To provide sanctuary for captive wildlife and work to ensure that it is protected through the Endangered Species Act, the Animal Welfare Act, and local and state humane laws.
About the Organization:
Founded by Hollywood animal trainer, Pat Derby, and her partner, Ed Stewart, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is dedicated to the rescue of performing and exotic animals from cruel confinement and maltreatment in traveling shows, animal acts, television, and movies, as well as addressing the problem of captive breeding, inadequate standards for captive wildlife, and the exotic animal trade.
PAWS investigates reports of abused performing and exotic animals, documents cruelty, and assists in investigations and prosecutions by regulatory agencies to alleviate the suffering of the animals. The organization rescues abused, neglected, and needy captive wildlife through intervention and legislation designed to stop the problem by prohibiting indiscriminate breeding of exotic animals for the pet industry and the use of wild animals in entertainment. Rescued animals are sheltered on a thirty-acre sanctuary in Galt, California, at the 100-acre Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald, and at Ark 2000, a 2,300-acre natural habitat sanctuary in San Andreas.
PAWS works to strengthen laws on animals' behalf, helping to mandate legislation that will ban ownership of wild animals and require permits to restrict their breeding. The organization has also been involved in insuring the ban of such elephant discipline techniques as electric shock, food/water/rest deprivation and punishment, which results in the scarring or breaking of an elephant's skin. Through public awareness programs, PAWS educates the entertainment industry, public officials, and the general public in humane care and treatment of captive wildlife.
In addition, PAWS works to protect wild species and their habitat with international programs established in India, Mexico, Africa, and Cambodia to diminish human/elephant conflict and to establish protected areas for wildlife.
The Performing Animal Welfare Society's Web site offers news, reports, and events sponsored by the organization; information on how to become a PAWS member; and volunteer opportunities. The site also offers links to animal resource Web sites and animal fact sheets, including information on circuses, animals in television and film, the exotic pet trade, and profiles and biological information on PAWS' "guest" animals. In addition, the site offers access to , the society's official newsletter.
PAWS receives no state or federal funding, and is funded primarily by individual members and community support. The organization also hosts a limited number of special events to benefit the sanctuary and the animals.