(Daily Mail By OLIVER PICKUP) - These sickening images show raccoon dogs being skinned alive to make cheap imitation Ugg boots bought by thousands of Britons.
The original footwear is made from high-quality Australian sheepskin, taken from animals slaughtered humanely, but this footage shows the brutal treatment of creatures in China whose fur is used to make the fake boots.
The raccoon dogs are shown skinned, but still alive and moving, in the distressing scenes filmed by animal rights campaigners. Thrown on a pile, they can take up to three hours to die.
The terrified animals are beaten with sticks and are seen kicking and writhing as the men cut them open and skin them.
The skinning process is agonizingly slow and begins from the feet up. The workers are filmed standing on the animals’ heads if they struggle too much.
The video, uploaded on to YouTube by animalwelfare1 and associated with Swiss Animal Protection / EAST international, then shows the skinned animals being tossed alive on to a pile of dead and dying raccoon dogs.
The MailOnline has chosen not to include the video, as it is too shocking.
One raccoon dog - an indigenous Asian species related to foxes and dogs - is shown lifting its head to the camera briefly before falling back down on the mound of corpses, still breathing.
The shocking footage, published in the Herald Sun, has sparked outrage and has led activists to demand a ban on the raccoon dog trade.
Imitation Ugg boots have flooded the market worldwide and are widely available online and at outlets. Many are imported into Britain.
In Australia, where Uggs - which cost up to £200 - originate, there has been a ban on the import of domestic dog and cat fur since 2004, but raccoon dog fur is still brought in.
An investigation by the Humane Society International (HSI) found a pair of imitation Ugg boots to contain raccoon dog fur, even though they were labeled ‘Australian sheepskin’.
HSI director Verna Simpson said dozens of products, aside from the boots, use imported raccoon dog fur - and in other cases dog fur.
Animal hair identification expert Han Brunner confirmed the boots contained raccoon dog fur and called for the government to crack down on the trade.
Mr Brunner told news.com.au: ‘There is no doubt they have mislabeled these items and customs refuse to do anything.
‘They have been labeled Australian merino fur and that was on the inside of the boot, on the outside there were hairs from the raccoon dog.
‘I think surely that should make an impact on customs especially after the cattle slaughtering in Indonesia - dog raccoons are skinned alive and the carcass is thrown on a heap when they are still alive.’
Earlier this year footage of the treatment of Australian livestock in Indonesian abattoirs led to a temporary export ban.
Head of Ugg Australia Lena McDonald said that the use of raccoon dog fur by other brands had tarnished the entire industry.
She said there were up to 40 products using the word ‘Ugg’ but that few were made in Australia and many used overseas materials.
‘As far as I can see many of these boots are not made in Australia at all yet they have the word Australia and Ugg on them,’ she told the Herald Sun.
‘Labeling laws in Australia are a little bit grey and we have seen companies cutting off tags saying “made in China” and the Australian made tag put on it.’
An Australian customs spokeswoman said the government took the importation of illegal fur seriously but was awaiting further information before stating its position on the importation of raccoon dog fur.
A 20-month-old girl died after being attacked by as many as three pit bulls Friday evening inside an apartment house in West Haven, Connecticut, police said on Saturday.
(Zach Howard, Reuters) - After a neighbor from downstairs called police, officers and paramedics arrived at the top-floor apartment at about 6:13 p.m. Friday and found the toddler on the floor, bleeding and unconscious, said West Haven Police Officer Bret Schneider.
She was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, he said. West Haven is located a few miles south of New Haven on the central Connecticut coast.
After people in the home had locked the dogs in another room, police managed to subdue and remove them from the three-story building. The dogs were then euthanized.
“We believe all three dogs were involved in the attack, but they have to have (a) necropsy done” to determine that as part of the investigation, Officer Schneider said, referring to a post-mortem examination of the dogs.
Police had not yet determined whether the girl was alone when the attack took place. The infant may have been with family, visiting friends who lived in the apartment and owned the dogs, said Schneider.
It was too early to say whether any charges would be filed in the case, police said.
No Sir, You Are Not On The List
(WIDK) — “Hey, let me see that…”
Man In Kayak Is Dragged Half A Mile Out To Sea Reeling In 6 Foot SHARK (WIDK)
Posted to WIDK by Emily Moore
(Stephanie Darall, Daily Mail) — A vet fishing from a kayak was dragged half a mile out to sea after hooking a 6ft shark.
