Animals Asia’s Indonesian partner wins prestigious award for uncovering animal abuse

14 December 2017

Scorpion Foundation recognised for investigations that have helped to stop animal exploitation and raise awareness of animal welfare abuses across Indonesia.

Scorpion Foundation has won an award for “Outstanding Performance for an Emerging Organisation” at the 2017 Asia for Animals conference held in the Nepali capital Kathmandu this month.

Scorpion, which was set up only two years ago and is based in Indonesia, has had a raft of successes this year after filming animal cruelty in zoos and other facilities across Indonesia and releasing the footage to trigger change.

Just last month, Scorpion confirmed Gembira Loka Zoo on the island of Java had stopped forcing a sun bear to entertain audiences by pedalling a tricycle around a stage. The zoo also stopped selfies with an orangutan and ended a performance in which an otter was made to push a cart.

Earlier in the year, two zoos ended animal selfies and performances following Scorpion investigations, while Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Minister spoke of the need for standardised laws on animal care after a Scorpion exposé showing bears in poor condition at Bandung zoo went viral.

In November, its footage of organised fights between dogs and wild boars also led to the Governor of West Java writing to all the province’s leaders asking them to issue directives banning such fights, saying the torture of animals was a crime.

“While Scorpion has achieved some success in changing human behavior towards animals in Indonesia, there is still much more to be done. This is not easy,” Scorpion said in a statement on its website.

“Change in behaviour cannot be achieved through the efforts of a few organisations. We believe that substantial collective action, achieved through coalitions, is needed to bring about the kind of change we need within Indonesia.”

The Nepal conference, organised by the Jane Goodall Institute Nepal, brought together advocates, scientists, academics and animal experts to discuss ways of tackling challenges in animal protection and management of wildlife.

The conference theme this year was “Changing Human Behaviour”, which conference organisers said is rooted in understanding the attitudes and beliefs leading people to do what they do - in order to persuade them to be more compassionate towards animals.

Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale, who presented the award to Scorpion, said:

“We are proud to support Scorpion, who have achieved incredible results on a small budget and with a small team. This is simply grassroots work at its best.

“Exposing animal cruelty is the first step. For long- lasting change, we must also make people aware that some of the food we eat, some of the medicine we seek for our ailments, or the entertainment offered to us causes distress and pain to animals. Most animal suffering is manmade. To end it, we must work to change attitudes and human behaviour.”

Asia for Animals Coalition is a group of 20 leading animal protection organisations, including Animals Asia.