WWF and Industry- the Pact with the Panda
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Watch documentary: WWF and industry - The Pact with the Panda
In June 2011, the German TV station ARD broadcast a documentary titled “The Silence of the Pandas: What the WWF isn’t saying”. The film-maker, Wilfried Huisman has also published a book about WWF: “Black Book WWF: Shady deals under the sign of the panda”.
WWF’s reaction to the criticism has been interesting. WWF produced a Fact Check on its website. Huisman responded to WWF’s Fact Check on his website. WWF has also won three injunctions at the District Court in Cologne preventing the re-broadcasting of parts of the film. A (long) diary of WWF Germany’s communications about Huisman’s film and book is here. (This discussion is in German.)
“It is unlikely that any other charitable organisation that depends on public support operates with such little accountability and in such secrecy as WWF…. It is easier to penetrate the CIA. And when WWF has been caught in embarrassing conducts it has engaged in damage control and cover-ups of the kind that might be expected from a company whose products have caused injury to consumers and the environment.”
Raymond Bonner, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, wrote that in his 1994 book, “At the Hand of Man – Peril and Hope for Africa’s Wildlife”. He was writing about WWF when Charles de Haes was International Director General (from 1975 to 1993). Has WWF changed since then?
On 25 May 2012, the Süddeutsche Zeitung published a review of Huisman’s book. It is translated below in full. WWF has reacted to the article with a post on its website with the answers to the journalist, which were not published in the article. The questions were, according to the journalist, Lars Langenau, intended for a future article about WWF’s attempts to prevent the publication of Huisman’s book and film. WWF hired a “very expensive media lawyer” and is “using methods here that are so far unique in German media history”, Langenau wrote in a comment to his article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Environmental organisation WWF criticised: The Dark Side of the Panda
By Lars Langenau, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 28 May 2012
The World Wide Fund for Nature describes itself as the saviour of wild animals. “Black Book WWF” scratches the clean image of the environmental organisation. Five examples of questionable business practices – from big game hunting to round tables with genetic engineering giants like Monsanto.
If WWF had its way, this book would probably never appear. It has gone to court to demand that certain claims cannot be made. The environmental organisation with the panda logo is trying to stop the “Black Book WWF: Shady deals under the sign of the panda” (Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 19.99 Euro).
The case has not yet been legally decided, but WWF has already won a partial victory. Nearly all major online booksellers have banished the book from their range, after massive pressure from media lawyers on behalf of the powerful organisation. In fact it can only be ordered directly from www.randomhouse.de. Of 10,000 copies, only just over half have been sold.
WWF evidently fears hardship as a result of the publication. There seems to be a dark side to the panda, the trustworthy brand, that companies like to advertise: This gives a green coat of paint and gives customers the feeling of doing good in concrete terms. “Sustainability has become a billion-dollar magic word,” says Wilfried Huisman.
The journalist, filmmaker and author has researched for many years. First for his film “The Pact with the Panda.” Now for the “Black Book”. He traveled to Argentina, Chile, India, Nepal, Indonesia, USA, Switzerland – and his findings are disillusioning. In the “top brand of conservation organizations,” not everything is as it seems.
Unlike many environmental organisations such as Greenpeace, WWF is not confrontational, but wants to “hug” industry – and so change the behaviour of even the most controversial corporations. A tactic which is controversial even within the organisation. Unlike other environmental organisations, WWF takes donations from industry. Where is the independence? Reading this book brings at least doubts to WWF’s claims to the contrary.
The return of the big game hunters
WWF’s campaigns are primarily for large, charismatic animals – often tigers, whales, polar bears, elephants. Ironically, the King of Spain recently made headlines when he broke his hip during an elephant hunt in Botswana. Juan Carlos is the honorary President of WWF Spain and a big game hunter – with this hobby he is far from alone in the leadership of the WWF.
Prince Philip of Britain, former WWF President, has killed at least one tiger. In the the Kavango-Zambezi Park, designed and funded by WWF, hunting season is open. “Wild Africa”, Huisman writes, “belongs again to the white big game hunters and western hunting travel companies. It is almost as good as ever.”
