Juma is dead! Let’s ban the use of animals in all Olympic ceremonies!

Juma, a beautiful Amazonian jaguar, has been shot dead after being used as a “mascot” during an Olympic ceremony in Brazil.

Juma was drugged, chained, and paraded around in an Olympic torch ceremony in the Amazon city of Manaus. Shortly after the ceremony, she escaped in fear and was shot dead by a soldier.

Wild animals shouldn’t be denied freedom and paraded around for human amusement. It’s had deadly consequences for Juma. But if we can get the International Olympic Committee to ban the use of animals in all Olympic ceremonies — from the torch ceremonies to the closing ceremonies — Juma’s death can help keep other animals safe in future.

Let’s tell the IOC to ban the use of animals in all Olympic ceremonies — for the Rio Olympics and beyond.

Jaguars are hugely vulnerable. They’re already extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador, and they’re listed as threatened or endangered nearly everywhere they survive. We should be doing everything in our power to protect these graceful big cats — not forcing them to act as living exhibits in unnatural and frightening situations where things will, inevitably, go wrong.

But with Juma’s brutal death, we have a chance to change humans’ relationship with animals for the better. The Olympic Movement is meant to contribute to building a more peaceful and better world. And the role of the IOC, according to the Olympic Charter, is to promote ethics in sport and “a responsible concern for environmental issues” — and to require that the Olympic Games are held accordingly.

Let’s tell the IOC it’s time to do that. It needs to ban the exploitation of animals for Olympic ceremonies — from the very first torch ceremony to the very last closing ceremony.

Right now, Juma’s death is getting a lot of media attention. When the same thing happened with Cecil the Lion, who was shot dead by an American dentist in Zimbabwe, our community turned that attention into real action to protect wild animals. We persuaded a dozen airlines to ban the transportation of dead endangered species on their airlines, meaning illegal trophy hunters would no longer be able to get their trophies home. Let’s do the same now, and make sure Juma’s brutal death helps to protect other animals around the world.

Let’s tell the IOC to ban the use of animals in all Olympic ceremonies — for the Rio Olympics and beyond.

Jaguars are hugely vulnerable. They’re already extinct in Uruguay and El Salvador, and they’re listed as threatened or endangered nearly everywhere they survive. We should be doing everything in our power to protect these graceful big cats — not forcing them to act as living exhibits in unnatural and frightening situations where things will, inevitably, go wrong.

The Rio 2016 organizing committee has expressed its sadness about what happened to Juma and acknowledged it had made a mistake, but empty word are not enough. Now is the time for action.

Tell the IOC to ban the use of animals in all Olympic ceremonies.

Right now, Juma’s death is getting a lot of media attention. When the same thing happened with Cecil the Lion, who was shot dead by an American dentist in Zimbabwe, our community turned that attention into real action to protect wild animals. We persuaded a dozen airlines to ban the transportation of dead endangered species on their airlines; meaning illegal trophy hunters would no longer be able to get their trophies home. And when hunters tried to display wild orcas at the Sochi Olympics over 450,000 SumOfUs members took action to release the whales back into the ocean where they belong. Let’s do the same now, and make sure Juma’s brutal death helps to protect other animals around the world.

Author: Nico Roth

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