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Royal Canin apologises after bear-baiting exposé

05/08/2013

Royal Canin apologises after bear-baiting exposé

Royal Canin apologises after bear-baiting exposé


                

Pet food supplier Royal Canin has pledged to rescue bears in the Ukraine after it emerged the company had inadvertently sponsored a number of bear-baiting events in the country.

Royal Canin sponsored bear baiting in Ukraine.In July 2013, animal aid group Four Paws International released video footage of a Ukrainian bear-baiting event that took place in April 2013.

The footage shows a chained brown bear being attacked by multiple dogs over a number of hours. The bear was ringed off in an area marked out by Royal Canin show ring tape, and the highest "scoring" dogs were awarded Royal Canin branded trophies.

According to Four Paws, it has evidence the company sponsored a number of other illegal bear-baiting events.

Speaking to Vetsonline on July 29, three days after the footage was released, Royal Canin's UK director of scientific communications Pauline Devlin said: "We’re not denying it, it's happened and we're mortified – personally I'm devastated by this."

She added: "We can only apologise unreservedly, it's been horrendous. Certainly the people who work behind and beside me everyday at Royal Canin have a passion for animals, so this revelation has meant a case of consoling staff as well as the public – this whole issue is not RC and is not what we stand for."

Dr Devlin said Four Paws originally approached Royal Canin in May 2013. The charity told the manufacturer about the events in the Ukraine, but saved the footage for a public expose.    

"Our assumption was someone must have got hold of our ring tape and implicated us," she said.

However, an ongoing company investigation has revealed the event did receive backing from territory staff working independently.

She said a staff investigation was still underway, but promised the culprits would be subject to disciplinary procedures as soon as possible.

Yesterday (July 31, 2013) the company announced it had held a meeting with Four Paws. With backing from the Ukrainian government, the two organisations have teamed up and plan to build a rescue facility for the 15 known fighting bears in the region.

A spokesman for the manufacturer said: "Royal Canin intends to provide funding for this project, and will take the lead in building an alliance to include additional volunteering parties – business partners, associations, non-governmental organisations – to ensure the project is secured for the long term.

"Royal Canin looks forward to opening this new chapter by helping to promote animal welfare in Ukraine."