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Episode 579: Born Free ft. Angela Grimes

By Jasmin and Mariann — February 13, 2021

Angela Grimes, the CEO of Born Free USA, joins us for this week’s episode on a very timely and crucially important subject — the highly problematic and cruel conditions within wildlife wet markets. She and Mariann discuss the connections between these hideous markets, which are found all over the world, and human disease outbreaks, including, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Angela also talks about other ways in which human behavior is devastating wildlife, including poaching, trapping, trophy hunting, and roadside zoos, and tells us about Born Free’s Global Nature Recovery Investment Initiative. She reveals what she believes to be the most critical current threat to animals, but also shares with us significant progress and why she is optimistic for the future.

In her role as Chief Executive Officer of Born Free USA, Angela upholds a vision of a co-existent future where humans no longer exploit wild animals. She was previously Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation and has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.

There are any number of diseases out there, which is why, simply put, the wild animals belong in the wild, they don’t belong in our homes, on our dinner plates, hanging in markets, hanging on our walls. It’s in everyone’s interest to let them live in the wild, and just stay clear.”
– Angela Grimes

This Week in Our Hen House:

  • How Born Free USA started, the main focuses of the organization, and its primate sanctuary in Texas
  • The horrors of the wild animal trade, as well as the reasons people want to own wild animals
  • The links between the COVID-19 pandemic and wildlife wet markets all over the world and how they contribute to the spread of disease
  • Why many wildlife markets include animals bred for sale and why their living conditions equate to a perfect storm for viral transmission
  • Why people aren’t more concerned about the prevalence of wet markets and how we can take steps to ban them globally
  • The most significant threats to wild animals right now
  • The Global Nature Recovery Investment Initiative and the incentives for individuals to support the initiative
  • Angela’s hopes for saving the wild and why she is optimistic for the future
  • The Born Free programs in Africa and how a free mobile phone app is helping to protect wild animals
  • The main drivers of poaching in Africa, why the ivory trade is still a huge problem, and the other species that are a part of the wild animal trade
  • Eastern traditional medicine and its role as a driver in the trade in exotic wild animals
  • Issues that Born Free focuses on in the USA including trapping on public land, trophy hunting, and roadside zoos
  • Fighting the fur trade, the connection between mink and COVID-19, and how it has impacted the fur industry

Connect with Angela Grimes:

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This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at


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Don’t forget to tune into Our Hen House’s other two podcasts: The Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan Podcast, and The Animal Law Podcast.

The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.

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