Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tag Heuer Responds

Although this was left (and published) as a comment, I feel that since Tag Heuer took the time to respond they deserve to have that response posted here -

TAG Heuer hired the services of the Gruss family for last Friday’s event at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris to announce its new muse, Cara Delevingne. The top model appeared with Antares, a baby lion, and Pharaon, an adult male. The health and well-being of the two animals were of the highest concern throughout the event, from its earliest preparations to the end.
The two lions are members of the Gruss family circus. Pharaon was born with them two years ago and Antares was adopted during its first days after its mother abandoned it. This is quite common, especially when the mother is young and gives birth to its first cub. The animals live in a park in Sologne, France, where they can wander freely and have a shelter at night. The way the Gruss family care for their animals is famous throughout the circus world and beyond reproach. They are especially well regarded for two aspects of their animal care: the way they train their animals—with rewards, not punishments; and the way they place their animals at the best animal parks in the world when they reach retirement age.
TAG Heuer has long been engaged in efforts to protect the environment. It is committed to the protection of animals and would never tolerate any ill treatment during its campaigns and events. The Swiss brand has been part of projects to protect nature and wildlife in the past and will continue to pursue these actions in the future. 
TAG Heuer team

Well, that is appreciated.  Having said that it actually raises a few more questions than it answers.  So my response is below -

Dear Tag Heuer,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback on my post and this controversy. While I truly appreciate the depth and time put into this response, I think you are missing the bigger point - and the bigger opportunity to turn this around. I truly respect your right to run your brand and your campaigns as you see fit. But... consider that countries around the world are moving to ban the use of live animals as performers in circuses and I have a hard time seeing that as a "saving grace". Moreover, I appreciate that the animals are placed in the "best parks in the world" when they reach retirement age - but I am scratching my head to understand where those retirement parks are. I also absolutely appreciate that one of these lions was born in the wild - if I have read your response correctly - but there are many other options for rehabilitating lions (and other wild animals) that are abandoned by their mothers/prides without making a few dollars on it. Circuses in general are under heavy, heavy scrutiny for their practices and treatment of animals. Once again, you have an opportunity - the question is whether or not you wish to pursue it. Maybe to put it more succinctly - if you were an orphan, would you rather be adopted by a family (in this instance that would represent being brought to a rehabilitation center to be reintroduced into the wild), or would you rather be sold to a work farm? I realize this sounds like a fanciful example - but not too long ago that is how we handled orphaned children around the world - and in some countries still do ; ) We have taken quite a bit from Africa for profit. Maybe it's time to consider putting something back and to stop taking? That last bit is not directed at you but at the circus industry.

Your watches are wonderful, and I appreciate your commitment to the environment and would love to write about your initiatives if you would be good enough to share them with me. Having said that, in this one instance I am not convinced. But I encourage you to keep the conversation going with your customers both old and new. And with me - Please know and understand that I am ready to have my opinion changed - and I want to continue to hear your side of the story. I will be at BaselWorld and would love to meet with you to hear not just about your watches but your charitable initiatives.

My dance card is open, and I hope to hear from you!


James Henderson

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