Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Dogs Being Used As Bait For Shark Fishing?

My uncle alerted me to this yesterday, because it made his blood boil, and I've been struggling with whether or not to post about it, because it's just so upsetting. But then I figured, if I had no idea this was going on, maybe other people don't, either. And the RSPCA (UK) has organized a petition to the French government to appeal for a stop to this cruel practice. (Note--I have had trouble loading the RSPCA site today, though it worked fine yesterday, so it may be overloaded with traffic. If anyone comes up with an alternate site, please alert me.)

The news was first "broken" in the British tabloid, The Sun, so at first I was hoping I could search Snopes and find out it was a hoax. I didn't find anything originally, but now there is an entry about it, giving some reasons to doubt at least the most brutal parts of these stories. A warning about the link to The Sun article--it has a picture of a dog being hooked and prepared for use as bait--a beautiful golden-retriever or GR mix. Please don't click on the link unless you are prepared for this image (which I am really hoping was Photo-Shopped), and the story of a 6-month-old Lab puppy who washed up alive, with hooks still in his legs and face. This is happening in the waters of the French-governed Reunion Island, but it's apparently also common practice in other places, such as Vanuatu (this link has no pictures of dogs, but casually describes how a killer shark was caught using a dog as bait, like it's just nothing out of the ordinary).

There is a diver's blog, Divester, that has been keeping up with the story, and is publishing updates and links.

I understand that different cultures have different sensitivities as far as domestic animals are concerned...animals that are sacred in one country are hamburger here, and what would be our beloved pet puppies in this country are farmed for food in certain other places. I understand and respect cultural differences in this regard. But there is just something so cruel, so awful, about misusing an animal as intelligent and aware as a dog for a purpose like this--not to mention that dog is NOT a natural prey for a shark. Why not use a big fish? It doesn't make sense, which is another reason I'm hoping it will somehow turn out to be untrue. Or at least better in some way.
I'm just really depressed about this, and wish there were something I could do to make a difference. If anyone comes across a legal fund or anything like that for the protection of these abused animals, please let me know.

UPDATE: Anyone fluent in French? Here is a website with a video of the dog pictured in the Sun article, but I have no idea what they're saying about it or how he got the hook in him, or what happens to him in the end. If you can speak or read French, PLEASE check this out and let me know what's up.


  1. Oh no! I actually have a friend that lives on Reunion Island (I know, hard to believe but true) and I'm going to email her your link and ask her to please comment. She's an attorney there and definately 'in the know'. Her name is Sophie, so keep an eye out.

  2. Thanks--and if she speaks French, have her translate the last website I added for us!

  3. I'm hoping the pic is a terrible accident that happened when the dog ate the bait on the end of that hook. Realistically, how could a dog's lip hold his weight if used in the manner described? Especially if being drug through the water! That's what I'm telling myself--a terrible accident, only an accident...

  4. I hope so, too. I'd love to know what they're saying on that French video. In some reports, they're saying that dogs are also hooked through a leg. Yuck.

  5. Everyone in Reunion speaks French. It's a French Island. She's originally from Paris and her french is to die for. She also is a mom of 3, a 2.5 year old name Heloise and B/G twins who must be about 6 months now. I'll ask her to translate.

  6. Gawd I hope that's photoshopped. If I ever had a moment with ANY FREAK who would do such a vile, horrible thing...
    (I am not as culturally sensitive as you, even when it involves abuse of dogs... I know that takes a lot for you to do.)

  7. From the source on Reunion Island:

    It is not a common practise to do that here, from what I know. But there's a
    trial going on right now against a guy who did that last year, I think. They
    found the dog abandonned in a dump and he could have died, but I think they
    took him to a vet and he healed, but has stayed crippled, poor thing. So
    some people have been doing it recently, and we hope they're all caught and
    locked up.
    So the thing is it's not a false story, but it doesn't mean it's common
    practise and it's false to say the authorities are doing nothing against it,
    because the guy's been arrested. As for Vanuatu I don't know, since it's a
    long way from here, and things may be different. But cruelty against animals
    is forbidden by our law.
    Anyway I'm not a fisherwoman and I get sea sick whenever I set foot on a
    boat so It's possible that I'm not aware of everything.
    I also believe the Sun was a tabloid and such newspapers tend to exagerate
    things and I personally don't like this way they have, of generalizing
    things because it makes people think that we people from here all have a dog
    nailed of a piece of wood in our backyard.
    Hope It helped.

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