The three times Grimme Prize winner describes the bloody intertwining of the first WWF President, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, with the apartheid regime. Huisman reveals personal entanglements between the powerful and WWF, whether in Juntas or in the oil business.
He shows how the WWF was supported by an “alliance of money and blood nobility” in the secret “Club 1001″ – an “Old Boys Network” with names like Henry Ford, Baron von Thyssen, Aga Khan, Juan Antonia Samaranch Alfred Heineken, Berthold Beitz, Friedrich Karl Flick, as well as war criminals and state terrorists like Mobutu Sese Seko.
In the Disneyland Jungle Book
There are 4,000 wild tigers still on the earth. WWF has designed an apocalyptic-themed campaign, using images of tigers and driven by donations to “Save the Tiger”. About 100 of the tigers live in the Kanha National Park in India. A safari there costs just under US$10,000. Premium partner of the travel agents: WWF. Now 155 Jeeps also other operators tour through the park every day. But what does this have to do with conservation?
To make way for the establishment of the National Park hundreds of thousands of indigenous people have lost their homes, even though they have lived there for centuries with the tigers. To urge on the authorities, WWF India forced them to accelerate the mass resettlement with the help of a court order. Now up to one million indigenous people are to be resettled, because the old reserves are being expanded and new ones created, the author writes.
A motto that also applies elsewhere. “In Africa alone 14 million people have been resettled against their will, to make room for wild animals,” Huisman writes. From the beginning, WWF has seen environmental protection as a kind of continuation of colonialism by other means.
“Eviction is a very dark chapter of conservation,” a spokesperson for WWF tells the Süddeutsche Zeitung. But he adds that, “WWF has learned and a long time ago rejected forced relocation.” However Huisman documented a different reality.
The Panda and the Salmon
WWF is also working with Marine Harvest from Norway. Principal owner: John Frederiksen, financial investor, owner of the largest tanker fleet in the world, market leader for oil platforms and the man who has in his hands one-third of global salmon production.
Frederiksen’s company breeds salmon in Norway and off Chile’s coast. In Chile, they are kept in huge cages and pumped so full of antibiotics that Huisman calls them “floating pharmacies”.
Sustainability is impossible for the salmon production. “To produce one kilo of salmon, four to six kilogrammes of wild fish are killed,” and turned into fish food, Huisman writes. Marine Harvest is a “Janus-headed monster”, which appears green and transparent in Norway, but in Chile destroys the marine ecology and the lives of people.
Nevertheless, in 2008 the company and WWF completed a partnership contract.
Palm oil dispute
Palm oil is found in many detergents and cosmetics. The run on the valuable oil only really started, when Europeans discovered it as a “renewable” plant-based energy. In Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, forests are being cleared – once for timber production, today in order to create palm oil plantations.
Huisman criticises WWF for seeing a negotiating success, when Wilmar, the world’s largest palm oil company, can log 300,000 hectares – and in return, leaves about two per cent of the area as a protected area. In addition, WWF sits together with Unilever, Bayer and the HSBC Bank at a round table, that in an act of self-regulation, distributes sustainability certificates – this in turn legitimises the clearing of forests, provided they are not to be particularly worthy of protection.
But there are few forests left. Also, because no one checks whether companies comply with their standards, other environmental organizations left the round table quickly. WWF assures that it participate only to prevent the “worst”. But where is the success? A local activist concludes: “WWF greenwashes the environmental sins of the industry – and takes money in exchange.”
At the Round Table with Monsanto
WWF all-rounder Jason Clay, vice president of WWF-US, sets up the most important industry partnerships for the environmental organisation. He represents WWF at a lobbying organization for the agro-technology companies Cargill and Monsanto – and is a champion of genetic engineering.
Once again they sit together at the round table, once more through the joint award of sustainability labels WWF gives a controversial industry a green, progressive image, according to Huisman. “These labels are not a panacea, they set minimum standards, often those of organic labels are higher,” even the WWF spokesperson says. But it is not enough, when he insinuates Huisman personally, that these always turn out as if all the hardships of the world were the responsibility of WWF. He does not do that.
