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‘Shark bait’ horror: French government urged to act


Live bait... one unfortunate stray

ANIMAL WELFARE organisations are protesting to the French Government following reports that live puppies and kittens are being used as shark bait by fishermen on the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion.

It is understood that stray animals are rounded up by local fishermen for the purpose of dangling the live animal in the water in order to attract sharks. This graphic photograph of a young dog with a large, thick fishing hook in its mouth was released by the Foundation although curiously, the world’s media has taken little or no interest in the horrific story.

Brigitte Bardot, the film star turned animal rights campaigner, has appealed to the French government to intervene. The campaigner’s call follows a recent report in Cicanoo, a leading newspaper on the island that a six-month-old puppy was found with hooks in its nose and one of its legs.

‘It is imperative that the government does something to end this practice,’ Bardot said in a letter to Francois Baroin, the minister for French overseas territories. ‘Unfortunately these are not isolated incidents.’

Meanwhile in the UK, the RSPCA was said to be "shocked and appalled" at the use of live animals as bait in shark fishing on Réunion and is calling on the French Government to outlaw the practice.

RSPCA International senior programme manager Paul Littlefair said: "This is one of the most brutal and distressing stories that we’ve come across. The use of a live animal in this illegal and barbaric way, for example, involving the binding of legs with wire and piercing of the muzzle with large hooks, is unjustifiably cruel.

"Given Réunion’s status as a French overseas département, we strongly urge the French government to take immediate steps to enforce its animal protection legislation and end this horrific practice. Members of the public should address their concerns to the French embassy to help put pressure on those in charge in order to bring this ghastly activity to an immediate halt."

The RSPCA has set up an online petition for members of the public to sign up to it. Once the signatures are received it will be delivered to the French embassy in order to increase pressure on the French Government to put a halt to this vile practice.

The RSPCA’s petition can be accessed by logging onto www.rspca.org.uk/sharkbait

For more information, please also see Brigitte Bardot’s website: www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr