.
“Merritt and Beth are the watchdogs of the international animal movement,” said Josphat gently, breaking the awkward silence. Jos explained how ANIMALS 24-7 helps small charities like ANAW to be seen and heard, while monster international organizations misleadingly claim credit in a blizzard of appeals for everything the small and local charities achieve. Jos emphasized how much more waste and corruption there might be if we were not on the job.
Typical of almost any week
In the past few days we have reported about how an exotic cat breeder is facing charges for allegedly soliciting the murder of a sanctuarian who exposed him, a former Humane Society of the U.S. executive is soon to be tried for allegedly sexually trafficking a child, and an ecologically risky scheme having nothing directly to do with orca whales is being pushed as a project to save them.
We also received a thank-you note for helping a major foundation––which has never helped us––to direct $30,000 to the animal shelter leading the Hurricane Florence disaster relief effort.
This is typical of our work in almost any week, even when posting from remote places with limited online access. Now we have come home to a stack of bills, an almost empty bank account, and much else urgently awaiting investigation and exposure.
Please help us to keep watchdogging!
Please help us to keep on watchdogging for animals––and for people who care enough to help them!
P.S.––We aspire always to do first class work. But, unlike the overpaid executives we expose, we will never use your donated $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, or whatever else you send to help us, to travel first class!