His book raises questions. Lots of questions. From WWF, one hopes for answers – not excuses or expensive lawsuits.
The WWF was the driving force in pressuring the U..S.. Congress to legislate the screening of chemicals for "endocrine (hormone) disrupting" effects and has subsequently been heavily involved in establishing the framework for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) massive chemical-testing program now under development. . As its Web site points out: "WWF invested substantial resources in the EPA's Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee," which "agreed upon a set of tests to form the foundation for the screening and testing program.." What the WWF neglects to mention, however, is that 10 of the 15 recommended screens and tests are animal-poisoning studies, some of which kill hundreds or thousands of animals at a time.. According to scientific estimates, the WWF-backed endocrine testing program will kill up to 1..2 million animals for every 1,000 chemicals tested, and with environmental organizations pressing for tens of thousands of chemicals to be retested under this program, the toll in animal suffering and death will be staggering.. The WWF is also pressuring government agencies in Europe to embark on a similar animal-testing program..
In addition to lobbying for more chemical testing, the WWF has teamed up with Procter & Gamble, S..C.. Johnson, and other chemical companies to create an institute to pursue "basic research" on endocrine disruptors.. On top of this, the WWF is now pushing the U..S.. Congress to pass a bill that would pour additional millions in public funds into endocrine research--much of which would likely be used to fund experiments on animals..
Unfortunately, the "endocrine disruptor" issue is not an isolated example.. The WWF has been a major force in pressuring the European Union to amend its Chemicals Policy to require companies to test and retest as many as 30,000 new and existing chemicals.. The British Institute for Environmental Health estimates that this process will kill upwards of 45 million animals if the standard battery of animal-poisoning tests is used.. The WWF's U..S.. and Canadian offices are also calling for more testing of pesticides, despite the fact that more than 9,000 animals are already killed for each pesticide product on the market.. The organization has called for certain pesticides to be tested for "developmental neurotoxicity" (DNT) using a test that kills upwards of 1,300 animals each time it is conducted.. This test has been heavily criticized by scientists, including the EPA's own Scientific Advisory Panel, which concluded that "the exposure of rat fetus/pups was not shown to be equivalent to human fetus/infant during equivalent stages of brain development" and that "the current form of the DNT guideline is not a sensitive indicator of toxicity to the offspring.." In other words, WWF is calling for thousands of animals to be killed in a test that scientists admit is not relevant to humans!
In its defense, the WWF says that "in the absence of effective, validated alternatives, WWF believes that limited animal testing is needed for the long-term protection of wildlife and people throughout the world.." However, there is nothing "limited" about the massive amount of animal testing that the WWF is endorsing.. Dr.. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, pointed out in 1981: "It is simply not possible with all the animals in the world to go through chemicals in the blind way we have at the present time, and reach credible conclusions about the hazards to human health.." Now more than 20 years later, millions of animals are still dying in agonizing chemical toxicity tests, and we are no closer to getting dangerous chemicals out of the environment. . In fact, despite killing hundreds of thousands of animals in painful chemical toxicity tests, the EPA has not banned a single toxic industrial chemical in more than a decade!...
The WWF Endorses the Killing of Wild Animals, Too!!!
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gives special meaning to the word "conservation. ." The organization, founded in 1961 by a group of wealthy trophy hunters, apparently believes that conserving animals means keeping them around long enough for well-heeled "sportsmen" to blast them out of the woods, oceans, skies, plains of Africa, and jungles of Asia.. Past WWF chapter presidents include C..R.. "Pink" Gutermuth, who also served as president of the National Rifle Association, and trophy hunter Francis L.. Kellogg, who is legendary for his massive kills.. In its early days, the WWF even used fur auctions to raise funds...
Since then, the WWF has learned that most people are appalled by hunting and trapping, so today, the organization veils its true stance under phrases like "sustainable development, " arguing that killing is acceptable under some circumstances. . When answering difficult questions about its policy on hunting, trapping, and whaling, the WWF is careful never to state outright that it approves of all these activities.. But don't be fooled, the WWF's intentions are all too clear and deadly!!
