6. 25 Bolivian Lions Escape Horrible Circus Life For Colorado Sanctuary
Barker partnered with Animal Defenders International (ADI) to make Operation Lion Ark a reality in 2011. He helped fund a $200,000 airlift of 25 lions rescued from eight Bolivian circuses. After Bolivia’s game-changing 2009 prohibition on using any animals in circuses, Bolivian authorities accompanied ADI to find these lions and seize them.
The lions were found in cramped cages, malnourished and dehydrated. They were free, but had nowhere to go. That is, until Bob Barker assisted with the money to get them to sanctuary in Colorado.
“To look into those eyes, and those cubs, and to think I’ve played even a small part in making their lives not circuses, not those horrific conditions, and bringing them to the nearest possible thing to their natural habitat brings a lump to my throat,” Barker told ABC News.
7. Barker Offers University Big Bucks to Stop Experimenting on Cats
Washington University in St. Louis was reportedly the last university in the country to use sedated cats to teach its pediatric medical students how to properly intubate newborns. A cat’s upper airway closely approximates the airway of a newborn baby, which is why live cats were used for many years for this training.
It’s a method no longer endorsed and no longer practiced by most schools. When Bob Barker heard it was still going on, he made an offer to the school.
If they’d stop using cats, he’d give them $75,000 to buy two state-of-the-art pediatric simulators. This was the second time Barker pleaded to save cats from this type of treatment. He also successfully helped convince the University of Virginia to end cat intubation.
Washington University agreed in June 2013 to stop using cats for this purpose. It’s not clear if they took Barker up on his offer or not, but the negative press he generated on this issue surely made all the difference.
8. Wildlife Rehabilitation Group Asks For $5,000 But Gets a Whole Lot More
A Texas-based wildlife rescue organization called Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation (WRR) found itself in desperate need of an avian ventilator in 2012. At $5,000 a pop, ventilators aren’t cheap. WRR decided to ask Bob Barker if he’d fund the purchase for them. His response knocked their socks off.
He gave them their $5,000 — in fact, he gave them $250,000. He told the group he’d looked into their work and was impressed enough to give them even more money than they’d asked him for.
9. Opposition to Pennsylvania‘s Cruel Pigeon Shoots
When animal activist group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) showed him a video of a notorious live pigeon shoot at a hunting club in Pennsylvania, Barker was sickened.
He personally wrote letters to the state Attorney General and 2012′s candidates for that office, asking them to enforce the state’s humane laws and stop these events. Pennsylvania is one of only a few states to still permit live pigeon shoots. The doomed birds, sadly, are typically former homing pigeons, racing pigeons or raised by farmers.
They don’t simply die by gunfire. Often they perish slowly from wounds. Worse, pigeon shoot participants are known to stomp, kick and swing them around by their necks, smashing them against things to finish them off.
“It is very distressing to me personally to see such appalling cruelty,” Barker wrote in his letter. “This is not a hunt or sport, but a massacre of the cruelest kind. SHARK’s most recent video filmed at the Wing Pointe hunting club documents unspeakable acts of violence against docile, semi-tame and even banded pigeons.”
10. Endowments For Animal Law Studies at Multiple Major Law Schools
Barker set in motion a number of endowments in 2001 when he gave $1 million to his alma mater, Drury University, to create an animal ethics program of study. He followed that with another $1 million to establish a professorship on animal rights.
Since then, he’s donated a remarkable $1 million each to every one of these schools:
These endowments mandate that the schools offer an animal law course at least every other year. They must also hold an animal law conference or other similar event in the year the course is not offered. Finally, any income from the endowment must be used only for teaching and research of animal law issues.
Truly, Bob Barker is a one-of-a-kind hero to the animals. His money and his compassion are making a difference every day for animals all over the world.
Photo credit (main image): PETA
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