Rita Dubois, the leading lady of Swiss animal welfare associations and for more than 20 years director of ProTier in Zürich, passed away on 21 January 2017 in Bazel/Switzerland.
On my trips in Europe and Asia I often came across initiatives of Rita, working on animal welfare. From day 1 we worked on the same levels and in the same spirits on various projects. Most of them were linked to improvements of the husbandry status and to raise income of peasants and beekeepers, by protecting their flocks and beehives. By doing so we also protected bears and wolfs from attacking the farmers properties.
Our annual meetings, often in Amsterdam and sometimes in Zürich, were ‘events of recognition’. We discussed politics, legal aspects on topics, animal welfare issues, our common projects and of course the outrageous project to build a new bear pit in the Swiss capital of Bern. The last contacts we had were about the killing of the male bear M 13 in Grisons, in the eastern part of Switzerland. This refugee bear crossed the borders to find some shelter but unfortunately he was killed.
We will all miss Rita, as a mother, a very good friend and above all as an inspiring person.
International Bear Foundation, the Netherlands