According to the Web site of the WWF's Canadian office, "WWF is not an animal welfare organization. . We support the hunting and consumption of wild animals provided the harvesting does not threaten the long-term survival of wildlife populations. . WWF has never opposed a sustainable seal hunt in northern or eastern Canada.." However, despite the WWF's portrayal of the situation, the Canadian seal hunt is anything but a "subsistence" hunt--it is the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world.. Quotas established by the Canadian government have soared to an all-time high: 350,000 seals per year for the next three years.. Not since the mid-1800s, when unrestricted slaughter saw a million seals per year killed, has so much blood been shed on the ice off Canada's East Coast...
Worse is that the Canadian government has stated in internal documents that having the WWF's support for any raise in seal quotas is important, and the WWF's position statement suggests that it had been working with the Canadian government before the quota was announced.. In other words, the WWF had the power to help avert the largest quota of harp seal pups in history but chose, instead, to let it happen without so much as a word of opposition!! !
While the WWF states that it opposes "commercial whaling," it does support the slaughter of whales by native tribes and under some other conditions.. When asked directly about its policy, WWF is vague, stating: "WWF's views on whether sustainable whaling should be permitted derive from its mission 'to conserve nature and ecological processes and to help build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature..'" In the past, WWF officials have clearly stated that "WWF International has the national WWF organizations behind it in the view that as soon as one can ensure a sustainable commercial harvest of the great whales under secure international control, then whaling will no longer be a WWF concern...."
As one would expect of an organization founded by hunters, the WWF does not oppose the slaughter of animals with guns and other weapons for sport.. Rather than working to stop the killing, the WWF believes that hunting should be regulated, arguing that wealthy trophy hunters can bring income to poorer nations.. The WWF claims that it has no power to stop hunting, stating, "The decision to allow trophy hunting is a sovereign one made entirely by the governments concerned. -- We will continue to monitor governments' enforcement of important trade laws to ensure that trophy hunting is done within the legal standards of that area...."
The WWF believes that culling--another way of saying "killing"--elephants is acceptable, as is the trade in ivory, because the profits that it brings spur governments to keep elephants from going extinct.. In 2000, U..S.. News & World Report reported that WWF representatives traveled to Nairobi to ask the United Nations to lift the ban on the ivory trade in order to allow a "sustainable harvest of ivory for horns and hunting trophies..."
The WWF's bizarre view--that we must kill some animals now in order to save animals to kill later--has proved false time and again.. The trade in ivory has only encouraged rampant poaching, the senseless slaughter of elephants.. The WWF tries to duck the issue by falsely stating, "The decision to cull, or to select animals from the herd for removal or death, is indeed an agonizing choice, but it is one made entirely by the governments concerned and there is no international involvement in those decisions.."
As with hunting and whaling, the WWF refuses to condemn the massive killing of animals with steel-jaw leghold traps.. While calling itself a "preservationist" organization that "seek[s] to be the voice for those creatures who have no voice," the WWF stands back from the issue, stating that "the trade in furs, skins, and other products of animals that are not endangered isn't the focus of our campaign.."
But no matter how hard the WWF tries to "greenwash" its support of animal slaughter, its real message rings out loud and clear: Animals are ours to hunt, trap, kill, poison, and use as we see fit.. And although appeals to preserve genetic diversity, ecosystems, and the planet sound good on paper, they mean little if what the WWF is really advocating is more efficient killing fields...
Despite an ongoing international tourist boycott that was called in response to the wolf "control" program in Alaska, in which at least 100 wolves have been shot as of March 2004, the WWF is promoting several trips to Alaska throughout June, July, and August 2004 as part of "WWF Travel," an "ecotourism" program.. When asked why the WWF was sending its members to Alaska, effectively undermining efforts to save wolves in the state, the WWF travel desk representative stated that the WWF did not consider the matter of wolf-killing a priority..
WHAT YOU CAN DO?
Please write to the WWF and express your opposition to its involvement in the slaughter of millions of animals in laboratories. . Let the WWF know that you contribute only to organizations that oppose outdated animal-poisoning tests and that there is no such thing as conservation through killing..
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