Rupert Kirkwood, 51, was towed around for 15 minutes after a 70lb Tope after it took his bait and headed for the deep.
He had been fishing a mile off the coast of Ilfracombe, North Devon, in his 16ft kayak when he hooked the five-stone shark.
‘It was pretty hair-raising stuff. I had been sitting there for about four hours before I felt a huge pull on the line and my canoe suddenly shot off through the water.
‘These creatures are known to do a runner and it’s just like Jaws - the line flew off the reel. I just had to hold on and wait for it to tire. Eventually it did, and I was able to lean in the water and pull it on board.
‘You have to handle them very carefully and I nestled my hand under the tail and pectoral fin before landing it.
‘The weight was incredible. I had to be extra careful as one snap of the jaws and I could easily lose a finger or hand.
‘It was thrashing around on the canoe before eventually becoming quite still.’
The self-professed ‘wildlife nut’ and conservationist regularly sits in his canoe and fishes for mackerel as well as bird spotting.
Father-of-four Rupert, who also works as a farm vet, has been canoe fishing for around ten years and landed the beast using mackerel bait.
The Tope was released back into the water unharmed. Rupert added: ‘It was thrilling to catch something that big and knocks spots off anything I have landed before.
‘It was amazing to catch such a large specimen and was a real rush.’
He told the Western Morning News he had been sitting on the sea off Ilfracombe in poor weather for four hours without a bite when he felt a ‘great tug’ on the line.
Mr Kirkwood, from Holsworthy, Devon, has been fishing using the small kayak for around 10 years.
His adventures on the boat have seen him paddle the entire coastline of Cornwall and part of the north Devon coastline. He has also used it to sail from Cornwall across to the Isles of Scilly, a distance of 28 miles.
The Tope shark, or school shark, can grow to more than 6ft in length and weigh more than seven stone.
They are found all around the world and generally live further out into the sea but can come in close to the shore. They sometimes live in small schools and are listed as a vulnerable species.
The shark Mr Kirkwood caught was later released unharmed.
Shark experts have predicted that great white sharks will soon be spotted in British waters.
President of the Shark Trust Richard Peirce said the waters off the coast of the UK are an ideal hunting ground for great white sharks, who are already ‘occasional vagrant visitors’.
He said it is only a matter of time until his theory that the predators visit British shores is verified.
The shark expert has investigated more than 80 reported sightings of great whites in British waters over the last 14 years but only seven were found to be credible.
Fishermen in Cornwall have reported great whites sticking their heads out of the water, known as ‘spy-hopping’.
Fishermen on three different boats described a sighting of a great white within three weeks of one another.
Picture This - PANDAmonium - 12 Baby Pandas Napping In A Row (WIDK)
Posted to WIDK by Emily Moore
(Daily Mail Reporter) — They are a picture of cute that would make anyone say ‘aah’.
But these Giant Panda cubs, napping peacefully in their nursery, have a far more important role to play. They have been born and raised in the research base of the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, China, which is attempting to preserve the notoriously sex-shy species.
Their successful upbringing comes as China launches its once-a-decade census to determine how many of the endangered bears live in the wild.
The census - the fourth since it was first launched in the 1970s - is also expected to work out their living conditions, ages and any change in habitat.
According to the count a decade ago, there are 1,596 pandas left in the wild in China, with 1,206 of them living in Sichuan.
The Giant Panda Breeding Centre boasts the world’s largest artificially bred population with 108.
Lion Cub Saved By His Mom In Dramatic Scene Caught On Camera (WIDK)
Posted to WIDK by Emily Moore
(Paul Thompson, Daily Mail) — Clinging on for dear life to the side of a vertical cliff, the tiny lion cub cries out pitifully for help.
His mother arrives at the edge of the precipice with three other lionesses and a male. The females start to clamber down together but turn back daunted by the sheer drop.
Eventually one single factor determines which of them will risk her life to save the youngster – motherly love.
Slowly, agonisingly, the big cat edges her way down towards her terrified son, using her powerful claws to grip the crumbling cliff side.
One slip from her and both animals could end up dead at the bottom of the ravine.
Just as the exhausted cub seems about to fall, his mother circles beneath him and he is snatched up in her jaws.
She then begins the equally perilous journey back to the top. Minutes later, they arrive and she gives the frightened creature a consoling lick on the head.
The dramatic rescue, captured by wildlife photographer Jean-Francois Largot, was played out in Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve.
Despite the presence of wardens to deter poachers, day-to-day life for the lions is not without its dangers … as the cub learned the hard way.